H.E. The President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, today returned to Mogadishu from the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma in South Africa and commented on yesterday’s attack on the parliament building.
Speaking on arrival at Aden Abdulle Airport, Mogadishu, The President said, “It is with a heavy heart that I greet you today. Yesterday, many of the men of the Somali security forces sacrificed their lives to serve their country. They died doing their duty, faithfully exercising their skills and showing their courage to all. I am proud of them; the nation is proud of them.
“This was a heinous attack. We are all aware of the importance of our parliament in giving our people a voice and of the way it represents our sovereignty and our freedom of speech.
“This is yet another clear example of how al-Shabaab acts not in the interests of the Somali people but of its own, media-focussed, perverse agenda. Just as they targeted the symbol of freedom of speech and democracy yesterday, so too they let the people starve in 2011, always to achieve their goals. Their actions have nothing to do with Islam or Somali culture.
“But the attack was thwarted through the efforts of the Somali National Army, the Somali police and AMISOM forces and all the attackers were killed.
“In particular, I commend the actions of Captain Dahir Burhan Mohamud, whose bravery in halting the attackers’ explosive filled car cost him his life but effectively blunted the attack. He died for his people, his religion and his country and we will remember him and his comrades who gave up their lives.”
The President commended the Somali security forces and AMISOM, saying that they are working tirelessly in very difficult environments to secure Somalia. He said that the men and women of our military deserve Somalia’s highest praise and support.
The President also urged all Somalis to consider their role in bringing peace to Somalia, saying, “To our people who are living in areas which have been recently liberated, I remind you that we must forget our differences and work together to retain this hard-won peace. To our people in areas where the military are advancing right now, your cooperation is imperative. You may not hold a weapon, but your voices and actions can reject the evil forces of terrorism that defile Islam and defile our country,” urged the President.
The President confirmed that the Minister for National Security, Abdikarim Hussein Guled, had tendered his resignation to the Prime Minister and that it had been accepted. Minister Guled was appointed to office in November 2014 and he made a substantial contribution to improvements in the security situation in Somalia. The President commended him for his brave decision and for his efforts while in post.
“The Prime Minister accepted Minister Guled’s resignation last night,” the President said. “Whilst our security forces responded admirably, it is clear that much more needs to be done to prevent these attacks from happening. We must create a safe Mogadishu that blooms into life: where people can walk safely at any time of day or night, business can flourish and people are happy to call their home.
“The Prime Minister will appoint a new Minister for National Security as a matter of urgency and his first task must be an urgent review of Mogadishu security measures,” said the President.
“We must remember, though, that we all have a contribution to make to the security of our nation. Just because you do not wear a uniform or carry a weapon does not mean you cannot contribute to the war against those who seek to drag Somalia back into chaos. We all can and we all should participate in the war against al-Shabaab and the young people of Somalia, the real ‘youth’ have a most important role to play.”
“I also offer my sympathies to Djibouti,” The President continued, “contributors to the AMISOM mission who only yesterday felt the pain of terrorism. We are with our Djiboutian brothers and sisters.”
The President had travelled to South Africa on Friday 23 May, to attend the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma. He commented, “As you know, I have just returned from South Africa. Whilst I was distressed not to be here with you while the attack was happening, I would also like to acknowledge that I personally draw great strength from the short time I was in South Africa. I have long watched the path of development in South Africa. As you know South Africa fought the terrible ideology of apartheid, and we in Somalia are fighting the life-robbing ideology of terrorists who despoil our nation. In Somalia, just as the South Africans did, we too are embracing democracy, reform and progress. As they emerged victorious, so too will we.”
“We have lived too long under the mantel of fear, of confusion, of mistrust. This must stop. Somalia must be united in our common desire for peace and progress. This will require patience and belief in our political institutions, our security forces, our leaders and most of all in ourselves,” the President urged.