Senior envoys of the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) in Somalia condemned a suicide attack that took place in the offices of Mogadishu’s mayor on Wednesday, which left at least six officials dead and several others, including the mayor, injured.
In separate statements, James Swan, special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, and Francisco Madeira, special representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia, said the attack only showed a vicious disregard for the sanctity of human life.
“The United Nations stands with the people and government of Somalia in their rejection of such terrorist acts, and our thoughts are with the victims of this attack,” Swan said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
A suicide bomb was detonated within the municipal premises during a meeting at the mayor’s compound, leaving six people dead and an unknown number injured.
Mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman was among those injured when the suicide bomber detonated explosives which were strapped to his waist.
“I deplore this heinous attack which not only demonstrates a violent disregard for the sanctity of human life, but also targets Somalis working to improve the lives of their fellow Somalis in the Mogadishu-Banadir region,” Swan said.
The UN envoy had met with the mayor and members of his team earlier in the day to hear first-hand about the progress and challenges in the capital and surrounding area.
Swan, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), extended his condolences to the families and friends of the victims and wished a swift recovery to the injured.
Madeira, the AU envoy, also condemned the attack, saying increased attacks in the Horn of Africa nation will not deter efforts to develop the country.
“I condemn in the strongest terms today’s horrific attack on the Mayor of Mogadishu’s compound; an act of hate against the people of Somalis aimed to terrorize and curtail the country’s progress. I send my sympathies to the families of the victims,” Madeira said.
Militant group Al-Shabaab, who claimed responsibility for the attack, said their fighters were targeting the UN envoy who they believed was inside the mayor’s compound.
Despite being driven out of Mogadishu, the militant group still stages guerrilla-style assaults and bomb attacks to drive out AU mission’s troops from Somalia and impose its harsh version of Islamic law across the Horn of Africa nation.