Mogadishu, Mar 5 (efe-epa).- Twenty-five people were killed and 30 others hurt Friday when a suicide attacker detonated a car packed with explosives in front of a popular restaurant in this capital, Somali police officer Abshir Nur told Efe.
Media outlets put the death toll at 20, based on information from the Aamin ambulance service, but additional bodies were found amid the rubble of the Luul Yemeni restaurant near the port of Mogadishu, according to Nur.
Police spokesman Sadaq Adan spoke of at least 10 fatalities and more than 30 injured in his initial comments to reporters.
“Several homes collapsed due to the magnitude of the explosion,” Nur said, adding that first responders continued to search the site.
Two people died and a third was wounded last August in a suicide bombing at the same restaurant.
The al-Shabab jihadist group claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack, Somalia’s Shabelle Media Network reported.
The European Union’s ambassador to Somalia, Nicolas Berlanga, decried the act of terror.
“Again a deadly attack in Mogadishu with sorrow and devastation to innocent people,” the Spanish diplomat said on Twitter. “We express our sadness and solidarity with the victims and their families.”
“We insist unity among leaders and general interest over individual interest is the only way forward for peace and progress,” Berlanga wrote.
Security had been stepped up in Mogadishu ahead of a protest called for Saturday by an alliance of opposition parties unhappy about the government’s decision to postpone elections.
Plans for the protest have been put on hold.
Though nominally under the control of the Somali government, Mogadishu is a frequent target for attacks by Al-Shabab, which holds rural areas in the central and southern part of the war-ravaged African nation.
Al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaeda, aims to expel all foreign forces from Somalia and establish a strict Islamic state.
Somalia has been in a state of upheaval since 1991, when the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre left the country without an effective government and vulnerable to Islamic militants, warlords and criminal groups. EFE