At least three Al-Shabaab militants were killed on Sunday within Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, police said, noting that the incident happened after a rickshaw laden with explosives detonated before probably reaching the destination, even as the military continued with a crackdown against the group.
The auto-rickshaw exploded in the Hamar-Jajab district after the occupants were forced through a checkpoint with the officers pursuing them for arrests, police said. Only one civilian who was passing by escaped with minor injuries as the militants succumbed to their injuries on the spot, police added in a statement.
“At 7:30 AM this morning, assailants on a motorcycle breached a checkpoint and triggered an explosive device in the General Daud Department. Their scheme aimed at the fasting population backfired, as three attackers were killed. Meanwhile, a civilian passing by the scene suffered minor injuries,” the statement read.
The attack comes amid ongoing fasting in that country as Muslim faithful around the world observe the Holy month of Ramadan. Police and other security agents have intensified patrols within the city which has been witnessing sporadic attacks lately, with Al-Shabaab keen to reintroduce its dominance.
While there has been no immediate claim of responsibility, security authorities have attributed the attack to al-Shabaab, an organization known for targeting government forces. The Al-Shabaab is also notorious for targeting civilians and senior government officials in the Horn of Africa nations.
On Saturday, the Somali National Army thwarted an attack directed towards African Union Transition Mission in Somalia [ATMIS] convoy within Lower Shabelle killing 11 militants in the process. In the same measure, the army also liberated Budbud town in Galmadug from the militants following a heavy gunfight.
Somalia is set to activate the second phase of operations against the Al-Shabaab across the country after the first phase yielded good results, with over 3,000 militants killed and several towns liberated. The country has asked for military support from Kenya, Djibouti, and Ethiopia in the second phase.