Deadly car bomb explodes near Somalia presidential palace

Friday 18/09/2015
Villa Somalia houses presidential palace and PM’s office

MOGADISHU – Five people were killed and 13 were wounded on Monday when a car bomb exploded near a complex housing the office of Somalia's president and its prime minister in Mogadishu, a security official said.

"Five civilians died in the explosion and 13 others (were) wounded," said Somali security official Ahmed Dahir.

"It was a car bomb but their target is not clear," he said

The Al-Qaeda-affiliated Shebab have frequently used car bombs driven by suicide bombers to break into a complex or a building, with more attackers following on foot.

A witness named Ali Ahmed said "the explosion occurred between the main entrance of (the Villa Somalia) and a nearby hotel...

"I saw clouds of smoke up in the sky, it was very heavy."

Expelled since mid-2011 from Mogadishu and their bastions in central and southern Somalia, the Shebab still hold large swathes of the countryside which they use as launching pads for their attacks.

The Shebab are fighting to overthrow the internationally backed government in Mogadishu, which is protected by 22,000 African Union AMISOM troops from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.