Friday, October 7, 2011

Somalia suicide bomber aimed for maximum damage

Mogadishu - Bishar Abdullahi Nur, the man who exploded himself in Mogadishu last Tuesday killing 72 people and who wounded over a hundred others in a suicide attack at a government compound housing several ministries, says he aimed for maximum damage. He believed his target housed government top secrets and top commanders, the 28-year-old suicide bomber said in an audio message recorded hours before he carried out the attack.

Among those he killed were students and their parents checking out results of a Turkish scholarship and many innocent civilians going about their business in Mogadishu’s busiest road close to the famous K4 junction. Al Shabaab immediately claimed responsibility for the attack claiming that they killed government security personnel and warned civilians from going to government offices because many more suicide bombers are on the way.

“If we inflict maximum damage to the enemy, then we thank Allah. That is what we wanted and hoped for, if ministers die, we kill commanders and infidels or destroy documents and letters because we are told there are so many secrets there of the apostate government. We hope this will be the beginning and the mujahideens will gain victory from our act,” Bishar said, responding to a question posed by another possible Al Shabaab reporter who did not give his name.

Asked to describe his feelings just hours before going to explode himself, Bishar calmly says he is happy and is ready to meet his God but still asks Somalis to pray for him. The planning and execution of the attack as well as the audio message carries all the hallmarks of Al Qaeda and reaffirms the link between Al Shabaab militants in Somalia and their global masters, Al-Qaeda, whom they always wish to please.
The audio was posted in an Al Shabaab website where the militants post their propaganda messages.

Al Shabaab militants in Mogadishu control several radio stations, most of which they confiscated from private companies which they also use to spread their propaganda aimed at wooing many Somalis youngsters at joining their unholy cause. Bishar was born and raised in Mogadishu’s Hamar jadiid and Gubta neighbourhoods. In the audio he also spoke about the biting drought, urging wealthy Somalis to help their needy brothers and at the same time criticising humanitarian agencies and the UN of using food to Christianise the Muslim majority Somalis. He says their aim is to free the Muslims and hope what he was about to do will be a catalyst for Al Shabaab victory against the Somali government and their African Union backers.

He even compared himself to Mohamed Attam, accused by US authorities of leading the 9/11 attacks, saying that those who attacked America were mujahideens like him and praying to Allah to accept his martyrdom mission. “These men did not go to America to get worldly possessions, they did not go there to rule America and they did not go for purposes of ruling the world... We are not going in order to get wealth, we are not going in order to get a name, we are not going in order to be told so and so is brave, we are going because we want Allah to be pleased with us,” the would-be-suicide bomber said referring to Mohamed Attam and the other suspected Al Qaeda militants who targeted several US cities on September 11, 2001.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed expressed shock and condemned Al Shabaab, saying the militants will not stop the Somali people from living in peace and that their 'holy war' has nothing to do with Islam. “I am extremely shocked and saddened by this cruel and inhumane act of violence against the most vulnerable in our society. I would like to send my deepest sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and the people of Somalia, I pray for the dead and speedy recovery for the injured,” President Sharif said.

He added that the attack was launched by Al-Shabab/Al-Qaeda and that it was “set on destroying the country and any hope for its people’s future. Al-Shabab is an enemy of the Somali people and an enemy of the future stability of Somalia.” Al Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage confirmed that the group had carried out the attack. The Turkish government which had offered scholarships to most of the killed or wounded students evacuated 37 of the most severely injured people for treatment while many others are still receiving treatment in the government run Madina hospital and a hospital managed by the African Union peacekeepers.

Mogadishu residents are still trying to come to terms with what happened and many of them believe the attack will further alienate Al Shabaab from the society. As if to show their resilience to such attacks, residents are seen going about their businesses as if nothing happened around the streets close to the scene of the attack.

“Al Shabaab can kill a million of our people if they want but it will not change our perception of their murderous gang. We are tired of their bloodletting tactics and their cowardly attack on civilians. If they are men enough they should confront the soldiers in the frontline and not kill women and children who have nothing to do with the war,” an angry Nurto Muse, a mother whose son was wounded in the attack said.