Somalia: Nine dead after bomb blasts rock capital Mogadishu | Africa | DW | 07.07.2018
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Somalia: Nine dead after bomb blasts rock capital Mogadishu

At least nine people have been killed after two huge explosions hit Somalia’s internal security ministry in the capital Mogadishu on Saturday morning, according to police. The death toll is expected to rise.

The first suicide car bomb exploded meters away from the gates of the interior ministry compound, which is also close to the presidential palace. The second blast occurred opposite a police building, Ibrahim Mohamed, a police commander told Reuters.

Between four and five attackers armed withrocket-propelled grenades and machine guns were in a standoff with police outside and more explosions were then heard coming from inside the building, according to other witnesses.

Dozens of people eventually were rescued in the operation, Mohamed said, as ambulance sirens echoed and soldiers opened fire to disperse bystanders and motorists.

 Al-Shabab claims responsibility

Islamist group al-Shabab which frequently carries out bombings in the Horn of Africa country where they are fighting to topple the central government, has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The group wants to topple the Western-backed central government, expel the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force AMISOM and establish a government based on their own strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

Somalia has been gripped by violence and lawlessness since the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in the early 1990's. 

The ongoing threat from what has become the deadliest Islamic extremist group in sub-Saharan Africahas hurt efforts to strengthen Somalia's fragile government and stabilize the long-chaotic Horn of Africa nation.

The United States under the Trump administration has stepped up military efforts in Somalia, including dozens of drone strikes, against al-Shabab and a small presence of fighters linked to the Islamic State group.

The U.S. military, and others in the international community, have expressed concern about the plan for Somalia's security forces to take over the country's security from a multinational African Union force over the next few years, saying the local troops are not yet ready.


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