Suspected Islamists attack Somali education building

2015-04-14 12:33
Somali unrest. (Farah Abdi Warsameh, AP)

Somali unrest. (Farah Abdi Warsameh, AP)

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Mogadishu - Suspected Islamist militants attacked the Higher Education Ministry building in the Somali capital on Tuesday, setting off two big blasts before gunmen stormed inside and battled with the security forces, police and witnesses said.

There was no immediate comment from the Islamist group al-Shabaab, but it has frequently launched such raids in Mogadishu in the past in its bid to topple the Western-backed government and impose its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

"First two blasts occurred, a bike blast and a car blast, outside the building, then armed fighters stormed in. Fighting goes on," Major Ali Nur, a police officer, told Reuters.

He said he had seen at least one dead civilian and five injured, but said it was too early to know the full extent of casualties.

Trader Omar Mohamed, who works near the scene, said he was thrown off his chair when the blasts went off. He said the explosions were followed by gunfire.

"From the top of the building the attackers fire and from all sides government forces pour in fire," he said.

At the end of March, al-Shabaab militants attacked a hotel in the Somali capital using similar tactics of blasting and shooting their way inside. The death toll in the attack on the popular Maka al Mukaram hotel was 14.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  somalia  |  east africa  |  security

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