Over ten dead as al-Shabab attack Somalia ministries

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Al-Shabab militants have attacked a government complex in a busy area of Somalia‘s capital, Mogadishu, killing at least 10 people.

People carry a wounded person at the scene of a car bomb outside the higher education ministry in Mogadishu on TuesdayA car loaded with explosives was driven into the wall surrounding the compound, and gunmen then stormed the building.

Officials say the attack is now over and the building has been secured.

The militant group al-Shabab said it carried out the raid. It opposes the UN-backed administration and wants African Union forces to leave Somalia.

Last month, the al-Qaeda-linked insurgents launched a two-day siege at a hotel in Mogadishu.

And earlier this month, al-Shabab sent shockwaves through neighbouring Kenya when it killed 148 people in an attack on Garissa University.

Defences breached

Tuesday’s attack began when a suicide bomber struck the walled compound in a car laden with explosives.

Some reports also speak of a second large blast at the compound, which houses the Ministry of Culture and Higher Education as well as the Ministry of Petroleum.

Gunmen then streamed into the hole in the building’s defences and started shooting.

Somali government spokesman Ridwan Abdiweli said a total of 17 people died in the attack.

That includes eight civilians and two soldiers – one from the African Union Mission and the other from the Somali military. Seven al-Shabab fighters also died.A Somali soldier runs during fighting following a car bomb that was detonated at the gates of a government office complex in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Tuesday

Somali soldiers fought to regain control of the government complex after militants launched their assault

The mangled wreckage of the car bomb could be seen outside the complex

Omar Mohamed, a trader who works near the scene, told Reuters news agency that he was thrown off his chair when the blasts went off.

People look at the wreckage of a car bomb outside the higher education ministry in Mogadishu, Somalia on TuesdayHe said attackers sprayed gunfire at security forces as they battled to retake the building.

Witness Idil Malim told AFP news agency he had seen several dead bodies lying at the scene.

Shooting and the wail of ambulances could be heard, and many injured people were carried away to hospital. Public buses sat abandoned in the street close to the ministry compound.

State radio cited reports that the ministry’s director-general, Ismail Yusuf, was among the injured.

It said the head of security at the ministry, who it named as Sandheere, was among the dead.

Al-Shabab militants often launch attacks in the city and have previously used car bombs to initiate attacks on fortified buildings.

Last week, Somalia placed a bounty on the top 11 leaders of the group.

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