A car bomb exploded near a checkpoint in Somalia capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, May 22, killing at least two people and wounding 12 others, officials said.
The bombing was claimed by Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, which said in a statement it had targeted a convoy escorting officials and lawmakers heading to the presidential palace.
“A car bomb blast struck at a checkpoint near Daljirka, there are some casualties including members of the security forces,” said security official Abdukadir Ahmed after the attack in the south of the city.
Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Aamin ambulance service, told AFP two people were killed and twelve others wounded in the blast.
Other witnesses said they had seen three killed.
“I saw the bodies of three people among them a military woman,” said witness Mohamed Saney.
“Several vehicles were destroyed in the blast and ambulances rushed to the scene to collect wounded people.”
Al-Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Somalia, but has also carried out attacks in neighboring Kenya, which has deployed troops as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia.
The Shabaab were chased out of Mogadishu in 2011 by the 22,000-strong African Union mission AMISOM, and have had to abandon most of their strongholds, but they still control vast rural areas and remain the key threat to peace in Somalia.
On April 17, the group claimed responsibility for a car bomb in Mogadishu that killed four people. The bomb detonated along the busy Maka Al-Mukarama road despite a recent increase in police checkpoints in the capital.
On March 28, a car bomb ripped through a restaurant on the Maka Al-Mukarama road, killing 15 people just days after Shabaab gunmen attacked a complex housing government ministries, killing 11 people including the deputy labour minister.
There have also been several smaller blasts in the capital.
With reporting from AFP