Vehicle bombs kill at least 22 in Somalia's capital Mogadishu

15 October, 2017, 01:56 | Author: Kim Reid
  • A Somali soldier helps a civilian wounded in a blast in the capital Mogadishu Somalia Saturday Oct. 14 2017

Capt. Mohamed Hussein says the blast occurred Saturday as security forces were trailing the truck that had raised suspicions.

Police say 20 people were killed in the explosion in Mogadishu and at least 15 were injured.

"Initial reports from emergency departments indicate more than 20 bodies picked up off the street and many more are under the wreckage of buildings destroyed by the blast", said Ibrahim Mohamed, a senior police officer.

According to media reports, a massive vehicle bomb detonated outside the entrance to a hotel in the city's K5 junction, which is home to government offices, hotels and restaurants. Police expect the death toll to rise and said dozens of people were hurt.

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There has been no claim of responsibility but the al-Shaba extremist group often targets high-profile locations in the capital.

Witnesses said the first blast, which threw a thick cloud of smoke into the sky that could be seen across the city, badly damaged a nearby hotel and left scenes of devastation on the busy road.

"This was very terrible", witness Ismail Yusuf told AFP news agency.

The blast is the largest heard in Mogadishu in recent memory. "We are still busy transporting casualties", he added.

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Large contingent of Police and Para-military troopers had been deployed on roads to maintain law and order. Meanwhile, mobile Internet service has also been suspended in the district following the gunfight.

Al-Shabab, an armed group fighting to overthrow the internationally recognised government, has carried out frequent gun, grenade and bomb attacks in Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia.

The blast occurred two days after the head of the United States Africa Command was in Mogadishu to meet with Somalia's president, and after the country's defense minister and army chief resigned for undisclosed reasons.

A second explosion took place later in the city's Madina district.

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