The blast took place when the bomber tried to ram his vehicle into the convoy escorting Gen. Odowa Yusuf Rage bringing his bodyguards to open fire and the vehicle detonated, said Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior Somali police officer. A pedestrian standing nearby was killed by the blast, as well as the bomber, he said.
Several people including some of the army chief’s bodyguards were injured, Hussein told The Associated Press. Casualties may rise as some of the wounded sustained serious injuries, he said. Shops and businesses were damaged by the blast which occurred on a road to a military camp where the army chief was heading, said Col. Ahmed Muse, a police officer.
At least one dead body could be seen lying at the scene of the blast, he said. Somalia's extremist rebel group al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the blast in an announcement on its Andalus radio station. The blast highlights challenges facing the government's efforts to restore security in the long-chaotic nation in the Horn of Africa.