Jubaland President denounces explosion that killed MP in Somali port city
KISMAYO, Somalia – Jubaland President Ahmed Madobe strongly condemned the murder of a member of the state assembly in a car bomb attack in the southern port city of Kismayo on Friday evening.
Regional lawmaker Khalif Hashim Moge was killed in an explosion resulting from an IED attached to his car, during the first known attack carried out by Al-Shabaab militants this new year on Somali soil, and which intervenes a few just days before the United States withdrew completely from the war-torn nation.
Madobe sent his sincere condolences to the family and friends of the slain MP and urged residents of the port city of Kismayo to unite against Al-Shabaab and work with security forces to avoid future attacks.
Kismayo is located about 500 km south of Mogadishu, the country’s capital. It is not known if the lawmaker was under Al-Shabaab’s radar, but apparently he was followed by militants, who fought to overthrow the fragile UN-backed Somali administration.
Through their proxy media sites, Al-Shabaab has taken responsibility for the attack, which now becomes the first in 2021 and is the first before the country goes to the elections. Somalia is set to run for election starting this month after months of unprecedented delays.
Several reports confirmed that the MP was killed in an explosion in his car, believed to have originated from a device planted in the car. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility according to militant media but did not give immediate details about it.
The lawmaker was said to have been one of the progressive minds in Somali history who preached against violent extremism. Such explosions targeting security forces, government officials and innocent civilians are common in Somalia, a country struggling with instability.
It is the second car bomb in the city in weeks. Last month, a local TV reporter survived an assassination offer after a bomb mounted on his vehicle exploded in a parking lot.
Al-Shabaab controls large swathes of rural areas in central and southern Somalia, but has significantly lost some of its territory. Jubaland is primarily under the Kenya Defense Force [KDF] which is also expected to withdraw from the country in the coming months.