China Daily (Hong Kong)
Grisly aftermath of Somali car bomb
At least 10 people, including militants and civilians, were killed in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, on Saturday after a suicide car bombing targeted a security checkpoint near the presidential palace, according to the Kenyan newspaper Nation, citing police sources.
Abdifatah Aden Hassan, the country’s police spokesman, said a vehicle laden with explosives rammed into cars and trucks at a checkpoint leading to the entrance of the presidential palace, killing at least 10 people and wounding nine others, according to the newspaper.
However, news agencies including Agence France-Presse had earlier reported the death toll at eight.
The group, Al-Shabab, which is fighting the Somali government, later claimed responsibility for the bombing.
The checkpoint where it occurred is the one used by Somalia’s president and prime minister on their way to and from the airport in Mogadishu.
“The casualties included a mother heading to a nearby mother and child health clinic,” Hassan said.
The prime minister’s office said one of its staff members was a victim of the explosion. Reports by Xinhua News Agency indicated that security forces were deployed to the scene.
Earlier this month, the African Union Mission in Somalia, or Amisom, asked for backup from the United Nations in peacekeeping.
Bankole Adeoye, the African Union’s commissioner for political affairs, peace and security, said Amisom, which has almost 20,000 troops in Somalia, will require new funding to extend its mandate beyond the end of this year.
“We hope by the end of October, when we have to go back to the UN Security Council, we will be in a better place to say this is what Africa, Somalia and the UN all want together,” Adeoye said.
Saturday’s blast occurred just hours after a suicide bomber detonated an explosive near Somali military headquarters in the capital. No casualties were reported.
The Al-Shabab was routed from Mogadishu in 2011 by the allied forces and has had to abandon most of its strongholds, but it still controls vast rural areas and remains the key threat to peace in Somalia. “Al-Shabab is behind the blast,” Hassan said. “Al-Shabab massacres civilians.”
Somalia’s Prime Minister, Mohamed Roble, condemned the attack and paid tribute to the slain, saying that the whole nation has to help in the fight against the militants who regularly kill its citizens.