MOGADISHU, Somalia -- A suicide car bomb exploded near Somalia's Foreign Ministry yesterday, killing at least four people, even as Somali and Kenyan leaders met and agreed to cooperate on military action against Islamist insurgents.
The blast rattled central Mogadishu and killed at least three passersby and the suicide bomber, said police official Ali Hassan. Six people were wounded and taken to the hospital, he said. The explosion did not damage the ministry building but did tear down a stone wall in front of it.
"The car bomb blew up among people and cars passing down the street. I don't know if his target was the civilians, but thanks to Allah the loss was not so big," said Mohamed Nor Siyaed, an eyewitness.
Abdikarim Sheikh Hussein, a university student in Mogadishu, said he was standing on the other side of the street when the explosion happened. Bloodied textbooks were lying on the ground in the post-explosion ruins.
"When the car blew up a ball of flame and smoke engulfed the whole area, then some wounded people ran through the streets" he said.
African Union and Somali troops battling al-Shabab militants have mostly pushed the insurgents out of Mogadishu, but al-Shabab has vowed to carry out attacks in the capital. Earlier this month al-Shabab unleashed a suicide blast that killed more than 100 people, many of them students. It was the deadliest bombing in Somalia by al-Shabab.
The latest attacks have raised fears that al-Shabab is targeting everyone, not just government officials and African Union peacekeepers.