MOGADISHU — At least seven people have been killed and 13 others wounded in two separate bombings in Somalia on Monday, including a car bomb at a cafe in Mogadishu and a roadside blast in the Lower Shabelle region.
The car bomb in Mogadishu went off near an Italian coffee shop and Rasa hotel opposite the immigration directorate on Maka Al Mukarama road.
Police officer Hussein Mohamed confirmed to The Messenger Africa that at least five people were killed in the blast, adding that most of the victims were civilians who were sipping tea around the coffee shop.
“Five civilians were killed and ten others have been taken into hospital for medical treatment,” Mohamed said.
The rebel group Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for Monday’s explosion in the capital on its website, saying it killed at least 10 people including government officials.
According to a report on the same incident by Reuters news agency, bursts of gunfire followed the attack. An ambulance driver said rescuers had removed eight bodies from the scene and taken more than two dozen wounded to hospital.
“The death toll may rise,” he said.
A separate bomb also on Monday tore through a Somali military vehicle near Shalanbod town in the Lower Shabelle region, about 102 km west of Mogadishu.
The blast hit an armored vehicle traveling through Kabtan Las neighborhood, leaving at least two soldiers dead, a military officer who asked not to be named told The Messenger.
“I was shocked when I heard a huge bang of an explosion and we lost two soldiers in the blast and three others were wounded. The explosion also damaged our convoy,” he said.
The wounded government solders were immediately rushed to hospital in the capital of Mogadishu. The explosion was claimed by Al-Shabaab. The group has vowed to ramp up its attacks against government soldiers and African Union (AMISOM) troops.
The attack comes hours after Somalia’s president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo reached Afgoye town, which is situated about 30 km south of Mogadishu, in a visit to front-line troops.
Somalia’s Al-Shabaab rebels have lost ground to joint AMISOM and Somali army offensives in recent years but still control vast swathes of countryside.
Reporting by Abdirizak Mohamud Tuuryare