Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's suicide attack targeting Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon's office in Mogadishu, AFP reported Tuesday (January 29th).
"Mujahideen units carried out an operation targeting senior apostate intelligence officials," al-Shabaab spokesman Abdiaziz Abu Musab said, adding that the bomb was part of "renewed campaign of attacks against Western puppets in Somalia".
There have been conflicting reports on how many were killed in the blast, with one witness saying there were up to six casualties while Minister of Information and Telecommunications Abdullahi Ilmoge Hirsi saying two had died, including the bomber.
Abdukadir Ali, a Somali military official, had earlier said he had seen the bodies of six people, describing a scene of "chaos, smoke and pieces of human flesh" after the explosion.
Hirsi said the suicide bomber was a former al-Shabaab fighter who had joined the government's intelligence service, but had been released from his duties before the attack, according to UN-funded Radio Bar-Kulan.
However, National Intelligence and Security Agency regional boss Khalif Ahmed Ereg said the attacker was a former al-Shabaab fighter, but never served in the force.
"Despite the attack, the security in the capital has been improving over the past eight months and the Somali government will continue conducting security operations to crack down the remaining terror safe havens in the country," the ministry said in a statement.
"[The] Somali government reassures its public that security in Mogadishu and across Somalia is the government's primary concern," it said. "However, occasional attacks might get through and this reminds us that the threat of violence is not yet over."
The ministry asked the public to collaborate with security forces and inform security agencies about any suspicious activities.