Conflict & Justice

Somalia: Suicide bomb attack targets popular Mogadishu restaurant


People go about their daily lives as Ugandan African Union peacekeepers patrol the outskirts of Mogadishu on Sept. 12, 2012. Somalia's president survived an assassination bid that day, just two days into his new job, when bomb blasts claimed by Islamist rebels rocked the Mogadishu hotel where he was meeting Kenya's foreign minister. Another bomb attack struck Mogadishu on Sept. 20, 2012, killing at least 15 people.



A suicide bomb attack at a popular restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, has killed at least 15 people, according to reports.

Reuters reported that two suicide bombers walked into the Village restaurant, located across from the national theater in the city center, and blew themselves up.

A police official told the news agency that at least 15 people were killed, while the Associated Press said 14 people had been killed in the attack.

Among the victims were the former editor of Somali National TV, Liban Ali Nur, two other journalists and two police officers, the BBC reported.

More from GlobalPost: In-Depth Series: The New Mogadishu

The Village is run by Ahmed Jama, a well-known hotel and restaurant owner who recently returned to Somalia from Britain. The restaurant is popular with government workers and journalists.

A devastated Jama told Reuters: "My relatives whom I created jobs for have perished. My customers have perished. All innocent people. I cannot count them, their dead bodies are before me."

GlobalPost senior correspondent Tristan McConnell profiled Jama in August as part of a series about Mogadishu opening up after two decades of civil war and the withdrawal of Al Shabaab militants from the capital.

"Mogadishu, long synonymous with war, is changing with breathtaking speed," McConnell wrote. "While violence remains an ever-present threat, Somali residents say they are living in relative peace."

More from GlobalPost: Somalia: Life after Al Shabaab

In a statement, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Somalia condemned the attacks, while urging a focus on brighter days ahead. "These acts of terrorism cannot reverse the recent achievements that Somalia has witnessed – such incidents can only reinforce the determination of the Somali people to reject violence and engage in peaceful resolution of conflict," Augustine P. Mahiga said in a press release.

Last week, in an attack that highlighted the serious security challenges facing Somalia, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was targeted in an assassination attempt just days after he became the first Somali president to be elected in decades.

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, which occurred at the gates of a Mogadishu hotel where the president was staying.