Tuesday, May 29, 2012

US-backed Interim President of Somalia Barely Escapes Assassination

From Garoweonline.com

Somalia: President Sharif survives assassination attempt

May 29, 2012 - 9:27:02 AM

AFGOYE, Somalia May 29 2012 (Garowe Online)

A convoy carrying Transitional Federal Government (TFG) President, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was ambushed by Al Shabaab militants around 30 kms from Mogadishu, Garowe Online reports.

President Sharif was visiting Afgoye, a town recently captured by TFG and African Union forces. Upon his return a group of Al Shabaab militants ambushed the president's convoy near a small village called Alamada.

Conflicting reports surfaced after the ambush, reports say 7 of the president's guards were injured and 1 was killed in the ambush on Monday. But according to Reuters, there were no casualties in the firefight that lasted 30 minutes.

TFG officials, minister and MPs, military officials who accompanied President Sharif escaped unharmed. The TFG said that four Al Shabaab agents were apprehended after the gunfire ended.

AMISOM spokesman Patty Ankunda said that the attack was successfully repelled and that President Sharif was safely in Mogadishu, but did not speak of any injuries sustained in the ambush.

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attempted assaination of Preisdent Sharif, and poked holes in the TFG's belief that the Afgoye corridor was secured from the terrorist organization.

While speaking to Reuters Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab spokesman for the organization's military operations said, "If the government controls the Afgoye corridor, then President Sharif should be able to pass there peacefully.

Last Friday TFG and AMISOM forces captured Afgoye, the former stronghold of Al Shabaab without any resistance from the terrorist organization.


Somali president safe after Al-Shabab fighters ambush convoy

Tue May 29, 2012 10:21PM GMT

Al-Shabab fighters have ambushed an armored convoy transporting Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed on the outskirts of the Somali capital Mogadishu, but the Somali president escaped safely under the protection of African Union troops and Somali government soldiers.

"Desperate terrorist militants tried to disturb the visit of the president at the Afgoye corridor by ambushing his convoy, but security forces repulsed them… The president is well and continued his trip smoothly," AFP quoted Somali security official Mohamed Moalim as saying on Tuesday.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack on its website.

The attack occurred on Tuesday as the president was returning to Mogadishu after visiting Afgoye town, 27 kilometers (16 miles) northwest of the capital.

The armored convoy was guarded by African Union troops and Somali government soldiers, who took full control of the militants’ key stronghold in Afgoye last week.

The loss of Afgoye was another major blow for al-Shabab fighters, who have been on the back foot for several months. However, on May 26 they vowed to intensify their war against government and African Union troops.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

The weak Western-backed transitional government in Mogadishu has been battling al-Shabab fighters for the past five years and is propped up by a 12,000-strong African Union force from Uganda, Burundi, and Djibouti.

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