At Least 3 People Killed in Car Bomb Attack, Gunfire Near African Union Headquarters in Somalia; Death Toll Likely to Rise
A Somali police officer says a suicide car bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at a security checkpoint near Mogadishu’s international airport, killing at least three people.
Captain Mohamed Hussein says the car bomber detonated the bomb as security forces were searching cars at the checkpoint, a few hundred metres from the main base of the African Union (AU) peacekeeping headquarters.
So far we know three of the security forces died. We believe al Shabaab is behind the attack,” Mohamed Ahmed, a police officer, told Reuters.
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He said the death toll was likely to go up because the bomb was powerful. The powerful blast blew roofs and doors off nearby buildings.
A Reuters photographer at the scene saw the burnt-out shell of the bomber’s car and another vehicle nearby on fire.
The checkpoint is close to United Nations offices and the Peace Hotel, which is often frequented by foreigners and officials.
A second blast and heavy gunfire could also be heard at the checkpoint after the attack, but there were no immediate details.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. However, the al-Qaida linked Islamic extremist group al-Shabab often carries out such attacks.
Despite being ousted from most of its key strongholds across large parts of south and central Somalia, the group continues to wage deadly attack across the country.
Somalia’s capital has seen frequent bomb attacks at hotels and military checkpoints. The assaults have threatened this Horn of Africa nation’s attempts to rebuild from decades of chaos.
The country’s presidential election, a key step toward recovery, already has been delayed multiple times because of security and other concerns.
In July at least 13 people died in two car bomb attacks near an entrance to the airport.
SOURCE: Harriet Agerholm