Africa

Somalia: Three killed in car bomb blast in Mogadishu

A member of the Somali security forces stands guard at the site of a bomb blast near Makka al-Mukarama Road in Mogadishu on December 19, 2015. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Witnesses said the attackers opened fire before detonating a car bomb

Three people have been killed in a gun and bomb attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

Witnesses told the BBC that gunmen opened fire and detonated the bomb on a busy main road.

Many others were injured, most of them civilians.

It is not clear who was behind the blast, but the Islamist militant group al-Shabab has carried out several attacks on the same road in the past few weeks.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The attack took place on a busy shopping street in central Mogadishu

Witnesses said Saturday's attack began when gunmen opened fire on a Somali government official's car, sparking a gun battle with his security escort.

"There was a drive-by shooting attack... then a car loaded with explosives was detonated after police reinforcements arrived," a police official told AFP.

"The gunmen riding in a car attacked the official and there was [an] exchange of gunfire... then there was a huge blast," said Abdi Mudey, who was near the scene.

Witnesses described seeing part of a supermarket and several cars destroyed by the blast.

Husayn Ali Wehliye, a regional governor, escaped with minor injuries, local media reported.

Al-Shabab ruled much of Somalia until 2011, when it was driven out of Mogadishu by African and Somali troops.

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