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Ongeri, Somali president unharmed in Mogadishu blasts

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 12 – Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Ongeri survived a bomb attack in Mogadishu on Wednesday, where he had gone to meet newly elected Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Three soldiers from the Somali National Force, one from AMISOM and one of the suicide bombers were killed in the multiple explosions that occurred at the hotel where the new president was holding talks with the Kenyan delegation and other VIPs.

“The explosion occurred at the entrance of the hotel and five people have been killed,” SABC’s Sarah Kimani who was at the hotel told Capital FM News on telephone.

Colonel Ali Houmed, a spokesman for the African Union mission to Somalia said “There has been a blast around the hotel where the president was. The president is safe. All the people who were inside the hotel are safe.”

Al Shabaab has since claimed responsibility of the deadly attack.

“We are responsible for the attack against the so-called president and the delegation,” Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage told AFP soon after the attack.

The SABC Correspondent for East Africa said the president and other VIPs were quickly evacuated from the room and taken to safety.

“The explosion occurred just as Ongeri started speaking and there was confusion all over. Several shots were fired in the air,” she said, adding “I have seen three bodies at the entrance,” Ms Kimani said.

Al Shabaab has since claimed responsibility of the deadly attack.

Ongeri is in Somalia to deliver a message of goodwill from President Mwai Kibaki to his Somalia counterpart who was elected on Monday.

Kenya’s envoy to Somalia Yvonne Khamati who had accompanied Ongeri to Mogadishu tweeted that the “Kenyan Delegation in Mogadishu are all fine in the hotel. Those injured are from AMISOM, one of the assassins and two civilians.”

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Last year, Moses Wetangula who was then the Foreign Minister and Defence Minister Yusuf Haji survived a similar attack when a powerful explosion went off near a venue where they had been meeting with former Somalia President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.


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