Amid suspicions, al-Shabaab assumes responsibility for attacks against the Somali government spokesman

MOGADISHU (AXADLE) Somalia’s government spokesman Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu has survived an assassination attempt after a lone suicide bomber targeted his vehicle on the busy Maka al-Mukarama road on Sunday, police officials said.

Moalimuu, who also serves as media adviser to Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, was about to leave his home when a man wearing a suicide vest approached and blew himself up seriously injuring Moalimuu, killing at least one person nearby.

“A suicide bomber has attacked government spokesman Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu today in Mogadishu. Moalimuu has survived with injuries and is now in hospital,” said police spokesman Abdifatah Adan.

Shortly after the explosion, the militant group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. “The attack was aimed at an official from the federal government and it went as planned,” the group said in a post on social media.

However, there are credible reports that draw a different perspective on who may be behind the attack despite al-Shabaab’s claim, according to several sources.

The power struggle between President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble peaked again after the president’s forces stormed Roble’s office on December 27 and forced Roble to call for reinforcements of armed men to guard his office.

According to legislator Mahad Salad, Prime Minister Robles’ ally has recently been hit. In November, a suicide bomber killed Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled, the director of Radio Mogadishu, a state-run media outlet that openly supported Roble.

“Why is Prime Minister Roble’s group targeted,” said legislator Salad, referring to today’s attack.

As security analyst Mohamed Nur describes, it will be extremely difficult to get to the bottom of any criminal investigation, and therefore there is not much hope of arresting the perpetrators.

“In Somalia, even though it is a political assassination, it is easy to get al-Shabaab to take credit for any attack,” he added.

Prime Minister Roble’s office condemned the attack on Moalimuu as a “gruesome terrorist attack”, while a spokesman for President Farmajo wanted a speedy recovery for Moalimuu.

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