Monday, April 13, 2009

Somali Pirates Fire Mortar Shells At U.S. Congressman (Video)

Mortar shells have been fired towards a US congressman as he left Mogadishu, after what is believed to be the first visit to the Somali capital by a senior US politician since 1994.

The attack on Monday came as Donald Payne, a New Jersey Democrat, was leaving in a plane from the city's airport after meeting Somalia's foreign minister to discuss the increase in piracy off the country's coastline.

Payne's comments earlier today:

Fox News report:

Reuters reports:

Militant Islamist insurgents fired mortars toward U.S. congressman Donald Payne as he left Somalia on Monday after a rare visit by a U.S. politician to the anarchic Horn of Africa nation.

The attack came a day after U.S. forces killed three pirates in an assault off Somalia that freed an American hostage.

The al Shabaab insurgents, whom Washington accuses of being al Qaeda's proxy in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the mortar attack, saying it was a message to the United States.

"We fired on the airport to target the so-called democratic congressman sent by (U.S. President Barack) Obama," Sheikh Hussein Ali, a spokesman for al Shabaab, told Reuters.

"Let him go back with the message of our strength and enmity towards the U.S and its allies. No single group can claim control of Mogadishu, and al Shabaab will continue its attacks."

Payne was unharmed.

Somalia's capital Mogadishu is one of the world's most dangerous places. U.S. officials and politicians have shunned travel to the battle-scarred city due to constant violence.

Somali Internal Security Minister Omar Hashi Aden told Reuters that Payne's plane was just airborne when the mortars fell. A police officer, however, said one mortar struck the airport before Payne left and five others impacted after.

Residents said insurgents and African Union (AU) peacekeepers exchanged fire after the attack, killing three civilians and wounding 12 other people near a market.

Ahmed, a local mechanic, said mortars came into the area where the insurgents had fired from. "I cannot make out if those injured ones are the civilians or the ones who fired," he said.

Payne spoke with the interim government's president and prime minister during the short visit.

He brought six bodyguards with him, and AU soldiers provided extra security.

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1 comment:

  1. This doesn't surprise me they think we are targets because of the residents willingness to bow to saudi's and mingle with terrorists.