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Mogadishu Suicide Bomber Kills Four People, Self

A map of Somalia.
A map of Somalia.

Police in Somalia say a suicide bomber killed four people and himself and injured seven others Tuesday when he detonated an explosives-laden vest in a crowded area near Mogadishu’s regional administration headquarters.

Major Sadiq Aden Ali, a police spokesman, confirmed the attack and casualties in an interview with VOA Somali.

“At about 11:40 a.m., a suicide bomber detonated himself in Hamarweyne district, in particular at Al-Hindi restaurant,” Ali said. “He inflicted casualties on innocent, civilian, Somali Muslims.”

Ali said people sitting outside the restaurant saw a suspicious-looking man and alerted police. Ali said the security forces tried to apprehend the bomber, but he ran away and detonated his explosives.

A video clip of the incident from a closed-circuit TV feed shows a security officer chasing the would-be bomber before the explosion.

The soldier chasing the bomber was among the injured, Ali said.

“The police did not fire because it is a crowded market,” he said. “They tried to keep people away and apprehend him alive but he detonated [the vest].”

The explosion was near the Mogadishu regional headquarters, which was targeted by al-Shabab in July 2019 when the city's former mayor, Abdirahman Omar Osman, was fatally injured, and again in January 2023.

Ali said the target of the most recent bomber is not yet clear.

“Security forces believe the suicide bomber [did not reach] his intended target, because when the people suspected they informed the security forces, and that is how they engaged,” he said.

Militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack. In a statement posted on the Telegram channel, the group said it was targeting intelligence operatives and other government employees.

The explosion comes amid a general improvement in the capital’s security situation over the last year, aided by the deployment of troops and security checkpoints on the outskirts of the capital to prevent would-be truck bombs.

Harun Maruf contributed to this report.