Skip to main content

Suicide bomber targets Qatari delegation in Somalia, 8 dead

From Omar Nor, for CNN
updated 8:42 AM EDT, Mon May 6, 2013
Somalia is divided into three regions: Somalia, and semi-autonomous Somaliland and Puntland.
Somalia is divided into three regions: Somalia, and semi-autonomous Somaliland and Puntland.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Eight people were killed in the suicide bombing, officials say
  • The Somali interior minister was not with the delegation, his office says
  • The Islamist militia Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for the attack
  • The radical group has staged several other recent attacks in the nation

Read a version of this story in Arabic.

Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) -- A suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a convoy carrying a Qatari delegation in Mogadishu Sunday, killing at least eight people and wounding seven, authorities and witnesses said.

Farah Hassan, who witnessed the aftermath of the attack, said those killed were all bystanders at the busy intersection in Somalia's capital.

Earlier reports about the attack said Somalia's interior minister was traveling in the convoy, but the minister's office said he was not there.

Somali prime minister spokesman Ahmed Adan and District Commissioner Abdi Warsame said no one in the convoy was hurt in the attack.

The radical Islamist group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombing, and said six soldiers were killed and nine wounded.

2012: The battle against al-Shabaab

"The mujahideen have today carried out a martyrdom operation in Mogadishu, targeting Somali interior minister convoy," the militant group posted on a pro-Al-Shabaab website.

Several principal roads in and around the capital were locked down by government troops in recent days amid threats by Al-Shabaab to launch deadly attacks. The site of Sunday's suicide bombing was just reopened a day ago.

Emergency vehicles, sirens wailing, rushed to the gruesome scene, where incinerated bodies and body parts were strewn across the road. The wounded, some of them seriously injured, were rushed to the hospital.

A bulldozer sifted through the rubble, which covered most of the street.

"What have they done to us?" one woman wailed.

The latest attack comes two days ahead of a conference on Somalia in London, where Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is expected to present his plans to rebuild the military and the country as a whole, as well as solicit international support.

Al-Shabaab has waged several recent attacks in Somalia.

Last month, at least 10 heavily armed militants forced their way into a court building in Mogadishu, killing 29 people, sources said.

In that attack, some assailants detonated explosives while others exchanged fire with government security officers, witnesses said.

At least nine members of Al-Shabaab were also killed, the sources said.

Somalia's president has called the uptick in strikes "nothing but a sign of desperation by the terrorists," saying the militants "are in complete decline."

Somalia's government, backed by African Union peacekeepers, has been battling Islamist guerrillas for years.

CNN's Nima Elbagir contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:02 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 9:19 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
With so many new attractions on the way, the next few years are going to be a roller coaster ride.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 3:21 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
The lives of everyone close to Oscar Pistorius and the girl he killed are changed forever, his siblings say.
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 8:18 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
updated 1:57 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT