Al-Shabaab ‘welcomes’ president

Al-Shabaab ‘welcomes’ president

MOGADISHU - Agence France-Presse
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was unharmed after two blasts claimed by al-Shabab extremists rocked the Mogadishu hotel where he was staying yesterday, the African Union mission to Somalia said. The attack comes just two days after the new Somali president was elected.

“There has been a blast around the hotel where the president was. The president is safe. All the people who were inside are safe,” Colonel Ali Houmed, a spokesman for the force, said. “We are responsible for the attack against the so-called president and the delegation,” al-Qaeda linked al-Shabab spokesman Ali Mohamud Rage said.

A source at the Kenyan foreign affairs ministry said Kenyan Foreign Minister Sam Ongeri and other Kenyan MPs were meeting with Hassan Sheikh Mahmud at the time of the explosion and that they had all been evacuated.

Mohamud was elected Sept. 10 beating Sheik Shariff Sheikh Ahmed. Mohamud is expected to form a fully functioning government for Somalia which has not had one since 1991 when a longtime dictator was overthrown.

Al-Shabab, a radical Islamist militia that is waging an insurgency against the Somali government, opposed Mohamud’s election saying it had been manipulated by the west.