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» 26.01.2010 - Official condemns Mogadishu bombing

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UN chief condemns AU base bomb attack

afrol News, 17 September - The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned today’s suicide bombing at an African Union compound in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, which has left at least nine peacekeepers dead.

Two vehicles, reportedly with UN markings on them, were used in the attack on the compound, Mr Ban told reporters today at his monthly press conference in New York.

Nine Somali peacekeepers, including the Deputy Force Commander of the AU operation, known as AMISOM, were killed and at least 30 others - including the Force Commander of AMISOM – were wounded and have since been evacuated for medical treatment.

“I condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms,” Mr Ban said, offering his condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of those killed today. “I honour their service and bravery.”

Mr Ban said he had contacted senior AU officials to offer his condolences and to help with any investigations.

The Secretary-General said the UN is investigating today’s attack and he expects to soon receive a preliminary report.

Somalia's Islamist insurgents are reported to have used stolen UN trucks to launch the bomb attack at the AU base in the capital.

The alleged al Shabab members are said to have easily driven in with trucks full of explosives in the mid morning today before they were detonated.

Insurgency and close attacks to the capital of Somalia have increased recently threatening the already fragile transitional government of the country.

Islamist insurgents, some linked to the al Qaeda have recently stepped up attacks against the Somali government, demanding strict enforcement of the Islamic principles.

The weak transitional government of Somalia with the backing of the international community controls some larger parts of the capital Mogadishu as well as parts of the central region.

Figures from both the UN and other sources say that violence in Somalia has killed more than 18,000 civilians since the start of 2007 and uprooted another 1 million.

The radical Islamist group, al-Shabaab, which controls large portions of the country, in July ordered the closure of three United Nations agencies, accusing them of going against Islamic principles and practices.

The group called the three agencies, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Department of Safety and Security and the United Nations Political Office for Somalia, ‘enemies of Islam’.

It accused the three agencies of working against the Somali Muslim people and against the establishment of an Islamic state. “Some of these agencies have been found guilty of training and supporting the apostate government and its soldiers,” the group claimed in a statement.

Islamist groups including al-Shabaab and the Hisb-ul-Islam movement have gained control of most of southern and central Somalia in their bid to oust President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, who took the presidency in January this year following the UN brokered peace.

Since Ethiopia withdrew its troops in Somalia, the two Islamists militant groups have been unable to penetrate into key areas of the capital defended by AMISOM troops and tanks.

Al-Shabaab has been accused by the US of providing safe-haven and logistical support to al-Qaeda, the terrorist organisation led by Osama bin Laden.

There has not had a functioning central administration in Somalia, since the ouster of Mohamed Siad Barre, the former dictator, in 1991.

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