Mogadishu court attack kills at least 16 people


A mini bus catches fire after a car bomb explosion in central Mogadishu on March 18, 2013. The attack is the worst in Mogadishu since September 2012, when two suicide bombers killed 18 people in a restaurant.


Mohamed Abdiwahab

Gunmen in government uniform attacked a Mogadishu Supreme Court complex on Sunday, killing at least 16 people.

"Armed men entered the court and then we heard a blast. Then they started opening fire. We do not know the number of casualties," court employee Hussein Ali told Reuters.

The wire agency reported at least 16 people dead - the bodies counted by its reporters - while the Associated Press, unable to confirm a death toll from authorities, said one police officer saw five dead bodies.

“I never expected to make it out alive today,” Halima Geddi, a witness who saw the attack, told the AP. “There is no peace. No one protects us. I came to see my boy who was supposed to be tried here.”

Two car bombs exploded and a gunfight occurred outside the courts as armed men and Somali security forces exchanged fire.

"We managed to put down the attack [and] we killed most of the attackers and they have killed and wounded several people including some soldiers," Qasim Omar, a local police officer, told Xinhua.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Al Qaeda-linked militant group al Shabaab has carried out a number of attacks this year, including suicide bombings.

A third car bomb at a different location exploded and killed four people, including two Turkish aid workers, according to the BBC