Somalia: leader defends peacekeepers’ killings

A radical Islamist leader in Somalia said Sunday that a suicide attack that killed 21 African Union peacekeepers was the right thing to do. Mr Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys said Thursday’s attack was meant to defend Islam.

“The Islamic religion permits such kinds of attacks if they are against known enemies and in the defence of the religion, but there are people who distort that explanation,” Mr Aweys said, addressing hundreds of people during a religious sermon at Elashabiyaha, a suburb of Mogadishu.

Suicide bombers, disguised in two U.N.-marked vehicles, rammed through the security gate of the mission’s headquarters, which is attached to Mogadishu’s airport.

They detonated explosives just as Somalia’s transitional government and mission representatives concluded a high-level meeting inside the compound, said Mr Nicolas Bwakira, the African Union’s special representative for Somalia.

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