LONDON - Qatar said on Thursday it had transported 12 of the victims of the suicide bombing, which took place Wednesday inside Mogadishu’s mayor office to Doha, to receive medical care three days after New York Times revealed that the Gulf emirate was allegedly involved in a bomb attack in Somalia.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombing, and said on Twitter that it targeted the UN envoy in Somalia, James Aswan, which was not confirmed by the Somali authorities.
Qatar News Agency (QNA) quoted an official source as saying that Doha sent a plane to Mogadishu airport to transport the bomb attack victims to Doha for medical care.
Somali journalist Haroon Maarouf, posted a tweet saying that a Qatari army ambulance had taken off from Adam Abdullah airport for Doha.
He said that the plane took 12 seriously injured in Mogadishu bombing, pointing including the city’s mayor Abdul Rahman Omar Osman.
Qatar’s move is seen as a way of trying to ‘cover up’ The New York Times’ detailed report that allegedly implicated Doha last May in a bombing in Bosaso whose port is managed by an Emirati company.
In a cellphone call with the Qatari ambassador to Somalia, a businessman close to the Emir of Qatar said that the militants had carried out the bombing in Bosaso to advance Qatar’s interests by driving out its rival, the United Arab Emirates, according to the New York Times.
“The bombings and killings, we know who are behind them,” the businessman, Khalifa Kayed al-Muhanadi, said in the call on May 18, about a week after the bombing.
The violence was “intended to make Dubai people run away from there,” he said, referring to the Emirates’ financial capital. “Let them kick out the Emiratis, so they don’t renew the contracts with them and I will bring the contract here to Doha,” the capital of Qatar.
NYT said that neither Muhanadi nor the government of Qatar disputed the authenticity of the recording, but both said that he was speaking as a private citizen and was not a government official when asked about the cellphone conversation.
The latest implication consolidates the claims of Saudi Arabia and the UAE that Qatar was a state sponsor of terrorism.
Qatar is the subject of a two-year Saudi-led economic embargo including bans on direct air, land and sea travel between the boycotting nations and Qatar, as well as sanctions.