The United Nations Security Council extends the Mission’s mandate for an additional year in Somalia

The number of victims of the explosion of two vehicles mined in front of the Ministry of Education in the Somali capital of Mogadishu rose last Saturday to at least 120, while the UN Security Council extended the mandate and functions of UNOSOM until October 31 next year, by a vote of 14 to none, with one abstention (China).

These developments came, while Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud arrived in Algeria to participate in the Arab summit meetings, after stopping in Khartoum, for several hours, where he met with the Sudanese Minister of Defence.

During a telephone call with the President of Djibouti, Ismail Guelleh, to whom he offered condolences to the Government and people of his country in the terrorist attack in Mogadishu, Hassan confirmed that “terrorism will not be home in Somalia”.

Hassan also received a similar telephone call from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which he condemned the terrorist attack, and the Turkish agency Anadolu quoted a statement by Erdogan that he confirmed Ankara’s continued support for Mogadishu in the fight against terrorism and pledged Turkey to continue to stand with the Somali people.

In turn, Ali Haji Aden, Somalia’s Minister of Health, said that the death toll had reached 120 and that 150 people were being treated in hospitals.

Al-Shabaab, affiliated with Al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for Somalia’s deadliest explosion since the explosion of a truck bomb killed more than 500 people at the same site 5 years ago.

The first blast hit the Ministry of Education around 2 p.m. Saturday, and the second explosion occurred minutes later, with ambulances arriving and people gathering to help the victims.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations strongly condemned these heinous attacks and, in a statement by his spokesman, Stefan Dujarric, reiterated the international organization’s solidarity with Somalia against violent extremism and pledged his continued support for a peaceful and prosperous Somalia.

Members of the United Nations Security Council condemned this terrorist attack and called on UNAMSIL to continue to cooperate with Somalia and the African Union Transitional Mission there.

In recognition of the renewed operations against Al-Shabaab, the Council also encouraged AMISOM to support Somalia in a number of areas, including ensuring plans to protect civilians and communities in areas of military operations.

The Council also encouraged the Government of Somalia to deepen cooperation and collaboration at all levels to create a political and security environment conducive to more inclusive democratic processes throughout the country and to promote women’s full, equal and meaningful participation at all levels of decision-making.

The delegate of Somalia to the United Nations, Abubakar Osman, considered that the United Nations presence must be geared towards preserving Somalia’s territorial integrity, noting the importance of continuing to make all necessary efforts to achieve a common commitment for a strong and unified Somalia.

Al-Shabaab, which seeks to overthrow the Government and establish a rule based on an extremist interpretation of Islamic law, has been conducting attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

The movement has been under pressure since last August after President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud launched an offensive against it with the support of the United States and its local militants and sought to dismantle its financial network.

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