Suicide bomber strikes near Somali presidential palace

883

A suicide bomber blew himself up near the Somali presidential palace killing at least one soldier and wounding two others in a strike apparently aimed at the country’s leaders, a palace guard at the scene said.

Officials working in the palace and palace guards said Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was abroad at the time of the blast and the country’s prime minister, near whose house the explosion took place was safe.
“The bomber killed one soldier and injured two others,” the guard told Reuters. “The man blew up himself near a wall between the Ethiopian embassy and the Somali PM’s residence.”

The two buildings are inside a sprawling compound that also houses the presidential palace, Reuters reports.

Guards at the palace who declined to be named said the blast partially damaged a small room made of iron sheets where the prime minister’s guards are stationed, but little else was damaged. Buildings and cars within the compound were untouched.

Security in Mogadishu has improved greatly since Islamist rebels allied to al Qaeda were driven from the capital of the Horn of Africa country by African peacekeeping (AMISOM) troops in late 2011, but the nation’s coastal city remains dogged by bombings and assassinations blamed on the militants.



However, police said the capital has seen relative calm this year and that the blast was the first there so far this year.