2 South Africans dead in Mogadishu

It’s believed a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb and the building was then stormed by insurgents.

FILE: It’s believed a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb and the building was then stormed by insurgents.

JOHANNESBURG - State arms company Denel said on Wednesday it was waiting for more information from representatives in Mogadishu about an attack on a United Nations (UN) compound there which claimed the lives of two South African staff members.

It's believed a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb and the building was then stormed by insurgents. A total of 22 people were reportedly killed, including foreigners, Somali guards and militants.

Denel said it could not release the names of the two South Africans killed in the attack on the UN compound until their relatives had been informed.

It has also sent company representatives to the scene to confirm details around the incident.

The two were believed to be working for Denel Mechem, which runs the compound and its facilities.

UN officials said a car bomb exploded outside the gate of the UN development programme base in the Somali capital and attackers then ran inside before opening fire on security guards.

An African Union (AU) peacekeeping force, which sent soldiers and armoured vehicles to the compound, which includes several buildings, said it was under the control of friendly troops after a gun fight that lasted more than 90 minutes.

Interior Minister Abdikarim Hussein Guled said four foreign UN security staff and four local guards were killed in the gun battle that left seven insurgent fighters dead.

Reuters reported that it was the first significant attack on UN premises by al Shabaab since they were driven out of Mogadishu in fighting with AU and Somali government forces about two years ago.

More than a million Somalis live in crisis conditions, according to the UN, which has started building up offices and international staff after security improved.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was "outraged by the despicable attack" in a telephone call to Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Al Shabaab accused the United Nations of serving U.S. interests.

"The UN, a merchant of death and a satanic force of evil, has a long, inglorious record of spreading nothing but poverty, dependency and disbelief," al Shabaab said on its Twitter feed @HSMPRESS1.

(Additional reporting Reuters)