MOGADISHU, Somalia — The Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic extremists of Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for twin car bombs near Mogadishu international airport on Tuesday morning, killing scores of people, including soldiers.
Two vehicles packed with a large quantity of explosives went off at the main gate of Halane, the largest African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), in Mogadishu on Tuesday morning at around 9:00AM local time.
The blasts sent a plume of white smoke to the city’s skyline that could be seen miles away from the war-torn seaside Somali capital, according to a witness who spoke to ArmedPolitics over the phone.
In a Twitter post, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) confirmed that there had been two huge bomb explosions at checkpoints near entrances to its base at Halane, located next to the Mogadishu airport.
“AMISOM condemns these senseless attacks that aim to disrupt and cripple the lives of ordinary Somalis. These attacks must be stopped,” the AU mission said on Twitter.
Sheikh Abdulaziz Abu Musab, the military operations spokesman for Al Shabaab insurgents, said his group was behind Tuesday’s double suicide car bombs on the AMISOM base, saying they killed at least 27 AMISOM soldiers and UN security guards.
ArmedPolitics has learned that one of the bombers who carried out the attack was a former Somali lawmaker named Salah Badbado; he drove his explosives-laden vehicle into a convoy of UN personnel outside Mogadishu airport.
UN envoy for Somalia, Michael Keating, has condemned Tuesday’s attack in Mogadishu that killed dozens of people; he added that no UN personnel are among the confirmed dead.
Reports said nine Ugandan soldiers, who are security guards of Unites Nations mission in Somalia, were among those killed in the car bombs.
In December, 2014, Al Shabaab carried out a major car bomb and gun attack on an AMISOM base in Mogadishu, and killed at least 10 AU soldiers and U.S. security contractors.
by Omar Nor