At least eight dead following car bomb attack in Mogadishu.

A suicide car bomb killed at least eight people in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday at a street junction near the president’s palace, local police said.

The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab group said it was behind the attack, which targeted a convoy going into the palace.

Police spokesperson Abdifatah Aden Hassan told reporters at the scene of the blast that the number of casualties could be higher, since some of the dead and wounded had been taken away by their relatives.

“Al-Shabaab is behind the blast. They killed eight people including a soldier and a mother and two children. Al-Shabaab massacres civilians,” he said.

Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, the government’s spokesperson, said that among those killed was Hibaq Abukar, an adviser on women and human rights affairs in prime minister Mohamed Hussein Roble’s office.

“She was one of the pillars of PM’s office [for] women affairs,” the spokesperson said on his Facebook account.

It was not immediately clear if Abukar was in the convoy or if she just happened to be close by when the blast happened.

Al-Shabaab confirmed it was behind the attack. The group, which wants to overthrow the Somali government and impose its own strict interpretation of Islamic law, frequently carries out such bombings.

A Reuters witness at the scene of the attack reported seeing seven cars and three rickshaws destroyed by the blast, and the whole junction covered in blood. – Reuters

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