Govt Official, Three Others Killed In Somalia Car Bombing

A destroyed car is seen at the site where a car bomb exploded near the Somali parliament in Mogadishu, Somalia, on January 8, 2020. Abdirazak Hussein FARAH / AFP

 

 

At least four people were killed, including a senior government official, when a car bomb exploded close to a checkpoint near Somalia’s parliament in the capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, police said.

A plume of thick black smoke was seen over the city and witnesses said a number of vehicles were on fire.

Islamist group Al-Shabaab claimed the attack, after a rise in activity in recent days by the Al-Qaeda linked group which has seen it inflict mass casualties in Somalia and attack a US military base in Kenya.

“Explosives were packed in a vehicle which the security forces think was trying to pass through the checkpoint, but because he could not do that, the suicide bomber detonated it,” said police officer Adan Abdullahi.

“Initial reports we have received indicate four people were killed and more than 10 others were wounded in the blast.”

Bile Ismail, the manager of finances at the ministry for women and human rights, was among those killed, relatives and colleagues told AFP.

“We have indeed lost a brother and good friend in the blast this morning,” Abdiqani Omar, the ministry’s former director-general, told AFP.

“He was sitting in the car waiting in line at the checkpoint when the blast occurred and his body (was) badly burned inside the car,” he added.

– ‘There was chaos’ –

Abdirahman Mohamed, who was at a nearby grocery store when the blast occurred, said he saw several corpses.

“I saw the dead bodies of several people, some of them killed by shrapnel inside their vehicles. There was chaos… and ambulances reached the scene soon after the blast,” he said.

Shamso Ali, another witness, described “smoke and chaos along the road, the blast was very heavy”.

“Thanks to God I was a distance away but I saw the smoke and several vehicles caught on fire,” he said.

Mogadishu is regularly hit by attacks by the Shabaab, which has fought for more than a decade to topple the Somali government.

The powerful blast comes after the Shabaab claimed a car bombing in Mogadishu on December 28 that killed 81 people.

That attack, which hit a busy checkpoint in the southwest of the city, was Somalia’s deadliest assault in two years. Scores were wounded.

The Shabaab has also managed to expand its network in the region, especially in Kenya which has suffered several devastating attacks in retaliation for sending troops into Somalia in 2011.

On Sunday, three US citizens died and several aircraft and military vehicles were destroyed when the Shabaab stormed a military base in Kenya’s coastal Lamu region.

Also Sunday, just hours after the attack, police arrested three men who tried to force their way into a British military training camp in the central Kenyan town of Nanyuki.

The Al-Qaeda-linked group has in the past carried out bloody sieges against civilians in Kenya, such as the upmarket Westgate Mall in 2013 and Garissa University in 2015.

The uptick in attacks comes almost a year since the January 15 siege on an upscale Nairobi hotel which left 21 people dead.

In recent statements, the Shabaab has referred to an increase in US military airstrikes under President Donald Trump, accusing Washington of killing innocent civilians.

AFRICOM said in April it had killed more than 800 people in 110 strikes in Somalia since April 2017.

AFP

17 Dead, 28 Wounded In Somalia Bomb Blast

FILE PHOTO: A man passes in front of the rubbles of the popular Medina hotel of Kismayo on July 13, 2019, a day after at least 26 people, including several foreigners, were killed and 56 injured in a suicide bomb and gun attack claimed by Al-Shabaab militants. PHOTO: STRINGER / AFP

 

Seventeen people were killed and more than two dozen wounded when a car bomb exploded in Mogadishu on Monday, the latest deadly attack on Somalia’s capital claimed by Al-Shabaab militants.

The blast, near a security checkpoint on the main road to the international airport, reverberated throughout the city and sent massive plumes of black smoke into the air.

Witnesses described scenes of carnage as a car veered out of traffic and detonated outside the main gate of a hotel with tremendous force.

“I could see several people lying (on the ground), some of them dead in a pool of blood,” said Abdikarim Mohamed, a witness to the attack.

“The blast was huge. It did damage to several nearby buildings.”

Suado Ali was walking out of a travel agency when she “was forced to the ground by the shockwave”.

“I saw nearly ten people lying on the ground, some motionless and others screaming for help”, she told AFP.

Medina Hospital, the main trauma facility in the Somali capital, was inundated by the dead and wounded.

“The bodies of 17 people killed in the blast were taken to the hospital mortuary while 28 others were admitted for various wounds,” said Mohamed Yusuf, the hospital’s director.

Another witness, Abdullahi Ahmed, said at least two government security personnel manning one of the checkpoints on the road were killed in the blast.

‘Martyrdom operation’

Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group waging a deadly insurgency in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the bombing.

“The martyrdom operation was carried out using a vehicle loaded with explosives which targeted a checkpoint along the airport road,” the group said in a brief statement.

The attack comes just over a week after 26 people were killed and 56 injured in a 12-hour attack by Al-Shabaab jihadists on a popular hotel in the southern Somali port city of Kismayo.

In that attack, a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle loaded with explosives into the Medina hotel before several heavily armed gunmen forced their way inside, shooting as they went.

The attacks are the latest in a long line of bombing and assaults claimed by Al-Shabaab, which has fought for more than a decade to topple the Somali government.

The militant group emerged from the Islamic Courts Union that once controlled central and southern Somalia and is variously estimated to number between 5,000 and 9,000 men.

In 2010, the Shabaab declared their allegiance to Al-Qaeda.

In 2011, they fled positions they once held in the capital Mogadishu, and have since lost many strongholds.

But they retain control of large rural swathes of the country and continue to wage a guerrilla war against the authorities.

AFP

Nine Killed In Somali Market Car Bombing

Burning of cars at the scene where a car bomb exploded in Mogadishu,/ AFP

 

At least nine people were killed and several wounded when a car loaded with explosives blew up near a mall in a busy market in the Somali capital on Monday, police said.

“The blast occurred close to Mogadishu mall and it has caused death and destruction. Nine civilians were confirmed dead and several others are wounded,” police officer Ahmed Moalin Ali said.

 

At Least Four Dead In Colombia Car Bombing – Mayor

 

An apparent car bomb attack on a police cadet training school in the Colombian capital Bogota left at least four people dead and 10 injured Thursday, the city’s mayor said.

“It seems there was a car bomb inside the General Santander School,” said the mayor, Enrique Penalosa.

Early images from the City TV station showed ambulances moving around the area close to the school in the south of Bogota.

AFP