Unicef today released the names of four of their colleagues who were killed in a horrific attack as they travelled to work on Monday in Garowe, northern Somalia. Among those killed is one Ugandan woman identified as Ms Brenda Kyeyune, who had managed social mobilization and communication initiatives in support of polio eradication in Somalia since 2014.

Others killed include; Mr Payenda Gul Abed, who had been coordinating Unicef’s polio immunization efforts in Garowe since May 2014, Ms. Woki Munyui, who had been supporting Unicef’s education work in Somalia since 2007 and Mr. Stephen Oduor, who had been undertaking vital administrative work for Unicef Somalia since 2010.
Unicef honoured their sacrifice and described them as heroes who were dedicated to building a better world for the children of today.

Five other Unicef staff are being treated for injuries sustained in the attack. Two local security personnel, unrelated to Unicef, were also killed as a result of the attack, and four others injured.

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Unicef said, “Our thoughts are with the families of all who died, with those who were injured, and with all our staff who continue to work tirelessly in Somalia to support women and children.”

Below Unicef gives key facts about the incident


What more information do you have about the attack?
The UNICEF staff members were being transported in a van from the Guest House where they were staying to the UNICEF office. The van stopped outside the nearby FAO compound to collect a staff member when there was an explosion. The cause of the explosion is being investigated. It is believed it was a suicide bomber.

What are the updated casualty figures and what is happening to the injured?
Four UNICEF staff members were killed in the attack and their families have been notified. Five other UNICEF staff members were injured. Four are being airlifted to Nairobi; the fifth has only minor injuries. Two Somalia security personnel were also killed in the attack. They were guards at FAO.

What is the nationality of those UNICEF staff who were killed?
Of those who were killed, two were Kenyan nationals, one Ugandan and one colleague was a national of Afghanistan.

Was this a direct attack on UNICEF?
The vehicle was clearly marked with “UN”. We do not yet know if it was an attack on the United Nations, or specifically on UNICEF.

 Have there been attacks like this before?
There have been several incidents in Somalia where the UN has come under attack.

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 which 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.

What work is UNICEF doing in Somalia?
UNICEF has been working to improve the situation of Somali women and children since 1972 and has developed a nationwide network of partnerships with both international and national Non-Governmental Organizations and Community Based organizations to deliver projects and services in the areas of water, education, health and nutrition and child protection. The programme encompasses emergency response operations as well as early recovery and development approaches. UNICEF’s programme is implemented and monitored through the presence of staff based in Mogadishu, Galkayo, Baidoa, Hargeisa and Garowe.

Will UNICEF evacuate from Somalia?
UNICEF is constantly monitoring the security situation in the areas where its staff are working. Security experts are currently in Garowe and will assess the situation. It is too early to make any decisions.

Do you know who was responsible for the attack?
This is a question for the security services in Puntland. AlShabaab has claimed responsibility.

What kind of security does UNICEF have in Garowe?
UNICEF takes security extremely seriously and has measures in place to provide protection to all our staff. However we do not discuss specific details of security measures.

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