, MOGADISHU, Jan 2 – A suicide bomber blew himself up in a restaurant in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Saturday, injuring three people, police and witnesses said.
The attack targeted the Village Restaurant, an eatery in the south of the city popular with journalists and government officials which was already hit by a deadly suicide bombing in 2012.
“There were several journalists and other people in the restaurant when the bomber blew himself up. Thank God he is the only one who died in the explosion. Three other civilians were wounded,” said Abdulahi Ibrahim, a senior police official.
Idris Abdi, a witness, said the assailant “targeted journalists who were having tea” and who “ran away after becoming suspicious about this man who had wires hanging from his chest.”
“There was a heavy blast and I saw injured people,” he said.
In September 2012, around 15 people were killed when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the same restaurant.
No group had yet claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack but Al-Qaeda affiliated Shabaab extremists have carried out a raft of similar attacks in the past.
The Shabaab are fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, which is protected by 22,000 African Union troops. The insurgents have lost ground since being routed from Mogadishu in 2011 but continue to stage regular shooting and suicide attacks.
On Friday evening, police in Mogadishu displayed the bodies of three alleged Shabaab fighters who they said were killed during an attack on a police station in Huriwa district in the north of the city.
“The police repelled the attackers. Three of the fighters were killed and their weapons confiscated, including an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade),” Mogadishu police commissioner General Ali Hersi told reporters.
“The gunmen fired an RPG at the building and partially damaged it but they were repelled by the police after a shootout lasting nearly 40 minutes,” Mohamed Osman, a witness, said.