The mayor of the Somali capital of Mogadishu was wounded and at least six others killed in a suicide bomb attack Wednesday on a government building, the country’s information minister said.
The mayor, Abdirahman Omar Osman, was badly wounded in the blast, Somalia’s Minister of Information Mohamed Abdi Hayir told reporters. Among those killed were two district commissioners and three regional-level directors, he said. In addition to the mayor, five others also were wounded, Hayir said.
Terror group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying it targeted United Nations officials who were visiting the government building. CNN has not been able to independently confirm these claims.
Hours before the blast, James Swan, the UN special representative for Somalia and an American diplomat, met with the mayor and his district commissioners in the building but left after his meeting, police and the UN confirmed.
“I deplore this heinous attack which not only demonstrates a violent disregard for the sanctity of human life, but also targets Somalis working to improve the lives of their fellow Somalis in the Mogadishu-Banadir region,” Swan said in a statement.
“The United Nations stands with the people and government of Somalia in their rejection of such terrorist acts, and our thoughts are with the victims of this attack.”
Wednesday’s attack follows another a few days earlier when a bomb went off near Mogadishu’s international airport, killing 17 people. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for that attack.