At least nine people pronounced dead after a car bomb targeting a top police chief exploded in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Saturday.
The terrorist attack — second to another explosion targeting a teashop in the city last week which took over ten lives, has since been claimed by The Al-Qaeda extremist group al-Shabab.
Kassim Ali Shire, an eyewitness, shares his personal account of the violent incident.
“Thank God I’m ok, my brother and I were driving here on this road when the suicide car bomb hit at close range, there are lots of casualties. All onboard our vehicle survived, only my brother received injuries.”
A doctor at the Medina Hospital told reporters that the toll reflected only the dead and wounded who were taken to the facility in Mogadishu where he works. He said the actual toll was likely higher as victims were rushed to other hospitals, including privately owned ones.
A Somali police spokesman Sadiiq Dudishe said the targeted police commissioner Colonel Farhan Mohamud Qaroleh has been declared safe. “The commissioner is unharmed but there are other casualties the attack inflicted.”
Since 2007, Al-Shabaab has launched several attacks against Somalia’s federal government officials, security forces and civilians.
He said the bomber, using an explosive-laden vehicle, struck the convoy of Benadir region police commissioner Farhan Mohamud at a busy intersection in the capital.
The Benadir region lies in southeastern Somalia and encompasses Mogadishu.
“It caused huge devastation and casualties of both police and civilians,” said Mire Adan, who was a few metres from the scene, adding that he counted six bodies.
“The whole area is messed up with smoke as the blast caused a fire and I saw several dead bodies most of them civilians,” another witness Osman Adan said.
The Al-Shabaab group, which is linked to Al-Qaeda, has been fighting to overthrow Somalia’s federal government since 2007 and launches frequent attacks against the security forces as well as government and civilian targets.