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UN slams deadly suicide blasts in Somalia

UN chief Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council strongly condemned suicide blasts that killed nine African Union peacekeepers in Somalia, including the Burundian deputy commander of the force.

world Updated: Sep 18, 2009 02:51 IST

UN chief Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council strongly condemned suicide blasts on Thursday that killed nine African Union peacekeepers in Somalia, including the Burundian deputy commander of the force.

"I condemn this terrorist attack in the strongest terms," the UN secretary general told a press conference in United Nations.

The 15-member UN Security Council also slammed the twin bombings which targeted the fortified headquarters of the AU force known as AMISOM at Mogadishu airport and reaffirmed its support for AMISOM, US Ambassador Sudan Rice, the council chair this month said.

Ban said vehicles reportedly with UN markings were used in the attack on the AU force headquarters at Mogadishu airport, which was claimed by hard line Islamist rebels.

Two bombs ripped through the fortified AMISOM compound, killing the nine soldiers and wounding at least 15 others, AU officials said.

"Among those who died is the AMISOM deputy commander Major General Juvenal Niyonguruza," who was about to complete his tour of duty in Somalia, Ugandan army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Felix Kulayigye said.

The force commander, Ugandan General Nathan Mugisha, was among the wounded in the attacks, the army said.

Clashes erupted elsewhere in southern Mogadishu between insurgents and AU forces backing Somali government troops, witnesses said.

Hard line Islamist militants seeking to overthrow the weak transitional government of Western-backed moderate President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed have repeatedly targeted the 5,000-strong AU peacekeeping force, made up of troops from Uganda and Burundi.

Since being deployed in the war-riven Somali capital in 2007, the AU force has lost 34 troops.