(MENAFN- Gulf Times) A car bomb exploded at a checkpoint near Somalia's presidential palace yesterday, killing eight people, police said, as the Al Shebaab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.
“We have confirmed that eight people most of them civilians died and seven others wounded in the car bomb blast”, district police chief Mucawiye Ahmed Mudey told reporters.
The bombing took place during the late morning within a kilometre of Villa Somalia, the presidential palace.
Witnesses said the car bomb was detonated when police stopped the driver for a security check. The blaze spread to other vehicles, trapping their occupants.
“They normally stop to check and clear vehicles before they can pass by the checkpoint. This car was stopped by the security guards and it went off while there were several other cars and people passing by the nearby road. I saw wounded and dead people being carried,” said witness Mohamed Hassan.
Among the dead was the prime minister's adviser for women and human rights Hibaq Abukar, officials said.
Prime Minister Mohamed Roble condemned the attack and paid tribute to Abukar, whom he called“a young hard-working vibrant girl with honesty” as well as a“devoted citizen.” Roble added:“We have to co-operate in the fight against the ruthless terrorists who regularly kill our people”.
Mohamed Roble and President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, are locked in a dispute over hiring and firing of security staff that threatens to further delay the nation's presidential election set for October 10.
The radical Al Shebaab claimed responsibility for yesterday's bombing in a brief statement.The group controlled the capital until 2011 when it was pushed out by African Union troops, but it still holds territory in the countryside and launches frequent attacks against government and civilian targets in Mogadishu and elsewhere.
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