Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said a deadly al-Shabab attack on a minibus carrying staffers of the U.N. children's agency is an attack not just on the U.N., but also on Somalia and its future.
In a statement, Mohamud said the attack confirms his view that al-Shabab is not interested in the future of Somalia, but only in promoting what he called "its own extremist agenda."
He said that as the Somali National Army and Somalia's international partners help bring Somalia under control, al-Shabab is "lashing out, thrashing in its death throes."
On Monday al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the apparent suicide attack that killed at least seven people in northern Somalia.
The attacker Monday targeted a minibus carrying staffers of the U.N. Children's Fund in the town of Garowe, as they traveled from their guest houses to their office. A source close to the U.N. in Garowe told VOA that a man raced on to the bus and detonated explosives strapped to his waist.
Local police said the dead included four foreigners, two Somalis and the bomber.
A reporter for VOA in Garowe said the foreigners included two Kenyans, a Ugandan and one Afghan, all of whom worked for UNICEF.
He said the U.N. airlifted the bodies and eight people wounded in the blast to Nairobi.
U.N. representative to Somalia Nicholas Kay called the attack a "blatant act of terrorism and a desperate attempt to derail Somalia's path toward peace and stability."
The bombing was al-Shabab's third deadly attack against international personnel in the span of three days.
On Sunday, al-Shabab militants killed three African Union peacekeepers from Burundi and wounded several other soldiers in the southern town of Lego.
The AU called that attack a "cowardly ambush."
"This attack on AMISOM peacekeepers is part of the continuous effort to subvert Somalia," AU envoy to Somalia Maman Sidikou said in a statement. "It is an attempt at disrupting the growth that is evident across all regions, by the enemies of the Somali people."
The governor of the Lower Shabelle region, Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur "Siidi," told VOA Somali that at least 11 al-Shabab militants were killed during an exchange of heavy fire.
An attack Saturday on a Kenyan convoy killed three soldiers and wounded eight others while they were on a patrol in the Delbio area of Lower Jubba region.
Al-Shabab is attempting to overthrow the Somali government and establish an Islamic state.
Earlier this month, al-Shabab staged an attack on Kenya's Garissa University College, killing 148 people. Al-Shabab said that attack was revenge for Kenyan military action in neighboring Somalia.
Somalia's government has placed bounties on the heads of 11 al-Shabab leaders, including the militant group's top leader and alleged mastermind of the massacre in Kenya, Mohamed Mohamud, also known as Dulyadin.