Mogadishu: Blast and gunfire in the heart of Somalia’s capital

At least two blasts and gunfire were heard in the heart of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Saturday.

A plume of white smoke could be seen rising from the scene of the blast. “The first blast took place at the Ministry of Labour…there are also other ministry buildings near the scene. It was a suicide car bomb followed by gunfire,” said police officer Major Mohamed Hussein.

Fighting in the compound is ongoing, reports from the ground said.

According to local media the attack was near a coastal eastern area of the city populated by the ministries of public health, transport, health and telecommunications.

It is not clear who is responsible for the attack, but Al Shabaab frequently carry out bombings in the Horn of Africa.

Al Shabaab is fighting to topple Somalia’s western-backed central government and establish its own rule.

The group was ejected from Mogadishu in 2011 and has since been driven from most of its other strongholds across the country. But it remains a formidable threat, with its fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya.

Troops from Kenya form part of the African Union-mandated peacekeeping force AMISOM that helps defend Somalia’s central government.

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