An employee with the World Health Organization (WHO) was among those killed in the weekend siege of a beachside hotel in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, the head of the UN health agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, confirmed on Sunday.
The siege left six civilians dead and another 10 wounded, according to police reports.
“I’m heartbroken that we have lost a WHO staff member in the recent attack in #Mogadishu, #Somalia,” Ghebreyesus tweeted on Sunday. “My heartfelt condolences to their families and to everyone who lost a loved one. We condemn all attacks on civilians and humanitarian workers.”
The hotel, popular with government officials and members of the business community, was attacked by heavily armed gunmen on Friday evening, who detonated a car bomb outside the building before storming in.
The attack was claimed by the Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group, Al-Shabaab, which has been waging an insurgency against the internationally backed federal government in Somalia for more than 15 years.
Al-Shabaab has often targeted hotels, which tend to host high-ranking Somali and foreign officials.
The group has also carried out attacks against aid workers and journalists, as well as civilians.
In response to the attack, the Somali government has vowed to step up its efforts to combat terrorism, with Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble calling for an urgent meeting with senior security officials.
The government has also declared three days of mourning for the victims of the attack.
The attack comes at a time of heightened political tensions in Somalia, with the country set to hold parliamentary and presidential elections later this year.
The international community has expressed concern that the ongoing violence and insecurity in the country could undermine the electoral process and lead to further instability.