‘Strong’ explosion at busy market in Somalia capital, police say

A powerful blast rocked a busy market Monday, February 4 in the Somali capital, which is regularly targeted by Al-Shabaab, police said.

“There was a strong explosion at the Hamarweyne market,” said police officer Ibrahim Mohamed. “We have no details for now but the area where the blast happened is a densely populated market.”

Mohamed said the market was near Mogadishu’s municipality buildings.

“The blast occured close to Mogadishu mall and it has caused death and destruction. Nine civilians were confirmed dead and several others are wounded,” police officer Ahmed Moalin Ali said.

Earlier Monday, a gunman shot Maltese national Paul Anthony Formosa, manager of the port of Bossasso in semi-autonomous Puntland state for P&O Ports, a subsidiary of the Dubai-based DP World.

The Dubai government confirmed the death in a statement on Twitter and said the circumstances of the incident was being investigated.

“Three other employees have been injured in this morning’s incident, and all are currently receiving medical treatment,” the statement said.

The attack was claimed by Al-Shabaab, which said in a statement it was “part of broader operations targeting the mercenary companies that loot the Somali resources.”

The group also claimed responsibility for the car bomb in Mogadishu, via a statement on a pro-Shabaab website.

Al Shabaab jihadists seeking to topple the internationally-backed government regularly carry out attacks in the Somali capital.

The al-Qaeda affiliated group was largely driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 and has lost many of its strongholds, but it retains control of large rural swathes of the country and continues to wage a guerrilla war against the authorities.

On January 16, Al Shabaab attacked an upmarket hotel complex in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, killing 21 people during a day-long siege.

This story was updated throughout the day on February 4, 2019.

With reporting from AFP

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