Car bomb kills 10 in Mogadishu

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Updated 19 March 2013
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Car bomb kills 10 in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU: A suicide car bomber killed at least 10 people yesterday in the worst attack in the Somali capital this year when he tried to kill Mogadishu’s security chief near the presidential palace, police and rebels said.
Al-Qaeda-linked group Al-Shabab said it carried out the attack along Maka Al-Mukarram road that runs between the palace and the national theater, a route lined by tearooms that were engulfed in fire from the blast.
A public minibus driving along the road burst into flames, when the suicide bomber set off explosives packed into his car in an attempt to kill Khalif Ahmed Ilig, the Mogadishu security chief, police and the rebels said.
Ambulance sirens wailed through the city’s congested streets and a Reuters witness at the scene saw pools of blood on the ground. Residents joined in the rescue operations, pulling victims from the tea-houses and the minibus.
Police said seven civilians, three government security officers, and the bomber died in the blast that brought part of the city to a standstill. At least seven others were injured.
“The suicide car bomber targeted a senior national security officer whose car was passing near the theater,” senior police officer Abdiqadir Mohamud told Reuters, adding that the official had been injured.
“Most of the people who died were on board the minibus — civilians. This public vehicle coincidentally came between the government car and the car bomb when it was hit. Littered at the scene are human hands and flesh.”
The explosion could be heard several kilometers away in Mogadishu’s central business district. Al-Shabab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage said the group was behind the attack. “A car bomb by a mujahid targeted Khalif, the Mogadishu national security chief. He is seriously injured,” Rage, told Reuters. “Many of his body guards and other security officials died and many others were wounded. It was revenge.”
On Sunday, Al-Shabab fighters regained control of Hudur, the capital of Bakool province near the Ethiopian border, after Ethiopian troops who have been part of an African offensive against the militants withdrew from the dusty town.


Rohingya refugees rescued after drifting at sea for 9 days

Updated 51 min 23 sec ago
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Rohingya refugees rescued after drifting at sea for 9 days

BIREUEN, Indonesia: A Rohingya Muslim man among the group of 76 rescued in Indonesian waters in a wooden boat says they were at sea for nine days after leaving Myanmar, where the minority group faces intense persecution, and were hoping to reach Malaysia.
The eight children, 25 women and 43 men were brought ashore on Friday afternoon at Bireuen in Aceh province on the island of Sumatra, the third known attempt by members of the ethnic minority to escape Myanmar by sea this month. Several required medical attention for dehydration and exhaustion, local authorities said.
Fariq Muhammad said he paid the equivalent of about $150 for a place on the boat that left from Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where a violent military crackdown on the minority group has sparked an exodus of some 700,000 refugees over land into neighboring Bangladesh since August.
The refugee vessel was intercepted by a Thai navy frigate and later escorted by a Thai patrol vessel until sighting land, said Fariq. The group believed the Thais understood they wanted to reach Malaysia and were dismayed when they realized they were in Indonesia, said Fariq, who gave the identification numbers of the Thai vessels.
“We were forced to leave because we could not stay, could not work so our lives became difficult in Myanmar. Our identity card was not given so we were forced to go,” he told The Associated Press on Saturday.
Local officials and a charitable group are providing shelter and food for the refugees. The International Organization for Migration said it has sent a team from its Medan office in Sumatra, including Rohingya interpreters, to help local officials with humanitarian assistance.
Rohingya, treated as undesirables in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar and denied citizenship, used to flee by sea by the thousands each year until security in Myanmar was tightened after a surge of refugees in 2015 caused regional alarm.
In April, there has been an apparent increase in Rohingya attempts to leave the country by sea. An Indonesian fishing boat rescued a group of five Rohingya in weak condition off westernmost Aceh province on April 6, after a 20-day voyage in which five other people died.
Just days before, Malaysian authorities intercepted a vessel carrying 56 people believed to be Rohingya refugees and brought the vessel and its passengers to shore.
Mohammad Saleem, part of the group that landed Friday in Aceh, said they left from Sittwe in Rakhine state, the location of displacement camps for Rohingya set up following attacks in 2012 by Buddhist mobs.
“We’re not allowed to do anything. We don’t have a livelihood,” the 25-year-old said. “We can only live in the camps with not enough food to eat there. We have no rights there.”