1 February 2016

Somalia: Mortar Shells Target Somalia Palace

The Somalia presidential palace has come under attack.

Police said a child was killed and six others wounded in the Mogadishu Monday mortar shells raid on Villa Somalia, the main government complex which includes the presidential palace.

Witnesses said they heard as many as five explosions.

"There was a mortar attack near the presidential palace, but several of the rounds struck civilian neighbourhoods," Somali police officer Abdirahman Siyad said.

Claimed responsibility

"An innocent child died and a number of others were wounded."

No group has claimed responsibility for the shelling but Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabaab extremists have carried out a raft of similar attacks in the past.

Abdi Moalim Hussein, who lives nearby, said some of the shells smashed into houses.

"I saw six wounded civilians, some of them seriously," he said.

Lost ground

The Al-Shabaab are fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, which is protected by 22,000 African Union troops.

The insurgents have lost ground since being routed from Mogadishu in 2011 but continue to stage regular shooting and suicide attacks.

Last month they stormed a Kenyan army base at El-Adde in southwest Somalia, in the latest incident of an African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) base being overrun.

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