Suicide Car Bomb Rocks Downtown Mogadishu

REUTERS/Feisal Omar

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter
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A suicide bomber detonated a car explosive near Somali government offices in central Mogadishu on Sunday, killing at least four people and wounding several others.

The blast occurred at a heavily fortified checkpoint near Somalia’s parliament headquarters and interior ministry building. Soldiers intercepted and stopped a suspicious vehicle at the checkpoint when the driver set off the bomb, senior police Capt. Mohamed Hussein told The Associated Press.

Photos from the scene showed a car completely blown apart and the remnants of rickshaws destroyed in the blast.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Mogadishu is a frequent target of vehicle bombings often from members of the al-Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militant group, which is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed government.

The blast comes three days after a vehicle bomb killed at least 14 people and wounded 10 others on a busy street in Mogadishu. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for that attack.

Somalia’s security forces continue to battle the militant group, as well as a growing Islamic State franchise, in concert with 21,000-strong African Union force deployed there. The African Union troops are expected to completely withdraw from Somalia by the end of 2020.

The U.S. military, which conducts air strikes against Islamic militants in Somalia, expressed concern Somali government forces won’t be ready to assume full responsibility for the country’s security by then. More than 500 U.S. troops were deployed to Somalia but denied a “ramp-up” of American military personnel there, the Pentagon announced in late November 2017.

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