Al-Shabab bombs UN van, 4 UNICEF work­ers die

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE -

A bomb ex­ploded Mon­day on a van car­ry­ing U.N. em­ploy­ees in north­ern So­ma­lia, killing at least seven peo­ple and wound­ing sev­eral oth­ers, po­lice and U.N. of­fi­cials said. Al-Shabab claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the attack.

UNICEF said in a state­ment that four of its em­ploy­ees were re­port­edly killed in the bomb­ing of their van, which was painted white and had “UN” painted on the side in blue let­ters. Four oth­ers were se­ri­ously in­jured, the U.N. chil­dren’s agency said.

Both for­eign­ers and So­ma­lis were ca­su­al­ties of the attack in Garowe, the cap­i­tal of the semi­au­tonomous Punt­land re­gion, Col. Ali Salad, a se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer in Punt­land, told The As­so­ci­ated Press by phone. He said 10 peo­ple had died though Garowe Po­lice Chief Col. Ahmed Ab­dul­lahi Sa­matar said seven died.

So­mali Pres­i­dent Has­san Sheikh Mo­hamud called it a di­rect attack on the fu­ture of the coun­try.

“This attack is not just tar­geted at the United Na­tions, but in at­tack­ing UNICEF, al-Shabab has also at­tacked So­mali chil­dren. It is an attack against the fu­ture of our coun­try and I condemn it in the strong­est pos­si­ble terms,” Mo­hamud said in a state­ment.

A U.N. em­ployee in Garowe, who in­sisted on anonymity be­cause she is not au­tho­rized to speak to the press, said most of the vic­tims are for­eign­ers work­ing with the U.N.

The bomb was ap­par­ently planted un­der a seat and was det­o­nated by re­mote con­trol, said po­lice of­fi­cial Yusuf Ali.

Garowe res­i­dent Jama Hashi said he heard a thun­der­ing blast in­side the van, which he said was pass­ing near the of­fices of the U.N.’s food agency when the bomb went off. Hu­man limbs were scat­tered around the scene, he said. Se­cu­rity forces sealed off the area as am­bu­lances car­ried the wounded away.

“It’s a dark day, but ter­ror­ists must know that the blood they shed will not go in vain. We shall deal with them with an iron hand,” Salad said.

Bomb­ings are not com­mon in north­ern So­ma­lia, un­like in the south where al-Shabab Is­lamic ex­trem­ists are fight­ing the So­mali gov­ern­ment and the African Union forces bol­ster­ing it.

AP

This im­age made from video shows the scene fol­low­ing a bomb attack on a van car­ry­ing U.N. em­ploy­ees in Garowe, in the semi­au­tonomous Punt­land re­gion of north­ern So­ma­lia on Mon­day, April 20.

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