By Mohammed Adam
MOGADISHU, (AA): At least eight people in Somalia were killed and 16 others wounded after twin car-bomb blasts hit a security checkpoint near the African Union’s mission headquarters and a hotel near Mogadishu’s main international airport on Monday.
Ahmed Abdullahi, Wadajir district commissioner, told Anadolu Agency by phone that soldiers and civilians were among those killed by what he described as “massive and devastating” explosions.
He also warned the death toll could rise.
Abdi Ganey, a Somali national intelligence and security agency officer, also confirmed to Anadolu Agency that soldiers and civilians were among the casualties.
“The first car bomb was a suicide. Our forces stopped the car and seconds later the car went off. The other blast took place near a hotel, near the airport,” he added.
Ali Abdihakin, an eyewitness, told Anadolu Agency there was gunfire after the bombs.
“I was near where the incident took place. The first car bomb exploded at a checkpoint and other one targeted the Peace Hotel. After the explosions we heard gunfire,” Abdihakin said.
The Peace Hotel is much-frequented by Somali officials and foreigners. It hosted a major Intergovernmental Authority on Development meeting in September last year.
Somali rebel group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for Monday’s car bombings via their radio station.
[Photo: Security forces inspect the damage site following a car explosion near a security checkpoint at Mogadishu International Airport in Mogadishu, Somalia on January 2, 2017. At least three people were reported dead. Photographer: Muhabiri Sadaq Mohamed/AA]