Al-Shabaab Attempts to Spin Beledweyne Attack, Citizens Not Buying It
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Addis Ababa, 22 October 2013 (WIC) - Local Somali officials have rejected al-Shabaab's claim that its suicide attack on Saturday (October 19th) at a busy market in Beledweyne killed mostly Ethiopian and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops, saying instead that the explosion claimed the lives of innocent civilians and local police.
Al-Shabaab immediately claimed credit for the attack, saying Somalia's allied forces were their intended targets.
"The targets of the attack were Ethiopians, Djiboutians and apostates," al-Shabaab's military operation spokesperson Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab said in an audio recording posted on the Somalimemo website. "It was a beautiful mission carried out as planned. Twenty-five [people] were killed in total: 13 Ethiopians, six Djiboutians and six apostates." "They are fighting us over religion and our ability to govern ourselves," he said. "The Somali people must defend themselves."
'Al-Shabaab is lying'
"Al-Shabaab are terrorists. The people who lost their lives are civilians, and this is no different from the bombings they inflicted on the public while claiming to have killed government and AMISOM troops," said Dahir Amin Jesow, a Somali parliamentarian representing the Hiran region.
He told Sabahi that 17 civilians were killed and more than 30 injured, most of whom lost arms and legs in the blast. Jesow, who helped attend to the injured at the scene, said they were working on transferring people to hospitals in Mogadishu whose medical needs cannot be met by the facilities in Beledweyne.
"We got an immediate response from the Somali government when we requested to have a plane sent to transfer the injured civilians to the hospitals in Mogadishu since the Beledweyne district hospital does not have enough medicine," he said. "We are now in the process of separating the people whose injuries cannot be treated in Beledweyne from those whose injuries can be treated."
Jesow firmly denied al-Shabaab's claims that they had killed Ethiopian troops.
"This was not a location frequented by Ethiopian troops or soldiers," he said. "This was a market where people who bring milk from the countryside traded. There were cafes that served tea and also a tree where people from the countryside sought shade when they come to the city." "Therefore, al-Shabaab is lying, but then they never tell the truth," he said. Hiran police chief Colonel Isaq Ali Abdulle told Sabahi that security forces in the city have been placed on high alert. (http://allafrica.com)
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