Somali MPs live in fear, demand protection

The Al-Shabaab group has killed two lawmakers and has threatened to target more.

Somali MPs live in fear, demand protection

World Bulletin / News Desk

Somali lawmakers, fearing for their lives following the assassination of two colleagues in capital Mogadishu, are urging the government to provide them with protection.

"It is proving to be difficult to conduct parliament business as some MPs have raised concern that, unless their security is assured, they can no longer move from one point of the city to another," Omar Dalha, who heads parliament's foreign affairs committee, told Anadolu Agency in a phone interview.

"MPs feel security agents are not offering enough protection to them. I think it is time our government acts fast on that before we see more killings of our colleagues," he said.

Abdel-Aziz Isaak, a Somali lawmaker, died Tuesday morning when unidentified gunmen opened fire on him as he left his home in Mogadishu.

The shooting came less than 24 hours after MP Isak Mohamed Rino was killed by an explosive charge planted in his car.

Dalha, who is also a former parliament deputy speaker, said lawmakers, unlike cabinet ministers, were not provided with bodyguards.

Legislator Abdullahi Ahmed Onko, who also spoke to AA by phone, accused Somalia's National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) of failing to protect the capital and government officials.

"Unfortunately, it looks like NISA does not realize that circumstances of security conditions lay before them," he said.

"NISA is required to present credible information regarding the security condition in areas where legislators reside," the lawmaker added.

Somali parliamentarians are scheduled to debate the deteriorating security situation – including recent attacks on MPs and government officials – on Thursday.

Somali Premier Abdiweli Sheikh has vowed to bring those responsible for the murder of the two MPs to justice.

The militant Al-Shabaab group has claimed responsibility for the two assassinations and has vowed to continue targeting government officials and lawmakers.

Al-Shabaab was pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011 – and later from other urban strongholds – by a joint force of African Union troops and Somalia's national army.

But the group continues to carry out attacks in the troubled Horn of Africa country, which has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.

Last Mod: 24 Nisan 2014, 11:00
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