MOGADISHU (AFP) – Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud escaped unhurt Tuesday from an ambush on his heavily armoured convoy claimed by Al-Qaeda linked Islamists, the latest attack targeting the internationally backed leader.

Shebab gunmen claimed to have ambushed the convoy as it travelled to the port of Merka south of the capital and boasted of destroying vehicles with rocket-propelled grenades.

But officials said that the attack had failed and all in the presidential entourage were safe.

“Gunmen tried to disrupt the president’s trip … but I can confirm the president and his delegation are well and reached their final destination Merka to have meetings with local community,” said Somali army official Mohamed Qorey, speaking by telephone from Merka.

The president was travelling in an armoured convoy from the 17,700-strong African Union force (AMISOM) that fights alongside the Somali army against Shebab gunmen.

“We ambushed a convoy that was escorting the self-appointed Somali president,” Shebab spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told AFP.

The attack took place near the small settlement of Buffow, close to Merka, a former Shebab stronghold captured one year ago around 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of the capital.

“The presidential convoy was attacked but they have continued after about 15 minutes of heavy gunfire,” said Ibrahim Adan, a resident of Buffow.

Diplomatic sources played down the attacks saying it had consisted of little more than a roadside bomb.

Residents in Merka said Mohamud appeared in the port, greeting officials and residents as he toured the town.

“He was fine and well, meeting the people who had come to see him,” said Nasir Abdirahmam, a resident of Merka.

Somalia’s weak central government, selected in a UN-backed process in August 2012, has made some progress in Mogadishu but has little concrete influence outside the capital.

The government was the first to be given global recognition since the collapse of Somalia’s hardline regime in 1991.

But the authorities have been dealt a number of setbacks in recent months, including a string of Shebab attacks, accusations of rape against the army and AU soldiers and a pull-out by aid workers because of a wave of kidnappings and killings.

Shebab fighters in May 2012 ambushed the convoy of Mohamud’s predecessor, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, but the president escaped unharmed.

More recently, Shebab fighters have carried out a series of bombings, attacks and killings aimed at overthrowing the government.

UN Monitoring Group reports in July estimated the Shebab are still some 5,000 strong, and said they remain the “principal threat to peace and security to Somalia”.

In June, Shebab suicide commandos carried out a brazen daylight attack on a fortified United Nations compound, and in July a suicide car bomber attacked a Turkish embassy complex in the city.

Last month Doctors Without Borders — an aid agency that has earned a reputation for working in the toughest of conditions — closed all its operations in the war-torn country, warning of growing insecurity.

Source: AFP


  1. Somaliland and Somalia should together to crush those insurgents, there are a few in Somaliland hiding in Hargeisa and Burco everybody knows that. In Mogadishu they are hiding out there too. There are al shabab sympathizers in Hargeisa, Burco,and Mogadishu those people should be put away and get their heads cut off.

  2. Godane and the majority of his subordinates all from Somaliland, yet they fight for so long everywhere in somalia from Kismaayo to Boosaaso. They donot have roots in Somalia this inhumane group fight the troops of many African nation at the same time. They ousted even those warmangers like them such as Dahir Aweys and sent him on the run for his life. Godane and his horrible assistants donot dare venture to Somaliland because they know Somaliland is a democratic state where freedoms flourish and security is tight. Long live Somaliland, long live freedom of multy-party system. Glory to SNM and all patriotic Somalilanders everywhere.

    • @Ciile,
      Looks that you are confused about this Godane and his Alshabab Wing?
      Godane is one of the big picture of Alshabab fighters in Somalia and Alshabab
      emanated from Somalia and not from Somaliland. There are no such thing Alshabab
      in Somaliland. Somaliland is a relatively peaceful Sovereign State free from
      all the militia gangsters operating in the failed Sovereign State of Somalia.

        • What are you saying Somaliland is alshabab I think not. Somalia and Somaliland are neither alshabab they have alshabab loyalist yes in both places. Saudi Arabia and the UAE Pakistan are the ones who established alshabab and are financing them to so they don't want a stable horn of Africa.

  3. 5,000 Shebab fighters? That is a whole brigade. Which fox holes are they hiding in? I suspect there is vested interest among stakeholders in Somalia to ensure Shebab poses some threat – as long as it does not tip the balance – to warrant receiving monetary aid from international donors.If they wanted to AU forces would have purged Shebab long ago, but receiving $725 to $1,030 a month is awfully enticing for any African. That is equivalent to one quadrillion Somaliland Shilling, lol. With that kind of SL Shilling, I could own my own G@radagland Republic.

  4. Unbelievable news!!!!!!!!!! Al-Shabab and him are the same people they were fighting together in Kismaayo and assassinating our scholars in Puntland doing illegal business across the country. This was a set up to fool the audiences betraying as shababs as their enemy. Come’on!!!! We know you. We puntland pple the founders of politics million years old.

    • Burger King stop with your lies we all know that puntland is alshabab sympathizers and you guys pay them millions of dollars to destabilize Somalia and to cause a crisis, what set up are you talking about the president of Somalia hates those cockroaches and that goes for Somaliland president. Puntland loves alshabab and you darods don't want a peaceful Somalia.

    • Don't insult hawyias infront of me you darod scum. what good are darods anyway they are the scum of the earth.

    • Present your proof that Somalia and Somaliland are doing those activates. What kind of illegal business are you talking you puntlanders do illegal business with your pirating and terrosim. You guys are assassinating your scholars in puntland not Somalia don't pin your problems somebody else okay and you guys caused the mess in kismaayo.

    • @Punt-King,
      Sxb Garowe and Mogadiscio are two tigers flnaking the Somalia flag. Whenever I look at
      the Somalia map with the two tigers like Mecca and the Quds, my stomach jolts!!!!
      The Somalians are all vulnerably mafia configured.

  5. The world don't want somalia to be peace no matter what they just want to continue this mayhem for the next 100 years because they could easily dismember Al shabaab by funding and creating a proper Somali National Army and not bringing more useless AMISOM forces who are in Somalia just to collect their payroll.

    A Somali soldier gets only 100$ per month while the Amisom soldier receives $1300 per month. The Somali soldiers does all the hardworking they even confront the al Shabaab militia without any proper uniforms, no proper training, no headgear, no weapons or ammunition, no vehicles, no military boots etc to rub salt into their wound they even go months without pay.

    The AMISOM are well equipped with proper armoured vehicles but they hardly do any fighting they stay in their bases most of the time even those from the djiboutians forces are useless since they deployed troops
    in Somalia like two years ago they still haven't left Beletweeyne.

    All the foreign soldiers in Somalia must go home send them all packing expect the Ethiopians.
    Somalia has enough force to stabilise the entire Somalia Puntland along has thousands of soldiers sitting quietly, doing nothing, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa has experienced soldiers who have fought with Al shabaab before along with the Ras Kamboni rebels, Hiran rebels, khaatumo rebels, Barre Hirale clan militias or we could even use those from the Ogaden National Liberation Front who have experienced in guerrilla tactics.

    • But Beledweyne is peaceful thanks to Djibouti special forces. Djibouti elite forces have restored law and order in otherwise lawless Beledweyne. No one's head gets sawed off now. The market is open, people are trading, women are back to wearing their bras. I just can't wait to visit to thank our young boys for a job well done.

      Surely you can't compare Puntland ragtag militia to a well trained and disciplined force like Djibouti's. I will take that as a joke from you. Next to U.S. military and IDF, Djibouti Armed Forces is the envy of the world.

      • Beledweyne is peaceful thanks to Djibouti special forces???? looool You and your jokes really crack me up wallahi. On 31 December 2011 Beledweyne was attacked from four sides by Ethiopian, Somali nation Army, Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah and the Shabelle Valley Administration Al-Shabab fled in hurry left most of their weapons and retreated back to Bulo Burte.

        Beledweyne was given to Djibouti armed forces on a plate without ever engaging with al shabaab. If Puntland armed forces was paid the same money as those from Djibouti Amisom I have no doubt Puntland armed forces would have reached the rest of the Hiran district Al shabaab still controls like Bulo Burte, Jalalaqsi, Mahas etc and dislodged them in no time.