Somalia: several killed in Mogadishu truck bomb

BREAKING

Gunshots could be heard near the hotel in Mogadishu's Hodan district that appeared to be the main target of the initial detonation. Security forces had been trailing the truck after it raised suspicions, he said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The blast destroyed several buildings and left many people trapped under rubble.

The attacks follows after political impasse between the Federal government of Somalia and its member states, in what many believe could have been foreign interest based political interference. Rescue workers were at the scene.


"We know that at least 20 civilians are dead while dozens of others are wounded", said Abdullahi Nur, a police officer. While the group has lost large swathes of territory and was forced out of Mogadishu by African Union troops in 2011, the Shabaab continues to stage regular attacks in the capital and countryside.

According to witnesses, the vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) has gone off at busy intersection, Zoobe Area in downtown Mogadishu, sending volumes of smoke to the sky. The road and buildings nearby suffered damage by the explosion.

"There was a traffic jam and the road was packed with bystanders and cars", said Abdinur Abdulle, a waiter at a nearby restaurant. Overturned cars burned in the street. "It's a disaster", he said sadly.

The blast, which also wounded at least 15 people, occurred two days after the head of the U.S. Africa Command was in town to meet with Somalia's president. The US forces have stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against al-Shabab.

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