By JUMA KWAYERA
The Wednesday suicide bomb strikes near a hotel where newly elected Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud is residing were clearly coordinated as the timing and execution pointed to high possibility of the militia group having obtained intelligence ahead of the Kenyan delegation’s trip.
Barely ten minutes after Prof Sam Ongeri’s delegation had checked into Al Jazeera Palace Hotel, the first blast went off, just outside the gate, next to two of the Humvees (armoured military trucks) that ferried the delegation to the hotel from the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) camp.
Immediately after the first blast, two men, one donning an Amisom jungle jacket, forced their way into the premises.
One of the men shot dead a guard at the hotel gate before he was himself killed by a hail of bullets, as the other headed towards the Humvees that ferried Ongeri from the army barracks to the venue. The latter was shot dead by a Ugandan soldier who was drawing water at a tap nearby after he failed to obey orders to stop.
STRAPPED WITH EXPLOSIVES
Upon inspection, the two men were found to have been strapped with explosives belts.
It was at this point that a deadlier explosion occurred some 100 metres outside the hotel.
Amisom soldiers said they were forced to fire at a speeding car, which immediately blew up.
The impact of the explosion dug a heap of soil from the murram road atop of which sat the bloodied head of the suicide bomber.
According to Col Chege, head of security in Mogadishu who was instrumental in securing the hotel, the bombs would have been detonated at the hotel reception to inflict a devastating impact.
The departure from Wilson Airport had been delayed by more than two hours as it was said Ongeri had an early morning commitment.