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 / Updated  / Source: Reuters

A bomb attack targeting a van carrying workers to a United Nations compound killed nine people on Monday, police said.

Authorities suspect Islamist al Shabaab militants of being behind the blast in Garowe in the Somali region of Puntland, police officer Mohamed Abdi said at the scene. Six bystanders were wounded, he added.

Images posted on social media showed a blood-spattered white minivan, its windows shattered. The vehicle's roof blown off.

Nicholas Kay, the U.N. Special Representative for Somalia, said he was "shocked and appalled by loss of life."

Al Shabaab has staged several attacks against U.N. officials in Somalia in recent years, most often in the capital Mogadishu, where the U.N has been helping a Western-backed government rebuild the country after more than 20 years of war.

- Reuters