Africa

Somalia attack: Bomb kills UN workers in Garowe

Blood is seen in the shell of a UN van following a bomb attack Image copyright AFP
Image caption The attack on the vehicle killed seven people and has left seven others wounded.

A suicide bomb attack on a United Nations vehicle in Garowe, the main city in Somalia's Puntland region, has killed seven people, police say.

The UN children's fund, Unicef, says four of its staff are among the dead.

Police commander Ahmed Abdullahi Samatar says that he believes that one of the bodies belongs to the man who blew himself up.

Al-Shabab, which is battling Somalia's government for control of the country, has said it carried out the attack.

Witnesses have told the BBC that 10 people were killed but this has not been confirmed.

Unicef said that in addition to those killed, four other of its staff are in a serious condition.

UN Special Representative in Somalia Nicholas Kay has condemned the attacked and said he was "shocked and appalled by [the] loss of life".

Al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, is battling Somalia's government for control of the country.

At least 13 people have died over the past two days in a series of attacks which have been blamed on al-Shabab.

Among the victims was an MP from Puntland and African Union soldiers from Kenya and Burundi, according to the risk management group Salama Fikira.

BBC Somali analyst Mary Harper says al-Shabab has become increasingly active in Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland, targeting government and military officials.

An offensive launched last year by African Union and Somali government troops in southern Somalia has pushed al-Shabab fighters north into Puntland. They have hideouts in impenetrable mountains, from which they launch their attacks.

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