Mogadishu(Gundhig)-At least six people were killed, including two children, after a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle on Sunday outside a district headquarters in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, the authorities said.
Capt. Mohamed Hussein said the bomber tried to speed through a checkpoint but was stopped by security forces, prompting him to detonate the vehicle near the gate of Howlwadag district headquarters.
The Shabab, a Qaeda-linked extremist group based in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack, which shattered a period of calm in Mogadishu.
The three soldiers who stopped the truck were killed instantly, and three civilians also died, said Salah Hassan Omar, the spokesman for the Mogadishu mayor’s office.
Fourteen people, including six children, need intensive care, said the Aamin Ambulance service. Among the wounded was deputy district commissioner, Ibrah Hassan Matan.
Many victims were students at a nearby Islamic school, and officials warned that the toll from the blast, which brought down several buildings, including a mosque, could rise.
“I saw bodies strewn on the ground after the explosion before the ambulances and the paramedics reached the scene, and the whole scene was very ugly,” said a witness, Halima Mohamed.
Captain Hussein said that the Shabab, which often select targets in the capital, including a truck bombing in October that left at least 512 people dead, “failed to achieve their goal of inflicting maximum casualties.”
Somali troops are scheduled to take over the nation’s security in the coming years from an African Union force, but concerns about their readiness remain high.
The Security Council recently voted to push back the reduction of troops in the African Union force to February from October and the target date to hand over security to Somali forces to December 2021.