MOGADISHU: At least six people were killed when a suicide car bomb struck a local government office in central Mogadishu on Sunday, destroying the building and a seminary opposite it.
Islamist militant group Al Shabaab said it was behind the attack on the Hawlwadag district office, which also blew off the roof of a mosque and damaged houses nearby.
At least six people had been killed, including soldiers, civilians and the suicide bomber, and a dozen injured, according to police officer Mohamed Hussein.
The seminary was open but at the time of the blast most children were away from the building on a break.
Earlier the director of the Amin ambulance service said that at least 14 people had been injured, including six children.
A journalist on the scene saw a human hand and blood stains in the rubble as people searched for survivors.
“The blast was very huge, it affected several nearby buildings including a [holy] Quran school and a mosque,” said witness Abdukadir Dahir.
“Eight people were injured, among them several students who stayed at a nearby madressah,” he added.
Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, said the group had carried out the attack. “We are behind the suicide attack.
“We targeted the district office in which there was a meeting. We have killed 10 people so far, we shall give details later.”
Somalia suffered the worst terrorist attack of its history in October last year. More than 500 people were killed in Mogadishu in a truck bombing attributed to Al Shabaab.
The Islamists, forced out of the capital in 2011, are fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government. They still hold sway over vast rural areas.
A 20,000-strong African Union Mission in Somalia was deployed in 2007 under a UN mandate to shore up the government.
Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2018