MOGADISHU, Somalia, At least three people were killed during an exchange of gunfire and a car bomb attack in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Saturday.
The BBC, quoting witnesses, reported the clash kicked off when gunmen opened fire on a Somali government official’s vehicle, resulting in a gun battle between the attackers and security workers.
A nearby vehicle filled with explosives reportedly detonated as police arrived on scene. Scores of civilians were injured in the incident, including regional governor Husayn Ali Wehliye, who sustained a minor wound.
No groups claimed responsibility for the attack, but terrorist group al-Shabab is active in the country and reportedly carried out attacks on the same road over the past few weeks.
Al-Shabab, which is affiliated with al-Qaida, formerly controlled much of Somalia before regional and African Union forces chased the group out of Mogadishu in 2011.
Since then, al-Shabab has conducted a series of deadly attacks in Somalia and neighboring Kenya, including the 2013 assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi that ended with at least 67 people dead and the attack at Garissa University College earlier this year, when masked gunmen killed nearly 150 people.
Earlier this month, the Somali military said it recaptured a village seized by militants who broke away from al-Shabab to form a small Isis cell.
U.S. Navy Admiral Michael Franken, head of U.S. Africa Command, said the group, comprised of about 20 fighters, was “insignificant” and that its formation had caused in-fighting among militants in Somalia.
By Fred Lambert