Somalia: Gunmen launch deadly attack on Somalia courthouse

People were seen trying to escape the violence at the Mogadishu court building
At least 20 people have been killed in a series of bomb and gun attacks in the Somalian capital, Mogadishu.

More than 16 people are believed to have died after gunmen stormed the city’s main court buildings, shooting and setting off explosions.

Later a car bomb was detonated on the road to the airport, killing four, including two Turkish aid workers and the attacker.

There have also been reports of a third attack in an unconfirmed location.

It is not clear who carried out the attacks, but most in Mogadishu are blamed on Islamic militant group al-Shabab, which has links with al-Qaeda.

BBC reporter Mohamed Ibrahim at the scene says armed intruders entered the court in Mogadishu and began firing, after which there was an explosion.

A gunfight followed as security forces exchanged fire with the attackers.

Witnesses said at least one car bomb was used in the attack.

“Armed men entered the court and then we heard a blast. Then they started opening fire,” witness Hussein Ali, who works at the courts, told Reuters news agency.

Ugandan troops – part of the African Union force stationed in Mogadishu – arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting started.

The interior minister told the Associated Press that nine gunmen had been involved in the assault, and all had now been killed.

Six of them detonated suicide vests, he said.
Aid workers killed
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Other witnesses said the attackers were dressed in Somali military uniform.

People were seen trying to escape the violence from the upper floors of the court buildings by breaking windows and climbing out of the buildings.

Our reporter says the courts are located in one of the busiest parts of the city, and were full of people when the attacks happened – Sunday is a normal working day in Somalia.

A second car bomb was detonated later, outside a building housing security forces on the road to the airport.

It was set off as a convoy carrying Turkish aid workers passed, killing two of them.

Correspondents say Sunday’s violence is the worst seen in Mogadishu since al-Shabab was pushed out of the city by AU and Somali forces in August 2011.

Since then the Islamist group has launched regular attacks in the capital. It still controls most villages and rural areas of Somalia.

For more than 20 years Somalia has seen clan-based warlords, rival politicians and Islamist militants battling for control of the country.

Source: BBC

Xafiiska Wararka Midnimo, webmaster@midnimo.com midnimo12@googlemail.com

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