Al-Qaeda-linked militants in Somalia said they attacked a United Nations compound in the capital, Mogadishu. At least 15 people died, according to the government.
Gunmen entered the UN Development Programme compound in the south of the city after an explosion at the gate, Dahabo Mohamed, a regional director at the Interior Ministry, said in a phone interview. The initial blast was followed by three smaller ones, said Abdi Ibrahim, an eyewitness. Four foreigners are among the dead, National Security Minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled told reporters in the city.
Al-Shabaab, the militant group affiliated to al-Qaeda, said it attacked the UN because it’s a “monolithic block in the path toward the establishment of Allah’s law on earth and must therefore be dislodged.” The statement was posted on its Twitter account.
The militant group has waged an insurgency against government forces since at least 2006. From August 2011, troops with the African Union Mission in Somalia, or Amisom, and the Ethiopian and Kenya military have forced the militia to flee key areas including Mogadishu, the port of Kismayo and Baidoa, one of the nation’s largest cities.
There have been no major advances by Amisom to recover more territory from al-Shabaab since the end of March because of “both operational and resource limitations,” the African Union said in a report last week.
The group “is far from being defeated and hence the fight against al-Shabaab cannot be declared won,” the continental body said. “The group’s fighters have melted into various communities in different regions, seeking to exploit clan rivalries and political disagreements, as well as the absence of effective local administrations.”
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