- The United Nations has joined international partners in strongly condemning yesterday’s suicide car bombing in Somalia that killed the national security minister, Omar Hashi Aden, and a number of innocent civilians, and urged the Government not to be deterred in its pursuit for peace by the actions of a small minority.
In a joint statement, the UN, the African Union, the European Union, the InterGovernmental Authority on Development and the League of Arab States said the attack “once again demonstrates that the extremists will stop at nothing in their attempt to seize power by force from the legitimate Somali Government,” UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters in New York.
The spokesperson further said the extremists were a threat, not only to Somalia, but to the entire eastern African region and larger international community.
“The organisations urged the Somali Government not to be deterred by the violent crimes of a small minority and to continue its efforts for peace and reconciliation through the Djibouti Process,” she added.
It was the UN-facilitated Djibouti process which aided the formation of a new Government of National Unity in February, as well as the creation of a newly-expanded Parliament and election of President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
The attack in Beledweyne, north of the capital, Mogadishu, is the latest in a new wave of violence that began in early May between Government troops and the opposition Al-Shabaab and Hisb-ul-Islam groups.
Also voicing his concern about the upsurge in violence is the independent UN expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Shamsul Bari, who stressed that the fighting must stop immediately and that perpetrators be held to account.
“All the parties to the conflict have a responsibility to save lives and protect the civilian population,” he said.
In addition to the ongoing fighting, the recruitment of children by armed groups has reportedly been taking place, said Mr Bari. “I was told during my recent visit to the region that there are specific well-organised camps set up to receive young boys, and that children are being used on the front line.”
He also noted that various groups appeared to be specifically targeted – including human rights defenders, aid workers and journalists. At least three journalists have been killed since the fighting escalated in early May.
Mr Bari undertook a mission to the Horn of Africa region from 1 to 12 June, during which he visited Somalia, notably Hargeisa in Somaliland and Garowe and Bossasso in Puntland, as well as Kenya, where he visited the Dadaab refugee camp, which houses some 270,000 Somali refugees.
He was unable to visit Mogadishu and the South and Central areas because of the security situation.
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