At least 10 people were killed and 30 others injured when a suicide car bomb exploded outside a popular restaurant in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Friday evening, police spokesperson Sadik Aden Ali said.
Those injured are mainly civilians, said Ali. Yet a medical charity said at least 20 people were killed in the explosion.
“Our team saw 20 bodies and took 30 injured people to hospitals,” said Abdulkadir Abdirrahman, Aamin Ambulance director, who said a suicide bomber targeted Lul Yemeni restaurant located near the seaport in Mogadishu. Abdirrman added that the casualties could be higher as the blast caused the destruction of nearby buildings.
Witnesses said they heard a huge blast near the popular restaurant which was targeted by the militant group in August 2020.
“There was a huge blast and we learnt that many people were killed in the blast. Heavily armed forces arrived at the scene and cordoned off the area,” Omar Sheikh, a witness, said. Another witness said a plume of black smoke could be seen billowing from the scene amid heavy gunfire between the security forces and the extremists.
“The blast was so huge that a house near the scene collapsed but there are efforts to rescue those still underneath the rubble,” said Hussein Ali.
No group has yet claimed responsibility but al-Qaida allied terrorist groups have staged such attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere.
The Somali National Army (SNA) backed by African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) drove al-Shabab out of Mogadishu in 2011, but the terror group is still capable of conducting attacks, targeting government installations, hotels, restaurants and public places.