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Somalia: Al-Shabab claims attack bombing of UN convoys, Federal Government speaks about casualties

Mogadishu(ANN)- Mogadishu (ANN) -An official, with the Somali National Security Agency, has confirmed that a car bomb had exploded in Mogadishu today.

The bomber struck shortly after noon in front of a convoy of vehicles passing through Mogadishu International Airport Road, killing and injuring several people, acceding security official said.

A spokesman for Somalia’s police force, Abdifatah Hassan Ali, said ten people were killed in the blast and nine others wounded.

A security official who spoke to local media at the scene confirmed that 10 people had been killed, five of them security force, while the other five were civilians nearby.

He said the blast, which was caused by an improvised explosive device (IED), caused extensive damage to several vehicles, but said an investigation was under way and security forces were issuing an official statement. But Mogadishu’s Deputy Mayor Ali Yare Ali, who was in the convoy, put the death toll at 10.

Mogadishu’s deputy mayor, Ali Abdi Wardhere, told reporters at the scene that his own convoy had been driving nearby at the time but was unharmed. He said an investigation was underway and gave a toll of five soldiers killed and five civilians injured.

He accused al-Shabab of being behind the bombings, and said security officials were undermining security by passing funds, which he said could make it easier for al-Shabab to carry out bombings in the city, but the official did not confirm who are of whom he accused of exchanging security for financial gain.

Other reports confirmed that according to eyewitnesses near the scene of the blast that the UN convoy appeared to be the target.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted a convoy of vehicles carrying white officers passing by, which they said destroyed their vehicle in the blast, but said they could not confirm any casualties at this time.

Other side The U.S. embassy in Mogadishu has condemned the attack.

“The United States strongly condemns today’s terrorist attack in Mogadishu. Our thoughts are with the victims and with the families of those tragically killed and injured.” the embassy tweeted.

The explosion comes days after Somali leaders agreed on a new timetable for long-delayed elections, amid a feud between Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

The U.S. on Tuesday called on Somali leaders to see the country’s elections through to completion or face restrictions.

“And finally, the United States notes the January 9th decision by Somalia’s National Consultative Council to complete the country’s long-overdue parliamentary elections by February 25th of this year,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement. “We call on all of Somalia’s national and federal member state leaders to adhere to the newly agreed timeline and correct the procedural irregularities that have marred the process to date.”

“Somalia’s elections are more than a year behind schedule, and February 8th will mark the one-year anniversary of the expiration of the president’s term. The United States is prepared to draw on relevant tools, potentially including visa restrictions, to respond to further delays or actions that undermine the integrity of the process,” Price added.

The airport hosts the US embassy, as well as other diplomatic missions including the United Nations and AMISOM.

The blast comes at a time of heightened political and security turmoil in Somalia, as the war-torn In the country Horn of Africa, the has been plagued by war and political turmoil, there has been a major setback for the country.

The International community pushing Somalia for elections, with the delay,  but has been overshadowed by almost two years of political crisis.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has been called upon to take part in security operations outside the Somali presidential palace, where armed groups loyal to President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble are based, disagreed on election issues and blaming each other for the delay in the election and for causing the conflict.

The rift between the two leaders is fueled by political factions, with several differences leading to the resumption of civil war in Somalia.

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By Arraale M Jama Freelance Journalist and Human Rights activist.

Araweelo News Network.