Families of men killed in Somalia stunned, devastated

Zandile Mbabela, John Harvey and Yolande Stander

PORT Elizabeth father-of-three Alan Simpson was preparing to come home for the birth of his first grandchild when he was killed in a deadly assault on a United Nations facility in Somalia.

Simpson, 53, and Morne Lotter, 42, of Oudtshoorn – both described as great family men – died in the al-Shabaab attack in Mogadishu, which left about 16 people dead, on Wednesday.

The militants detonated a car bomb outside the main UN compound before several gunmen breached the perimeter wall. They shot dead four foreigners, including a UN employee and three contractors.

Somali guards pinned the assailants back with volleys of sustained gunfire, preventing the attackers from penetrating deeper into the UN premises where some staff sought refuge in a safe zone and others hid in their offices.

African Union peacekeepers and government soldiers joined a fierce gunbattle that lasted about 90 minutes before the militant fighters were killed. Somalia’s government said some exploded suicide vests.

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