Front | News | Sports | Opinion | Classifieds | Subscribe
 LATEST NEWS
 Top Stories
 U.S.
  Severe Weather
  Bird Flu
 World
  Castro
  Mideast Crisis
  Iraq
 Business
 Personal Finance
 Technology
 Sports
  Sports Columns
  NASCAR
  Baseball
  College Hoops
  NBA
  NHL
  Tennis
  Golf
 Entertainment
 Health
 Science
 Politics
 Washington
 Offbeat
 Podcasts
 Blogs
 Weather
 Raw News
 NEWS SEARCH
 
 Archive Search
 SPECIAL SECTIONS
 Multimedia Gallery
 AP Video Network
 Today
 in History
 Corrections
Apr 21, 12:00 AM EDT

Al-Shabab bombs UN van in Somalia, 4 UNICEF workers killed


AP Photo
AP Photo

Buy AP Photo Reprints
Multimedia
Somalis Head to Kenya's Dadaad Refugee Camp
Food Workers Get Aid in Helping Somalia

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) -- Islamic extremists set off a bomb in a U.N. van in normally tranquil northern Somalia on Monday, killing at least seven people, including four employees of the U.N. children's agency in an attack that was widely denounced.

Two Kenyans, one Ugandan, one Afghan and three Somalis died in the explosion in Garowe town and one American, one Sierra Leonean, one Ugandan, one Kenyan and four Somalis were wounded, police Col. Ali Salad told The Associated Press.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called it a direct attack on the future of the country.

"This attack is not just targeted at the United Nations, but in attacking UNICEF, al-Shabab has also attacked Somali children. It is an attack against the future of our country and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms," Mohamud said in a statement.

Al-Shabab, which is battling to convert Somalia into a hard-line Islamic state, claimed responsibility through its radio station for the attack in Garowe, capital of Puntland state.

UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said: "Our colleagues dedicated their lives to working for the children of Somalia. They are not victims. They and those who were wounded are heroes. We mourn their loss and hope for the full recovery of the injured."

The bomb was apparently planted under a seat and was detonated by remote control, said police official Yusuf Ali.

Garowe resident Jama Hashi said he heard a thunderous blast inside the van, which he said was passing near the offices of the U.N.'s food agency when the bomb went off. Human limbs were scattered around the scene, he said. Security forces sealed off the area as ambulances carried the wounded away. Photos showed the roof had apparently been blown off. A corpse leaned out of a window whose glass had been blown away, dripping blood onto the side of the van.

"It's a dark day, but terrorists must know that the blood they shed will not go in vain. We shall deal with them with an iron hand," said Salad, the police commander in the semi-autonomous Puntland state.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at U.N. headquarters in New York that "the men and women who bring humanitarian action to light are an inspiration to us all."

"Targeting such brave and dedicated individuals for violence is an attack on us all," he said. "We must do our utmost to bring the perpetrators to justice and to ensure that humanitarian personnel have the security they need to carry out their vital role."

The U.N. Security Council said it was outrage at the attack, condemning it in the strongest terms and reiterating its determination "to combat all forms of terrorism." Council members said recent terrorist attacks have only strengthened their determination to support the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia.

Bombings are rare in northern Somalia, unlike in the south where al-Shabab is battling the Somali government and the African Union forces bolstering it.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for an attack earlier this month at a college in northeastern Kenya in which at least 148 people, most of them students, were killed. Kenya has sent troops into Somalia as part of the AU force to stabilize the government and attack al-Shabab, which is allied with al-Qaida.

---

Associated Press writer Edith M. Lederer at the United Nations contributed to this report.

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.