Four dead in blast at district headquarters in Somali capital

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – At least four people are dead after a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the gate of a district headquarters in Mogadishu, a Somali police officer said yesterday.

Captain Mohamed Hussein said the large blast badly damaged the compound of the Hodan district’s headquarters.

An Associated Press journalist saw at least seven bodies at the scene.

Hussein said seven other people were wounded, and most of the victims were district workers and soldiers.

This is the second such attack on a district headquarters in the capital this month. The Howlwadag district headquarters was targetted on September 2 with at least six people killed, including two children.

The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab extremist group often claims responsibility. The Somalia-based group often targets the capital with bombings, including a truck bombing last October that left at least 512 people dead.

Somali troops are meant to take over the Horn of Africa nation’s security in the coming years from an African Union (AU) force but concerns about their readiness remain high.

The United Nations Security Council recently voted to delay the reduction of troops in the AU force from October to February and the target date to hand over security to Somali forces to December 2021.