At least 30 people were killed in a huge car bomb blast at a busy market in the south-central Banaadir region of Somalia on Sunday, officials said.
The Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) confirmed the incident at Kawo-Gudey area in Wadajir district, saying the casualties included both soldiers and civilians, Xinhua news agency reported.
NISA said Al-Shabaab militants targeted innocent civilians who were going about their daily business activities in the market.
Wadajir district Commissioner Ahmed Abdulle Afrah told reporters earlier that it was difficult to identify dead bodies and those injured at the scene.
“This very extreme hostility was committed by enemy group. More than 20 people, mostly women and children, were killed and more than 20 others injured at the small busy market. Rescue operation is underway to rush the injured to the hospital,” Afrah said.
Witnesses said the blast ripped through the market, killing mostly women shoppers. The death toll was expected to rise as many people were critically wounded in the attack.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack which could be the first major attack since the presidential election on February 8 in which former Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed was elected President.