Al-Shabab threatens to eliminate Somali MPs ‘one by one’

Updated 25 September 2012

Al-Shabab threatens to eliminate Somali MPs ‘one by one’

NAIROBI: Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabab threatened yesterday to kill Somalia’s all the new lawmakers, saying that an MP killed at the weekend in Mogadishu was just the first to be targeted.
“The successful elimination of Mustafa Haji Mohamed was the action of the mujahideen who are committed to killing all MPs,” according to a Al-Shabab official, who said, the group would kill all other lawmakers “one-by-one”.
“The remaining 274 MPs are on the waiting list to die if they don’t abandon the criminal organisation that was set up contrary to Islamic law,” the official said, referring to the new Parliament selected in August.
Parliament’s election this month of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as president and the end of Somalia’s transitional institutions in August had sparked hopes of a new beginning for the country after two decades of war. Some analysts had hoped that Hassan might succeed in bringing the hardline Islamist Al-Shabab rebel group, which considered his predecessor Sharif Sheikh Ahmed a traitor, to the negotiating table.
But the new president survived an assassination bid on Sept. 12, just two days after he was elected, when apparent suicide bomb attacks claimed by the Al-Shabab rebels rocked a Mogadishu hotel, killing three soldiers.
Mustafa Haji, the father-in-law of former president Sharif, was gunned down on Saturday after leaving a mosque in Mogadishu, the first lawmaker to be targeted since the new assembly came into being.
After more than two decades of anarchy and war, Mogadishu has been coming back to life since the Al-Shabab left frontline fighting positions, with a boom in building and business.
Al-Al-Shabab has been fighting the Somali government for nearly five years. Africa Union forces pushed al-Shabab out of Mogadishu in Aug. 2011 but the militants have continued to carry out suicide attacks in the capital. Government figures in Somalia are frequently targeted for death.
Last Thursday, Al-Shabab supporters launched a double suicide attack on an upmarket restaurant in the capital opened by Somalis from the diaspora, killing 18 people, including three journalists.
Another journalist, Hassan Yusuf Absuge of independent Radio Maanta, was gunned down in the Somali capital a day later. No group has yet claimed responsibility for his murder.
Press rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders has called 2012 the deadliest year on record for Somali journalists with 13 dead so far, surpassing 2009 when nine died.
Meanwhile, the U.N.’s representative to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, on Sunday condemned the killing of the Somali member of parliament, and called it a cowardly attack.

 


Civilians, soldiers clash leaving 127 dead in South Sudan

Updated 13 min 50 sec ago

Civilians, soldiers clash leaving 127 dead in South Sudan

  • The violence in Tonj began after several armed youths got into a disagreement with soldiers
  • An initial armed confrontation was brought under control, but local youths subsequently mobilized for an attack on the army position

JUBA: Clashes between soldiers and civilians during a disarmament exercise in the central South Sudanese town of Tonj have left 127 dead, the army spokesman said Wednesday.
Major General Lul Ruai Koang told AFP that the fighting erupted on Saturday as security forces carried out an operation to disarm civilians in the area which has seen deadly inter-communal clashes.
More than six years after a civil war broke out in the country, and in the absence of a functioning government, many communities are flush with weapons, which they keep for protection or defense against cattle raids.
The violence in Tonj began after several armed youths got into a disagreement with soldiers. An initial armed confrontation was brought under control, but according to Koang the youths mobilized others for an attack on the army position.
“On the latest, the number of those killed, I can confirm to you that it rose to 127,” Koang said, adding that 45 of those killed were security forces and 82 were youths from the area.
A further 32 soldiers were injured.
Koang said two military officers involved in “triggering the clashes” had been arrested, and that the situation in Tonj had calmed down.
South Sudan is emerging from a six-year civil war that left 380,000 dead and millions displaced, and disarmament is a major stumbling block.
Experts have warned against operations that coerce people to lay down their guns without proper planning, as some communities could find themselves unable to protect themselves after their weapons are removed.
“The clashes should be an opportunity to rethink the approach to disarmament. What is the point of removing guns without addressing what drives folks to arms themselves?” Geoffrey Duke, head of the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, said on Twitter.
“We can take guns away this week & they buy a new one next week (as) long as they still see the need to have (one).”