September 7, 2013 - 14:35 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A car bomb and suspected suicide bomber struck a popular restaurant in the Somali capital on Saturday, Sept 7, killing at least 15 people, Reuters reported citing Ahmed Nur, a senior police officer at the scene.
The blast underscored the ongoing security threats in Mogadishu, despite the withdrawal by Islamist militant group al Shabaab from the city in 2011 under military pressure. It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack on the Village Restaurant, owned by well-known Somali businessman Ahmed Jama, who returned to his home country from London to set up business against the advice of friends.
In September last year two suicide bombers hit the same restaurant, killing at least 15 people. Mohamed Yusuf, spokesman for the Mogadishu authorities, said that after the car bomb went off, a suicide bomber immediately blew himself up in the restaurant.
"First a car bomb exploded at the entrance of the restaurant, and when people converged inside a suicide bomber blew up himself," he said.
Earlier this week, Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud remained unharmed when a roadside bomb exploded near his car. Somali militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted to an affiliate website.
According to VOA News, an improvised explosive device went off as the president’s convoy was traveling to the southern Somali town of Merca, about 110 kilometers south of Mogadishu. A journalist traveling with Mohamud said gunshots were fired after the bomb.
One Somali soldier was wounded in the attack. However, the president was not injured and continued on to Merca, where he is conducting political outreach, as part of his government’s attempt to stabilize the country.
African Union and Ethiopian forces have driven al-Shabab out of Somalia’s major cities but the group continues to control rural areas and carries out periodic attacks.
The current government, which came to power in a UN-backed process last year, has been Somalia’s most stable government since the fall of President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.