Car bomb kills 2, driver in Somali capital

Abdi Guled
Associated Press

Mogadishu, Somalia – Somali police say a car bomb has been detonated near parliament headquarters in the capital, Mogadishu, killing at least two people along with the driver and several others are injured.

A huge cloud of smoke can be seen billowing over the area dotted with security checkpoints erected along a road leading to the presidential palace.

The car bomb was detonated at a security checkpoint after soldiers intercepted and stopped a suspicious vehicle, senior police Capt. Mohamed Hussein told The Associated Press.

The blast comes three days after at least 14 people were killed and 10 others wounded in a car bomb blast near the Weheliye hotel on the busy Makka Almukarramah road.

Mogadishu is often a target of attacks by the Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab, the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa. A truck bombing in October killed 512 people in the country’s deadliest-ever attack. Only a few attacks since 9/11 have killed more people.

The Horn of Africa nation continues to struggle to counter the Islamic extremist group. Concerns have been high over plans to hand over the country’s security to Somalia’s own forces as a 21,000-strong African Union force begins a withdrawal that is expected to be complete in 2020.

The U.S. military, which has stepped up efforts against al-Shabab in the past year with dozens of drone strikes, has said Somali forces are not yet ready.