Somalia: Al-Shabab Attacks Kill Four Civilians in Mogadishu

Somali soldiers and residents look at the site of an Al-Shabab car bomb in Mogadishu.
Somali soldiers and residents at the site of a car bomb blast in Mogadishu, Somalia, April 18. Four civilians were killed when Al-Shabab militants attacked a government vehicle and detonated a car bomb on Monday. MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images

Al-Shabab militants killed four civilians in a gun attack and car bomb on Monday, according to Somali security and government sources.

The militants opened fire on a government vehicle in the Somali capital Mogadishu, killing three civilians, according to Abdifatah Omar, a spokesman for the city's mayor. The gunmen then fled security forces and their vehicle, which was laden with explosives, was detonated remotely, killing a fourth civilian, Omar told Reuters.

Police Major Nur Osman said that one of the militants was shot dead while Omar added that two of the attackers escaped. An Al-Shabab spokesman claimed responsibility for the attacks but denied that civilians were killed, saying instead that the victims were members of the security forces.

Al-Shabab, which is aligned with Al-Qaeda, is waging an insurgency against the Western-backed government in Mogadishu and launches almost daily attacks in and around the city. The group often targets government facilities and officials—a suicide car bomb earlier in April killed at least five people near to the Mogadishu mayor's office and ex-defense minister Muhayadin Mohamed was killed in a targeted car bomb in February.

Somalia is due to hold national elections later in 2016 and Al-Shabab is expected to ramp up its attacks ahead of the polls. The group has already carried out what could be its deadliest-ever attack in 2016, raiding an African Union base manned by Kenyan soldiers in El Adde in Somalia's Gedo region in January. Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said that up to 200 Kenyan soldiers may have been killed in the attack, which would overshadow the 148 teachers and students killed when Al-Shabab gunmen attacked Garissa University College in Kenya in April 2015.