Several people were killed in a car bomb blast in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Wednesday, officials said.
The attack was claimed by the jihadist group Al-Shabaab, which said in a brief statement it was aimed at “foreign officers “.
It comes just days after Somali leaders agreed on a new schedule for long-delayed elections in the troubled Horn of Africa country.
The government said in a statement on Twitter that it condemned the “cowardly” suicide attack, leaving four dead and six wounded.
“Such acts of terrorism will damage peace and ongoing development in the country. We must fight terrorism unite.”
Mohamed Abdi, local government security official, previously told AFP that at least six people were killed.
“It has also wreaked havoc in the area,” he said and warned that the Mau t could be higher because of a large number of people in the area.
Witnesses said a private security convoy of several vehicles escorting foreigners was passing the area in southern Mogadishu when the blast struck.
“I saw some of the passengers injured and carried away after the blast,” said a witness, Osman Hassan.Another witness, Hassan Nur, said: “The explosion was so powerful that it destroyed most of the buildings near the road and destroyed passing vehicles.
“I have several dead and wounded
Somalia has been in the grip of a political crisis since February last year after failing to reach an agreement to hold new elections.
The impasse has been broken a bitter power struggle between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmajo, and his Pr Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.
According to a deal announced late Sunday after talks between Roble and state leaders, general elections, which should have been completed last year, are now due by to be finalized by February 25.
The agreement appears to be intended to defuse the standoff between Roble and Farmajo, who said in a statement late Monday he welcomed the “positive outcome” of the election plan.
The crisis had raised alarm bells in the international community fearing it threatened the stability of a fragile country still fighting a violent insurgency by al-Shabaab.
Those with al-Qaeda Affiliated jihadists have waged a deadly campaign against the weak central government since 2007, but were driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 after an offensive by an African Union force.
The militants however, retain control of vast rural areas of Somalia, from which they frequently launch deadly attacks in the capital and elsewhere against civilian, military and government targets.