In the aftermath of the deadly attack on UNICEF staff members that killed six people, the al-Qaeda-linked radical Islamist group has vowed to continue attacks against the United Nations agencies operating across Somalia.
Al Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamoud Rageh said in an audio statement that the group will step up its attacks against the UN agencies ‘’as long they are in our country’’.
A van ferrying UNICEF staff members in Garowe, the capital of Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland was torn apart after a suicide bomber after a suicide bomber detonated explosives. Four International staff died and six others were injured including local staff.
The attack drew wide condemnation from cross the country and abroad.
Following the attack, Puntland authorities declared that the security was under control and took decision to maximise security measures near vital and strategic utilities.
Somalia is one of the most hostile environments for humanitarian activities. Al Shabaab’s attacks on aid workers and agencies’ offices have made most of southern and central Somalia inaccessible.
In 2009, al Shabaab banned all United Nations agencies after it accused them for engaging in activities “hostile” to Islam.
Strict restrictions on aid activities and food distributions severely impacted humanitarian assistance operations in areas under al Shabaab control.
The severe conditions in southern Somalia have driven families to seek assistance in areas outside of al Shabaab’s control during that period.