At least 10 people have been killed and several wounded after a rickshaw loaded with explosives was detonated by al-Shabaab Islamists outside a restaurant near the port in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu late on March 5. According to a state-owned media outlet, the blast sent plumes of smoke into the sky and triggered gunfire. The blast had occurred at the Lul Yemeni restaurant near the port.
While taking to Twitter, Somalia information Ministry spokesperson, Ismael Mukhtaar Omar said, “Police spokesman #Somalia He said the terrorist attack tonight killed 10 civilians and injured 30 others. An explosion targeted Maati people having dinner at Lul Yemani restaurant in Hamarjajab district of Benadir region”.
Afhayeenka Booliska #Somalia ayaa sheegay in Qaraxa Argagixiso ee caawa dhacay ay ku dhinteen 10 Qof oo shacab ah, halka 30 kalana ay ku dhaawacmeen.— Ismael Mukhtaar Omar (@imukhtaar) March 5, 2021
Qarax ayaa lala Eegtay dad Maati ah oo ka casheynayay Maqaayadda Luul Yemani dagmada Xamarjajab ee Gobalka Banaadir. pic.twitter.com/M5d6HI07e8
Minutes after the explosion, police spokesman Sadaq Adan told Anadolu Agency that an explosive-laden car hit the restaurant. He added that investigations are underway to determine the damage. Somalia’s state-controlled Radio Mogadishu further reported that there was also the destruction of property and that police have cordoned off the area.
It is worth noting that Mogadishu is regularly targetted with attacks by al-Shabaab who have been waging a long and violent insurgency seeking to unseat the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu. Back in 2011, the Islamist group was driven out of the region, however, it still controls swathes of territory from where they plan and launch frequent, deadly strikes against the government and civilian targets. In recent months, the group has even claimed responsibility for several attacks in the country.
Meanwhile, the ongoing civil war in Somalia escalated after the fall of the military junta government in 1991, which was led by Siad Barre. The country became a failed state with no law and order in the absence of a central government. The United Nations intervened in 1992 but had to withdraw its peacekeeping forces following attacks on its personnel. Several factions were formed and with no one to fill the power vacuum an all-out civil war broke out in the country. Religious laws were imposed in many parts of the country, especially in the South by rebel militant groups.
In the early 2000s, a Transitional National Government took over the affairs in the country, which brought the fighting under control to some extent. In 2006, after the Ethiopian Army invaded the southern part of Somalia and overthrew the Islamic Courts Union, the violent re-escalated. Members of the ICU broke away and formed smaller militant groups, one of which became to be known as Al-Shabab. The terrorist group notably took over Mogadishu from the Ethiopian Army, which was occupying the city at the time. The internationally recognised Somalian government managed to take back Mogadishu from Al-Shabab in 2011 but violence continues until this day.