MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Seven al-Qaida-linked gunmen detonated a pick-up truck rigged with explosives at the gate of the U.N. compound in Somalia’s capital Wednesday, launching a bombs-and-gunfire assault that saw militants pour into the complex, killing at least nine people, including three foreigners, officials said.

The seven al-Shabab militants were from what the militia called its martyrdom, or suicide, brigade. They all died in the assault, an official said, bringing the overall death toll to at least 16.

The attack comes only six months after the United Nations expanded its presence in Mogadishu, where it had kept only a small operation because Islamic insurgents had controlled much of the capital until being pushed out in an offensive in 2011.

Al-Shabab said on its Twitter feed shortly after the 11:30 a.m. attack began that its fighters “are now in control of the entire compound and the battle is still ongoing.”

African Union and Somali security forces responded and took control of the compound by 12:30 p.m. The U.N. staff who sought refuge in the compound’s secure bunker then were evacuated to the secure military base and airport complex across the street, said Ben Parker, a spokesman for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia.

Two South Africans from the company Denel Mechem who were doing demining work for the U.N. died in the attack, said Vuyelwa Qinga, a spokeswoman for Denel, a manufacturer of defense equipment.

A U.N. official who insisted on anonymity because he was not an official spokesman said he believed two U.N. personnel from Kenya and Somalia were also killed.

“There was not very much time to get into the safe area,” said Parker.

The top U.N. official on Somalia, Nicholas Kay, also works out of the building but was not inside the compound when it was attacked. Kay said he was shocked and horrified by the attack.

“The United Nations Common Compound houses U.N. personnel working on humanitarian and development issues for the Somali people. This was an act of blatant terrorism and a desperate attempt to knock Somalia off its path of recovery and peace building,” said Kay.

A U.N. statement said it was verifying its casualty numbers. “There are certainly some injured and most likely worse,” it said.

Speaking to the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson called the attack outrageous and said the U.N. remains committed to achieving peace and keeping Somalia on its path to recovery.

At 11:30 a.m. the compound was rocked by the car bomb blast that blew down the compound’s front gate. At least two other blasts followed, Parker said.

Dozens of staff from U.N. humanitarian and development agencies were in the compound and many were moved to the secure bunker, he said.

Mohamed Ali, an ambulance driver, said he transported five dead civilian bodies and 10 people who were wounded.

An Associated Press reporter who went inside the U.N. compound after the battle saw two dead bodies of what appeared to be al-Shabab attackers wearing Somali military uniforms. An official said seven attackers died in total.

The compound’s interior walls were scarred with bullet marks.

Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said he is appalled that “our friends and partners” at the U.N. who are carrying out humanitarian activities would be the victims “of such barbaric violence.” An African Union official, Mahamet Saleh Annadif, condemned the “cowardly” attack and sent condolences “to those who had lost loved ones.”

The U.N. has had only a small presence in Mogadishu in recent years. In December, though, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon touched down in Mogadishu wearing a bullet proof jacket to announce a return of the U.N.’s political office to the seaside capital.

The attacked compound just across the street from the secure airport complex, where U.N.-backed African Union military forces are based. The U.N. compound is used by agencies like UNICEF, WHO and UNDP.

Mogadishu fell into anarchy in 1991 and is just beginning to move past years of sustained conflict. The U.N. and foreign embassies were absent from Mogadishu for close to two decades.

African Union forces pushed al-Shabab out of Mogadishu in August 2011, meaning residents didn’t have to live through daily battles for the first time in years. An international presence slowly began to return and the U.N. began the process of moving its personnel from the nearby capital of Nairobi, Kenya, back to Mogadishu, a process that has accelerated in recent weeks.

International embassies – from Turkey and Britain, for example – followed. Wednesday’s attack underscores the fragile security situation and will force the U.N. and embassies to review their safety plans and decide if they have enough defenses to withstand a sustained al-Shabab assault.

Fadumo Hussein, a shopkeeper who was sitting inside her shop near the scene of the attack, described a narrow escape.

“It started with an earsplitting explosion, followed by heavy gunfire,” she said, showing holes made by bullets on her shop. “I crouched and then crawled like an animal. I am very lucky. It was a shocking moment.”

Straziuso reported from Nairobi, Kenya. Edith M. Lederer contributed from the United Nations.



  1. Definitely Al-shabab have some sort of support different countries. i have been arguing this for long time now.

    ASK this questions yourself.

    1- Why never been arrested any big figure Al-shabab leaders, they all talk to media and so forth?
    2- Most top Al-shabab leaders go from town to town even some of them using public transport?
    3- How come every time Al-shabab attack heavily guarded area also penetrate?

  2. Where were Amison forces? Where was Hassan Culosaw? The UNDP needs you, Culosaw. There is a logic that says " if you cannot beat your enemy, join them." The best option that is open for Hassan Culowsaw is surrender himself and his administration to Alshabab. The western world was not and still not ready for helping Somalia out of its tight situation. Hassan culosaw must understand the fact that Amison and those who facilitate them are just aming at defending Alshabab from other Eastern African countries, no more no less.

  3. I have the feeling that Bugland is behind this terrorist action, especially Majerteens and Ogadeens. They do not want to see Hassan Culusaw to succed.

    • Somaliland needs a stable Government to continue Two-State dialogue with therefore it makes no sense for Somaliland to destroy the first stable selected government that is ready for Two-state dialogue.

      The attacks are from Faroole and Madoobe.

  4. we all know that darood scum are funding these animals in mogadisho and the rest of south somalia so the darood land stealing goes undisturbed. So many groups both in somalia and somaliland are being funded by shoe thieves with money got from piracy

  5. Puntland Geezer has gone from being a caricature to insane! Please leave the Somaliland websites and find a good doctor to cure you. You are obviously insane. I wonder what Somaliland has ever done to you to make you so deranged? Is it because we exist? Is it because we kicked you tail from 1991 onwards? Is it because we get on with our lives? What happened Mogadishu is sad, but it is not the fault of Somaliland, it is the madness which has plagued Somalia for more than two decades. Do not try to drag us back to this mess. Please find a good doctor. No doubt your are somewhere in the West. Good luck

  6. That Godane who is staunch Somalilander is responsible. The Somali power establishment is going full steam and cannot be deterred by these looser animals who target the innocents. The fact that they resort to hit and run tells a lots about how weak they got to be by now.

    • You're ignorant and bloody idiot! In October 2009, that muderous Godane and cohorts carried out a similiar attacks to the Presidential Compound, Ethiopia Embassy and UNDP Offices in Hargeisa which resulted the death of 30 people and over 55 people injuried, and yet you're vomiting here sh*t.

    • It was not a hit and run you fool.

      They were the brigade with one way tickets to the grave yard… How do you fight a man who has already accepted death before he goes hunting for you?

      To admit that your people are being ordered like Donkeys to blow themselves up is an insult to you and your dumb people. I apologize to the Donkey species for i am sure even a donkey has some level of self preservation within it instinct capacity.

      Perhaps you need another 20,000 AU troops to feel secure?

      All we know is it was a Hawiye on Hawiye crime! and we have no clue who is their master.

  7. It is well known where all these Shabaab leaders lay their head at night .

    How comes a missile with their name on it ain't visiting them i smell BS coming from the IC against Somalia.

    • IRIR i will side with you on that one…

      These Shabab use Mobile phones and are being supplied explosives. If Muuqdishu Airport and sea ports are all Amisom controlled where are they still getting supplies from?

      Somalia is big business only if it remains a UN/Amisom Colony forever. Handing back Somalia-Colony is not an option that benefits UN or AU. The strategic location must be kept under a UN/AU joint Trusteeship indefinitely. Hassan Mahamoud is a former UN-NGO employee and will never challenge his former boss. It is evident Hassan Mahamoud already has an exit strategy and his family is waiting for him with their millions in a Vila in another country.

  8. Faroole and Madoobe are behind the suicides since Madoobe is a formed Shabab member.

  9. At the moment the only people who wish to destroy Muuqdishu are the Majareerteens who wish to Move the Capital to Gerowe when muuqdishu is deemed unsafe!

  10. If anyone in hargeysa knew your uncle is moorgan they would stone you to death you faqash.

  11. Al Shabab wants an Islamic ummah while Somaliland is a Republic. Most Landers want a a Republic trust me there is nothing decent, or democratic about a theocracy!

    Stop trying to associate Somaliland with one man who doesnt even believe in the very ideas that brought about Somaliland.

  12. I don’t think we should busy ourselves with these Somalians. Them and their UN administration will run and exhaust themselves only to start from scratch again as always. They will eventually come back to Somaliland and how it does things when they hit a brick wall as usual. Somaliland looks inwards to solve its problems while Somalians have been conditioned to look to external help for all their problems.

    • I honestly believe Somalia-Italia will never ever be a single country again.

      Kenya will annex Jubbaland

      Ethiopia will annex Galgaduud to Bakool.

      Uganda will secure the port of Muuqdishu to serve it's landlocked economy.

  13. We must understand that the people currently running things in Somalia, with the money and influence are not the people of old. These are people who have gotten rich through war and killings. For them that is the normal state of affairs. Building a nations, a state, paying taxes, dialogue, etc, don't mean anything. They are on the whole uneducated and brutal, and these few western educated and those coming from the west to help are not going to get anywhere. Violence is a way of life in Somalia. It is a business, it is political and it has now become cultural. It is going to be a long time for things to change in Somalia and the IC's attention is fickle. It was Afghanistan, Iraq and now its Syria. Somaliland is well out of this mess.