Al Shabab gunmen kill cleric, 9 others at religious center in Somalia

Al Shabab said last year the cleric had referred to himself as the Prophet, an accusation denied at the time by Abdiweli. (File/AFP)
Updated 26 November 2018
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Al Shabab gunmen kill cleric, 9 others at religious center in Somalia

  • Al Shabab is fighting to establish its own rule based on its harsh interpretation of Islamic law
  • The group controls small sections on Mudug region

MOGADISHU: Al Shabab gunmen and a suicide car bomber struck a religious center in central Somalia on Monday, killing a cleric and at least nine of his followers, a police officer said.
“The militants killed 10 people including the cleric, teenagers and women who lived inside the camp,” Police Major Abdirahman Abdullahi told Reuters by phone from the central city of Galkayo.
“Fighting between security forces and Al-Shabab still goes in the center, the toll may rise,” he added.
Al Shabab, an Islamist group fighting to topple the Somali government, told Reuters they were responsible for the attack.
“A car bomb rammed into the center of the man who insulted the prophet. Our militants are now inside and fighting goes on,” Al Shabab spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters.
Residents of Galkayo and a regional official said Abdiweli may have also been targeted because his center hosts mostly youths who play music and dance.
Al Shabab said last year the cleric had referred to himself as the Prophet, an accusation denied at the time by Abdiweli.
“We cannot know the figure of casualties right now. Al Shabab had threatened him many times,” Abdirashid Hashi, the governor of Mudug region, told Reuters.
Al Shabab is fighting to establish its own rule based on its harsh interpretation of Islamic law. The group controls small sections on Mudug region, but it does not include Galkayo.
“Galkayo north has been very peaceful and the question is how armed militants with a suicide car bomb entered the town,” Police Captain Nur Mohamed told Reuters from Galkayo.


Pakistan asks UN to help defuse Kashmir tensions with India

Updated 53 min 53 sec ago
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Pakistan asks UN to help defuse Kashmir tensions with India

  • A suicide bombing last week in India’s sector of disputed Kashmir region killed at least 41 Indian troops
  • New Delhi has blamed Islamabad and warned of a ‘jaw-breaking response’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s foreign minister appealed to the UN Secretary General on Tuesday to help ease tension with India that has escalated sharply following a suicide bomb attack in the Indian part of disputed Kashmir, that India blamed on Pakistan.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, facing an election by May, has warned Pakistan to expect a “strong response” to the bombing claimed by a Pakistan-linked militant group, raising fears of conflict between the nuclear-armed neighbors.

“It is with a sense of urgency that I draw your attention to the deteriorating security situation in our region resulting from the threat of use of force against Pakistan by India,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi wrote to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

“It is imperative to take steps for de-escalation. The United Nations must step in to defuse tensions,” he wrote, blaming India for deliberately ratcheting up its hostile rhetoric for domestic political reasons.

The Pakistani appeal follows days of rising tension between the old rivals after a suicide bomber blew himself up near an Indian police convoy in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Thursday, killing at least 40 paramilitary police.

Jaish-e Mohammad, a militant group said to be based in Pakistan which wants the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir to be part of Pakistan, claimed responsibility but the Pakistani government has denied any involvement.

“Attributing it to Pakistan even before investigations is absurd,” Qureshi said.

“India must be asked to conduct an open and credible investigation on Pulwama incident,” he said.

Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir, a former princely state on the border between India and Pakistan, has been in dispute since the partition of India in 1947.

Control is split between the two countries but each claims the region in full.

The neighbors have fought three wars since 1947, two of them over Kashmir. They have fought countless skirmishes along their de facto border, which the United Nations monitors, in the Himalayan region.