UN deplores deadly bombing in Somali capital

4 October 2011

The Security Council and top United Nations officials have strongly condemned today’s suicide bombing at a government ministry building in the capital, Mogadishu, that killed scores of people and injured many more.

Media reports indicate at least 70 people have died and dozens of others sustained injuries as a result of the blast. The explosion occurred when a truck bomb detonated at a complex belonging to the country’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in the south of the city.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is "appalled" by the attack, whose victims reportedly included students who were inside the education ministry at the time of the bombing.

"It is incomprehensible that innocents are being senselessly targeted," a statement issued by his spokesperson said, reiterating the Secretary-General’s call to all Somali parties to renounce violence and engage in dialogue and reconciliation.

The attack is "all the more abhorrent," the statement added, coming at a time when Somali political leaders have been working together to chart a peaceful political future for Somalia.

Condemning the attack in the strongest terms, the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is "criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of its motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed."

"The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support to the Transitional Federal Government in its efforts to achieve peace, security and reconciliation through the Djibouti Peace Process, and the work of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)," said a statement read by Ambassador Joy Ogwu of Nigeria, which holds the Council’s presidency this month.

The Council expressed its continued appreciation for the commitment of troops to AMISOM by Burundi and Uganda and reiterated its condemnation of all acts of violence and incitement to violence against civilians, AMISOM and the TFG.

Augustine Mahiga, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the head of the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), issued a statement voicing his deep sadness at the "senseless and cowardly" bombing.

"These actions are unacceptable. The murder of ordinary Somalis cannot be justified for any reason," he said.

Also condemning the attack was Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, who called the killing of children an "unspeakable crime."

"Children in Somalia suffer daily through war and famine. Those killed and wounded were bravely attempting to further their education despite the situation in Mogadishu," she said in a statement.

The Islamist militant group known as Al-Shabaab, whose fighters withdrew from Mogadishu in August, has reportedly claimed responsibility for today’s attack.

"Although the extremists have left the capital, it is very difficult to prevent these types of terrorist attacks, which we have consistently warned are likely to be on the increase," Mr. Mahiga noted.

The Special Representative also condemned other recent raids or attacks carried out by Al-Shabaab, including a raid on Dhusamareb in central Somalia last night and an attack on Dhobley, close to the border with Kenya.

He stressed the need to both strengthen Somalia’s national security forces and provide sufficient resources to support AMISOM.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said today it is especially worried about the fighting and worsening situation around Dhobley, which is the main transit point for Somalis en route to Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camps.

"We particularly fear for the well-being and safety of displaced Somalis who are likely to get caught in fighting while fleeing through this part of the country," Adrian Edwards, UNHCR’s spokesperson in Geneva, told reporters.

The agency added that the latest escalation of violence in southern Somalia is further exacerbating the already severe humanitarian situation in the country. "We urge all armed groups and forces in Somalia to avoid targeting civilian areas and to ensure that civilians are not being placed in harm’s way," said Mr. Edwards.

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, a Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, today urged the international community to scale up its efforts to deal with the situation in the Horn of Africa, which she described as the humanitarian crisis of a generation.

"Today, three quarters of a million people are at risk of death in the next four months in the Horn of Africa," she said in an address to the annual meeting of UNHCR’s governing body in Geneva. "The work we are doing needs to scale up to meet the needs of these individuals."

Ms. Jolie was appointed a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in August 2001, and since then she has conducted more than 40 field visits around the world.