Al-Shabaab Claims Responsibility for Car Bomb in Somalia

Six people were killed in Mogadishu from a suicide bombing targeting delegates involved in Somalia’s parliamentary elections on Thursday, the ambulance service reports, while the al-Qaeda-linked al Shabaab claims responsibility.

The explosion occurred on Thursday morning as the vehicle passed through a busy intersection on a road leading to the president’s office in the capital.

According to Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Aamin Ambulance Services in Mogadishu, six bodies were transported from the scene. The identities of the victims were not immediately known.

According to a delegate on the bus, the passengers were unharmed, adding that he and others were on the bus when someone ran toward the bus as police yelled at him, causing him to stop at gunpoint, before hearing two gunshots and a blast.

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A group linked to al Qaeda, al Shabaab, claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming six delegates and five police officers were killed.

“A Mujaheed suicide bomber conducted an operation against a convoy of the apostate government. The target was the delegates selecting lawmakers,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operations spokesperson said.

Originally scheduled to conclude on Dec. 24, Somalia’s legislative elections began on Nov. 1 and are now scheduled to conclude on Feb. 25. There may be additional challenges to the elections due to the attack on delegates.

In Somalia, regional councils elect the senate through an indirect electoral process. Members of the lower house are chosen by clan elders, who then choose a new president at a later date.

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An ongoing dispute between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Prime Minister Mohammed Hussein Roble has contributed to the delay of parliamentary elections in Somalia.

Data from the election commission shows that 124 of 275 lawmakers have been elected.

Al In Mogadishu and elsewhere in Somalia, Shabaab frequently carries out bombings and gun attacks.

Attacks are also conducted against African Union peacekeeping troops in neighbouring Kenya in retaliation for the presence of its soldiers in the peacekeeping mission.

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