Security officers arrive to secure the scene of an explosion in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. File photo/ Reuters
MOGADISHU: A big explosion was heard in the heart of Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Saturday, with a plume of smoke seen above the scene of blast, a Reuters witness reported.
It was not clear who was responsible for the blast and what exactly had been detonated although extremist group Al Shabaab frequently carries out bombings in the Horn of Africa country.
“The first blast took place at the Ministry of Labour ... there are also other ministry buildings near the scene. It was a suicide car bomb followed by gunfire,” said police officer Major Mohamed Hussein.
He added that a second blast had followed the initial one.
Al Shabaab is fighting to topple Somalia's western backed central government and establish its own rule based on its strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.
The group was ejected from Mogadishu in 2011 and has since been driven from most of its other strongholds across the country. But it remains a formidable threat, with its fighters frequently carrying out bombings in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya.
Troops from Kenya form part of the African Union- mandated peacekeeping force AMISOM that helps defend Somalia's central government.
At least 26 people, including many foreigners, were killed and 56 injured in a suicide bomb and gun attack claimed by Al Shabaab militants on a popular hotel in southern Somalia, a top regional official said on Saturday.
Five people were killed in an extremist attack on a hotel in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, police said on Wednesday, adding that the victims were three civilians and two members of the security forces.
Security officials and witnesses reported bodies strewn on the ground as plumes of smoke rose high into the air after the bomb detonated on Mogadishu's Maka Al-Mukarama road, one of the seaside capital's main thoroughfares, an area busy with businesses and travellers.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said an estimated 22 people were still trapped. Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Authority (AFAD) said later that 43 people had been rescued so far.
The Dubai Police Maritime Rescue Unit executed 458 maritime operations and attended to 26 marine accidents in 2019, Colonel Saaed Al Madhani, the acting director of Dubai Police Ports Stations revealed.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHaP) is participating in the “Arab Health 2020” from Jan.27 to 30 in Dubai World Trade Centre and among its highlights is its goal to continually accelerate
President Xi Jinping warned on Saturday that China was facing a “grave” situation as authorities took more drastic steps to halt the spread of a virus that has killed 41 people and is overwhelming hospitals at the epicentre of the health emergency.