Suicide bombing in Al-Shabaab near Somalia’s presidential palace kills 3
MOGADISHU, Somalia – Three civilians died immediately on Wednesday at a busy restaurant near Somalia’s presidential palace in Mogadishu, police say, in yet another attack targeting the security forces in the restless capital, Mogadishu.
He was wearing an explosive vest and the suspected suicide bomber Al-Shabaab detonated inside the small but cramped restaurant, killing three innocent civilians. He also died at the scene, officials said.
The attacker, whose identity could not be immediately determined, entered the restaurant, took a seat next to other customers before blasting explosives wrapped around his waist, witnesses say.
Passers-by were joking about security as several customers in the restaurant suffered serious injuries when authorities rushed to the scene to activate search and rescue missions, police added.
The attack, officials say, took place near the old Bar Bulsho dining room, which is almost adjacent to the Somalia parliament. Police secured the site and blocked access for civilians as they fought the area.
Although it is close to Parliament, some witnesses claimed, the restaurant is not visited by politicians. Instead, security forces and soldiers who manage the capital sometimes take meals with credit in it.
For a time, Al-Shabaab militants have targeted security forces and politicians, although their raids have often claimed many lives for civilians, especially in the capital Mogadishu.
The site of Wednesday’s attack is also located near the Sayidka intersection in Mogadishu, which is also a soft target of the militants, who have been tearing down CCTV cameras in Mogadishu in recent weeks, to minimize the degradation against them.
Through its friendly media, Al-Shabaab dismissed responsibility for the attack, saying that one of their fighters “detonated explosive west” where SNA troops “chewed khat” near parliament.
According to them, the attack left nine government soldiers dead and 24 others injured, the BBC reported Somali service, although the group did not deny or admit to killing innocent civilians.
In December last year, the group activated a truck with explosives and killed over 90 people, including 20 police officers and two Turkish contractors, officials say.
But in a statement, the group expressed “sympathy” for killing innocent civilians and insisting that the suicide bomber targeted a Turkish convoy near the Afgoye intersection in Mogadishu.
Later, there were reports that the attack fell to the fallout between group leader Ahmed Omar and two militants; Bashir Qorgab and Mahad Karate, who would later be banished. Qorgab died in a US drone attack in February.
Mogadishu had been relatively peaceful for months now, although the militants have often made occasional attacks. There are reports that the militants are also collecting taxes from companies, a statement conceded by Finance Minister Abdirahman Baileh Duale.
Recently, the militants dropped the hold on Janaale town in Lower Shebelle, where they were hit by heavy casualties. SNA troops have since taken over the agricultural-rich city, which was Zakat’s hub for the militants.
There are currently around 7,000 active Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia, most of whom are concentrated in central and southern parts of the country, although they have been significantly destroyed by Allied forces.
SNA troops are expected to take full control of security operations in Somalia from next year as the AMISOM forces leave the disbanded nation, which has struggled to establish a functional government for three decades.