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Africa Union Condemns Insurgent Attack on Somali Premier’s Residence

The African Union (AU) has sharply condemned Monday's attacks on the residence of Somalia's Prime Minister which reportedly left at least 13 people dead. Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein was in the palace when Islamic insurgents fired mortar rounds on the home in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. None of the people in the place, including the prime minister was hurt in the attack. Soldiers of the national army retaliated with heavy artillery fire against the insurgents. Ambassador Nicholas Bwakira is the African Union special envoy to Somalia. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that the AU will continue in its quest to ensure peace and stability returns to Somalia.

"This attack is nothing more or less than what has happened in the past. Insurgents have been trying to demonstrate that they are in control of the security situation in Mogadishu, but they have been repelled each time they have attacked. And I know that this is their way of just destabilizing Somalia. But we are determined that the Somali government and the ARS (Alliance for Re-liberation) are able to demonstrate that they are able to resist the attack and that the forces of peace are able to hold the situation under control," Ambassador Bwakira pointed out.

He said the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM) would soon receive more troops to augment its peacekeeping efforts in Somalia.

"The AU has received assurances from countries such as Nigeria, Burundi and Uganda that they will add forces. We are expecting three more battalions to join the AU in the near future. We have no doubt whatsoever that there is a determination by the African Union to continue the peace mission in Somalia," he said.

Ambassador Bwakira reiterated that the African Union is optimistic about maintaining peace in Somalia.

"There should be no doubt about that in the minds of public opinion, and there is no doubt also among the Somali peace-loving people that we are determined to continue to maintain peace. And also I should add that the TFG (Transitional Federal Government) and the AR, which are the two parties engaged in the peace process, they are also putting their forces in like in Mogadishu and elsewhere. So, I'm sure that all those negative forces would be absolutely defeated," Ambassador Bwakira noted.

He said there are high expectations that Tuesday's meeting in Djibouti between the Somali groups would soon come up with a solution to bring back an effective government to Somalia.

"My expectations in the next session of the peace talks are to really put in place a new government of national unity and a new parliament. You would recall both the Transitional Federal Government and the opposition have agreed to form an all-inclusive parliament, as well as government of national unity. We expect that in a few days to come the parties will elect a new speaker and two new deputy speakers, as well as a new president," he said.