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Somali Capital Hit by Car Bombing That Kills at Least 10 People

March 18 (Bloomberg) -- A car loaded with explosives blew up in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, killing at least 10 people in an attack the country’s al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabaab, said was an attempt to kill the government’s spy chief.

The car hit a passenger bus traveling in Hamar Weyne, close to the presidential palace and national theater, Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said in an e-mailed statement. Another 15 people were wounded, according the statement. Most were civilians, police officer Colonel Hassan Mohamed said by phone.

“One of our Martyrs’ Brigade targeted a suicide attack on the head of intelligence for the apostate government Khalif Ahmed Erig,” al-Shabaab said in statement posted on the somalimemo.com website.

The al-Qaeda linked Islamist group has been driven from most of its main strongholds in the country by African Union and Somali soldiers. The combined forces started an offensive in 2011, to create the necessary security for a transitional government to become a permanent one.

The Horn of Africa nation in September elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud president, marking the 16th attempt to establish an effective national administration since 1991. Previous efforts failed to stem clan-based infighting, rampant piracy off Africa’s longest coastline and al-Shabaab’s insurgency, which has been fighting since at least 2006.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hamsa Omar in Mogadishu at ohamsa@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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