1998 US Embassies Bombing & 29/10/08 Suicide in Hargiesa: Equal Terror Attacks
In East Africa, particularly Somalia, instituted as save heaven for terrorist fleeing from Afghanistan and Iraq. The terrorist take advantage of lawlessness and disorder in Somalia from 1991 after collapse of Military Ruler Mohamed Siyad Barre. Ultimately, the threat of jihadi terrorism from Somalia can only be addressed through the restoration of stable government and recognition of Somaliland, which will reduce the size of the problem in Somalia.
Al-Qaeda members were majority of these terrorist fugitives in Somalia, including the son of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and other highly-valued terrorist members. Al-Qaeda supports both financially and militarily the extremist Muslim groups in Somalia including Al-Itahad Al-Islamiya and Al-Shabab. Al-Qaeda established training centers in many parts of Somalia. Islamic Courts Union had wanted-terrorists like Sheikh\ Aweys. The union controlled Somalia for six months before the Ethiopian Forces ousted.
US governments in conducted several military operations in Somalia including 1993 UN Restore Hope Operations, in addition to other aerial bombings by US Forces at Indian Ocean. US Secret Intelligence operate inside Somalia very actively until today.
Today, Somalia is a hub of hundreds of Arab and African terrorist fugitives including the mastermind of US Embassies bombing in 1998: Fazul Abdul Mohammed, Comoros Islander. Recently, Fazul escaped a security dragnet to arrest him in the Kenya coastal town of Malindi, where he arrived from Somalia. The police discovered two passports carrying his photo with different names and Laptop. Kenyan Police said the suspect arrived at the city to receive medical care due to kidney problems.
US Embassies Bombing in Nairobi, Kenya and Darussalam, Tanzania resulted death of innocent people at the embassies buildings and nearby areas. The bombs exploded almost same time and identical style, and terrorist used similar technology in making the bombs. The recent attack in Hargiesa, Somaliland was similar to the twin bombs in 1998.
Meanwhile, Terrorist organizations in Somalia particularly Al-Shabab terror group claimed the responsibility of recent suicide attacks in Hargiesa, Somaliland Capital that killed more than 30 people and injured about 40 others. Arabic TV Channels aired video clip of Al-Shabab group claiming the responsibility of the attacks and even showing the suicide bombers. This is typical Al-Qaeda style of spreading terror and fear in the hearts of the civilians.
On 29th Oct 2008, there were simultaneous three suicide bombs in Hargiesa. The suicide-bombers entered that city from southern Somalia, and built the bombs in their rented residence in Hargiesa. The attacks targeted Somaliland Presidential Palace, Ethiopian Commercial Office and UNDP Head Office in Hargiesa.
Somaliland Minister of Interior Affairs Abdullah Erro announced the government is investigating the matter and even arrested one of the suicide-bombers, who jumped out of the vehicle that carried the bombs before explosion. The Minister highlighted that government will not be fouled again by such attacks. The investigation is underway and government will bring the suspects and terrorists to the justice.
Both 1998 US Embassies and 29/10/2008 Hargiesa bombings had many similarities: the attacks were planned and designed inside Somalia; both suicide bombers were Somalis or received assistance from Somalis and bombs exploded at the same times. Both bombs targeted diplomatic and government installations; There are large number of civilian causalities in both attacks; Al-Qaeda linked terrorist organizations inside Somalia claimed the responsibilities of both attacks.
The ransom money paid to the Somali piracies accelerated the terrorist activities inside Somalia, particularly against Ethiopian Forces in Mogadishu. Many piracy operations had Al-Qaeda fingerprints, and Al-Qaeda benefited from the money. The major terrorist organization in East Africa is Al-Shabab and Al-Itahad Al-Islamiya in coordination with ONLF (Ogaden National Liberation Front).
It is true that terror network surviving in Somalia will quickly spread across the East Africa, mainly Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia, if no proper coordination is taken by the regional authorities including Somaliland, these countries will be the victims.
Today, Somaliland is the target and can be any country tomorrow. So the international community including IGAD, USA and EU should help the regional governments to fight terror in the region.
Somaliland, the last victim of the terror, broke up from Somalia in 1991 and built up striking structure of democratic government. The country did not receive an international diplomatic recognition from any country but has eligibility to be government.
Somaliland has Cabinet, elected Parliament and President, Upper House of Parliament, Courts, Jails Authority, Police, Money, National Anthem, Flag, Constitution and Internationally accepted political map. The most remarkably development in Somaliland is Political Parties. President of Somaliland Dahir Riyale Kahin won 80 votes over his rival Presidential Candidate of Kulmiya Party Ahmed Silanyo during 2004 Presidential Election. Faisal Ali Warabe was Presidential Candidate of UCID Party.
Opposition Parties won the majority in the Parliament, and elected Former Ambassador Abdurrahman Erro as New Speaker of Parliament. This is remarkable democratic development within 17 years.
Today, there is electronic voter registration process across the country, in which the citizens will vote using biometric technology like fingerprint or iris scan: This is unique development in Africa. Somaliland disarmed thousands of Militia and transformed into Police, Jails Authority and Military.
During his visit to US Forces in Djibouti, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates advised Bush Administration to recognize Somaliland and shift US Military African Command to Somaliland Port City of Berbera. Also, US Assistant Undersecretary of African Affairs at State Department Dr. Fraizer visited Somaliland Capital Hargiesa, and met government and opposition parties’ leaders. Washington announced that USA will recognize Somaliland only after African Union (AU) does.
The world should coordinate with free people in East Africa like Somaliland, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Djibouti to install functioning government in Somalia particularly Somaliland, due to its experience in disarmament of militia. Regional authorities like IGAD and AU should coordinate with Somaliland authority in eliminating the terrorist and setting up functioning government in southern Somalia.
I strongly believe that mighty of Somalilanders will triumph despite the enemy’s attacks in Hargiesa. Democracy will grow and accelerate faster, because the people of Somaliland will understand their enemies better. The attack was awakening alarm and to defuse future attacks. The system of government will build stronger and bolder from the enmity, attacks and critics.
After suicide attacks in Hargiesa, Somaliland Election Commission (SEC) suspended voter registration for ten days and Ministry of Education declared holidays to schools, in order to avoid further massacre in another terrorist attacks. This step is similar to that of USA during 11/9 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. The terrorist can strike once in Somaliland, but will not be allowed to repeat the same.
Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya Arabic News Channels broadcasted video clip of suicide bombers at their residence in Hargiesa, the suicide bombers were brain-washed teenagers in mid 20’s. Some of Somali clip viewers said that suicide bombers were from southern Somalia due to their language accent.
The suicide bombers were very young teenagers who are been brain-washed by the terrorist masterminds including Al-Shabab top leaders. These leaders don’t carry out operations by them selves instead use the underage children to die. These leaders use these teenagers as bridge to achieve their personal interest.
The people of Somaliland are recovering from the destruction by the Somali government in Mogadishu in 1988, which completely destroyed the infrastructure of the country including hospitals, schools and all civil societies. 50,000 innocent citizens of Somaliland were killed by air bombing of Somali Army, and other 2 millions were displaced from their homes to UN Refuges Camps in Ethiopia.
Today, Somalilanders reestablished fully functioning democratic state from scratches without international and regional financial and diplomatic support. Somaliland got strong experience and capabilities to defeat terrorists, and will go after them even in Mogadishu.
As known, British Somaliland (Republic of Somaliland) joined Italian Somalia (Republic of Somalia) on 1st June 1960 without preconditions to form united, democratic and peaceful Somali Republic. However, such theory failed due to military coup by General Mohamed Siyad Barre (1969-1991), in which Somalilanders suffered a lot under Barre’s regime. The children, women, elderly and religious leaders were killed and displaced. Somaliland brought 50% of Somali Republic, but they were deceived in their share and got less in power sharing in Mogadishu.
By\ Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi