Blast outside popular Somali restaurant

2013-02-16 17:12
A Somali policeman gathers evidence around a car that exploded close to Mogadishu's famous Lido beach. (Mohemed Abdiwahab, AFP)

A Somali policeman gathers evidence around a car that exploded close to Mogadishu's famous Lido beach. (Mohemed Abdiwahab, AFP)

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Mogadishu - At least one person was killed on Saturday by a car bomb in the latest of a string of attacks in Somalia's war-ravaged capital, set off outside a popular beachside restaurant, police said.

"We have reports that one person was killed and another was injured in the blast," said police officer Hussein Ali, who was nearby when the car exploded.

The explosion took place close to Mogadishu's famous Lido beach, which is usually crowded on a weekend with families enjoying the sand, playing football or swimming in the Indian Ocean waves.

"The car was laden with explosive and set off in the parking area... it was a huge blast," Ali added, noting that several other cars and the building were also damaged.

Shebab

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, but al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents have launched a series of guerrilla-style attacks in Mogadishu in recent months.

The insurgents have vowed to topple newly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who took office in September after being chosen by the country's new parliament.

But the once powerful Shebab are on the back foot inside Somalia, having fled a string of key towns ahead of a 17,000-strong African Union force which is also fighting alongside Somali soldiers.

Ethiopian troops are also battling the Shebab in the southwest of Somalia.

On Thursday, AU troops and government forces seized the towns of Janalle, Aw Dhigle and Barire, some 80km southwest of the capital Mogadishu, the latest Shebab bases to fall.

However, the Shebab remain a potent threat, still controlling rural areas as well as carrying out guerrilla attacks in areas apparently under government control.

Some, retreating ahead of AU-led assaults, have relocated to the northern Golis mountains in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region.

Read more on:    shebab  |  somalia  |  east africa
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