At least six UN employees were killed and several others injured in bomb explosion on a bus in northern Somalia on Monday, police and UN officials said.
The bomb was apparently planted under a seat and was detonated by remote control, said police official Yusuf Ali.
“We have confirmed the death of six UN staff, including a foreign national,” police official Abdullahi Mohamed said.
Col. Ali Salad, a senior police officer in the semiautonomous Puntland region, said via phone that the dead in the town of Garowe, the capital of the Puntland region, comprised both foreigners and Somalis.
The UN representative to Somalia, Nicholas Kay, condemned the attack, saying he was “shocked and appalled by loss of life.”
The Al-Qaida-linked Al-Shabab group has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the group’s Andalus radio.
Garowe resident Jama Hashi said he heard a thundering blast inside the bus, which he said was passing near the offices of UN’s food agency when the bomb went off.
Human limbs were scattered around the scene of the attack, he said.
Security forces sealed off the area as ambulances carried the wounded from the scene of the blast.
Bomb attacks are not common in the northern parts of Somalia, unlike in the south where Al-Shabab militants are waging a deadly war against the Somali government with the African Union forces bolstering it.
Last week, at least ten people were killed in an assault on the offices of Somalia’s education ministry.