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Explosion, Gunfire Near Mayor’s Office In Mogadishu

Witnesses said the explosion damaged nearby buildings and gunfire could still be heard near the mayor's office.


Police officers take up positions outside of the Mayor’s office where an ongoing gun battle erupted following a reported explosion, in Mogadishu, on January 22, 2023. – A blast and gunfire has been heard in an ongoing attack at the mayoral offices in the Somali capital Mogadishu, police and witnesses said. “Terrorists blasted a vehicle loaded with explosives onto a perimeter wall of the Mogadishu mall which is next to the Banadir administration headquarters,” police officer Abdullahi Mohamed said as witnesses said gunfire was still ringing near the mayor’s office. (Photo by Hassan Ali ELMI / AFP)

 

A huge blast tore through buildings near the mayor’s office in central Mogadishu on Sunday, with gunfire erupting afterwards in an attack claimed by Al-Shabaab, police and witnesses told AFP.

“Terrorists blasted a vehicle loaded with explosives onto a perimeter wall of the Mogadishu mall which is next to the Banadir administration headquarters,” police officer Abdullahi Mohamed said.

Witnesses said the explosion damaged nearby buildings and gunfire could still be heard near the mayor’s office.

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“There is gunfire going on inside the vicinity of the main building but we don’t know what is happening inside,” a witness who runs a business near the offices said.

“There are some casualties but the whole area is cordoned off and we have been asked to move away by the security forces.”

Another witness, Omar Nur, said he was inside the mall when the explosion went off and “was lucky to have escaped safely.”

Al-Shabaab, a militant group allied with Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack via its communication channels, saying its fighters “made their way inside the targeted building after killing the security guards.”

The militants have been waging a bloody insurgency against the frail internationally backed central government for 15 years, carrying out attacks both in Somalia and neighbouring countries.