At least five injured after explosion at mayor’s office in Mogadishu

MOGADISHU, Jan. 22 (Reuters) – Islamist fighters detonated a bomb and stormed a government building in Somalia’s capital on Sunday, killing at least five civilians, the information ministry said.

Attackers from the al-Shabaab group raided the block housing the office of the mayor of Mogadishu around noon and became entangled in a firefight with security forces, the ministry and witnesses said.

Security killed six of the militants and cleared the area around 6 p.m., the ministry said on its Facebook page.

Al Shabaab has stepped up attacks in a show of resilience since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s government launched an offensive against the al Qaeda-affiliated group in August.

“We were in the office and an explosion went deaf. We ran outside. Gunshots followed,” Farah Abdullahi, who works in the mayor’s office, told Reuters.

Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Aamin Ambulance Services, gave a higher estimate of the death toll, saying it had transported the bodies of eight civilian victims.

At least another 16 people were injured in the attack, he added.

The mayor’s office is located in the local government headquarters in a well-guarded area of ​​Mogadishu.

Roads in the area have concrete barriers and multiple roadblocks. The building is about 1.5 km away from Villa Somalia, the office of the president.

Al Shabaab said in a statement that the suicide bombers struck, “then foot fighters entered the building after killing the building guards”.

The movement, which has been fighting against the government since 2006 and trying to impose its own interpretation of Islamic law, regularly carries out bombings and gun attacks across the country.

In a sign that the government was expanding its offensive against the group to the south of the country, state television from Jubbaland, one of the country’s semi-autonomous states, reported on Sunday that regional and Somali federal forces had launched attacks on Al-Shabaab. and control of the town of Janay Abdale from the militants.

Reporting by Abdi Sheikh; Additional Reporting by Feisal Omar Written by Elias Biryabarema Edited by Tomasz Janowski, Susan Fenton and Andrew Heavens

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

Leave a Comment