Somalia: car bomb detonates after chase through Mogadishu

At least three people were killed and eight wounded as others fled scene after hearing police open fire

Security officers stand around the site of a car bombing attack near a security checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somalia, on February 13, 2021.  At least three people were killed and eight others wounded after a car bomb detonated near a security checkpoint along a key road in Mogadishu, security official and witnesses said. / AFP / STRINGER
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At least three people were killed and eight wounded when a vehicle being pursued by security forces exploded near a checkpoint in Mogadishu on Saturday.

According to reports, the vehicle exploded outside the Somali parliament compound, near the presidential palace.

Witnesses said they heard gunfire and saw cars and three-wheel tuk-tuks scatter before the explosion occurred.

"The police were chasing the hostile vehicle after spotting it a few kilometres away from where it exploded," security official Abdirahman Mohamed said.

"Three civilians died, according to the information we have received so far, and eight others are wounded.

"The police opened fire on the vehicle and chased it, and this has allowed many people to flee.

"This has really limited the number of casualties the blast could have caused," he said.

"I was at a gym close to where the blast occurred, but thanks to God we heard the gunshots before the blast," eyewitness Dahir Osman said.

"This alerted many people, including myself, and we fled from the area to take cover before the vehicle reached the area of the explosion."

"The blast was huge," said another witness, Aisha Ahmed.

"I was inside a shop and I saw police chasing a vehicle on the wrong side of the road.

"It crashed into several vehicles and tuk-tuks before it exploded close to the checkpoint, as police continued firing on the vehicle."

Mogadishu is regularly the target of attacks by Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabab extremists.

The group has been waging an insurgency seeking to unseat the internationally backed government in Mogadishu.

They were driven out of the capital in 2011, but still control large areas of territory from where they launch frequent strikes against government and civilian targets.