At least five people were killed when al-Shabab insurgents attacked several police stations and security checkpoints Wednesday morning in and around the Somali capital Mogadishu, officials and insurgents said.
Somali police spokesman Colonel Abdifatah Aden Hassan said the attack, which began just before 01:00 (2200 GMT) local time, targeted police stations and checkpoints in two quiet neighborhoods, Kahda in Mogadishu, and a suburb of Darussalam.
“We were shocked by the magnitude of the explosion and the loud sound of gunfire that followed it,” said one Darussalam resident who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.
Somalia’s National TV reported five people, two of them children, were killed. According to health officials, some of the injured were also hospitalized.
Both neighborhoods have experienced massive real estate development in recent years as large numbers of Somali families have moved there after being displaced.
The city of Darussalam has modern housing, recreation and security infrastructure which encourages more Somali diaspora to invest in the country.
“The attack started with two vehicles loaded with explosives. These attacks are intended to disrupt peace, development and tranquility in the residential area and to prevent Somali diaspora investment,” Aden said.
Following the attack, Somalia’s interior security minister, Abdullahi Mohamed Nor, said on Twitter: “The terrorists attacked the outskirts of Mogadishu and targeted our police station and checkpoint. Our security forces have defeated the enemy.” [my/jm]