Thursday 25 May 2017

Car bomb kills at least seven at restaurant in Somalia's capital

Somali security forces at the scene of a car bomb attack on a restaurant in Mogadishu (AP/Farah Abdi Warsameh)
Somali security forces at the scene of a car bomb attack on a restaurant in Mogadishu (AP/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

At least seven people have been killed by a massive car bomb blast at a restaurant in Somalia's capital.

There are fears that al-Shabab extremists, who have vowed to destabilise the country's new government, are behind the blast.

Several others were injured in the blast near the ministries of internal security and youth and sports in Mogadishu, Colonel Ahmed Hashi said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast. However, the al Qaida-linked Islamic extremist group al-Shabab group often carries out such attacks.

The powerful blast largely destroyed the restaurant. Police pulled the body of a man from the rubble and said there may be more. Soldiers pushed back a surging crowd and fired in the air to disperse people.

The extremists have been pushed out of the capital and other major urban areas in Somalia by national and African Union multinational forces, but they continue to carry out deadly bombings and attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.

Targets have included hotels, military checkpoints and the presidential palace.

Al-Shabab has denounced new Somali-American President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed as an "apostate" and warned Somalis against supporting him. Al-Shabab was kicked out of Mogadishu under Mr Mohamed's brief term as prime minister in 2010-2011.

Mr Mohamed, who was elected in February, has vowed to make security a priority in the long-chaotic nation where the fragile central government is trying to extend its control beyond selected areas, including the capital.

AP

Press Association

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