|Villa Somalia houses the presidential palace as well as other senior government members’ offices [AFP]|
At least four people have been killed in a bomb attack inside a compound in Mogadishu housing the palace of the Somali president and other senior government members’ offices, according to officials.
The blast in the Somali capital on Wednesday occurred close to the home of the country’s parliamentary speaker which is also inside the compound, Paddy Ankunda, a spokesman for the African Union’s AMISOM force, said.
Somali officials said the blast, which left 10 others injured, was caused by a suicide bomber.
“It went off in front of the speaker’s building at the front gate,” Abdirashid Mohamed Ali, national security adviser to the prime minister, told Reuters, speaking from inside the compound.
Somali rebel group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack. It says one of its suicide bombers was responsible for the explosion and warned of more blasts.
“What a victory, inside the so-called presidential palace, more explosions and bombers will follow,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, the spokesman for al-Shabab’s military operations told Reuters.
Al Shabaab claimed it had killed 17 people and wounded 30 but Somali police gave a lower death toll.
Villa Somalia is a heavily fortified compound in the heart of the city where the most senior Somali government officials, including the president, have their offices. Some also live inside the compound.
The UN-backed government is supported by nearly 10,000 African Union troops in its fight against the al-Shabab armed group which controls regions of the country and frequently carries out bomb attacks.