Mogadishu, Reuters—At least two people were killed and seven wounded when a bomb ripped through a busy market in the Somali capital on Monday, a government official said.
It is not clear who carried out the attack but in the past similar attacks in Mogadishu have been claimed by Al-Shabaab militants, who have vowed to wage a series of attacks during Ramadan
Two traffic police men were gunned down by militants on Maka Al-Mukaram road, a major thoroughfare through the centre of Mogadishu, the commander of traffic police, Ali Hirsi, told Reuters. “The attackers escaped,” he said.
In a northern district of the city, a soldier was shot dead by men with pistols, shopkeeper Ali Abdullahi said, adding it happened on the street outside his store.
Al-Shabaab has a strong presence in the north of the capital, residents say.
The group claimed responsibility for all three killings. “This marks the beginning of our operations. More are to follow,” the spokesman for the group’s military operations, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, told Reuters.
The government and African Union peacekeepers have stepped up security to try to prevent assaults during Ramadan by Al-Shabaab, who have waged a seven-year campaign to impose a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
In the past year or so, the group has killed dozens of people in guerrilla-style assaults in Mogadishu, on UN offices, the presidential compound, parliament and the courts.