Somalia’s al-Shabab Islamists have killed seven people including four UN workers by setting off a huge bomb which ripped through a staff bus in the northeastern town of Garowe.
The four foreign UN staff worked for the children’s agency UNICEF, the agency said in a statement after the Monday bombing, adding that four other UNICEF staff were in a ‘serious condition’.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned what he said was a ‘barbaric attack’, saying a total of seven had been left dead and several others wounded.
‘In attacking UNICEF, al-Shabab has also attacked Somali children,’ Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said.
‘It is an attack against the future of our country and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms.’
Somalia’s al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab insurgents claimed responsibility for the bombing, branding the United Nations a ‘colonisation force in Somalia’.
The white minibus, marked with the blue UN logo, was ripped apart in the ferocious blast.
‘The improvised explosive device attack occurred when the staff were travelling from their guest house to the office, normally a three-minute drive,’ UNICEF said.
It was not clear if the bomb had been detonated by a suicide attacker or planted on the bus.
No details of nationalities of the foreigners killed and wounded were given.
Garowe, in the northeastern region of Somalia, is the capital of the semi-autonomous Puntland region.