, MOGADISHU, Jan 4 – A huge car bomb blast shook Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Sunday after a suicide bomber struck an area close to the heavily-fortified international airport where African Union peacekeepers are based, officials said.
“There was a car bomb explosion near the Afisiyone area. We are getting information that a suicide bomber rammed a car laden with explosives into a pickup truck,” said Ahmed Adan, a Somali police official.
There were no immediate reports on casualties.
The sprawling airport area is a major base for members of Somalia’s armed forces, houses several foreign embassies and African Union troops battling Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shabaab militants.
It has frequently been the target of militant attacks.
Witnesses said they saw clouds of smoke after the explosion and the security forces opened fire to disperse approaching onlookers.
“There was a terrible explosion. The security forces have cordoned off the area. They opened fire to disperse people nearby,” said Ali Suleyman, a witness.