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Terror attack on UN base in Somalia used 7 mortars

UNOSOM compound in Mogadishu, Somalia. (ctsnow/Flickr)
January 02, 2019

The United Nations base in Mogadishu, Somalia, was the target of a mortar attack on Tuesday.

The attack was carried out by Al Shabaab, an Islamic terror group affiliated with Al Qaeda, who launched a series of mortar blasts inside the base, News24 reported Wednesday, citing AFP.

“Seven mortars landed inside the compound this afternoon, injuring two UN staff members and one contractor,” the UN said in a statement. “None of the injuries is life-threatening.”

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted to a website affiliated with the group, also verified with the U.N.

The group has been responsible for turmoil in the Mogadishu area as it attempts to overthrow the Somali government.

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A statement for U.N. Secretary General António Guterres warned that “intentionally directing armed attacks against United Nations personnel may constitute a violation of international humanitarian law. He urges the Somali authorities to investigate the attacks and swiftly bring those responsible to justice.”

“The Secretary General reaffirms that such acts will not diminish the strong resolve of the United Nations to continue supporting the people and Government of Somalia in their efforts to build peace and stability in the country,” the statement added.

Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General for Somalia Nicholas Haysom also issued a statement condemning the attack.

“Today’s indirect fire attack on the main UN compound in Mogadishu may amount to a violation of international humanitarian law, and I deplore this unwarranted act of aggression against our personnel,” Haysom said, as reported by NewsRep.

“No political agenda can be served through violence that deliberately targets staff members of international organizations who are supporting the consolidation of peace and the strengthening of governing institutions in Somalia,” Haysom added.

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On Monday, Haysom called on the Somali government to protect human rights in the country.

In his letter, he urged the Somali government to “exercise its authority in conformance with the law and provide explanation about the atrocities committed in Baidoa last month and the detention of Mukhtar Robow,” VOA News reported.

The Somali government responded by asking Haysom to leave the country after they alleged he violated standards and policies.

“The decision came after the highest U.N. diplomat in Somalia violated the agency’s standards and the international diplomatic norms by intervening the national sovereignty of Somalia,” according to a statement by the Somali government – released just hours after the mortar attack.