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Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 10:12 UK

UN guards repel Somalia attack

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Militants have attacked a UN base in Somalia, but were repelled by security guards who fought back and killed three of the gunmen, the UN says.

A UN official said about 10 armed men stormed the base in Wajid, 250 miles (400km) north-west of Mogadishu.

The area is controlled by radical Islamists from the al-Shabab group, but it is unclear who launched the attack.

Several radical groups are fighting the UN-backed interim government for control of the country.

The Wajid compound is used for storing humanitarian supplies, and UN officials said they were not sure what the purpose of the attack was.

"After several minutes' shooting our security guards repulsed the attackers and killed three of them," an official told Reuters news agency, adding that one UN security guard was injured.

"We don't know what they planned, but we think they wanted to take over the whole compound and kidnap foreign aid workers."

The BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan, in Mogadishu, says although al-Shabab fighters control the town, they were not thought to have arranged the attack.

Aid workers are being increasingly targeted in Somalia and many non-governmental organisations have reduced their operations in the country.

It is estimated that about a third of Somalia's population is dependent on food aid.



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