Quotes on the Attack

On the second day of the […] Conference, the UN […] Compound in Mogadishu came under attack by Al Shabaab militants.  The next three and a half hours, the sounds of gunfire and explosions were heard across the city as Somali National Forces with the support of AMISOM attempted to secure the compound.

“For the UNESCO-UNICEF team, this was a period of great stress, as we needed to be ready to immediately leave the venue without unduly alarming anyone,” said Michael Croft, the UNESCO team leader,  who was in constant contact with the offices and the security focal point at Headquarters during this difficult time.

 “Participants knew very well what was taking place and were watching us closely to see if we would exit, which would have threatened to divert attention away from the proceedings and cause serious concern. 

“Contact had to be established immediately with Regional Office and Headquarters (and family) to inform them of our situation and the fact that we were ok – and we needed to discuss the situation with the Minister under whose authority the NEC was taking place.  And all the while we were of course terribly worried for the safety of the colleagues and friends at the UNCC. The strained expressions on our faces showed our concern. We could all hear the ferocity of the assault nearby. But we supported each other and tried to focus on our responsibilities, which helped us get through a very long and emotional day.”

By : Michael Croft
UNESCO Programme Coordinator

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