Somalia: Car bomb kills ex-trade minister

2012-07-16 14:38


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Mogadishu - A car bomb went off on Monday in Somalia's volatile capital Mogadishu, killing a former trade minister and wounding six people nearby, officials said.

"The driver who died in the car bomb was Mohamed Abdinur Garweyne, he was a former trade minister and a lawmaker," said Mohamed Dhere, another lawmaker.

"The police could not identify his body initially because it was so badly burned in the explosion," he added.

Police Colonel Ali Mohamed confirmed the "driver of the car was killed and six civilians walking nearby were injured, some of them seriously".

Some witnesses said the explosion could have been a bomb attached beneath the driver's seat - a tactic reportedly used previously by the al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents - as the front of the vehicle was worst hit.

"The explosion was very heavy," said Hassan Muhidin, a witness. "The front part of the car was totally destroyed and the severed dead body of the driver is still lying there."

No claim of responsibility

Police said they were still investigating the exact cause of the blast.

"My sister, who was selling tea near the scene of the explosion, was seriously injured," said Farhiyo Ahmed, another witness. "I saw several other bleeding people who were injured."

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the blast, which follows a string of explosions including roadside bombs and grenades that have rocked the Somali capital.

The city has seen a series of such attacks since the hardline Shebab abandoned fixed positions there last year and switched to guerrilla tactics against the Western-backed government and a 17 000-strong African Union force.

The Shebab face increasing pressure from pro-government forces and regional armies, having lost a series of key towns and strategic bases in recent months.

However, experts warn the Shebab are far from defeated and remain a major threat.

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