Africa

Mogadishu police camp rocked by deadly suicide car bomb

Scene of the blast in Mogadishu. Photo: 21 February 2011
Image caption Most of the dead are said to be police officers

A suicide car bomber has attacked a police training camp in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, killing at least 10 people, officials say.

A vehicle was full of explosives and canisters of fuel when it exploded near the Darwish Camp, which is next to a police academy.

The Islamist al-Shabab group said it carried out the attack, which happened at about 0830 local time (0530 GMT).

Somalia has not had a functioning national government for 20 years.

'Cowardly act'

"We saw a car speeding towards us, and it soon exploded. Every place was soon covered with flames and smoke," local police officer Hassan Ali told Reuters news agency.

Most of the dead are said to be police officers. At least 25 people have been injured, a police spokesman told the BBC.

Somalia's weak UN-backed transitional government, which only controls parts of the capital, said the attack was "a cowardly act".

The police training camp is situated 500m (about 1,600ft) from the Mogadishu sea port, which is under control of the African Union peace force in the city.

Correspondents say the AU peacekeeping mission had announced that it would be launching new military operations in the capital in order to enhance security.

Al-Shabab, which controls much of southern Somalia, has been fighting interim government forces for control of Mogadishu in recent months.

Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group has criticised the transitional government in a report, calling it "incompetent, corrupt and hobbled by weak leadership".

The Brussels-based think tank said that trying to establish a European-style centralised state in Somalia was almost certain to fail.

"The logical alternative is a more decentralised system of governance in which most power and resources are devolved to local administrations, while the federal government takes a modest role of primarily co-ordinating the activities of those administrations," the ICG's Rashid Abdi said in a statement.

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites