2008 Hargeisa–Bosaso bombings

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Hargeisa–Bosaso bombings
BoosaasoSomalia&land map.png
Location of Bosaso and Hargeisa in Somalia
Location Bosaso, Somalia and Hargeisa, Somalia
Date October 29, 2008
Target Bosaso: Puntland Intelligence Service offices
Hargeisa: presidential palace, Ethiopian embassy, UNDP offices
Attack type
Suicide car bombings
Deaths 30[1]
Non-fatal injuries
Suspected perpetrators
Al-Shabaab / al Qaeda

The Hargeisa–Bosaso bombings occurred on October 29, 2008, when six[2] suicide bombers attacked in coordinated car-bombings targets in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, and the Puntland port of Bosaso, both in northern Somalia. The bombings killed at least 30 people.[1][3]

Attack details[edit]

These were suicide attacks. Two car bombs destroyed two centres of the anti-terrorism unit. There are casualties but we have to investigate and we cannot give more information at the moment.

Presidential adviser Bile Mohamoud Qabowsade[4]

Targets in Hargeisa include the presidential palace, the Ethiopian consulate, and UNDP offices, while in Bosaso the offices of the Puntland Intelligence Service were hit.[3][4]

Twenty people died at Ethiopia's consulate in Hargeisa, while at least five were killed in the synchronized blasts at the local president's office and a UN building there. Two of the dead in the latter location were UN staff members, a driver and a security adviser. Six UN staff members were also injured in the blast that blew off the roofs of the UN compound. The UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, said: "While Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world for aid workers, Hargeisa has been relatively stable and consequently many United Nations staff were stationed there.""[5]

Medical staff in Bosaso said October 30 that two more soldiers wounded in the intelligence headquarters blasts died overnight, bringing to at least five the victims of that strike."[5]



Authorities in the Puntland said they had arrested a prominent local sheik, Mohamud Ismail, for this attack and several others in a recent wave of attacks. A relative of the sheik, Abdishakur Mire, said: "Soldiers attacked our house and opened fire on us. They injured my uncle in the arm and then took him away." Authorities declined to give further details. However, the Interior Minister, Abdillahi Ismail, said the blasts were planned from Mogadishu.[5]

Ismail was eventually released on November 10.[6]

Possible U.S. link[edit]

Authorities in Minneapolis, Minnesota, were investigating whether Shirwa Ahmed, a Somali immigrant and Minneapolis resident, was one of the suicide bombers in the attack.[7][8]


The presidents of Somaliland and Puntland condemned the bombings.[4] Dahir Rayale Kahin, president of Somaliland, claimed that the attacks were an attack on Somaliland's "nationhood", and rare in the relatively peaceful breakaway state. He also stated that everything would be done to find out who was responsible for the attacks.[4]

Responsible faction[edit]

While no groups have taken responsibility for the attacks, an Islamic insurgency group, Al-Shabaab, is believed to be responsible.[4][9] Suspicion fell, by at large, on Islamist insurgents in general who were fighting the Somali government and its Ethiopian military allies. Al-Shabaab posted a video of a suicide bomber on the Internet but did not explicitly link this to the attacks. The United States, however, blamed al-Qaeda, which it says works through Shabaab, for the attacks which overshadowed a summit in Kenya to discuss the 17-year-long conflict in Somalia.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "'Many dead' as blasts hit Somali cities". CNN. 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  2. ^ [tt_news]=34239&tx_ttnews[backPid]=167&no_cache=1 Somaliland Charges al-Shabaab Extremists with Suicide Bombings
  3. ^ a b "Suicide blasts hit northern Somalia". Al Jazeera. 2008-10-29. Archived from the original on 30 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Deadly car bombs hit Somaliland". BBC. 2008-10-29. Archived from the original on 30 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  5. ^ a b c d Reuters, special to CBC News (2008-10-30). "Somali cleric suspected of suicide attacks arrested". Cbc.ca. Retrieved 2008-10-31. 
  6. ^ allAfrica.com: Somalia: Man Suspected in Bossaso Bombing Freed By Puntland
  7. ^ JAMES WALSH, LORA PABST and PAM LOUWAGIE (2008-11-25). "Tuesday: Missing Twin Cities Somalis, terror ties probed". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Archived from the original on July 13, 2009. Retrieved 2008-11-27. 
  8. ^ Sam Zeff, (2008-11-25). "FEDS: Twin Cities man behind Somalia bombing". KAAL-TV. Retrieved 2008-11-27. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Suicide bombers kill at least 28 in Somalia". Reuters. 2008-10-29. Retrieved 2008-10-29.