News / Africa

Somali President Unharmed in Palace Attack, Killing 17

Somali government soldiers secure the scene of a suicide attack next to the gate of the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu on February 21, 2014.
Somali government soldiers secure the scene of a suicide attack next to the gate of the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu on February 21, 2014.
Gabe Joselow
— Al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia launched a major attack Friday on the presidential palace in Mogadishu, killing at least 17, including a senior official.  But the country's president escaped unharmed.

Witnesses say the attackers stormed the gates of the presidential palace, known as Villa Somalia, around the time of Friday prayers and tried to force their way inside the compound.

Security officials say the assailants wore military uniforms to gain access.  The chief of staff to Somalia's prime minister was among those killed.

The al-Shabab militant group has claimed responsibility.

United Nations envoy to Somalia, Nick Kay, speaking to VOA from London, said he received a phone call from Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud shortly after the attack.

“The president told me of two vehicle bombs exploding outside the rear gate, one shortly after the other, and then armed attackers entering, trying to enter the Villa Somalia complex, possibly up to about 15 or so armed attackers.”

Kay added that the president sounded "very calm and very composed."

A message on the official Twitter account for the Somali presidency thanked AU forces and the Somalia national army for stopping the attack. It called the incident “another act of desperation from a dying animal.”

Al-Shabab has lost territory over the past three years to a concerted military effort led by the AU force AMISOM.  But the group still controls areas of southern and central Somalia and has continued to wreak havoc in the capital, with periodic attacks against government or international targets.

The Somali government has announced plans to resume operations soon to remove the group from their remaining strongholds.

Kay said the group has become more violent as it comes under increasing pressure.

"We've seen an increase in the last few weeks in al-Shabab activity in Mogadishu, terrorist attacks, and I'm afraid that this is probably a pattern that we'll see for some time to come now as they have no other means to inflict terror. "

Last week al-Shabab claimed responsibility for a deadly car bombing targeting a United Nations convoy near the Mogadishu airport, where the U.N. has its headquarters.  At least six people were killed in that attack.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
February 23, 2014 3:34 AM
Al Shabaab are a faceless terrorists but demonstrated that they are capable of attacking anywhere in the country at will, and can kill anyone they want dead. Fortunately the president escaped with his life for the moment. Al Shabaab is not going to disappear from Somalia anytime soon. Al Shabaab's continuous barrage in and around Mogadishu and especially the attack at presidential palace demoralized all Somali people.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid