Three Dead in Somalia Suicide Bombing

A suicide bomber killed at least three people and injured two others on Tuesday after detonating an explosive near the mayoral offices in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, police and witnesses said.

The attacker detonated the device in front of a restaurant, Somali police said in a statement.

“The casualties include three dead and two wounded. The victims were in the vicinity of the blast,” police said.

Witnesses at the scene said the bomber, who was also killed, was running away from police before the blast.

A vehicle parked in the area caught fire after the blast, witness Mohamud Halane said.

“People were shocked,” he said, adding that there were some bodies on the ground.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Mogadishu is regularly hit by attacks by the Al-Shabaab militant group, which has fought for more than a decade to topple the internationally-backed government.

The Al-Qaeda-linked group controlled the capital until 2011 when it was pushed out by African Union troops, but still holds swathes of territory in rural Somalia.

The beleaguered central government launched a major offensive against the Islamists in August 2022, joining forces with local clan militias.

But the offensive has suffered setbacks despite early gains, with the militants still holding ground and launching deadly attacks on civilian and military targets.

Tuesday’s attack comes barely a week after Somalia’s military said it was searching for a number of people “taken hostage” by Al-Shabaab after a UN helicopter made an emergency landing in hostile territory.

An internal UN memo circulated to staff in Somalia last week said nine people were aboard the helicopter when it “crash landed,” and six were reportedly taken into captivity.

One passenger was believed to have been killed and two had fled, the memo added.

The helicopter belonged to a private Ukrainian company, according to officials in Kyiv.

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