At least four people were killed and three others injured on Monday when a roadside bomb detonated in the Somali capital Mogadishu, government officials and witnesses said.
Mahad Shirlaawe, a local government administrator, said the attack was targeting his vehicle but instead killed roadside vendors selling goods.
“God saved us from tragedy, but innocent civilians who had businesses around here were killed. Four people died and several others were injured, some seriously,” said Shirlaawe, the secretary of Deyniile district in Mogadishu. “We were heading to our offices when a huge blast shocked us.”
Witnesses said a mother with a young child was among those killed. “It was horrible… she was selling clothing at a shop along the road where the blast occurred. She died instantly after shrapnel hit her in the head,” said Saleban Ali, a witness.
Another witness, Mohamednur Adan, said he saw a young infant near the body of the woman. “The authorities took her along with the dead body of her mother. It was a really shocking incident,” he said.
Shirlaawe blamed Al-Shabaab militants for the attack, though the jihadist group has not made a formal claim of responsibility.
Somalia’s capital is regularly targeted for attacks by the Islamist militants who have been waging a long insurgency seeking to unseat the internationally backed government in Mogadishu.
Earlier this month, 10 people were killed when a rickshaw loaded with explosives was detonated at a popular restaurant in the capital. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.
The militants were driven out of Mogadishu in 2011, but still control swathes of territory from where they plan and launch frequent, deadly strikes against government and civilian targets.