News24

Grenade attack at UN's Mogadishu base

2012-01-11 10:34

Mogadishu - Unidentified men attacked the main United Nations compound in the Somali capital Mogadishu, hurling two hand grenades that exploded near the wall, UN officials and witnesses said on Wednesday.

According to witnesses, two grenades struck by the roadside next to the wall of the UN compound late on Tuesday. Security guards in the compound opened fire in response, but no casualties were reported.

"There was a hand grenade attack at the compound last night, the explosions hit near the wall and there was no casualty as it did not reach the compound," a local UN official said on condition of anonymity.

Mohamed Jama, a neighbour of the UN compound, saw two men running after the explosions as the UN security guards opened fire.

"I saw two men running in the street behind my house after throwing the grenades, the UN security guards on the watchtowers opened fire but no one was apparently injured," Jama said.

"The grenades exploded near the main airport road, just close to the wall of the UN compound," he added.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a string of blasts including roadside bombs and grenade explosions that have rocked the Somali capital in recent months.

The city has seen an increase in such attacks since the al-Qaeda linked Shabaab abandoned fixed positions there in August and switched to guerrilla tactics against the Western-backed government.

"This is not the first attacks of its kind, there had been several grenade attacks targeting the UN compound in past years," said Abdirisak Ali, another witness who lives near the UN compound.

"The fact is that they could not come close to compound, so they have to hurl the hand grenades from some distances away," he added.

Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world for aid workers, where three regions - including parts of Mogadishu - have been declared a famine zone.