Car bomb in Mogadhishu kills three policemen

World Wednesday 09/March/2016 17:37 PM
By: Times News Service
Car bomb in Mogadhishu kills three policemen

Mogadhishu: Militants in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, set off a vehicle packed with explosives next to a cafe near a police building on Wednesday, killing at least three police officers.
Also on Wednesday, Al Shabaab said it fought off an attack on one of its bases in southern Somalia early morning that was launched by foreign commandos who flew in on two helicopters, leaving one Al Shabaab fighter dead in the gun battle.
The Al Shabaab group claimed responsibility for the carc bombing in Mogadishu. A spokesman for the group told Reuters that 10 police officers were killed, a figure that was higher than the three deaths police reported.
Al Shabaab often cites a higher death toll than the figure given by officials.
"Three police officers died in this car bomb," Ali Mohamed Hirsi, the commander of Mogadishu police, told reporters at the scene, where blood was visible near the tea shop frequented by officers. "The police officers were among police being trained."
Police said a second device went off, but caused no casualties after police spotted it beforehand and caught two men in the small, three-wheeled vehicle.
In the past two weeks, Al Shabaab has launched mortar bomb attacks near the presidential palace, blown up a car bomb near a busy park in Mogadishu, and set off twin blasts in a town northwest of the capital. Dozens of people have been killed.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, Al Shabaab's military operations spokesman, did not identify the nationality of the troops who launched the assault at about 1am in the Awdigle district of Lower Shabelle area, about 50km (30 miles) south of Mogadishu.
Several foreign nations have been supporting the Somali government's efforts to combat Al Shabaab's insurgency.
The AMISOM peacekeeping force is made up of troops from several African nations which has been fighting alongside the Somali army. An AMISOM spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
US officials said in 2014 that US military advisers had secretly operated in Somalia since around 2007. They also said at that time that Washington planned to deepen its security assistance to help Somalia fend off the threat.
Washington said it launched air strikes on another Al Shabaab base on Saturday killing more than 150 militants. Al Shabaab said the number was exaggerated.
It was not immediately possible to obtain any US comment.
Al Shabaab's military operations spokesman told Reuters the two helicopters landed on the banks of the River Shabelle and commandos from the aircraft advanced on the base.
"They were masked and spoke foreign languages which our fighters could not understand," Abu Musab told Reuters. "We do not know who they were but we foiled them."
He said the commandos carried rocket launchers and M16 rifles - referring to a weapon used by U.S. forces although Abu Musab did not mention any nationality.
Residents in the area confirmed there had been a gun battle and said they saw helicopters in the area. They said the mobile phone network did not work during fighting.
"We were awoken by exchange of heavy guns," said resident Ahmed Farah speaking by phone later on Wednesday. "We could see the helicopters land and fly."
He said Al Shabaab later sealed the area so it was not possible to know if there were any casualties.