At least three Somali government soldiers were killed and three others wounded on Tuesday in a roadside bomb explosion outside the capital Mogadishu, security officials and witnesses said.
Officials blamed the attack on “terrorist elements”, a reference to the Horn of Africa nation’s Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab rebels.
[quote]”One of the vehicles of the security forces was targeted near Hawa Abdi area in the Afgoye corridor. We believe the terrorists planted an explosive device by the roadside and remotely detonated it when the vehicle was passing by,” said Hassan Abdulahi, a Somali security official.[/quote]
The official could not immediately confirm the toll from the attack, although eyewitness Ibrahim Ismail said three soldiers were killed and three others were seriously wounded.
“The soldiers opened fire after the explosion to disperse approaching crowds. I saw three dead soldiers and three others wounded seriously,” he said.
Another eyewitness, Ahmed Gobe, also said there were several casualties.
“There was a heavy explosion… we could not go close to the scene but the soldiers forced civilian minibuses to transport the casualties to Mogadishu,” he said.
Somali government soldiers and troops with the African Union’s AMISOM force face frequent bomb attacks and ambushes launched by Shebab Islamists, who are fighting to overthrow the country’s internationally-backed government.
Although pushed out of their fixed positions in Mogadishu, the group still operates in rural areas in the south and centre of the country and have carried out a string of suicide raids in the capital itself.