At least three people were killed and several others wounded when a suicide bomber targeted a busy restaurant in Mogadishu’s Hamar Jajab neighborhood on Monday.
Ismail Mukhtar Oronjo, the Somali government spokesman said that a suicide bomber wearing suicide vests blew himself up at the gate of a busy restaurant called Lul Yemani in Mogadishu, killing himself and at least two and wounding several others.
“The attacker wanted to enter the restaurant but one of the security guards stopped him before entering. His main goal was to kill many people during the lunch time,” Oronjo said.
Somali police spokesman Sadak Adan also confirmed the suicide attack, without providing further details.
Lul Yemani is a busy restaurant located near the heavily fortified central prison in the Somali capital Mogadishu.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated group al-Shabaab had claimed responsibility for the recent attacks in the Horn of African nation.
The targeted restaurant is frequented by government security forces and port workers in the Somali capital. Hassan Kulmiye noted that most of the dead were civilians.
The powerful blast could be heard in many parts of the city. It sent a thick plume of black smoke into the sky.
“I narrowly escaped with slight injuries on my face and arms,” Ahmed Abdi, a port worker who had been having lunch at the restaurant when the explosion occurred, told dpa.
Abdi said he saw several bodies, “but there were many people in the restaurant and casualties may be higher.”
Militant group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack on their media platform Radio Andalus. The group, which seeks to establish a fundamentalist Islamist state in Somalia, also claimed to have killed nine people, four more than the official figure.
Al-Shabaab’s claims have not been verified, but the group is known to regularly launch attacks on government buildings, hotels and restaurants in the volatile Horn of Africa nation.
The group is affiliated with the international al-Qaeda terrorist network.
US forces are partnering with African Union troops, AMISOM, and the Somali forces in combined counterterrorism operations in the troubled East African country.