Somalia’s capital Mogadishu has seen a deadly one week with sustained attack by insurgent group Al-Shabaab claiming the lives of close to thirty people.
The latest attack which took place today (March 28) has claimed 15 lives according to local media sources and the Aamin ambulance service.
The most used attack medium has been with car bombs. Today’s explosion, a car bomb attack, took place near a hotel and restaurants in a busy area targeted in the past by the militants, rescue services said.
The afternoon explosion sent smoke billowing into the sky and destroyed two restaurants and some cars parked in the area. A Reuters witness counted six dead bodies. Police put the death toll at eight saying the figure could rise.
“So far, we carried 11 dead people and 16 others wounded. The death toll may rise,” Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Amin Ambulance service, told Reuters. The figure has since been revised to 15 deaths.
From March 21 till today, car bombs and Improvised Explosive Device, IED, attacks have been a regular feature except for 22nd and 24th. 23rd saw two different attacks.
A journalist with the VOA who closes covers the country, shared a breakdown of the Mogadishu attacks:
March 21: Car bomb kills civil engineer
March 23: Complex attack kills 15
March 23: Two IEDs kill 2
March 25: Car bomb kills Univ. staffer
March 26: Car bomb kills 14-year-old boy
March 27: IED kills 1, Police Commander survives
March 28: Car bomb kills 15
Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants have in the past targeted the same location – the Wehliye Hotel – which is along the busy Maka al Mukaram road. The group have claimed responsibility for today’s attack.
On Saturday, 15 people died in two explosions and a gunfight between al Shabaab militants and security personnel in Mogadishu.
Al Shabaab, which is trying to topple Somalia’s western-backed central government, was ejected from Mogadishu in 2011 and has since been driven from most of its other strongholds.
But it remains a threat, with fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya, whose troops form part of the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force that helps defend the central government.