- A U.N. officials calls the perpetrators "cowardly"
- Journalists targeted in a "gratuitous and bloodthirsty" bombing, group says
- Two suicide bombers attacked a teahouse in Mogadishu, state radio says
- The dead include an anchor for Somalia's national television and the head of a radio service
The United Nations condemned a suicide bombing in Somalia's capital that killed a number of people, including three journalists from state-run broadcasting services, as a "cowardly attack."
The U.N. special representative to Somalia made the comments following the attack Thursday that saw a pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up inside a packed teahouse near Mogadishu's presidential palace.
"I strongly condemn this cowardly and senseless attack. These acts of terrorism cannot reverse the recent achievements that Somalia has witnessed," Augustine P. Mahiga said in a statement released Thursday. "Such incidents can only reinforce the determination of the Somali people to reject violence and engage in peaceful resolution of conflict."
State-run Radio Mogadishu reported identified two of the dead as Liban Ali Nur, news director and anchor for Somalia's national television network, and Abdisatar Dahir Sabrieye, an anchor and producer who recently returned to war-torn Somalia after exile in neighboring Kenya.
The head of another radio station, the Voice of Democracy, also died in the blast, and four other journalists were wounded, three critically, the network reported. A witness said the cafe was spattered with blood and pieces of bodies.
The National Union of Somali Journalists said the bombings took place just after sunset and that the al-Shabaab jihadist movement had claimed responsibility for the attack.
"We strongly condemn this attack on journalists. We are absolutely convinced that this was a targeted attack on journalists," said Omar Faruk Osman, the group's secretary-general.
Somalia's shaky transitional government, backed by African Union peacekeepers, has been battling Islamic guerrillas for years. The country has lacked an effective central government since 1991, with portions of the Horn of Africa nation left lawless.
More than 40 journalists have been killed in Somalia since 1992, making it one of the world's most dangerous places for reporters, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Osman said 12 have died so far this year -- "the single deadliest year for journalists in the history of our country."