Mogadishu — A suicide bomber killed at least 7 people and injured dozens on Monday, in an assassination attempt of a regional intelligence director who was injured in the blast, Garowe Online reports.
According to government authorities, the National Security Director for Banadir Region, Col. Khalif Ahmed Ereg, sustained minor injuries in a car bomb in Mogadishu's Ex Fiore neighborhood, - where many returning musicians were residing at - and he is being treated at AMISOM hospital.
Col. Ereg spoke to BBC Somali service Monday afternoon and stated that he was in good health although he didn't specify his injuries. Sources tell GO that he will be held at the AMISOM hospital for an overnight stay.
The suicide bomber packed his car full of explosives and targeted a vehicle carrying the intelligence chief and soldiers. Some media reported that the bomber missed his target and hit a bus carrying passengers however security sources told GO that they were auxiliary casualties.
Reports say Col. Ereg's security personnel were killed and injured in the blast. Authorities have not issued the number of government casualties in the blast.
Media in Mogadishu reported that the heavy explosion injured people across the street sitting at tea shops.
With over 15 injuries and at least 7 people killed, residents who spoke to GO said it was one of the worst explosions they seen in a long period.
"The site was gruesome there were bodies mangled everywhere and people were just trying to rush the injured to hospital," said Fadumo Ma'alimo who rushed to the scene after hearing the explosion.
Somali Federal Government (SFG) Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon tweeted, "My personal condolences to the families of the victims."
Spokesman for the Police Col. Abdullahi Hassan Barre stated to media that there were 8 people killed including the bomber and 15 injuries in the blast.
Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the gruesome attack and said that they were targeting Col. Ereg.
The blast comes two days after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud stated that they were winning the war against Al Shabaab.
UN Special Representative to Somalia Augustine Mahiga offered his condolences and stated, "Today's assault was entirely unacceptable".
Mogadishu despite the recent display of bodies of young men on the streets has been relatively stable with a resurgence of business and tourism in the capital.