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Casualties feared in suicide car bombing in Mogadishu

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-02-13 15:41

MOGADISHU -- One person was killed and seven others injured when a suicide bomber drove a vehicle laden with explosives past a security checkpoint in Somalia capital, Mogadishu early Saturday, the police have confirmed.

Sadiq Aden, the police spokesman said the suicide bomber died after the police shot at his vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) which exploded at a checkpoint junction near the Somali presidential palace.

Aden also confirmed that eight vehicles and nine motorcycles were destroyed in the blast, adding that no one was killed as people fled the scene soon after the shooting.

"Nobody was killed except the terrorist. The blast left seven civilians wounded, eight vehicles and nine rickshaws extensively damaged," he told Xinhua.

Aden said the VBIED had sped off at the police checkpoint in Debka Junction, prompting the police to pursue it but reached the presidential guard checkpoint where it exploded after security forces fired at the vehicle.

The checkpoint at Sayidka junction is strategic as it links Mogadishu to a secure area which hosts Parliament, the presidential palace and other key installations.

A police officer said the VBIED was heading towards parliament when security forces manning the Debka junction fired at it after it failed to stop at Sayidka checkpoint.

"The car was being chased by the police and when the suicide bomber attempted to pass through the checkpoint the security forces fired at the car killing the suicide bomber and then the car exploded," the officer said.

Witnesses reported the blast saying huge smoke was billowing from the scene

"The blast was huge and the security forces cordoned off the area, there were casualties and mass destruction of properties," Ibrahim Abdi, a witness said.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the latest attack which comes as Somali leaders are due to hold a consultative meeting aimed at breaking the deadlock on the electoral process on Monday.

The Somali National Army (SNA) backed by African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) drove al-Shabab out of Mogadishu, but the group is still capable of conducting attacks, targeting government installations, hotels, restaurants and public places.

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