Somalia's capital hit by major terror attack amid busy electoral schedule

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - Al-Shabaab militants on Wednesday night waged numerous attacks within the capital Mogadishu, just as the country rushes to beat crucial elections timeline amid pressure from members of the international community.

Initial reports indicate that the militants, who have since taken responsibility, targeted the south and northern suburbs of Mogadishu. The first explosion occurred in Kahda as militants attacked a police station while the second explosion was reported in the DaruSalaam area in Yaqshid.

Police in the capital initially confirmed two simultaneous Al-Shabaab attacks in Kahda and in the DaruSalaam neighborhood of Yaqshid district. Residents in Kahda confirmed that fierce gunfire was exchanged following the explosion in Kahda, reports indicate.

Casualties were reported following the Al-Shabaab attack on Kahda police station as militants were reportedly forced to retreat as one police vehicle damaged. The second explosion is said to have targeted a local district official in Mogadishu whose name was not immediately revealed.

In their proxy media sites, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for carrying out six attacks in Mogadishu last night. The group said two suicide car bombs were involved in two attacks at Kahda police station and Dar Al-Salaam where massive damages were reported.

In addition to the two suicide car bombs followed by infantry attacks, Al-Shabaab reported a third attack in another part of Kahda; and three more attacks in Daynile, Elasha Biyaha and Hodan aimed at disrupting reinforcements, group claims. Somali government said attacks were repulsed.

Some reports indicate that the group has briefly seized control of Kahda district police station. Meanwhile, Haramacad's military base at the outskirts of the city came under heavy attack, further showcasing the porous situation in the capital.

Until now, the exact number of casualties is yet to be released but Al-Shabaab claimed several people were killed in the process. The attack comes at the time the African Union and Somali government have agreed on the transition of AMISOM to ATMIS from March this year.

The group is seeking to overthrow the fragile UN-backed Somalia government which has been facing hostility for several years now. The group controls large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia according to the UN Panel of Experts.

GAROWE ONLINE

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