Eight dead after large explosion rocks Mogadishu airport

12 January 2022, 13:44

Somalia Explosion
Somalia Explosion. Picture: PA

Witnesses said a passing UN convoy appeared to be the target.

A car bomb has exploded outside the international airport in Somalia’s capital, killing at least eight people and wounding nine others, a local doctor said.

The al-Shabab extremist group claimed the attack, saying it was targeting “white officials”.

Dr Abdulkadir Adam, at the Medina Hospital in Mogadishu, told the Associated Press about the death toll.

Somalia Explosion
Rescuers and security forces sift through wreckage (Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP)

Witnesses said a passing UN convoy appeared to be the target of the blast near a checkpoint leading to the heavily fortified airport, but the UN mission said it had no personnel or contractors in the convoy.

The al Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group, which controls parts of Somalia, said on its Radio Andalus that a convoy of “white officials” was the target.

The extremist group often carries out bombings at high-profile locations in the capital.

Somalia Explosion
Security forces with the remains of an armoured vehicle (Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP)

Mogadishu’s deputy mayor, Ali Abdi Wardhere, told reporters at the scene that his own convoy had been driving nearby at the time but was unharmed.

He said an investigation was under way and gave a toll of five soldiers killed and five civilians injured.

The international airport hosts the US Embassy, among other diplomatic offices.

Somalia Explosion
Rescuers carry away a dead body (Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP)

The blast occurred amid the latest period of political and security uncertainty in Somalia, the Horn of Africa nation where tensions are rising over an election that has been delayed for almost a year.

The African Union peacekeeping mission has been asked to contribute security outside Somalia’s presidential palace, where opposing armed factions supporting President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble have been present.

The two leaders disagree over who should be in charge of security in the country, among other issues

The president last month tried to limit the powers of Mr Roble, who called it an attempted coup.

By Press Association

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