Somali government security building attacked


At least five people were killed and 21 wounded when militants from Somalia’s al Shabaab group set off two bombs in central Mogadishu and stormed a government building.

A Reuters witness saw an exchange of gunfire outside the building housing the security and interior ministries as well as police.

Smoke drifted from burning vehicles following a suicide car bombing close to the presidential palace and a second blast near the security building.
“We carried out five dead people and 21 injured. The death toll may rise,” Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Amin ambulance emergency service told Reuters.

The military operations spokesman for the Islamist group, Abdiasis Abu Musab, said it carried out both bombings and its fighters remained inside the government security building.

He said they killed more than 20 interior and security ministries workers and security personnel guarding the building. Al Shabaab typically gives death tolls higher than official reports.

Police official Major Mohamed Hussein said the second explosion happened when a vehicle carrying al Shabaab fighters to storm the building after the first explosion was detonated remotely.
“Al Shabaab remotely exploded the second car after they got out of it,” he said, adding a heavy exchange of fire continued at the occupied building.

Al Shabaab wants to topple Somalia’s Western-backed central government, expel the African Union-mandated peace keeping force AMISOM and establish a government based on its own strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

In a separate incident on Saturday, a roadside bomb killed a former district commissioner in Lower Shabelle and wounded three, according to police. Al Shabaab claimed responsibility.

Somalia has been gripped by violence and lawlessness since the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in the early 1990s.