Car bomb kills former Somali defence minister

Residents lift the covered body of Somalia's former defence minister Muhidin Mohamed from near a destroyed vehicle, following an explosion on 15 February, 2016, in the central K4 district of the Somali capital Mogadishu. Photo: MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB / AFP

MOGADISHU - Somalia's former defence minister was killed in a car bomb on Monday, the latest in a string of attacks in the capital Mogadishu, police said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the explosion in the central K4 district of the city, but Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab insurgents have carried out similar bombings in the past.

Muhidin Mohamed, who was defence minister in 2008, "died after the violent elements attached an explosive device beneath the driver's seat of his car," said police officer Ibrahim Mohamed. "Another person was wounded in the attack."

Al-Shabaab is fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu, which is protected by 22,000 African Union troops.

"I heard the explosion near the K4 area and I saw a dead body - he was horribly wounded with blood all over his body," said Samiro Muktar, a witness.

Meanwhile a military drone reportedly crashed in southern Somalia on Monday in a remote area held by al-Shabaab fighters, residents said.

"We saw what looked like a small aircraft crashing in the mountains," said Abudlahi Muhidin, a resident in a nearby village. "Al-Shabaab fighters carried away the wreckage on a vehicle."

Several al-Shabaab commanders have been reportedly killed by US drone strikes.

The nsurgents said they had seized the wreckage of an unmanned aircraft, which landed in a hilly region south of Bardhere in the far southern Gedo district, close to the border of Kenya and Ethiopia.

"Mujahedeen fighters secured control of the wreckage of the plane and the equipment it carried," a pro-al-Shabaab website claimed.

The Islamists are on a mission to disprove claims they are close to defeat since being routed from Mogadishu in mid-2011.

Last week al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a bomb attack which ripped a hole in a passenger plane shortly after takeoff from the capital Mogadishu earlier this month.


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