Somalia: Bomb blast goes off in Mogadishu, several feared dead
MOGADISHU, Somalia - A huge explosion was reported in Mogadishu, the Somali capital on Saturday morning, in an attack that comes amid ongoing elections and sharp dispute between outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and PM Mohamed Hussein Roble.
Witnesses said the explosion took place in the vicinity El-Gab of Mogadishu close to the checkpoint of the Presidential Palace. It's not clear who was the immediate target but the area is near Villa Somalia, which hosts President Farmaajo and his staff.
Some witnesses reported that an explosion from a car bomb near a checkpoint leading to the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu hit a number of vehicles moving towards the busy checkpoint, manned by security forces
Multiple casualties have been reported but at the time of going to the press, the exact number of those who died and, or suffered serious injuries could not be established. Rescue teams have arrived at the scene to evacuate civilians and members of security forces
The explosion went off at 10:50 a.m., Mogadishu time. In Somalia, Saturday I a normal working day given that majority of the residents are Muslims who usually rest on Friday before embarking on normal businesses throughout the weekend.
Al-Shabaab has immediately taken responsibility for the blast on its proxy media outlets. Al-Shabaab is known for such attacks targeting government buildings, military bases, and upscale hotels in the country.
The group has been targeting members of the security forces, innocent civilians, and senior government officials. For over 12 years, Al-Shabaab has been activating attacks across the country, with an aim of toppling the fragile UN-backed Somalia administration.
Also, the attack comes hours after the African Union Mission Forces signed an agreement with the Somalia National Army for joint operations. The AMISOM troops have been working hard to restore order and sanity in Somalia.
This is a developing story, keep following Garowe Online for more updates.