Huge explosion hits in the center of the Somali capital Mogadishu

File Photo (Archived)

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — A loud explosion was heard in the center of the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday and smoke was seen on the site of the blast, a Reuters witness said.

It was not clear who was behind the blast, but Islamist al Shabaab often carried out bombings in the Horn of Africa nation.

“The first blast occurred at the Ministry of Labor,” police chief Mohammed Hussein said. “There are also other ministerial buildings nearby. Was a suicide car bomb followed by a fire.”

A second blast followed the first explosion, he said.

Al Shabaab is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s Western-backed central government.

The movement was expelled from Mogadishu in 2011 and from most of its other strongholds across the country thereafter. But remains a major threat and its fighters often carry out bombings in Somalia and neighboring Kenya.

Kenyan troops are part of an African Union peacekeeping force that helps defend the central government in Somalia.

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