Police say 2 Somali soldiers die trying to defuse car bomb

Police say two soldiers died when a car bomb exploded as they were trying to defuse it in Somalia’s capital on Wednesday.

Maj. Nur Ahmed told Reuters that the men were dismantling part of the car when the device went off,.

No group immediately claimed responsibility, but al Shabaab militants have launched a string of attacks in Mogadishu and beyond in their bid to impose their brand of Islam.

Meanwhile a large explosion was heard near the centre of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Wednesday and plumes of smoke rose above the scene, according to a Reuters witness.

It was not immediately clear what had triggered the blast nor what its target was.

Islamist group al Shabaab has frequently carried out bombings in Mogadishu.

NAN reports that on April 5, seven people were killed and more than a dozen wounded in a car bomb explosion in central Mogadishu.

“Seven civilians were killed in the explosion and more than 10 others injured,” a spokesman for the Somali capital Abdifatah Halane told reporters.

The explosion was caused by a vehicle parked near a restaurant close to the Ministry of Homeland Security in central Mogadishu, a police officer Mohammed Ibrahim said.

“It was a big explosion and I saw ambulances rushing to the scene of the explosion and the area was cordoned off by police,” said a witness, Abdisalam Sharif.

A 22,000 strong African Union force in Somalia (Amisom) is helping government soldiers fight off the militants who at one point had taken control of the capital.

Confronted with Amisom’s firepower that was deployed in 2007, al-shabaab were driven out of Mogadishu in August 2011.

They then lost most of their strongholds but still control large areas where they conduct guerrilla operations and suicide bombings.

Lantana.N