Hargeysa, Somaliland, November 8, 2008 (SL Times) – Somaliland officials investigating the triple car bombing attacks that shook Hargeysa on October 29, 2008 are reporting of making progress in identifying a number of people who may have been involved in some aspects of the planning, preparation and execution of the blasts.
For example the person who rented the 3 houses where the suicide bombers stayed before carrying out their attacks has been identified as a Habar-Gidir man called Abdifatah Gutale.
According to investigators Mr. Gutale was also responsible for the purchase of the 3 Toyota Surf 4 wheel-drive vehicles which carried the improvised explosives used in the attacks.
Although Gutale is believed to have returned to Somalia shortly before the October 29 attacks took place, however according to sources close to the investigators, the police already arrested some people who may have collaborated with him on the preparations for the 3 attacks.
“The information obtained by the police was expected to help them narrow down the clans and geographical areas from which the perpetrators, including the suicide bombers, have originated” a knowledgeable source has told the Somaliland Times.
29 people were killed and over 30 got wounded as a result of the terrorist blasts which hit the Somaliland presidential palace, the Ethiopian embassy and the offices of the United Nations Development Program in Hargeysa.
No one has officially claimed responsibility for the attacks. However the operation bore all the hallmarks of Al-Shabab, a Somalia terrorist organization linked to Al-Qaida.
In fact as reported in the Somaliland media on last week, Al-Shabab leaders in Kismayo were heard congratulating each other for the Hargeysa attacks.
Despite the progress being made in the investigations, the probe is expected to take longer than usual due to lack of forensic expertise, a number of sources said.
The attacks seem to have united Somalilanders against Al-Shabab.
More and more religious leaders are now coming forward to renounce and speak out against terror being carried out in the name of Islam, declaring them as violation of the true teachings of the religion.
The condemnation of terrorism and the strong sense of defiance shown by the local population has so far pulled the rug from underneath Al-Shabab's feet.