Mogadishu bombing kills five and injures seven

Al Shabab claims attack during rush hour in central district of Somalia's capital

Deadly suicide bombing strikes Somalian capital

Deadly suicide bombing strikes Somalian capital
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A bomber fleeing police blew himself up at a busy cafe in central Mogadishu on Tuesday, killing at least five people and injuring seven others, police and witnesses confirmed.

“I heard a huge explosion and saw flying body parts followed by a huge smoke and pandemonium as we ran for our lives,” witness Ali Abdallah told The National, speaking moments after the explosion during mid-morning rush hour.

The explosion burnt a car nearby and damaged buildings in the city's old district, which hosts the mayor of Mogadishu’s office as well as other government offices.

Al Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. The terrorist group is fighting to overthrow the internationally recognised Somalia government.

Police confirmed a man had blown himself up at the cafe in Mogadishu.

“A suicide bomber who was being pursued by police officers blew himself up at the entrance of Al-Hindi Hotel while running away from the law enforcement officers,” police spokesman Maj Sadiq Adan Ali told The National.

The coastal capital of Somalia, Mogadishu, enjoyed a long peaceful spell before Tuesday’s explosion, which was heard many kilometres from the scene.

Al Shabab has lost territory to the government in its heartlands of central and southern Somalia.

However, the group reportedly signed a deal recently with pirates that could increase its funds.

The latest attack also comes at a time when relations between Somalia and Ethiopia, two old rivals in the Horn of Africa, are at their lowest point following a recent agreement between Ethiopia and the northern breakaway enclave of Somaliland to give Addis Ababa a 20km-long naval base in northern Somalia.

Somalia challenged the agreement, claiming Ethiopia interfered with its sovereignty and territorial boundary and kick-started a diplomatic campaign to expose what it calls Ethiopia’s fragrant abuse of international diplomatic norms.

Ethiopia and Somalia share a long land border and Ethiopian forces are in Somalia as part of African Union peacekeeping.

Addis Ababa has just announced it will not attend a regional mediation meeting scheduled for Thursday in Kampala, Uganda. Somalia had called the meeting of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, of which both countries are members.

Updated: January 16, 2024, 10:45 PM