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China / Africa

Sino-Somali ties unaffected by bombing

By Hou Liqiang in Mogadishu, Somalia (China Daily Africa) Updated: 2015-08-02 14:30

Somali officials say they believe the July 26 bombing in Mogadishu will not affect China's relationship with Somalia, and that fighting terrorism in the country needs more support from the international community.

The officials made the remarks at Aden Adde International Airport on July 29, as preparations were made to repatriate the body of a Chinese national who was killed in the blast.

The attack at the Jazeera Palace Hotel, home to the Chinese embassy and a number of other diplomatic missions, killed at least 15 people including a Chinese national who was in charge of security. Three Chinese, also embassy staff, were injured in the explosion.

"This is a very sad event and I send my deepest condolences to the People's Republic of China, and to the family and friends of those affected by the terrorist attack.

"We are deeply concerned about what has happened and we were worried for the safety of the Chinese staff when it happened," says Mohammed Awil, Somalia's former ambassador to China.

He says the Somali government did everything it could to help Chinese diplomats.

"Our government immediately sent an ambulance and we communicated with the Chinese diplomats. "We helped them and directed them to the nearest hospital to help them.

"What has happened has happened, but it will not affect the relation between our governments. It will not weaken but strengthen the relationship between Somalia and China," he says. "We will keep strengthening our relations and we will finish off this terrorist group together with the international community, especially China."

Mohamed Omar Dalha, a member of the Somali Parliament and deputy chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, says: "We are very sorry. On behalf of the Somali Parliament and the Somali people we are very sorry."

He says that terrorism was not unique to Somalia because it even happened in developed and powerful countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom. It was not only a problem for Somalia, which has long been wracked by long periods of political and security chaos.

"We are going to restore our sovereignty and structure - everything. "We are even going to build our national force again. These kinds of terrorists, they are benefiting from weakness, they can feel it," says Dalha.

He says Somalia would be in a much better position in the future than it is at present, especially with international support from friends such as China.

"We hope your collaboration with us continues and that you continue extending your support to us, financially, economically and socially.

"We are recognizing China as one of the really powerful countries in the world. As a country, as a people, and as a friend of all African countries, especially Somalia," he said. "We believe if Somalia and China work together, that Somalia will restore its sovereignty, stability and its whole system of government."

The Somalia-based militant group al-Shabaab, has claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for an operation in the Dinsoor and Bardhere regions of southern Somalia by African Union and Somali forces.

houliqiang@chinadaily.com.cn

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