Gunmen have attacked a key United Nations compound near Mogadishu airport. The Somali Islamist group al Shabaab said its fighters had stormed the compound. African Union troops said they later secured the complex.
UN employees reportedly fled into bunkers at a United Nations Development Program (UNDP) compound in Mogadishu, Somalia's capital, on Wednesday during an attack by al-Qaeda-linked militants.
Troops from the African Union force AMISOM mobilized "within minutes" to restore control of the compound.
"AMISOM was at the UNDP compound within minutes and has it currently secured," the force said on its official Twitter account. Fighting and gunfire were heard for more than an hour after an initial blast.
UN officials who insisted on anonymity said the UN tried to assess the situation of its employees as it unfolded inside the compound.
"All I know is that it's sustained fire and they're inside," said one official quoted by the news agency Associated Press. "We have bunkers so all staff have been moved to bunkers where it's safe."
The compound lies across the street from Mogadishu's airport complex, where African Union military forces are based.
The compound is used by agencies like UNICEF, the WHO and the UNDP.
ipj/msh (AP, dpa, Reuters)