Somalia: Car bomb kills at least four near parliament in Mogadishu

Officials say device detonated just 200 yards from presidential palace

Tom Barnes
Sunday 25 March 2018 16:41 BST
Police said the blast had left at least four people dead and injured almost a dozen others
Police said the blast had left at least four people dead and injured almost a dozen others (AP)

At least four people have been killed after a car bomb exploded close to Somalia’s parliament building in the capital, Mogadishu.

A device was detonated at a checkpoint close to the interior ministry after soldiers had stopped a suspicious vehicle on Sunday, senior Somali police officer Capt Mohamed Hussein said.

The blast took place on a road leading to the presidential palace, just 200 yards from the complex’s main gates.

Capt Hussein said at least four people had died in the explosion, including two soldiers, while 10 rickshaw rivers had also been injured.

A few hours earlier, another car bomb outside the capital had killed two people, including the driver.

Officers said the explosion occurred after soldiers arrived at the scene to inspect the "suspicious" car, which had become stuck on a sandy road in the Sinka Dheer area.

The latest bombings come just three days after at least 14 people were killed and 10 others wounded in a car bomb blast near Mogadishu’s Weheliye hotel on the busy Makka Almukarramah road.

No party immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, although the city is often targeted by the al Qaeda-linked extremist group al-Shabaab.

The Islamist group has been blamed by Somali authorities for a truck bombing in October, which killed 512 people, the deadliest attack in the nation’s history.

The Horn of Africa nation continues to struggle to counter al-Shabaab.

Concerns have risen over plans to hand over the country's security to Somalia's own forces as a 21,000-strong African Union force begins a withdrawal that is expected to be complete in 2020.

The US military, which has stepped up efforts against al-Shabaab in the past year with dozens of drone strikes, has said Somali forces are not yet ready.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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