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UN Somalia expert condemns Mogadishu killings, calls for grassroots effort to prevent further atrocities

3 December 2009
GENEVA –The Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia Dr. Shamsul Bari called for a nationwide grassroots effort to prevent a repetition of Thursday’s killings of several prominent members of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government, as well as journalists, students and other bystanders, in an explosion at a graduation ceremony in the Somali capital Mogadishu.
“I am shocked and greatly saddened by the clearly deliberate murder of a number of prominent Somalis, including government ministers, students and journalists in the blast at the Shamo Hotel’s meeting hall, where reportedly hundreds of people were attending a graduation ceremony,” Bari said.
"One of the greatest tragedies of the prolonged crisis in Somalia has been that several generations have been deprived of education. This attack, which targeted some of the country's very few university-level students, as well as the education ministers working to enhance education under extremely difficult circumstances, is a direct blow to the fabric -- and the future -- of the nation," the UN expert said. “I appeal to all Somalis, at all levels of society, to make it clear they condemn in the strongest manner this atrocious act, which is unacceptable and unjustifiable under any circumstances, and to do what they can to help prevent any more atrocities of this type from taking place, as well as to bring those responsible to justice."
Bari also called on the international community “to strengthen the capacity of the Somali Government to investigate this appalling crime and to prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law.”
"I offer my heartfelt condolences and prayers to the families and loved ones of those killed and injured,” he said. "It is another terribly sad day for a country that has already suffered so much for so long."