Somali Lawmaker Narrowly Escapes Roadside Blast

A member of Somalia’s parliament escaped unharmed Friday after a roadside explosion targeted his vehicle in Mogadishu, officials said.

Abdifatah Omar Halane, a spokesman for Mogadishu’s mayor, told VOA that the explosion targeted Mohamud Abukate, a member of the lower house of the parliament. Two soldiers who were riding with him and a civilian bystander were wounded in the explosion, he said.

Security officials said the MP was on his way to the residence of another MP in the Taleh area of Hodan district in Mogadishu.

Somali intelligence officials said this week that they had received information al-Shabab terrorists might be planning to attack high-profile targets, including installations and senior government officials.

Al-Shabab has been carrying out a series of attacks against both government and civilian buildings in Mogadishu and other parts of the country.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International is urging Somali authorities in Puntland to halt plans to execute two boys sentenced to death by a military tribunal in February for their alleged role in the assassination of senior regional officials.

Amnesty said the boys, Muhamed Yasin Abdi, 17, and Daud Saied Sahal, 15, could be put to death “at any moment.” The group said five other boys between the ages of 14 and 17 had been executed by Puntland earlier this month.

“These five boys were executed following a fundamentally flawed process during which they were tortured to confess, denied access to a lawyer and additional protections accorded to juveniles, and tried in a military tribunal,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

Kagan added that the “lives of the remaining two boys must be spared.”

Amnesty said the death penalty is “cruel” and urged Puntland to halt the executions and retry the boys in a juvenile civilian court without turning to capital punishment.

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