UN, AU condemn suicide attack in Mogadishu

16:39, September 10, 2010      

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The United Nations (UN) and the Africa Union (AU) have strongly condemned Thursday's terrorist bombing attack at the main airport in the Somali capital Mogadishu, which has killed two African peacekeepers and several civilians.

In a joint statement, the heads of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the AU Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) described the attack as a "heinous act of terrorism."

The attacks came hours after the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG) Augustine P. Mahiga, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia Boubacar Diarra and the IGAD Facilitator For Somalia Peace and National Reconciliation HKipruto arap Kirwa undertook a joint working visit to Somalia for consultations with President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed. "The three envoys condemn, in the strongest terms possible, this 'heinous act of terrorism' occurring as it did on the eve of the holy feast of Eid ul-Fitr - a solemn day of peace, compassion and mercy," the statement said.

Two blasts hit Mogadishu's airport on Thursday, killing at least eight people including AU peacekeepers in Somalia. The area is heavily guarded by Ugandan troops serving with the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

Eye witnesses said a suicide bomber rammed a car into an AU peacekeepers post outside the airport and that they heard a second explosion inside the compound shortly afterwards.

The three envoys called on all Somalis to reject violence and use peaceful means in order to restore peace, security and stability to their country.

Mahiga and officials from IGAD and the AU jointly visited Mogadishu and held "candid and successful discussions on a wide range of critical issues relating to the Somali peace process" with the president.

The UN has been voicing concern in recent days over an apparent upsurge in fighting between Islamist rebels and the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), which is backed by AMISOM.

Thousands of civilians in Mogadishu have been uprooted from their homes and more than 230 residents have been killed in the past two weeks alone. "While in Mogadishu, the envoys learned of an attack on AMISOM troops by extremists. The terrorist act resulted in the unfortunate and tragic loss of two AMISOM soldiers, three others seriously wounded and the death of several civilians," the statement said.

The Islamic rebel group of al Shabaab claimed responsibility for a similar suicide attack last month at the Muna Hotel in Mogadishu, which killed more than 30 people including several parliament members. In that attack, two suicide bombers also wore government military uniforms to pass through security.

The extremist group, which controls most of southern Somalia, recently vowed to wage a final massive war against the UN-backed government and more than 7,000 AU peacekeepers from Uganda and Burundi.

Source: Xinhua


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