Scores of people killed or injured after two explosions hit Somalia’s capital

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Two explosions have rocked the capital of Somalia in what appears to be an ongoing attack at the country’s education ministry.

“Scores” of people have been killed or injured in the blasts, according to police, but an official death toll has not yet been released.

The attack in Mogadishu occurred in a busy area that houses several key government offices, and on a day when the nation’s president, prime minister and other senior officials were meeting to discuss violent extremism.

The leaders were expected to pay particular attention to a known extremist group affiliated with al Qaeda called al Shabaab.

Nobody has yet claimed responsibility for the explosions at Zobe junction, which are understood to have been caused by car bombs.

State news agency, SONNA, said the blasts had caused “scores of civilian casualties, including independent journalist Mohamed Isse Kona”.

Reuters reported that witnesses had seen windows blown out of nearby buildings, and burnt out ambulances that were destroyed in the second blast.

More on Somalia

“Two car bombs targeted the education ministry building along K5 street,” local resident, Ahmed Nur told the news agency.

“The second blast burnt our ambulance as we came to transport the casualty from the first blast,” Abdikadir Abdirahman, founder of the Aamin Ambulance Service, added.

Image:
Pic: Abdihalim Bashir/via REUTERS
A general view shows the scene of an explosion near the education ministry building along K5 street in Mogadishu, Somalia October 29, 2022. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

Who are al Shabaab?

Al Shabaab often targets the capital with attacks on high-profile locations that begin with explosions and continue with gunmen entering and battling security teams.

The group stormed the education ministry in 2015, and the latest attack occurred at the scene of a massive al Shabaab blast in 2017, which killed more than 500 people.

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The group emerged as the radical wing of Somalia’s Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which no longer exists, and declared allegiance to al Qaeda in 2012.

Al Shabaab is viewed by the UK as a terrorist organisation.

Somalia’s government is engaged in a new offensive against the extremist group, which has been described by the US as of one of al Qaeda’s deadliest affiliates.

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