Ugandan national among UN staff killed in Al-Shabaab Suicide Attack


Late Brenda Kyeyune


A Ugandan and two Kenyan nationals have been named as among the four UNICEF staff who were killed during a suspected Al Shebaab suicide attack on a UN convoy in Somalia’s northern region of Garowe.

The Ugandan who died in the attack which also left five UNICEF staff critically injured was identified as Brenda Kyeyune, who has been heading the social mobilization and communication initiatives in support of polio eradication in Somalia since 2014.

The Kenyan nationals were identified as Woki Munyui who has been working on UNICEF’s education programmes in Somalia and Stephen Odour, an administrator. Payenda Gul Abed, who had been coordinating UNICEF’s Polio immunizations efforts in Garowe since May last year was also killed in the attack.

James Elder, the Regional Chief of Communication for UNICEF, told this website that the injured staff were airlifted to the Kenyan capital Nairobi where they are being treated for serious injuries sustained in the attack.

The attack happened as the UNICEF staff members were being transported in a van from the Guest House where they were staying to the UNICEF office. The bomb exploded as the van stopped outside the nearby Food and Agricultural Organization (FA0) compound to collect a staff member.
The attack is the latest in a series of attacks in which workers of UN agencies have been targeted by the Islamic Al Shebaaba militants. On 25th December 2014 there was an attack against the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) at the Mogadishu Airport where many UN personnel are based that resulted in numerous deaths including of three AMISOM soldiers and a civilian contractor.

On 19 June 2013, a truck exploded outside the gate of the UN Common Compound in Mogadishu where UN staff lived and worked and attackers then entered on foot.

One international staff member, three contractors and four Somali security guards were among those killed. On 29 October 2008 two UN Somali staff, a local security advisor and a driver were killed in an explosion at the UN compound in Hargeisa which was part of a wave of attacks in Hargeisa and Bossasso.

“The horrific attack on our UNICEF colleagues in northern Somalia is an assault not only on them but on the people they served. Our immediate thoughts are with the families of the four staff members who were killed and with those who were injured. All of us at UNICEF are deeply saddened, and deeply angered,” said Anthony Lake, the UNICEF Executive Director.

“Our colleagues dedicated their lives to working for the children of Somalia. They are not victims. They and those who were wounded are heroes. We mourn their loss and hope for the full recovery of the injured. Our continuing work for the most vulnerable children and their families in Somalia will be a fitting tribute to those we have lost,” he added.
The Islamic militant group has claimed the attack. “We are behind the Garowe attack,” al-Shabaab’s military operations spokesperson, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab claimed