At least nine people, including four Unicef staff, are killed in an attack that has been claimed by militant group al-Shabaab in Somalia.
Above: the UN van targeted by al-Shabaab. Photo credit: (Twitter/@hornexpert114)
The vehicle, carrying workers to a United Nations compound in Garowe in the Somali Puntland region on Monday, was hit by an improvised explosive device.
“The IED attack occurred when the staff were travelling from their guest house to the office, normally a three minute drive,” Unicef said in a statement.
Unicef Spokesman James Elder said the staff were from a range of countries but their nationalities would not be immediately released as the families were being contacted. Unicef said four other members of staff were seriously wounded.
Mohamed Abdi, a police officer at the scene, said nine people were killed in the attack and six bystanders were wounded.
“We are behind the Garowe attack,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, told Reuters.
Al Shabaab has staged several attacks against UN officials in Somalia in recent years, most often in the capital Mogadishu, where the UN has been helping the Western-backed government rebuild the country after more than 20 years of war.
UN Special Representative for Somalia Nick Kay said he was “shocked and appalled” by the attack.