Casualties in Somalia suicide car bombing near UAE Embassy

Casualties in Somalia suicide car bombing near UAE Embassy
Somali government radio reports UAE Ambassador to Somalia Mohammed Al Othman survived a suicide attack carried out by Al-Qaeda's affiliate Shabab group in the capital of Mogadishu.
2 min read
24 June, 2015
Somalia has been wracked by instability since the collapse of Barre's regime in 1991 (Anadolu)

Somalia's Shabab insurgents killed at least six people Wednesday in a suicide attack on a diplomatic convoy from the United Arab Emirates in the Somali capital Mogadishu, police said.

"We have confirmed the death of six people, four of them civilians, while six others were also wounded, some seriously," police officer Abdukadir Hassan said. The Shabab said they carried out the attack, which is believed to be the first time the Al-Qaeda affiliate has targeted the UAE in Somalia.

"A suicide bomber rammed his car into the pickup truck and there were casualties," said security official Abdi Dahir. "There was a heavy explosion."

One witness said they had seen two dead bodies following the attack, which took place near the embassy of the United Arab Emirates.

Later, Somali government radio reported that the UAE Ambassador to Somalia, Mohammed Al Othman, survived the attack.

A military convoy from the African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM) was also passing nearby at the time of the attack, witnesses said, and it was not clear what the exact target had been.

"I saw the dead bodies of two people, and there were several wounded soldiers," said Abdulahi Yasin, who saw the aftermath of the attack.

"The explosion was very heavy and it destroyed the pickup truck," said Hassan Bile, another witness.

Shabab attacks seek to counter claims that they are close to defeat after losing territory in the face of an African Union (AU) and Somali government offensive, as well as regular US drone strikes against their leaders and defections.

The militants have also carried out a string of revenge attacks in neighbouring countries -- including the September 2013 attack on the Westgate shopping mall in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, which left at least 67 people dead, and the April massacre of close to 150 students in Garissa in Kenya's northeast.

Somalia has been wracked by instability since the collapse of Siad Barre's hardline regime in 1991.

The current government is being supported by a 22,000-strong AU force that includes troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.