A pair of Shabaab suicide bombers detonated their explosives outside a restaurant in Mogadishu, killing at least four people and wounding many more. A security guard was killed while preventing the bombers from entering the restaurant. From Shabelle:
At least four people have been killed and many others injured in double suicide explosions at a hotel in Somali capital Mogadishu, police and Witnesses said.
Witnesses said two bombers blew themselves up at the entrance of Village restaurant in Mogadishu’s Hodon district that is frequented by government official and residents, killing a security guard and a civilian customer.
Abdullah Hassan Barise, the spokesman of Somali police said two bombers have carried out the attack. “The bombers were shot dead before they reached their target by the security guards during a shootout,” he added.
The restaurant where today’s suicide assault took place is in a high-security area in the city of Mogadishu, which was a Shabaab stronghold until AMISOM forces cleared the terror group from the capital last year. In the past, Shabaab has shown it can penetrate security at the heavily protected areas in the capital and carry out deadly attacks. The last such attack took place at the presidential palace on Sept. 12 [see LWJ report, Shabaab suicide bombers attack new Somali president, Kenyan foreign minister].
Meanwhile, Uganda, which provides more than a third of the African Union Mission in Somalia’s 17,600 troops, said it was withdrawing its forces after the UN accused Uganda of backing the M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda’s defense minister “said the decision was irreversible and another cabinet minister was traveling to New York to explain its position to the UN,” according to Shabelle. The withdrawal of Ugandan troops would be a major blow at a time when Shabaab has been driven from most of its major strongholds in southern Somalia.
Shabaab and its Kenyan branch, the Muslim Youth Center, formally joined al Qaeda in February. The east African terror groups were closely tied to al Qaeda for years prior, however; Shabaab leaders had openly proclaimed their allegiance to al Qaeda long before the official merger.