The deputy governor of Somalia’s southern Lower Shabelle province, Abdifitah Hajji Abdulle has narrowly escaped an apparent assassination attempt on his life on Saturday, Somali Press Online reports.
The attack happened after an explosive device attached to Abdulle’s vehicle went off as he was driving through the nation’s capital, wounding at least 2 bodyguards, but leaving the deputy governor unharmed, security officials said.
The Al-Qaeda-lined Islamic extremist group, Al-Shabab has immediately claimed responsibility for the blast through a statement posted on its affiliated mouthpiece website, saying the attack was aimed at assassinating the governor.
A witness, speaking to Somali Press Online said the car explosion occurred at a security checkpoint in the capital’s Dharkenley district and could be heard through the area and sent massive plumes of smoke into the sky.
“The blast which resulted from IED completely destroyed the car and blew out the windows of nearby shops, no casualties on the passer-by civilians” he added.
In a decade, Al-Shabab has been locked in a fierce battle with the country’s armed forces and their allied African Union [AU] soldiers serving under [AMISOM] trying to unseat the Federal Government in Mogadishu.
Al-Shabab often targets high-profile areas of the capital, Mogadishu. The group was blamed for the last October 14 truck bombing that killed more than 500 people in the deadliest attack in the country’s history.
The international community has expressed concern about the plan for Somalia’s security forces to take over the security responsibility from a multinational African Union force in 2020, saying the local troops are not yet ready.