The United Nations top envoy to Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has deplored Monday’s bombing in Mogadishu, which killed 20 people, mostly women cleaners working to clean up streets in the war-scarred capital.
Ould-Abdallah, a high-ranking Mauritanian diplomat who has been at the helm of efforts to return Somalia to normalcy, said he was deeply saddened by the killings.
Witnesses said the bomb was concealed in a trash dump before it exploded, killing more than 20 women and injuring several others.
“These women were killed trying to do their work and improve life in Mogadishu by cleaning the streets. Nothing can justify the deaths of innocent victims of wives and mothers such as these who were working to make ends meet,” the UN diplomat said.
The UN envoy appealed to the rival Somali factions to tackle their problems through dialogue.
“I extend my condolences to their families and to all Somalis. I also call on true Somali patriots to use restraint and address their problems through contact and dialogue as preached by their religion and their culture,” Ould- Abdallah said.
“After so many years of violence, Somalis should use this sad time to regain their sense of dignity through working together for lasting peace,” he said.
Somalia’s slide to anarchy has been continuing over the decades, as attempts after attempts to create a central authority appear to give in to an avalanche of tribal rivalries, religious extremism and a conspiracy of silence by the world’s leading power brokers.
Ethiopian forces moved into Somalia in late 2006 with the help of the US government, in an attempt to stop the Islamists who had taken control of most of the war-scarred capital, Mogadishu, displacing the fledgling interim government.
But the interim government, led by President Abdullahi Yusuf, has been weakened by constant attacks by militias.
The President himself has escaped three assassination attempts, which has left scores of his senior aides dead.
The bombing on Monday came on the heels of a series of bombings, targeting aid workers and other humanitarian staff.
Currently, the African Union remains the sole official provider of security in the war-torn nation.
But even the AU mission there is stretched to the maximum and has been unable to curb the violence.
The Islamists patrolling the Mogadishu streets, planting roadside bombs and engaging the Ethiopian army in open, street contests, have claimed responsibility for most of the attacks against foreigners and Somalis.