A car bomber blew himself up in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Monday morning killing perhaps 10 people, mostly police. Dozens more were injured in the attack that ends a quiet spell for suicide bombings in Mogadishu where Islamist extremist fighters belonging to the al-Shabaab insurgent group are battling the weak Western-backed Transitional Federal Government.
It’s been five months since the last big suicide bombing which targeted Mogadishu airport and killed half a dozen people. A few weeks before that attack in September 2010 a suicide squad killed 32 people at a city hotel, going room to room shooting assault rifles before blowing themselves up.
No one has yet claimed responsibility but suicide attacks are increasingly a hallmark of al-Shabaab an al-Qaeda-linked group which, in July last year, launched its first terrorist bombing outside of Somalia killing more than 70 people watching the football World Cup in Kampala, Uganda.
Monday morning’s target was a police headquarters a third of a mile from the airport, deep inside territory controlled by the TFG and AMISOM, the 8,000-strong African force deployed to protect the government.
Somalia’s information minister, Abdulkareem Jama, said two children were among the dead and 35 were wounded. “This is a cowardly act,” he said. “Extremists always attack soft targets when they lose in the battlefield.”