Somalia: Al-Shabab Car bombings shatter calm in Mogadishu
MOGADISHU, Somalia – A pair of car bombs exploded in different neighborhoods in Mogadishu on Saturday, shattering the relative calm that had prevailed in the capital for weeks, Garowe Online reports.
Other parts of the country have recently been hit by large-scale attacks, mainly against Somali security forces and their allied African Union forces, but until Saturday, June 15, Mogadishu had been spared.
The attacks began with a powerful car bomb blast at a security checkpoint near Somali parliament compound shortly after the MPs ended their session at 7 p.m. local time, despite heightened security.
Amina Hassan, a witness said the huge explosion sent towering plume of smoke into the sky visible across the seaside city and the soldiers at the checkpoint fired sustained gunfire towards the VBIED before it exploded.
Moments later, a second car bomb went off near the security checkpoint at the busy KM4 junction and resulted no casualties from the blast occurred along road leading to Mogadishu’s Aden Adde Int'l airport.
Zakia Hussein, Somalia’s deputy police commander confirmed that a suspect was arrested in the attack, adding that she will provide confirmed information about the first explosion at Sayidka junction shortly.
But, the private Aamin Ambulance service confirmed eight people killed and 16 others wounded in the blast near the building of Somali Parliament, close to the heavily fortified presidential palace, Villa Somalia.
The extremist group, al-Shabab which is fighting to overthrow the Somali government has claimed responsibility for the two latest attacks in Mogadishu, says the targets were the security checkpoints.
Somali troops backed by AU soldiers flushed the Al-Shabab out of Mogadishu, but the group is still capable of conducting attacks, targeting government installations, hotels, restaurants and public places.