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7 Somalia President’s Guards Flown To Nairobi
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A couple walks past the wreckage of one of the vehicles destroyed during an assassination attempt on Somalia President Abdillahi Yusuf on Monday, in Baidoa. Yusuf’s brother and 10 others died in the attack

By Cyrus Ombati and Agencies

Nairobi , Kenya, September 20, 2006 – Seven of Somalia’s interim President Abdillahi Yusuf’s bodyguards who survived an attempted assassination have been flown to Nairobi for treatment.

The seven include Gender and Sports assistant minister, Mr. Abdi Mohamed, his driver and security agents. Five of the victims were treated and discharged yesterday while two are still in hospital. One of those in hospital was still in ICU at the Nairobi Hospital while the other one had a broken limb.

Doctors said they were responding well. They were flown into Nairobi on Monday night under tight security after the attack, which left 11 people killed. Several Somalis in Nairobi flocked the hospital to see the injured. Those who were there refused to talk to journalists.

President Yusuf had told the BBC shortly after a car bomb attack on Monday how he narrowly escaped death. It later emerged that he had been switched from the first to the second vehicle in the convoy shortly before it left Parliament — a move that certainly saved his life.

"A car approached us from the opposite direction and crashed into the first car in our convoy."

Yusuf added that an explosion followed with seven cars catching fire and secondary explosions followed. He said there were two sets of explosions, one of, which was sparked by the suicide attacker driving the car, and the others from explosives on the side of the road.

"The body of the suicide attacker is still in the car as I speak. We also found a lot of shells combined together and put on the side of the road as improvised explosives," he said. Yusuf said he got out of his car while it was burning. It was the second in the convoy.

He added that everyone in the convoy had burns and bruises while his car was completely destroyed and reduced to ashes.

Witnesses said eight cars in the president’s convoy were destroyed, including three pick-up trucks with mounted machine guns. Yusuf’s Transitional Federal Government is struggling to assert any authority over the country. Although supported by the international community and the UN, it has no army or police force and controls no territory outside Baidoa, a small town west of the capital Mogadishu. It has also been racked by infighting, and yesterday a parliamentary session was called to approve a new cabinet.

Attempts to establish authority beyond Baidoa have been threatened by the rise of the Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia, which controls much of the southern and central parts of the country.

Source: The Standard


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