At least six people were killed in a bombing of a local government office building in Somalia‘s capital, Mogadishu, officials say.
The suicide attack on Sunday destroyed the building, causing a nearby school to collapse. Plumes of smoke were seen rising from the scene.
Three of the people killed in the blast were security forces who stopped the bomber from speeding through a checkpoint, Salah Hassan Omar, spokesperson for the Mogadishu administration, told reporters at the scene.
The attacker then detonated the explosive-laden vehicle near the gate of Hawlwadag district headquarters, Omar added.
The three others killed in the explosion were civilians, Omar added.
Fourteen people, including six children, were critically wounded, said the city’s ambulance service. Among the wounded was deputy district commissioner Ibrahim Hassan Matan.
Most of the wounded were young students from the nearby secondary school, according to officials.
“I saw bodies strewn on the ground after the explosion before the ambulances and the paramedics reached the scene and the whole scene was very ugly,” witness Halima Mohamed told the Associated Press news agency.
The blast also blew off the roof of a mosque and damaged homes nearby.
The armed group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, which shattered a period of calm in the seaside capital.
The al-Qaeda-linked group is fighting to overthrow the UN-backed government in Mogadishu.