A powerful car bomb has exploded at a shopping mall in the Somali capital Mogadishu, killing at least 11 people, security officials said.
Police officer Mohamed Hussein said 10 people were also injured in Monday’s blast in an explosives-laden car parked near a mall close to Mogadishu’s local government offices.
“Several dead people were removed from a wrecked building at the blast scene. So far death toll is 11 civilians and 10 others injured,” Hussein told Reuters news agency.
Another security official, Ahmed Moalin Ali said some of the victims died in a building that collapsed as a result of the blast in Hamarweyne market.
“The blast occurred close to Mogadishu mall and it has caused death and destruction…” police officer Ali said. “The terrorists parked a vehicle loaded with explosives in the vicinity of the mall to kill the innocent civilians.”
“I saw the dead bodies of four people recovered from the debris of a collapsed building and three others were strewn dead outside after the blast had blown them,” said shopper Munira Abdukadir.
“I was not far away from the blast location, but I was lucky to have survived, several people were wounded and some were screaming before the ambulances arrived,” said another witness, Abdulahi Mohamed.
While there was no immediate claim of responsibility, the al-Shabab armed group has regularly carried out such attacks in the past.
The group’s stated aim is to remove the Western-backed central government and establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
In a separate incident, local security officials said the armed group killed the Maltese manager of Bossasso port in Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland state on Monday.