Friday, June 19, 2009
A suicide car bomb attack killed at least 31 people and injured another 45 at a hotel in Beledweyne, about 250 miles northwest of Mogadishu and not far from the Ethiopian border. Among those killed were the Somali Transitional Federal Government's (TFG) National Security Minister Omar Hashi Aden and the TFG's former ambassador to Ethiopia, Abdulkarim Ibrahim Lakanyo. A small car loaded with explosives drove into vehicles leaving the Medina Hotel and exploded. The extremist al-Shabaab organization, which has ties to al-Qaeda and is dedicated to overthrowing the TFG and taking power itself, took responsibility for the attack. Reuters quoted al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage as saying "One of our Mujahideen has carried out that holy attack and the so-called security minister and his men were killed." The Associated Press quoted Rage as stating "We killed the national security minister and the former ambassador to Ethiopia." Suicide bombings and political assassinations are being used with greater frequency by al-Shabaab in their asymmetrical effort to topple the TFG. While these tactics have short-term tactical advantages, they also increasingly alienate most Somalis whether they accept or oppose the TFG. Al-Shabaab may be sowing the seeds of its own destruction, especially as it relies increasingly on foreign jihadi fighters who are not appreciated by most Somalis. Image: Somalia's Security Minister Omar Hashi Aden. BBC.