A car bomb at local government headquarters in Mogadishu killed five people yesterday and wounded five, an official said, in an attack claimed by Somali Islamist group Shebaab.
Shebaab has frequently attacked government targets, hotels and restaurants in the capital since being pushed out by African Union peacekeeping forces in 2011 and rebasing in the country’s south.
“We are behind the governor HQ attack,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group’s military operations spokesman, said.
On Saturday, another bomb killed three and wounded five in Mogadishu.
A police spokesman said that in yesterday’s attack a suicide bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into the entrance of the headquarters.
But mayoral spokesman Abdifatah Omar blamed a car parked at the rear of the heavily fortified compound. “So far we have confirmed five civilians died and five others were injured,” he said.
The blast, which other reports suggested may have been detonated remotely, destroyed part of a guardroom. “We heard a huge bang and then (saw) huge clouds of smoke over us. We are safe,” one female worker inside the compound, who identified herself as Nasra, told Reuters.
Separately, a former media officer for Shebaab was publicly executed by a government firing squad yesterday for ordering the death of six journalists, court officials said.
Hassan Hanafi, who arranged news conferences for the Islamist group when the militants controlled the capital Mogadishu, admitted during his trial to personally killing one journalist in Somalia.
“Today, the court fulfils the execution of Hassan Hanafi who had killed journalists,” Abdullahi Hassan, deputy judge of the court, told reporters at the scene on Monday.
A masked Hanafi was tied to a pole before government forces opened fire at an execution field at a police training camp, according to witnesses.
Since 1992 a total of 59 journalists have been killed in Somalia, according to industry body, the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Hanafi, 30, admitted joining Shebaab in 2008 when he worked as a journalist for a local broadcaster. He was arrested in neighbouring Kenya last year and returned to Somalia for trial. A few days ago, a military court executed two men accused of killing a female reporter employed by the state radio, court officials said.
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