Somali bomb attack targets president Abdullahi Yusuf
The attack undermines a UN-mediated cease-fire signed last week between the government and opposition groups as the country's humanitarian crisis worsens.
Somalia's president was targeted Wednesday in a bomb attack that killed two policemen, as violence continued in the capital of Mogadishu despite a peace accord inked last week. The timing of the attack highlights the concerns of United Nations officials that continuing political instability is exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Somalia.Skip to next paragraph
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The June 9 accord aimed to put an end to fighting between the United States-backed Somali government and its Ethiopian allies, and a coalition of Islamic opposition groups. But some hard-line Islamic militants have refused to lay down their arms.
The BBC reported that the bomb blast occurred in Mogadishu moments after a convoy carrying Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf had passed by. The attack followed fierce fighting in Mogadishu on Tuesday that left at least seven dead.
Tuesday's fighting started when insurgents attacked government soldiers and Ethiopian troops who were searching for weapons in houses in the Hurwa and Karan districts of the capital.
Fourteen people were wounded in the fighting that continued until midnight. Ethiopian troops have been in Somalia for 18 months since helping the government oust the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) that ruled much of Somalia in 2006.
Somalia's government and members of an exiled opposition group signed a U.N.-mediated ceasefire... but hardline Islamist leaders and insurgents on the ground rejected the pact.
They say they will not talk until thousands of Ethiopian troops backing President Abdullahi Yusuf's government leave the Horn of Africa nation. Somalia has been in near-perpetual conflict since the 1991 toppling of a military dictator.
A donors' meeting in Nairobi on Tuesday was held to discuss support for the new peace deal, with participants including the US, European Union, Norway, the League of Arab States, and the African Union. The deal calls for hostilities to stop within 30 days, with a 90-day cease-fire to follow.
"I am overwhelmed by this new, widespread demonstration of goodwill, generosity and support for the agreement and for Somalia as a whole," the envoy said.
Ould-Abdallah said he was pleased by the traditional generosity and willingness of Saudi Arabia to help Somalia and the region to recover. He hoped the formal signing of the agreement will take place in the Holy City of Mecca by the end of the month.
"Today what is at stake is not only peace and stability in Somalia but the credibility of the international community in the country and in the region," he said.