June 11, 2011 in Nation/World

Somali minister killed in bomb blast

Abdi Guled Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Protesters shout slogans in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Friday in support of Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.
(Full-size photo)

MOGADISHU, Somalia – An explosion Friday in the home of Somalia’s interior minister killed him and a woman suspected of being a bomber as violent demonstrations swept the capital.

Security guards and soldiers opened fire on stone-throwing protesters angry at an agreement calling for the ouster of the country’s popular prime minister, killing two people, an official and witnesses said.

Interior Minister Abdishakur Sheik Hassan, who also was minister for national security, died after shrapnel hit his legs and other parts of his body, said Ministry of Information spokesman Abdifatah Abdinur. He was earlier taken to a hospital in critical condition. Abdinur said a dead body of a female suspected to be the bomber was found in the home.

Mohamud Abdullahi Weheliye, a member of parliament and a relative of Hassan’s, said the minister’s niece carried out the attack and that she was “sent” by al-Shabab, an Islamist militia with ties to al-Qaida.

For a country that has been swept by war and anarchy for two decades, Friday was a particularly bloody day and came barely two days after President Ahmed and the speaker of parliament signed an internationally mediated agreement extending the government’s term by a year. It postponed an August presidential election until 2012 to give leaders more time to deal with security and political issues.

In the wake of that agreement, protesters blocked the roads with rocks and burned tires, while chanting “Stay Put Farmajo.” Farmajo is Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s nickname.

Demonstrators said they will continue protests until they are assured that Mohamed will not have to leave office.

Mohamed, a Somali-American, is popular with many Somalis because he has managed to pay salaries to government workers and soldiers, and has fought corruption.

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