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Fears high amid attacks on Somali MPs

By   /  December 3, 2015  /  No Comments

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Early last month, the Deputy Chairman of the sub-committee of the Federal Parliament of Somalia on Security and Internal Affairs, Mr Dahir Amin Jesow, announced that steps would be taken to improve the safety of lawmakers. Mr Jesow reiterated that his sub-committee would discuss with the Internal Security minister, Mr Abdirizak Omar Mohamed how to shield the MPs from constant dangers.

The visibly shaken outspoken legislator was reacting to the attacks that claimed the lives of two of his colleagues in Mogadishu.

Mr Jesow said the unsafe MPs could no longer bury their heads in the sand.

Indeed November started with the shocking news of two MPs being killed in Mogadishu.

City residents woke up to the disturbing sound of two consecutive blasts that hit the upmarket Shafi Hotel International in the city in the early hours of November 1.

Just about an hour later, it was established that an MP, Mr Mohamed Abdi Abtidoon, was among those killed in the blast.

A prominent hotelier and a senior army officer also lost their lives.

MP AMBUSHED AND KILLED

As if that was not bad enough, another MP, Mr Mohamed Ahmed Gurhan, was ambushed while driving to Parliament.

Mr Gurhan must have been alive to the fact that the current House has a lot of pending Bills to clear before the end of its term in August 2016.

Gunmen in a vehicle cut short his life by blocking his way and opening fire.

The MP was left severely wounded as the criminals sped off.

The mid-morning ambush happened at the busy Moscow Street in downtown Mogadishu.

No trace of the attackers has been reported.

MPs SECURITY

Each of the 275 Somali lawmakers is supposed to be guarded by two police officers.

However, most of them complain that they were never accorded the escorts.

“Our repeated requests for the protection of the MPs by police escorts seem to have fallen on deaf ears,” Mr Jesow told the local media.

He added: “The command of the police force actually regretted that it was short of weapons to give to officers guarding the MPs, which is very bad.”

The past three years have seen the assassination of 15 MPs, with the attacks happening in different ways.

In many cases, the attackers engaged in Hollywood-style car-chase and blocked the victim’s way.

A hail of bullets is usually showered on the target vehicle, with the assailants leaving the scene of crime confident of a mission accomplished.

On other occasions, MPs have fallen victim of explosive materials attached to their vehicles and triggered by remote control.

It is reckoned that the deadliest happens when assailants employ suicide missions, either using a car packed with explosive materials, or militants wearing suicide vests.

The legislators who have fallen victim of assassinations played different roles in the Federal Parliament and many of them were being missed greatly by their colleagues and the entire nation.

Notable among them are Mr Mohamed Mohamoud Hayd, Sheikh Adan Madeer and Mr Saado Ali Warsame.

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