At least six people, including a former Somali foreign minister, have been killed as a car bomb exploded near the presidential palace in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.
Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a police spokesman, said most of the casualties were soldiers, adding that the Wednesday’s explosion left more than 13 people wounded.
Somalia’s Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Hayr said at a news conference that Hussein Elabe Faahiye, who served as the country’s foreign minister in 2007, was among those killed in the attack.
The Takfiri al-Shabab terrorist group has claimed the responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted convoy escorting officials and lawmakers heading to the presidential palace.
The car bomb went off at a security checkpoint near the presidential palace in the capital as the Somali troops were carrying out security checks on vehicles on the main road.
“The security forces stopped… a vehicle loaded with explosives which was aiming to target a security forces base,” deputy police chief Zakia Hussein wrote on Twitter.
Zakia Hussein put the death toll at five people, saying that 11 other people were injured in the blast.
Al-Shabab was forced out of Mogadishu with the help of African Union forces in 2011. However, it still wields control in large parts of the countryside, and every now and then carries out deadly attacks against government, military, and civilian targets in the capital as well as regional towns.
The terrorist group has fought successive Somali governments as well as neighboring governments in Kenya and Uganda.
Somalia has faced instability and violence since 1991, when the military government was overthrown.