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Al Shabaab Targets 'Foreign Mercenaries' in Deadly Attack on UN Convoy in Somalia

A car bombing near Mogadishu's airport killed four people and injured more than a dozen others, with video showing an aftermath of bombed-out vehicles and debris.
Photo by AP/Farah Abdi Warsameh

A car bomb exploded near a United Nations convoy driving near the Mogadishu airport, killing at least four people and injuring more than a dozen others in Somalia's capital Wednesday.

Behind the wheel of a vehicle packed with explosives, a suicide bomber drove into the convoy, which was reportedly ushering staff between a UN compound in Mogadishu and the international airport.

Video footage taken at the site of the attack shows bombed-out vehicles amid other debris, with security forces surveilling the scene. A Somali police officer was among the wounded. The UN, however, has said none of its staff members were killed.


Somalia: The fight against al Shabaab. Watch the VICE News documentary here.

The al Qaeda-allied militant group al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombing. According to spokesman Abu Musab, the attacks "targeted a convoy of foreign mercenaries and their apostate allies."

A separate attack aimed at African Union forces occurred Wednesday outside Mogadishu. According to the BBC, the bombing took place in the village of Lafole, but details about the second incident were unclear.

In recent weeks, al Shabaab had focused efforts across the border in northeastern Kenya, carrying out two brutal attacks in the city of Mandera. In mid-November, the militant group targeted a bus, killing 28 passengers. On Tuesday, nearly 40 people were shot and killed during an attack launched at a local quarry. In both incidences, non-Muslims were separated and targeted.

International arrests show women are playing an active role in Al Shabaab. Read more here.

After Tuesday's violence, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta discussed the growing conflict between his country and the militant group, saying "Our country and our people are under attack."

"A war has been waged against all Kenyans by an enemy hiding behind religion, and much innocent blood has been shed. Kenya has been subjected to a long history of murder and violence at the hands of bandits, terrorists and extremists," Kenyatta said.

Despite losing much of their hold on the embattled Somali capital in recent years, al Shabaab is still entrenched in certain areas surrounding the city. The recent violence in Kenya has been attributed to both the presence of Kenyan Defense Forces inside Somalia's borders, and recent raids conducted by Kenyan police forces on mosques suspected of harboring militants from the group.

Follow Kayla Ruble on Twitter: @RubleKB