Somali market car bomb kills nine in Mogadishu

Black smoke could be seen rising over the city

Smoke rises after an explosion in Mogadishu, Somalia February 4, 2019 in this video screen grab taken from social media. Ali Abdirahman/via REUTERS   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. MANDATORY CREDIT.
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At least nine people were killed after a huge blast shook a busy market in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Monday, news agencies reported.

The blast was caused by the detonation of an explosive-laden car parked near a mall close to Mogadishu's local government offices.

A plume of white smoke could be seen rising above the scene of the blast.

"There was a strong explosion at the Hamarweyne market," police officer Ibrahim Mohamed told AFP. "We have no details for now but the area where the blast happened is a densely populated market."

Militant group Al Shabab frequently carries out bombings in Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia against government military and other targets.

The group is trying to remove the Western-backed central government and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of sharia law.

Al Shabab's militants also carry out attacks outside Somalia especially in Kenya to pressure the country to return its troops who form part of the peacekeeping force Amisom that helps defend the central government.

Its latest assault in Kenya, a suicide and gun attack at an office and hotel complex in the capital Nairobi last month killed 21 people.