As many as 34 people were killed and almost 60 injured in a set of coordinated attacks by al-Shabaab in Mogadishu involving suicide bombers, gunmen, and two separate car bomb attacks.
A car bomb was detonated at the entrance of the Supreme Court complex in Mogadishu around 12:30 PM on Sunday.
Several attackers wearing suicide belts and other al-Shabaab gunmen entered the building, took hostages, and sprayed the building with gunfire as others hid within the building’s maze of rooms.
One of the presumed targets of the attack–Supreme Court Chief Justice Aidid Ilka Hanaf–was reportedly unharmed and survived according to reports.
Among the dead were dozens of civilians, including journalist Mohamed Hassan Habeeb, lawyers Abdikarin Hassan Gorod and Mohamed Mohamud Afrah, and other young professionals.
Habeeb, the fourth Somali journalist killed this year, was a media advisor in the courts system.
Gorod (pictured left) and Afrah were the lawyers who earned the release of journalist Abdiaziz Koronto in March 2013.
Koronto was controversially imprisoned earlier this year over the interview of an alleged rape victim.
The battle inside and outside of the courtroom lasted about two hours before fortunate survivors were able to trickle out of the building.
In a later incident around 3 PM, a car bomb was detonated on the road to Mogadishu’s international airport as a convoy of AMISOM and Turkish Red Crescent workers were en route.
There were conflicting reports on whether the Turkish workers were killed or not, but the Somali driver of the Turkish convoy was said to have died in the explosion along with woman a child nearby.
Al-Shabaab Praises Attacks
Al-Shabaab’s twitter account praised the attacks as another blow to the “apostate” regime and as another indication that “there is no safe haven for apostates in Mogadishu.”
However, this set of attacks was yet another symbol of how al-Shabaab’s operations continue to kill civilians who are not affiliated–or even necessarily support–the government.
The death of Koronto’s lawyers and other young professionals who were killed in the attacks fought government injustices (successfully) without murdering their compatriots.
Mogadishu residents already have legitimate grievances due to harassment, sexual violence, and illegal taxation carried out by criminal elements within Somali security forces.
But, currently al-Shabaab’s indiscriminate attacks at Lido beach and other parts of the city show that the group has no corrective vision for capital residents who are ready to rebuild, not re-arm.
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