Skip to main content

Attack on U.N. compound in Somalia called 'barbaric'

By Omar Nor, for CNN
updated 2:20 PM EDT, Wed June 19, 2013
Somali soldiers patrol after al Qaeda-linked insurgents shoot their way into the U.N. compound in Mogadishu on June 19.
Somali soldiers patrol after al Qaeda-linked insurgents shoot their way into the U.N. compound in Mogadishu on June 19.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Civilians, militants and U.N. employees were killed; 15 people were wounded
  • Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack
  • The African Union says the compound has been secured

Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) -- At least 14 people died and 15 others were wounded in an attack on the U.N. headquarters in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Wednesday.

Seven militants, four U.N. employees and three female civilians were killed, said Abdikarim Hussein Guled, the country's interior and national security minister. The other victims were rushed to a hospital.

Al-Shabaab, the militant group linked to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility, the group said on Twitter.

Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon deplored the "senseless and despicable" assault against an agency that has been a friend and partner.

2012: The battle against al-Shabaab

"I and all Somalis are appalled that they should be the target and victims of such barbaric violence," Shirdon said.

It was the latest in a series of attacks in the city, the heart of an unstable nation beset with civil strife, with government and African Union forces battling Islamic militants for years in an effort to bring stability to the land.

Last month, a suicide bomber targeted a Qatari delegation, killing at least eight people. Al-Shabaab also claimed responsibility for that strike.

In April, militants forced their way into a court building in Mogadishu and killed 29 people, including members of Al-Shabaab, sources said.

Police Officer Hussein Ahmed said that in Wednesday's violence, one attacker blew himself up at the entrance of the U.N. compound, which is near the city's airport.

Others wearing suicide vests entered the U.N. compound. He said Somali and AU forces surrounded the building and fought with the armed assailants.

The attack devastated the area. Mangled buses and cars sat in disfigured heaps, the windows of nearby apartments shattered, the ground littered with blood and body parts.

A large brown plume of smoke was visible in the air as ambulances rushed to the scene and carried away the wounded.

The compound has now been secured and is in the hands of AU troops, the official Twitter account of the African Union Mission to Somalia said. Shirdon also assured city residents that the government remains in control of security and underscored the swift action by the forces against the attackers.

"All our thoughts and prayers are with our U.N. colleagues today," Shirdon said. "Al-Shabaab will not derail the peace process. They will not stop our recovery. Violence will not win."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
updated 4:16 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Hamas: "Lift the siege." Israel: "End the rockets." The two sides' demands will be difficult to reconcile.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 4:53 PM EDT, Tue July 22, 2014
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to Malaysia Airlines' Hugh Dunleavy about how the airline industry needs to react to MH17.
updated 4:42 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
From Maastricht to Melbourne, and baroque theaters to block-long warehouses, these stores make bookish travelers look stylish.
updated 2:57 PM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
A nun, an AIDS researcher, an athlete and a family traveling on summer vacation. These were some of the victims aboard MH17.
updated 8:21 PM EDT, Mon July 21, 2014
Prince George isn't your average one year old. He started walking before he was one. Oh, and, he's going to be king -- of 16 countries.
updated 2:21 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
In an ambitious plan to upgrade urban India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he will build 100 "smart cities" across the country.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 9:17 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
After just one day of competition, a new sport has emerged at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow: snapping selfies with the Queen.
ADVERTISEMENT