Suicide car bomb kills Somali security personnel

WASHINGTON — A suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at a security post outside Somalia’s capital Saturday, killing at least six security personnel and injuring seven others, a security official and residents told VOA Somali.

Militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the early-morning attack, in which the bomber drove a car packed with explosives into a camp manned by Somali military police at Elasha Biyaha, about 20 kilometers west of Mogadishu.

A security official who asked not to be identified because he is not allowed to speak to the media told VOA that the soldiers fired on the incoming car but said the windows were shielded with metal to deflect bullets, allowing it to hit the perimeter.

The information about the car and casualties were confirmed to VOA by Mohamed Ibrahim Barre, the governor of the Lower Shabelle region, where Elasha Biyaha is located.

The bombing targeted soldiers who were assigned to intercept al-Shabab car bombs, the official added.

The Somali government deployed hundreds of newly trained personnel in and around Mogadishu earlier this year to beef up security and prevent retaliatory attacks as the national army, working with local militias, battles al-Shabab in central Somalia.

Earlier this week, an explosion from al-Shabab suicide bomber at a Mogadishu restaurant killed a prominent Somali television journalist, Abdifatah Moalim Nur Qeys. The attack was strongly condemned by the Somali government and media rights groups.

The following day, the United States announced a $5 million bounty for information on the location of al-Shabab deputy leader Abukar Ali Adan.

“Adan spent several years as al-Shabaab’s military chief after previously heading the Jabhat, al-Shabaab’s armed wing,” a statement by the U.S. State Department’s Rewards for Justice program said.

The U.S. originally sanctioned Adan as a global terrorist in January 2018.

He joins other al-Shabab leaders on the U.S. wanted list, including the group’s emir, Ahmed Diriye, or Abu Ubaidah; operations commander Mahad Karate and explosives expert Jehad Mostafa. For each, the U.S. has offered rewards of $10 million for information on their whereabouts.

Meanwhile, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Friday returned to his temporary base in the central town of Dhusamareb, where he has been overseeing military and local community operations against al-Shabab.

Mohamud has been working from Dhusamareb since early August. On Oct. 8, he traveled to Eritrea, where Somali soldiers have been training.

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