An explosion outside government buildings in Mogadishu on Tuesday killed at least 65 people and wounded 50, the coordinator of the capital’s ambulance service said.
“We have carried 65 dead bodies and 50 injured people," Ali Muse told Reuters. “Some are still lying there. Most of the people have burns.”
He said students, soldiers and civilians were among the dead.
Earlier, witnesses said that Somalia’s Islamist rebels attacked and briefly seized the main stronghold town of a rival militia that backs the country’s transitional government.
The al-Qaeda-linked Shabaab insurgents raided the central town of Dhusamareb, seat of the Ahlu Sunna Wal Jamaa movement, late on Monday, sparking a brief firefight, according to AFP.
The Shabaab raided a radio station and seized equipment in their first attack against their rivals in months.
“The Shabaab made a surprise offensive late Monday and remained in Dhusamareb for hours before they withdrew,” local resident Abdullahi Yasiin said.
Another resident, Hassan Elmi, said the Shabaab left the town before midnight Monday.
“I saw the Shabaab gunmen leaving before and the Ahlu Sunna forces arrived,” he said.
In August, the hardline insurgents pulled out of the capital Mogadishu where they had been fighting to topple the Western-backed transitional government and retreated to southern and central Somali regions under their control.
The Somali government, the Ahlu Sunna Wal-Jamaa and authorities of the breakaway northern Puntland region last month launched a new bid to restore government control in the Horn of African state battered by 20 years of relentless conflict.