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The dead included nine Al-Shabab fighters wearing military fatigues and two government officials; Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was unharmed, the ministry statement said.
Minister for National Security Abdelkarim Hussein Guled said that two car bombs were used to break through the compound gate as fighters tried to storm the building, but were stopped by security forces and African Union (AU) troops.
A UN statement praised security forces and AU troops for their quick action, but added that the “secretary-general is concerned that the recent attacks perpetrated by Al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia are clearly aimed at destabilizing the country at a time when many efforts are being mobilized to restore peace and development”.
“[Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon] reiterates the United Nations’ unwavering support for their determined efforts to build a peaceful and stable Somalia,” the statement added.
Last week, a car bomb targeted a meeting of senior police officers at a Mogadishu hotel, injuring four people.
On January 1, a similar attack against the Jazira Hotel near the airport in Mogadishu, killed 11 people.