At least two police officers were killed and four others wounded in a car bomb attack on a police checkpoint near the Somali capital Mogadishu Saturday, officials and eyewitnesses said.
"The criminals have again carried out one of their cowardly attacks. This time they hit a police checkpoint at the Siinkadheer in the outskirt of Mogadishu," Mogadishu regional admin spokesman, Abdifitah Omar Halane told VOA Somali.
He said one police officer was killed and four others wounded in the attacks, but witnesses saw two bodies at the scene of the blast where nearby tea shops and stalls were damaged.
“I saw the dead bodies of two police officers and the suicide attacker and four injured soldiers,” a minibus driver who witnessed the attack told VOA.
Somalia’s militant group al-Shabab, whose goal is to overthrow the internationally backed Somali government and impose its strict interpretation of Islam, said one of its militants carried out the attack.
"One of our brave martyrs rammed a car with huge explosives into the checkpoint manned by the soldiers of the apostate," a statement aired from Radio Andalus, al-Shabab's official mouthpiece said.
Halane said, “The car exploded as the police forces stopped it at the checkpoint and when they suspected the suicide attacker blew himself up."
He said the car was heading to Mogadishu where a vote was under way at polling center for a new parliament.
Similar voting has been taking place across the country for weeks where some 14,000 people representing Somalia's federal states have been chosen to pick the 275 lawmakers.
Those members of parliament will choose a new president on December 28.
Al-Shabab accuses the presidential and parliamentary candidates of being foreign stooges.