MOGADISHU: A car bomb exploded at a checkpoint near the presidential palace in the Somalian capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, killing at least six people and wounding 12 others, a Somalia police spokesman said.
The deadly incident occurred as soldiers were conducting security checks on vehicles on the main road.
Capt. Mohamed Hussein said most of the casualties are soldiers and more than 13 people were injured.
The bombing was claimed by Somalia’s Al-Shabab militant group, which said in a statement it had targeted a convoy escorting government officials and lawmakers heading to the presidential palace.
“A car bomb blast struck at a checkpoint near Daljirka, there are some casualties including members of the security forces,” said security official Abdukadir Ahmed after the attack in the south of the city.
Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Aamin ambulance service earlier told AFP two people were killed and 12 others wounded in the blast.
Other witnesses said they had seen three killed.
“I saw the bodies of three people among them a military woman,” said witness Mohamed Saney.
“Several vehicles were destroyed in the blast and ambulances rushed to the scene to collect wounded people.”
Al-Shabab militants have been fighting for more than a decade to topple the government.
Al-Shabab frequently carries out bomb blasts in the capital near the presidential compound and at hotels frequented by government officials and foreigners.They fled positions they once held in Mogadishu in 2011, and have since lost many of their strongholds.
But they retain control of large rural swathes of the country, and continue to wage a guerrilla war against the authorities.