Troops retake stormed Somali presidential palace

2014-07-09 07:54
A Somali Islamist insurgent takes position in a street of the Tarbunka area of Mogadishu. Shabaab insurgents are responsible for the killing of thousands of Somali civilians. (AFP, File picture)

A Somali Islamist insurgent takes position in a street of the Tarbunka area of Mogadishu. Shabaab insurgents are responsible for the killing of thousands of Somali civilians. (AFP, File picture)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Mogadishu - Somali troops retook the presidential palace in the capital of Mogadishu after militants forced their way in and exchanged heavy gunfire with troops and guards on Tuesday, the latest attack underscoring the threat posed by Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab in east Africa.

Smoke billowed from inside the heavily-fortified presidential compound, and loud explosions and gunfire could be heard as troops tried to repel the intruders.

After more than two hours of fighting, Somalia's presidency said in a Twitter update that "the shameful attack" had been foiled by Somalia's armed forces fighting alongside African Union peacekeepers.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was not inside the palace at the time of the attack, but the prime minister and the speaker of parliament were, said Captain Mohamed Hussein, a senior police official.

Tight security

The presidency said both president Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed were safe.

The presidential compound, which also houses several government offices, has been the subject of many attacks by al-Qaeda-linked militants over the years. It is considered one of the safest places in Mogadishu because of the tight security presence.

The presidency said that the compound has since been secured, but gave no details about any casualties or what happened to the militants. Hussein, the police official, said he counted at least nine bodies.

Some of the militants involved in the attack were dressed as government troops, confusing guards who let them in, said Yusuf Nor, a Somali military official at the scene of the attack. Amid the confusion, he said, some soldiers fired at their comrades.

The attack was the second assault on the presidential palace this year, and it marked the first time militants have been able to breach the compound and take offensive positions inside. The palace is protected by government troops and African Union peacekeepers who helped to drive the al-Shabaab militants out of their bases in Mogadishu in 2011.

'Complicated' fight

Tuesday's attack started when a car bomb exploded outside the presidential compound. Gunmen then entered the palace, police officer Mohamed Abdi told The Associated Press.

Police said the militants, who were armed with grenades, split up into groups once inside and tried to take control of different buildings in the compound.

Al-Shabaab, which has links with al-Qaeda, has vowed to step up attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Al-Shabaab militants have previously carried out deadly attacks against lawmakers, U.N. staff and government officials. Last year the group attacked an upscale mall in Nairobi, the capital of neighbouring Kenya, which has sent troops to fight the militants under the African Union banner.

Al-Shabaab militants killed four people Saturday when a car laden with explosives blew up near the parliamentary building in Mogadishu.

Somali Defence Minister Mohamed Sheikh Mohamud told a local radio station in the aftermath of the latest attack that the Horn of Africa nation faces a "complicated" fight against al-Shabaab, and urged the public to cooperate with the authorities to defeat the militants.

Somalia has been trying to rebuild following years of political instability and civil strife since 1991, when the dictator Siad Barre was ousted from power.

Mohamud's Western-backed government has promised to put the country on a path toward democracy and economic progress, despite regular attacks by Islamic militants.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  somalia  |  east africa

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Autobraking: See just how good they are!

Just how good are automatic brakes on cars these days? Two VW models have been praised by top UK research centre Thatcham. Find out why...

 

Stay safe

Pro's and con's of accredited driver-training
Juvenile pillion riders? Play safe...
Need a family ride? SA's top Mommy Cars
Mom's driving-school dream come true
Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Today is a good day to go large with your significant other. Let go of obligations, expectations and chores and let the day play...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.