Deadly vehicle bomb blast in Somalia's capital, say police

Hamarweyne Market

Hamarweyne Market

A huge blast was heard in the heart of the Somali capital Mogadishu on Monday and clouds of smoke could be seen rising, a Reuters witness said.

Despite being ousted from the capital and most urban centers in south and central Somalia, al-Shabab continues to carry out deadly suicide attacks in Somalia and neighboring countries.

Al-Shabab said its website that the attack was aimed at a gathering of government officials and security and intelligence personnel.

The DP World subsidiary in 2017 signed a 30-year concession contract for the management and development of the port, strategically located on the Gulf of Aden, between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, more than 1,300 km north of Mogadishu.

Police officer Mohamed Abdulle told Xinhua that the auto bomb was detonated at the entrance of the mall near the headquarters of the Banadir regional administration.

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Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The blast destroyed several buildings nearby, Abdulle added.

"There was a strong explosion at the Hamarweyne market", said police officer Ibrahim Mohamed.

They nevertheless control vast rural areas and remain a key threat to peace in Somalia and the region, with the capacity to stage significant attacks.

Somali emergency services evacuate a body from the scene where a vehicle bomb exploded at a shopping mall in Mogadishu, Somalia February 4, 2019.

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