NOV. 26, 2016
MOGADISHU, Somalia — A car bomb exploded near a police station in a busy market in the Somali capital on Saturday, killing at least 11 people and injuring 16 others, a police official said.
The attack targeted a police station in Mogadishu’s Waberi neighborhood while President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had been visiting a university, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein.
Car bomb explodes near police checkpoint in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu [EPA]
He said the death toll was likely to rise, citing the horrific injuries suffered by the victims.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremist group al-Shabab often carries out such attacks.
Al-Shabab, which seeks to establish an Islamic emirate ruled by a strict version of Shariah law, has waged an insurgency against Somalia’s weak U.N.-backed government.
More than 22,000 peacekeepers are deployed in Somalia in the multi-national African Union force. Al-Shabab opposes the presence of foreign troops.
Despite being ousted from most of its key strongholds in south and central Somalia, the group continues to launch deadly guerrilla attacks against the Somali government and African Union forces across large parts of the horn of Africa nation.
AFP and Al Jazeera
“The whole market is ruined and people perished. The death toll is sure to rise,” Colonel Abdikadir Farah, a police officer, told Reuters news agency.
Medical sources told the AFP news agency the death toll could be as high as 30.
“There was chaos and severed dead bodies strewn around the street. The market was so busy with people shopping when the blast ripped through the area. I saw many dead bodies but I could not count, I have helped collect more than 10 of them,” said Abdulahi Osman, who witnessed the blast.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but immediate suspicion fell on the Al-Qaeda linked group al-Shabab, locked in battle against the Somali government and which regularly mounts attacks in the city.
Its most deadly recent attack was in August when a car bomb outside a popular hotel close to the presidential palace left 15 dead.
Somalia is still battling insurgency while it seeks to rebuild after more than two decades of conflict and chaos.
It is holding a vote at polling centres across the country over several weeks for a new parliament.
Some 14,000 people representing Somalia’s federal states have been chosen to pick the 275 lawmakers. Those members of parliament will choose a new president.
The government, UN officials and international donors have said security issues prevented a broader vote.
The parliamentary vote was due to end on November 30, after several delays, but an official said it was now likely to last until mid-December.
Source: News Agencies
Tags: African Union, al-Qaida-linked Islamic extremist group, Al-Shabaab, Al-Shabab, Al-Shabab terrorists, car bomb, Islam, Islamic State inspired, Mogadishu, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Shariah law, Somalia