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Radio journalist in critical condition following attack on Somalia's presidential palace

People look at the scene of a suicide attack next to the gate of the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, 21 February 2014
People look at the scene of a suicide attack next to the gate of the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu, 21 February 2014

REUTERS/Feisal Omar

A radio journalist was seriously wounded today after Al-Shabaab fighters wearing suicide vests and carrying guns and grenades attacked Villa Somalia, the presidential palace.

Journalist Ahmed Said Ahmed of Radio Kulmiye was wounded at the right side of the chest and right shoulder in this attack, which also took the life of senior government officials including the Permanent Secretary of the Office of Prime Minister Mohamud Hersi. Ahmed, who was burned by the blast on both legs, was admitted to Daru Shifa hospital, and he is in a critical condition, according to doctors.

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) was informed that Ahmed Said Ahmed was on assignment by his radio station to report on events in Villa Somalia at the time of deadly attack.

“We condemn this senseless attack which caused considerable loss of life. We urge journalists in the field and media houses behind them to exercise great caution for their safety” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General. “We join Ahmed's family and colleagues at Radio Kulmiye in wishing him a quick and full recovery”.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. They used multiple car bombings and heavy machine guns. The heavily guarded presidential palace is the residence and office of the president, prime minister and speaker of parliament.

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