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Car bomb in Somali capital kills at least eight people
A car bomb exploded on a road leading to the airport in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, killing at least eight people, the head of the city's ambulance services said.

Mogadishu resident Mohamed Osman said the shock of the blast hit the walls and roof of a mosque he was praying in nearby, according to Reuters.

"When I came out of the mosque, I saw several old houses collapsed, body parts on the street, hands, legs," Osman told Reuters.

"Destroyed cars, burnt Tuk tuks (rickshaws); all this mess and loss of lives in a minute, I survived."

The attack in Mogadishu’s Hamarweyne district was claimed by the Al-Shabab terrorist group, which said in a brief statement that it was targeting "foreign officers".

Osman said he had seen nine bodies at the scene. Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Aamin Ambulance service, put the death toll at eight.

"A car bomb targeted a convoy, including bullet proof cars using Avisione street, we do not who owns the convoy. We carried eight dead people from the scene," Abdirahman told Reuters.

The attack took place only days after Somali leaders had agreed on a new timetable for long-delayed elections in the troubled Horn of Africa country, AFP reported.

The government said in a statement on Twitter that it condemned the "cowardly" suicide attack.

"Such acts of terrorism will not derail the peace & the ongoing development in the country. We must unite in the fight against terrorism."

Witnesses said a multi-vehicle private security convoy escorting foreigners was passing by the area in southern Mogadishu when the explosion hit.

Somalia has been in the grip of a political crisis since February last year after it failed to reach agreement on holding new elections.

The impasse set off a bitter power struggle between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmajo, and his Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.

Under a deal announced late Sunday after talks between Roble and state leaders, parliamentary polls that should have wrapped up last year are now due to be concluded by February 25.

The agreement appeared to ease the standoff between Roble and Farmajo, who said in a statement late Monday that he applauded the "positive result" on the election timetable.

The crisis had set alarm bells ringing in the international community, which fears it threatens the stability of a fragile country still battling a violent insurgency by Al-Shabaab.

The Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists have been waging a deadly campaign against the weak central government since 2007 but were driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 after an offensive by an African Union force.

However, the militants retain control of vast rural areas of Somalia, from which they frequently launch deadly attacks in the capital and elsewhere against civilian, military and government targets.

 

 

 

 

 

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