At least 10 people were killed in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Friday when a remote-controlled bomb exploded in a restaurant in the northwestern part of the Somali capital, government officials said.
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the explosion. The Shabab, an Islamist militant group based in Somalia with links to Al Qaeda, has staged periodic attacks in the city. The bomb exploded in the Dayniile district, local and United Nations officials said, an area where militants from the group have been known to reside. The Shabab did not immediately claim responsibility but local officials were quick to blame the group.
“The remotely controlled bomb targeted government forces,” said Xiirey Muhudiin Omar, the Dayniile district commissioner, according to local media reports. “Ten people died, including government soldiers and a female restaurant owner. . The bomb was hidden in the back of the restaurant by the members of the Shabab before it was detonated and they escaped from the scene.”
Abdilahi Nor, a resident from the area, said the restaurant was known to be frequented by members of the Somali army. He said he had heard a loud explosion and then saw heavy smoke billowing in the sky.
“The restaurant immediately changed into pools of blood and wounded screaming for help,” he said. “It is shocking to see our people are killed aimlessly every other day.”
The Somali prime minister, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed, condemned the attack. “The terrorist groups cannot exist in the long term, as their ideologies are contrary to the Islamic religion, the Somali culture and the humanity,” he said in a statement.
Nicholas Kay, the United Nations special representative of the secretary-general for Somalia, condemned the attack, saying that he was “appalled by another cruel bomb in Mogadishu.”
“Somalia and Somalis deserve better,” Mr. Kay wrote on Twitter.
In September, the Shabab claimed responsibility for the deadly siege at the Westgate shopping mall in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, which left more than 60 people dead and underlined the threat posed by the militant group. The Shabab rose to power as a nationalist movement opposed to the United States-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006. It claimed control of large parts of the country, including Mogadishu, but it was eventually pushed back by Somali troops and African Union forces.
In recent months, international efforts to combat the group have intensified. In October, the United States military carried out a missile strike against a top Shabab operative in Somalia. Kenyan military forces have also conducted recent airstrikes against a militant training camp run by the group.