UN chief condemns attack on Somali presidential palace

United Nations, Feb 22: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon Friday condemned “in the strongest terms” an attack against Somalia’s presidential palace in the capital city of Mogadishu.

Twelve people were killed in the attack by militant group Al-Shabaab on the presidential palace known as Villa Somalia, which is also the seat of the Somali government in Mogadishu, Xinhua reported.

In a statement issued here by his spokesperson, Ban expressed his condolences to the families of those killed and wished a speedy recovery to the injured in the attack.

He also paid tribute to the Somali National Forces and the African Union Mission in Somalia for their “efficient and professional response” in repelling the attackers.

“The secretary-general is concerned that the recent attacks perpetrated by Al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia are clearly aimed at destabilizing the country at a time when many efforts are being mobilized to restore peace and development,” said the statement.

The UN chief called on the Somali people and government to remain resolute in the fight against extremism. “He reiterates the United Nations’ unwavering support for their determined efforts to build a peaceful and stable Somalia,” it added.

According to earlier reports, a car bomb went off outside the gate of the presidential palace before a group of Al-Shabaab fighters tried to storm the building.

The attack was aimed to cause maximum damage but was foiled by local troops and African Union peacekeepers, Somali Minister for National Security Abdelkarim Hussein Guled said.