Embassy continues its work in aftermath of car bombing
Updated: 2015-07-29 10:55
By ZHANG YUNBI/HOU LIQIANG(China Daily)
Somali government soldiers stand near the ruins of the Jazeera hotel after an attack in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, July 26, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]
China has sent a mission to bring home the body of the Chinese embassy security staff member killed in a car bombing in Somalia and dispatched a working group to tackle the aftermath, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
The suicide bombing at the gate of the Jazeera Palace Hotel in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Sunday killed at least 15 people, including the Chinese embassy staffer in charge of security and safety precautions, and injured three other embassy staff members.
A group of photos believed to feature the scene went viral on China's leading social network Sina Weibo after they were posted on Monday night by a Chinese diplomat.
The diplomat, posting under the user name @xingzheyuyang, said the pictures were taken by colleagues at the Chinese embassy in Somalia.
In the photos, embassy staff members wear helmets and bulletproof jackets, and some have bandages. Netizens made close to 1,000 comments on the photos.
The hotel housed diplomatic missions, including the Chinese embassy, in the turmoil-filled country.
China condemned the attack on Monday, and Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang confirmed that embassy staff members had been transferred to a safe area.
The ministry confirmed on Tuesday that the overall situation of the embassy staff there is good, saying that "the current priority of the embassy is affairs regarding emergency treatment" and that the embassy will "get work in other fields done".
For the sake of staff members' safety, the Chinese embassy in Somalia is considering a move to a less risky location and is working to improve security measures.
Hotels' security capabilities are very limited as Mogadishu suffers from long-term instability, said He Wenping, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences studying West Asia and Africa.
To choose a more secure place, an area with many embassies would be ideal since a single embassy is exposed to greater danger, according to He. She also suggested locations close to local government institutions where security is heightened. The embassy itself should also strengthen safety awareness to keep its staff from danger.
Tension still ran high on Tuesday in Mogadishu, where it took at least four security checks for visitors to leave the airport, and there were more police officers than civilians on the streets around hotels where foreigners stayed.
Yuan Tiecheng, founder and CEO of Riskon International, a security company based in Beijing, said such suicide attacks are usually made after the terrorists have scouted the site and made preparations.
"The existing threats obviously have posed a serious challenge to diplomatic missions based there," Yuan said.
On Monday, the UN Security Council condemned the attack "in the strongest terms" and offered its condolences to the people and governments of Somalia and China.
Yang Yixi in Beijing and Xinhua contributed to this story.
Contact the writers through firstname.lastname@example.org