Qatar joined other nations in condemning an attack in the Somali capital that killed one journalist and injured several others.
Doha has strongly condemned a bombing in the Somali capital of Mogadishu that claimed the life of a senior journalist and caused other injuries.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) reiterates Qatar’s firm position on rejecting violence and terrorism, whatever the motives and reasons, and stresses its total rejection of targeting journalists, media professionals, and the freedom of opinion and expression,” said MoFA in a statement.
Qatar expressed it condolences to the family of the victim, the Somali government, and the people of Somalia and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
Senior Somali journalist Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled, who was an ardent critic of militant group Al-Shabaab, was killed by a suicide bomber as he left a restaurant in the capital Mogadishu on Saturday.
The group claimed responsibility for the explosion that killed the director of government-backed Radio Mogadishu. Security officials confirmed that the blast was caused by a suicide bomber, while Al-Shabaab said in a statement that it had been pursuing the journalist for some time.
Two others were wounded in the attack. “May God bless my brother Abdiaziz Mohamud Guled, he was a brave man the nation lost,” said Somalia’s deputy information minister Abdirahman Yusuf Omar in a statement.
“He came out of the restaurant and went into his car with a colleague after they had dinner and the suicide bomber ran onto the car window and detonated himself,” said a colleague of the late radio director to AFP.
The al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab has been fighting in Somalia for over a decade to oust the nation’s fragile central government.
Al-Shabaab controlled Mogadishu until 2011 when it was pushed out by African Union troops. However, it still controls territories in the countryside and launches frequent attacks against government and civilian targets across the country.
Guled, also known as Abdiaziz Afrika, had made his mark globally with his interviews with Al-Shabaab suspects detained by Somali security forces.
Relations between Qatar and the East African nation have seen steady progress evident in Doha’s continuous support for Somalia and its people through medical, financial and political aid.
In May this year, Somalia announced the resumption of diplomatic ties with Kenya, crediting the development to Qatari mediation.
Qatar and Somalia officially established diplomatic ties in 1970, one year before the Gulf state declared independence from Britain.
Noteworthy too was Doha’s support for the outcome of the Somali National Reconciliation Conference held in Djibouti in September 2000.
Qatar also supported reconciliation conferences held in both Sudan and Djibouti to end political and security crises affecting the East African nation. In 1983, a labour agreement on the recruitment of Somali workers in Qatar was signed.
Somalia has been used as a battle ground for competition between Qatar and GCC rival the UAE for influence in the Horn of Africa, with Abu Dhabi being accused of supporting militant groups in Somalia in a bid to destabilise the country and take control of its maritime ports.