At least four people were killed and more than ten injured Wednesday in an attack claimed by the Islamists shebab in Mogadishu, where a car bomb exploded near the Parliament, announced the Somali police.
When it exploded, the car bomb was with other vehicles at a roadblock along the Maka Al-Mukarama road near the Sayidka area, where the Somali Parliament is located.
Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab Islamists who recently carried out several attacks, including Sunday against a US-Kenyan base in Kenya, neighboring Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack.
« The load was in a vehicle, » police officer Adan Abdullahi told AFP. « The security forces believe that because he couldn’t get past the roadblock, the suicide bomber blew him up. »
« There were other vehicles in the queue waiting for security at the roadblock when the explosion took place, » the same source added. « Initial information we have indicates that four people were killed and more than ten others injured. »
Thick black smoke rose in the sky over Mogadishu after the explosion, which was heard several kilometers away. Several shots were also heard in the aftermath of the explosion, but authorities have not confirmed any fighting between the security forces and Shebab.
Abdirahman Mohamed, a witness who was in a grocery store not far from the explosion site, said he saw « the bodies of several people killed by shrapnel in their vehicle ».
“It was chaos”
There was smoke and there was chaos along the road, ”said Shamso Ali, another witness. « The explosion was very strong (…), I saw smoke and several vehicles on fire ».
The shebab regularly carry out car bomb attacks in Mogadishu. They swore the loss of the Somali government, supported by the international community and the 20,000 men of the African Union force in Somalia (Amisom).
Driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, they lost most of their strongholds but still control large rural areas, from where they conduct their operations.
Despite costly international efforts to defeat them, these Islamist rebels carried out one of the deadliest operations of the decade in Somalia on December 28, when 81 vehicles were bombed in the capital.
On Sunday, they attacked an American-Kenyan military base in southeast Kenya, near the Somali border, killing three Americans.