Suspected rebels attack UN compound in Somalia

Suspected Islamist insurgents stormed a United Nations compound overnight in southern Somalia, witnesses said on Monday, but UN guards fought back and killed three of the attackers in a gun battle.

One UN official in Wajid, 70km northwest of Baidoa, said about 10 heavily armed men attacked them overnight. The compound is used for storing humanitarian aid.

”After several minutes shooting our security guards repulsed the attackers and killed three of them,” the UN official told Reuters.

One of the UN security guards was injured, he added.

Another UN official said nine aid workers staying in Wajid had been evacuated to Nairobi in neighbouring Kenya.

Western security agencies say Somalia has become a haven for Islamist militants plotting attacks in the region and beyond. Violence has killed more than 18 000 civilians since the start of 2007 and driven another one million from their homes.

Somali has been mired in civil war for 18 years, and the administration of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed controls only small pockets of the coastal capital Mogadishu. — Reuters

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