| Issue 386
and Regional Affairs
NAIROBI, June 19 (Xinhua) -- The international community has condemned
the killing of Somalia's National Security Minister, Omar Hashi Aden, in
a suicide car bomb in Beletweyne, north of the capital Mogadishu on
In a joint statement the UN, the African Union (AU), the European Union
(EU), the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the
League of Arab States (LAS) condemned this week's upsurge in violence in
Mogadishu, where another suicide bomb or shelling is reported to have
killed at least ten people attending a mosque.
They called on the transitional federal government of Somalia not to be
deterred in its pursuit for peace by the actions of a small minority.
"This deplorable attack once again demonstrates that the extremists will
stop at nothing in their desperate attempt to seize power from the
legitimate Government of Somalia by force," the organizations said in a
joint statement received here Friday.
"These extremists, both Somali and foreigners, failed in their recent
coup d'état but are continuing their indiscriminate violence. They are a
threat not only to the country, but to the IGAD region and the
international community," the statement said.
The organizations urged the Somali government not to be deterred by the
violent crimes of a small minority and to continue its efforts for peace
and reconciliation through the Djibouti Process.
It was the UN-facilitated Djibouti process which aided the formation of
a new Government of National Unity in February, as well as the creation
of a newly-expanded Parliament and election of President Sheikh Sharif
The Thursday's attack in Beledweyne, which is north of the capital,
Mogadishu, is the latest in a new wave of violence that began in early
May between government troops and the opposition Al-Shabaab and Hesbul
"The AU, IGAD, LAS and UN sent their sincere condolences to the family
and friends of Minister Hashi and the other victims of this cowardly
suicide bombing as well as to the government and the people of Somalia,"
the statement said.
"We pledge our full support to the government particularly at this
critical time and call for all Somalis to rally behind their government
and all those who are working for peace and stability. We also call on
the international community to put its firm support behind Somalia's
legal and legitimate government."
Also voicing his concern about the upsurge in violence is the
independent UN expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia,
Shamsul Bari, who stressed that the fighting must stop immediately and
that perpetrators be held to account.
"All the parties to the conflict have a responsibility to save lives and
protect the civilian population," he said.
In addition to the ongoing fighting, the recruitment of children by
armed groups has reportedly been taking place, said Bari.
"I was told during my recent visit to the region that there arespecific
well-organized camps set up to receive young boys, and that children are
being used on the frontline."
He also noted that various groups appeared to be specifically targeted,
including human rights defenders, aid workers and journalists. At least
three journalists have been killed since the fighting escalated in early
Bari undertook a mission to the Horn of Africa region from June1 to 12
during which he visited Somalia, notably Hargeysa in Somaliland and
Garowe and Bossasso in Puntland, as well as Kenya, where he visited the
Dadaab refugee camp, which houses some 270,000 Somali refugees.
He was unable to visit Mogadishu and the South and Central areas because
of the security situation.
In a news conference held after the suicide bombing on Thursday, Somali
President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed also laid blame on Al-Qaida. He
said the terrorist network wants to make Somalia a safe haven for its
Witnesses say Thursday's blast occurred when a car drove up to a hotel
where Somalia's national security minister was staying.
Al-Shabaab and tis allied group, Hezbul Islam, are fighting to topple
the Somali government and set up a strict Islamic state.
Heavy fighting in Mogadishu over the past six weeks has killed more than
200 people, including at least 22 killed in battles on Wednesday.
Many of the casualties Wednesday occurred when a mortar shell hit a
mosque. The United Nations said earlier this month that the recent
fighting has displaced nearly 120,000 people from Mogadishu.
President Ahmed, a moderate Islamist, has introduced Islamic sharia law
in Somalia, but the hardline groups reject the move as insufficient.