A suicide car bomber from Somalia’s Islamist group al Shabaab hit a military convoy outside Mogadishu on Tuesday, causing an unknown number of deaths, a police officer and the group’s spokesman told Reuters.
The attack targeting a passing military convoy occurred in Afgoye, a district about 30 km northwest of Mogadishu, police officer Major Abdiqadir Ali said.
“What we are sure (of) is a military vehicle was hit,” Ali said, adding there were casualties but the death toll had not yet been determined.
Al-Shabaab’s military operations spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters they were responsible for the attack.
The group, an ally of Al Qaeda, is fighting to topple the country’s western-backed central government and impose its rule based on its own interpretation of sharia law.
Al Shabaab also wants to force out an African Union-mandated AMISOM peacekeeping force that is helping defend the government of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.
“One of our mujahideen (was) martyred after he rammed his car into a Somali military convoy,” Abu Musab said.
One military pick-up truck was destroyed while 12 soldiers were killed by the blast, he said and added that a second vehicle in the convoy was also damaged.
The soldiers in the convoy were U.S.-trained Somali military commandos.
Al Shabaab have targeted them on the same road several times in the past.