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Suicide bombers attack UN office in Mogadishu

Updated: 2013-06-19 21:50
( Xinhua)

MOGADISHU - Somali government officials on Wednesday said the security forces secured the United Nations Development Program office after it was attacked by a number of suicide bombers and gunmen.

Suicide bombers attack UN office in Mogadishu

African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) secure the scene of a suicide bomb attack outside the United Nations compound in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, June 19, 2013. A suicide bomber and several gunmen attacked a United Nations compound in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, police and witnesses said, in a strike that bore the hallmarks of al Qaeda-linked militants. [Photo/Agencies]

Police and witnesses said one of the attackers detonated an explosives belt before several heavily armed gunmen forced their way into the compound where they engaged guards.

Senior Somali police officer Mukhar Hussein Afrah was quoted by state-run Radio Mogadishu as saying government forces and African Union peacekeepers known as AMISOM take control of the compound after "eliminating" all the attackers.

"The UNDP office compound is now under the control of the security forces and AMISOM troops. The situation is under control, attackers were eliminated," Afrah told Radio Mogadishu.

He said that all the UN staffs were safe. Witnesses said that several people, mostly civilians, were killed and wounded in the attack.

Al-Shabaab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, and said that their fighters killed foreigners in the attack on the UNDP office in Mogadishu which locates along the main road that leads to the capital's international airport.

Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon condemned the attack and expressed sympathy with the victims at the UN office which is part of the new UN mission for Somalia known as UNSOM.

"I condemn the attack against UN today and send deepest sympathy to all victims. Today all Somalia stands shoulder to shoulder with UNSOM," the prime minister said.

The attack comes a week after new UN Somalia office officially took over from the previous mission. The new UN envoy to Somalia Nicholas Kay was appointed to lead the newly mandated office.

The radical Al-Qaeda-linked group has carried outs similar attack on the Mogadishu regional court in April, killing several people including lawyers.

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