Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Pakistan: Imran Khan, from the cricket field to politics

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Pakistan Protests: Democracy put to the test

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Is Carla Bruni against a political comeback for Sarkozy?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'iVIOLATED'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

France's Iliad considers fresh offer for T-Mobile

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Back to school!

Read more

WEB NEWS

USA: Thousands pay tribute to Michael Brown

Read more

ENCORE!

The French Maestro of Soul

Read more

  • NATO plans new 'spearhead' force to counter Russia

    Read more

  • French clubs left behind as others spend big

    Read more

  • Arab media strike back at IS Islamists – with cartoons

    Read more

  • US military targets Somalia's al Shabaab Islamist group

    Read more

  • Boko Haram Islamists seize northeast Nigerian town

    Read more

  • Monaco’s Falcao leaves Ligue 1 for Man Utd

    Read more

  • UN backs Iraqi request for inquiry into IS militant crimes

    Read more

  • French education ministry picture sparks racist abuse

    Read more

  • Obama calls for higher wages amid 'revving' US economy

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine’s children return to school as fighting rages on

    Read more

  • Americans detained in North Korea call for US help

    Read more

  • US urges Israel to reverse West Bank land seizure

    Read more

  • Lesotho PM calls for regional peacekeeping force after ‘coup’

    Read more

  • Ukrainian forces retreat from Luhansk airport after clashes

    Read more

  • Teddy Riner, France’s unstoppable judo champion

    Read more

  • Iraqi forces free Amerli in biggest victory over IS militants since June

    Read more

  • Anti-govt protesters briefly seize Pakistan's state TV

    Read more

Africa

Several killed in car bomb attack in Somali capital

© AFP file photo

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-05-05

Eight people were killed when a car bomb exploded in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Sunday, apparently targeting a convoy carrying a Qatari delegation, officials said. The Islamist rebel group Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack.

A suicide bomber hit a convoy of cars carrying Qatari officials through the centre of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Sunday, killing eight Somalis, officials said.

The visiting delegation of Qataris, who were travelling in the Somali interior minister’s bullet-proof vehicle, were “safe”, a security officer told Reuters, without going into further detail. The minister was not in the car at the time.

The Islamist rebel group al Shabaab said it was behind the attack and threatened further strikes against Somalia’s government, which it called a “puppet” of Western powers.

“More explosions are on the way,” al Shabaab’s military spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters by telephone.

The al Qaeda-linked rebels have kept up a campaign of guerrilla-style attacks since the army and peacekeepers pushed them out of bases in the city.

Witnesses said a suicide bomber rammed a car laden with explosives into the convoy. The blast tore through the busy ‘Kilometre 4’ road junction in the centre of Mogadishu’s commercial and administrative district.

Gunfire rang out immediately after the explosion as the convoy’s security guards fired into the air to disperse onlookers.

Qatar has been forging closer political ties with Somalia in recent years as it seeks to expand its influence in the Horn of Africa region.

“The car bomb targeted delegates from Qatar. They are safe,” Hassan Osman, a security official, told Reuters, adding that the minister’s car was damaged in the blast.

The chairman of Mogadishu’s Hodan district, where the blast occurred, told reporters at the scene eight people had been killed and five wounded, most of them civilians.

Sunday’s bomb was a stark reminder of two decades of civil strife in a country where the central government depends heavily on a 17,600-strong African Union peacekeeping force for its survival.

While there has been a significant improvement in the coastal capital since African Union peacekeepers drove the Islamist al Shabaab group out of the city in 2011, the attack showed the relative ease with which the militants can still strike.

Some of Mogadishu’s major roads were closed last week after security officials received a tip-off about an imminent attack, but were re-opened on Saturday.

The state of Somalia’s security forces will top the agenda at conference in London on May 7. Britain and Somalia are hoping to use the event to drum up more international support at a time when al Shabaab are weakened as a fighting force but can still inflict devastating strikes.

Civil war after the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 left Somalia without effective central government and awash with weapons. The turmoil opened the doors for piracy to flourish in the Gulf of Aden and deeper into the Indian Ocean.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2013-05-05

  • SOMALIA

    Latest Somalia famine killed 258,000 people: UN report

    Read more

  • SOMALIA

    At least 19 killed in Mogadishu attacks

    Read more

  • SOMALIA

    Suicide bomber detonates outside Somali PM's office

    Read more

COMMENT(S)