Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Al-Shabaab attacks UN compound in Mogadishu

In yet another brazen attack, Al-Shabaab militias on Wednesday morning attacked the United Nations Common Compound in Mogadishu. The Minister of Interior said 15 people that includes 7 of the attackers died in the attack while 7 others were injured. Local and international media reported high fatalities.

The well coordinated attack caught everyone off guard and seems to have been well choreographed as the militants first blew off a car laden with explosive outside the main gate of the compound before 6 Al-Shabaab fighters wearing suicide belts stormed inside the building and engaged the security guards.

As all the hell broke loose, united nations staffs who were at that time working in various UN bodies inside the compound found themselves between a hard place and a rock with most of them forced to lie down and to take cover from flying bullets and bombs that were being exchanged between the attackers, the guards and a Somali government special force called Alpha together with AMISOM Burundian peacekeepers.

After storming into the compound, 4 of the 6 militants blew themselves up and the remaining two were shot dead by Somali special forces called Alpha and Burundian AMISOM peacekeepers who came to rescue the UN staffs. After securing the compound, all the UN staff were whisked away by the AMISOM peacekeepers into the main peacekeepers located base approximately 200 meters away from the attacked compound.

"I was scanning some documents when I heard the first explosion and I just thought it was somewhere else and leaned to protect the documents I was scanning only to realize moments later that we were actually under attack. I straight away run towards the safe house where I found other colleagues and we stayed there all the time as the fighting raged on. It was so scary,"

The latest attack, which is so similar, in its planning and execution, to a recent attack on a Mogadishu courthouse. In a statement he issued after the attack, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia termed Al-Shabaab "a disgrace to Somalia" and warned Somalis to be extra careful in future and work with his government to prevent similar attacks.

"We will sadly be subject to this sort of mindless terrorism for some time, however, and I call upon all citizens to increase vigilance, report suspicious activity and help us to deter and catch these cowardly criminals." The Presidents statement read in part.

Medical sources at Banadir hospital where 18 injured civilians were taken said one of the wounded succumbed to his injuries. The official death toll from the attack is likely to increase and Al-Shabaab, which are affiliated to Al-Qaeda, has already claimed responsibility for the attack.