Morning bomb blast targets security firm guarding UN offices in Somalia
MOGADISHU - A massive explosion in Mogadishu, the Somali capital, left eight people dead, police said, in the latest wave of violence instigated by terrorists in a country that has struggled with instability for over three decades.
An eyewitness told Garowe Online that a brief gunfight followed the explosion in the capital during morning rush hours in the city. The explosion, another witness said, took place at 7:30 am local time in the country.
The blast took place in the area of the former Abdiqasim presidential palace, targeting a convoy of a local security firm guarding UN offices, police noted. The officers however, didn't indicate if any UN staff member was affected.
According to the police, 17 people were critically injured as officers moved around the scene to comb the area before giving official report. Such explosions targeting members of security forces are common in the Horn of Africa nation.
The Al-shabaab militants have since taken responsibility for the explosion. Al-Shabaab media reported that the group is responsible for the explosion, adding that it was a suicide car bomb which targeted a convoy escorting “white officers” travelling from General Gordon training camp.
The Al-shabaab militants are well known for such attacks, targeting members of security forces, government officials and even innocent civilians. The Al-Qaida linked group has killed thousands of people since 2007.
The scene of the morning blast showed the destruction of buildings along the K4-Tarabunka road in Mogadishu with reports that civilians, including students, were injured in the attack. Rescue operations are currently underway in the capital.
Photos show Mocaasir school almost destroyed by the explosion. A health worker described what happened as “tragedy”, adding that security forces and other groups had activated emergency services in the scene of the explosion.
Previously, the Al-shabaab militants have been targeting various convoys especially those for the African Union Mission Forces and the Turkish nationals. The group accuses troops of targeting civilians in their operations.
AU forces have been helping the SNA troops liberate a number of towns across the country and are often targeted by the militants. Al-shabaab militants often target crowded areas within the capital besides taking at security forces in operations.
The attack comes at the time Somalia and AU are still in talks on the future of AMISOM within the country. While AU wants a hybrid mission with United Nations, Mogadishu has been pushing for a reconfigured AMISOM.