Car bomb kills 3 police in Somalia

  • 09/03/2016
Car bomb in Somalia located next to a cafe (Reuters)
Car bomb in Somalia located next to a cafe (Reuters)

Islamist militants in the Somali capital have set off a vehicle packed with explosives next to a cafe near a police building, killing at least three police officers.

The Islamist al-Shabaab group, which wants to topple the Western-backed government, claimed responsibility. A spokesman for the group told Reuters 10 police officers were killed, a higher figure than that given by police.

"Three police officers died in this car bomb," Ali Mohamed Hirsi, the commander of Mogadishu police, told reporters at the scene, where blood was visible near the tea shop frequented by officers.

"The police officers were among police being trained."

Police said a second device went off, but caused no casualties after police saw it beforehand and caught two men in the small, three-wheeled vehicle.

In the past two weeks, al-Shabaab has launched mortar bomb attacks near the presidential palace, blown up a car bomb near a busy park in Mogadishu, and set off twin blasts in a town northwest of the capital. Dozens of people have been killed.

US air strikes targeted an al-Shabaab facility on Saturday (local time) and US officials said more than 150 fighters were killed.

Al-Shabaab confirmed an attack on an area they controlled but said the US casualty figure was exaggerated without giving their own number.