Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
A Somali woman runs to safety near the scene of one of a blast in Mogadishu.
A Somali woman runs to safety near the scene of one of a blast in Mogadishu.

Suicide attack on Somalia's supreme court kills 16

Nine Al Shabab militants, most of them wearing suicide vests, storm Somalia's main court complex while the supreme court is in session, killing at least seven people and themselves.

MOGADISHU // Nine Al Shabab militants, most of them wearing suicide vests, stormed Somalia's main court complex yesterday while the supreme court was in session, killing at least seven people and themselves.

The assault was the most serious in Mogadishu since Al Shabab militants were forced out of the capital in August 2011.

The group controls far less territory today than it once did, and its influence appears to be on the decline. But yesterday's attack proved that the extremists remain capable of pulling off well-planned and audacious assaults.

The attack on the court complex began at around 12.30pm, sparking running battles with police and army forces.

Two bomb blasts were heard and gunmen were seen on the roof of a court building firing shots. Police said five people had been killed at the entrance to the court.

The militants also took an unknown number of hostages during the siege. Many other government workers and civilians in the court complex - a confusing labyrinth of buildings - hid in fearing for their lives.

Western officials knew that the militants had been planning something major. On Friday, the British foreign office released a travel advisory for Somalia that warned of a high threat of terrorism. "We continue to believe that terrorists are in the final stages of planning attacks in Mogadishu," it said.

The complex and sustained nature of the assault on the court system suggested the militants had hoped to inflict severe casualties. Later, a suicide car bomber rammed a vehicle carrying Turkish citizens.

On a Twitter feed believed to belong to the militants, Al Shabab appeared to take credit for the attack. A posting said five militants from the "Martyrdom Brigade" had taken part in the "daring" attack.

Abdikarim Hussein Guled, the interior minister, said nine militants attacked the court complex, and six of them had detonated suicide vests. The other three were shot and killed, he said.

The prime minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, said the "pointless and pathetic act" would have no effect on the government's commitment to progress.

The president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, said the enemy of Somalia and "of all mankind" was trying to prevent the country from prospering.

"I want the terrorist to know that our country, Somalia, is moving and will keep moving forward, and will not be prevented from achieving the ultimate noble goal, a peaceful and stable Somalia, by a few desperate terrorists," he said.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Iranian President Hassan Rouhani greets supporters after his arrival in Zahedan, the regional capital of Sistan and Baluchestan province on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. During Mr Rouhani's two-day visit, he will tour several other cities and hold meetings with local scholars and entrepreneurs. Maryam Rahmanian for The National

On the road with Hassan Rouhani

Iran's president is touring some of Iran's most underdeveloped provinces. Foreign correspondent Yeganeh Salehi is traveling with him.

 The Doha-based Youssef Al Qaradawi speaks to the crowd as he leads Friday prayers in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt in February, 2011. The outspoken pro-Muslim Brotherhood imam has been critical of the UAE’s policies toward Islamist groups, adding to friction between Qatar and other GCC states. Khalil Hamra / AP Photo

Brotherhood imam skips Doha sermon, but more needed for GCC to reconcile

That Youssef Al Qaradawi did not speak raises hopes that the spat involving Qatar and the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain might be slowly moving towards a resolution.

 Twitter photo of  Abdel Fattah El Sisi on the campaign trail on March 30. Photo courtesy-Twitter/@SisiCampaign

El Sisi rides a bicycle, kicks off social media storm

The photos and video created a huge buzz across social media networks, possibly a marker of a new era for Egypt.

 An Afghan election commission worker carries a ballot box at a vote counting centre in Jalalabad on April 6. A roadside bomb hit a truck carrying full ballot boxes in northern Afghanistan, killing three people a day after the country voted for a successor to President Hamid Karzai. Eight boxes of votes were destroyed in the blast, which came as the three leading candidates voiced concerns about possible fraud. Noorullah Shirzada / AFP Photo

Two pressing questions for Afghanistan’s future president

Once in office, the next Afghan president must move fast to address important questions that will decide the immediate future of the country.

 Friday is UN Mine Awareness Day and Omer Hassan, who does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan, is doing all he can to teach people about the dangers posed by landmines. Louise Redvers for The National

A landmine nearly ended Omer’s life but he now works to end the threat of mines in Iraq

Omer Hassan does demining work in Iraqi Kurdistan and only has to show people his mangled leg to underscore the danger of mines. With the world marking UN Mine Awareness Day on Friday, his work is as important as ever as Iraq is one of the most mine-affected countries in the world.

 Supporters of Turkey's ruling AKP cheer as they follow the election's results in front of the party's headquarters in Ankara on March 30. Adem Altan/ AFP Photo

Erdogan critic fears retaliation if he returns to Turkey

Emre Uslu is a staunch critic of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Now, with a mass crackdown on opposition expected, he is unsure when he can return home.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National