UN chief Ban Ki-moon has expressed outrage at a “despicable” Islamist attack on a UN compound in Somalia which left 16 dead but has vowed the organisation won’t end its work in the troubled country.
Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents killed nine people as they shot and blasted their way into the UN compound in Mogadishu on Wednesday, the most serious attack on the UN there in recent years.
The nine were three foreigners, including two South Africans, a Somali UN worker, two Somali security guards and three civilians in the surrounding streets, officials said.
Government officials say seven Shebab fighters took part in attack, all of whom either detonated suicide vests or were shot dead, bringing the toll to 16.
Ban phoned Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud soon after the attack, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.
“The secretary general said the United Nations would not be deterred from delivering its mandate,” said Nesirky, in a statement from Beijing where Ban is on an official visit.
He said Ban was “deeply concerned and outraged by the despicable attack”.
The 15-nation Security Council also expressed outrage – but stressed its resolve “that terrorist acts in Somalia will not lessen the council’s resolve to support Somalia’s transition to peace and stability”.
Somali and African Union troops moved into the complex – despite the Islamists battling back with heavy gunfire – to end the hour-and-a-half siege.
Mogadishu has been hit by a series of attacks, including suicide and car bombings, mortar attacks and shootings, although in recent weeks the city has been relatively calm.
The last major attack by Shebab militants was in April, when a nine-man suicide commando unit blasted its way into Mogadishu’s main court complex, killing 34.
Wednesday’s attack on the UN compound used similar tactics.