Thursday, June 20, 2013
Somalia's leaders vowed Thursday that progress would continue despite
fresh threats by Islamist insurgents, a day after they staged their
most serious attack on the United Nations in the troubled country in
Eleven people were killed when the seven-man team of
suicide commandos from the Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents shot and
blasted their way into the UN compound in Mogadishu Wednesday, before
Somali and African Union forces battled their way inside to kill the
UN chief Ban Ki-moon expressed outrage at the "despicable"
attack which left eight people working for the world body dead, but
said that the organisation would not end its work in Somalia.
In turn, the Shebab said they would not end their attacks.
wanted to show the UN that they will have no safe haven," Shebab
spokesman Ali Mohamed Rage said in speech broadcast Thursday on the
extremist's Radio Andalus station.
"It was a warning for those infidels (non-believers) who hope to violate the rights of the Somalia people in future."
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called the Shebab a "disgrace" to the
country, warning that "violence and terror will not derail" progress
made in the capital in the past year, a city where such bloody death
tolls were once a daily occurence.
"Over the past year, Somalia
has turned a corner," he said in a statement late Wednesday. "We are now
on a determined path of recovery and reconciliation."
staff member died in the attack, a Kenyan citizen, according to UN
sources. Two South African contractors, a Somali UN contractor, four
Somali security guards and three civilians in the surrounding streets
were also killed, officials said.
Mogadishu was reported to be
calm on Thursday, with the areas around the bombed out entrance of the
now empty UN compound cordoned off.
The brazen daylight attack
forced aid workers to evacuate temporarily back to the secure airport
zone, the headquarter barracks of the 17,000 African Union force that is
fighting the Shebab.
The Shebab celebrated the attack Thursday,
with Rage claiming it showed "no tanks or military arsenals will deter
our mujahedeen from defending their religion."
Somalis they will "sadly be subject to this sort of mindless terrorism
for some time," and appealed for support in helping to "deter and catch
these cowardly criminals."
Ban telephoned Mohamud soon after the
attack to offer his support, while international partners also said they
too would not be put off.
The United States promised to remain "a
steadfast partner" of Somalia, while European Union foreign policy
chief Catherine Ashton said it was crucial "recent progress is
Somalia's capital has been hit by a series of attacks
including suicide and car bombings, mortar attacks and shootings, ever
since the Shebab abandoned fixed positions in Mogadishu almost two years
Since then, the AU force and Somali government troops have forced the Shebab from a series of key towns.
previous last major attack was in April, when a nine-man suicide
commando unit blasted its way into Mogadishu's main court complex,
killing 34 people. The attack on the UN compound used similar tactics.
riven by infighting and hunted by US drones, Shebab extremists remain
powerful in rural areas as well as reportedly having infiltrated the