Truck Bomb Kills at Least 20 in Somalia's Capital

Sunday, 15 Oct, 2017

Officials said a truck bomb exploded Saturday in a busy intersection of Mogadishu, Somalia, killing and injuring dozens and destroying nearby buildings. It is not known whether the hotel was the target on this occasion, but in the past the Shabaab has frequently attacked hotels where officials stay.

The explosion appeared to target a hotel on a busy road in the Hodan district and at least 15 people were injured, Capt. Mohamed Hussein said. The explosion happened in a busy area of Mogadishu.

A BBC Somali reporter at the scene said the Safari Hotel had collapsed, with people thought to be trapped under the rubble. Windows were shattered for blocks around the epicenter of the carnage.

"There was a traffic jam and the road was packed with bystanders and cars", said Abdinur Abdulle, a waiter at a nearby restaurant.

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The attacks follows after political impasse between the Federal government of Somalia and its member states, in what many believe could have been foreign interest based political interference.

Later on Saturday, a second blast took place in the city's Madina district. After the explosion, the police captain told Reuters that it was a truck bomb and that there are casualties but that they did not know the exact amount since the scene was still burning.

The Al Qaeda-allied group has been trying to topple the UN-backed government and its African Union allies. It also happened two days after the country's defense minister and army chief both resigned.

The U.S. military has stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against the group.