Toll rises to 53 dead from bomb blasts in Somalia’s capital

Somali rescue workers carry an unidentified man injured from the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia November 9, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 12 November 2018

Toll rises to 53 dead from bomb blasts in Somalia’s capital

NAIROBI, Kenya: Somali hospital and police sources say the death toll from Friday’s bombings outside a hotel in Mogadishu has risen to 53 with over 100 injured.
Friday’s attack was the latest in a wave of bombings by Al-Shabab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate which has been fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed Somali government for over a decade.
Twin car bombs exploded within moments of each other, followed by gunfire and a third blast, sending thick plumes of black smoke into the sky.
The blasts occurred near the Sahafi hotel and Criminal Investigation Division (CID) police headquarters.
Parliament speaker Mohamed Mursal said the attackers deliberately targeted civilians.


“These terrorists have massacred civilians at a time when people were out to spend time during the weekend. I call on the Somali people to stand together against those killers,” he told reporters.
Police official Ibrahim Mohamed said information received from various hospitals indicated that the number of dead had reached 41, with another 106 wounded.
“Most of these people were civilians and nearly 20 of them died in minibuses that were passing by the road when the blast occurred,” he added.
Another security official, Abdirahman Osman, told AFP that nearly 50 had been confirmed dead so far, although the final number was not yet known.
Officials on Friday had put the death toll at about 20.
“There was chaos after the blast. Some of the vehicles were buses, which caught fire. I could see people screaming as they fled the buses,” witness Fadumo Ali told AFP on Friday.
According to sources in Somalia, the fatalities included the son of the owner of the hotel, Abdirashid Ilqeyte, who was killed in an Al-Shabab attack on the establishment in November 2015.
The bombs destroyed parts of the hotel perimeter despite layered security, and several shops and other buildings nearby were flattened.
The Al-Shabab claimed responsibility.
“Armed members from the Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen carried (out) a complex attack targeting Sahafi hotel in Mogadishu where senior Somali government officials stay,” the militant group said in a statement quoted by a pro-Al-Shabab website.
The Al-Shabab were forced out of the capital by African Union troops in 2011.
But they still control parts of the countryside and attack government, military, and civilian targets, seemingly at will, in Mogadishu and towns in the region.


Ethiopia says suspects confessed to killing popular singer

Updated 10 July 2020

Ethiopia says suspects confessed to killing popular singer

  • Hachala Hundessa became a symbol of the Oromo struggle during years of anti-government protests that swept Abiy to power in 2018
  • Though Abiy is Ethiopia’s first Oromo head of state, Oromo nationalists accuse him of insufficiently championing their interests since taking office

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia’s attorney general said Friday that two men had confessed to killing a popular singer from the Oromo ethnic group as part of a plot to topple Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government.
Hachala Hundessa became a symbol of the Oromo struggle during years of anti-government protests that swept Abiy to power in 2018.
His shooting death last week sparked days of protests and ethnic violence that killed 239 people, according to police figures.
“The assassination was intended to be a cover to take power from the incumbent by force,” attorney general Abebech Abbebe said in a statement Friday aired on state television, without providing details.
Though Abiy is Ethiopia’s first Oromo head of state, Oromo nationalists accuse him of insufficiently championing their interests since taking office, a complaint echoed by many protesters last week.
Abebech said that along with the two men who have allegedly confessed to the crime, the government has identified a third suspect who remains on the run.
One of the men in custody identified the masterminds of the alleged plot as members of a rebel group the government believes is affiliated with the opposition Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) political party, Abebech said.
The OLF, a former rebel movement, returned to Ethiopia from exile after Abiy took office and has repeatedly disavowed any links to armed insurgents.
The Internet remained shut off Friday for an 11th consecutive day, though Addis Ababa remains calm and Abiy’s office issued a statement saying the surrounding Oromia region had “returned to calm and citizens have resumed normal activities.”
In her statement, however, Abebech said unnamed agitators were calling for additional protests and road blockages in the coming days.
“There are those that have hidden themselves in nice places but are calling on Ethiopian youth to fight each other, close roads and to cease working as part of a rebellion call,” Abebech said.
“Above all we call on our people to disobey this rebellion call and to thwart it.”