Somalia’s capital Mogadishu hit by huge explosion

A photo showing the aftermath of the blast, with people standing in front of rubble
Image captionEyewitnesses say buildings, including a school, were badly damaged

A suicide bomber has attacked a government office in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, causing a nearby school to collapse, police say.

The car bomb in Howlwadag district killed three soldiers and injured 14 people, including six children, local officials told BBC Somali.

The blast also damaged nearby houses and blew the roof off a mosque.

The militant group al-Shabab, which has waged an insurgency for more than 10 years, said it carried out the attack.

Police officer Abdullahi Hussein told Reuters that a suicide bomber had rammed a car into the district office of Howlwadag.

Somalia has faced instability and violence since 1991, when the military government was overthrown.

A badly damaged mosque with its roof blown off
Image captionThe neighbouring mosque’s roof was completely destroyed
A photo showing the aftermath of the blast, with buildings badly damaged
Image captionThe blast killed three soldiers and injured several children

The ousting of Mohamed Siad Barre led to a decades-long civil war between rival warlords, and two northern regions – Somaliland and Puntland – effectively broke away from Somalia.

Much of the country has effectively been a war zone.

A UN-backed unity government was formed in 2012. Al-Shabab has since been driven out of many urban areas but still controls territory in rural regions and carries out gun attacks and bombings on military and civilian targets.

Picture showing smoke rising following the blast
Image captionThe blast sent up a huge cloud of smoke

The militant group has imposed a strict version of Sharia in areas under its control, including stoning to death women accused of adultery and amputating the hands of thieves.

Control map of Somalia
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