At least 8 killed in suicide car bombing in Somalia

Police say a suicide car bomb at a crossroads near Somalia’s presidential palace killed at least eight people on Saturday. Al-Shabaab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, said it was behind the attack that targeted the convoy to the palace.

Police spokesman Abdifatah Aden Hassan told reporters at the blast site the toll could be higher, as some of the dead and injured had been taken away by their relatives.

“Al-Shabaab was behind the explosion. They killed eight people including a soldier and a mother and two children. Al-Shabaab massacred civilians,” he said.

Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, a government spokesman, said among those killed was Hibaq Abukar, an adviser on women’s affairs and human rights in the office of Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble.

“She is one of the pillars of the Prime Minister’s office (for) women’s affairs,” he said on his Facebook account.

It was not immediately clear if Abukar was in the convoy or if he happened to be nearby when the explosion occurred.

Al-Shabaab confirmed that it was behind the attack.

“A Mujahid driving a suicide car bomb targeted a convoy of cars that entered the (presidential) palace,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabaab’s military operations spokesman, told Reuters by phone. [ah]

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