At least 15 killed in Somali car bomb attack

A military convoy was targeted in the attack

At least 15 killed in Somali car bomb attack

A Somali soldier, left, stands by the wreckage of a passing minibus | Image: PA images

At least 15 people have been killed in a car bomb attack in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.

Capt. Mohamed Hussein, a senior Somali police officer said that five soldiers and at least eight civilians travelling in a passing minibus were killed. 

Islamist militant group Al Shabaab was behind the attack.

Somalia's new military chief is said to have survived the suicide car bomb attack. 

Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Jimale had just been sworn into office and was traveling in a convoy with senior military officials when the bomb exploded near Somalia's defense ministry compound in Mogadishu. 

Soldiers fired in the air to disperse a crowd standing near a car of an electricity company that was destroyed by the blast.

Abdifitah Halane, a spokesman for Mogadishu's mayor said "What happened here was a painful tragedy - the blast struck two packed minibuses and no one survived."

He added that "There is flesh and blood everywhere."

New offensive

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed who was elected in February, replaced his military and intelligence chiefs and instructed the army to prepare a new offensive against al-Shabab extremists.

Mohamed also replaced the country's police chief and Mogadishu's mayor.

The change was as an attempt to improve the worsening security situation as al-Shabab, allied to al-Qaida, steps up deadly bombings in the capital.

The Somali president gave al-Shabab members a 60-day amnesty period to surrender and join the government side.