A blast from a suicide car bomb ripped through a market in Somali capital Mogadishu on Sunday, killing 18 people and wounding at least 25, a local official said, days after the country elected a new president.
Casualties were confirmed by Ahmed Abdulle Afrax, the mayor of Wadajir, the district of the city where the bombing happened.
“I was staying in my shop when a car came in into the market and exploded. I saw more than 20 people lying on the ground. Most of them were dead and the market was totally destroyed,” witness Abdulle Omar said.
Al Shabaab, the Islamist insurgent group that is fighting the U.N.-backed Somali government, did not immediately claim responsibility.
Al Shabaab has been able to carry out increasingly deadly bombings despite losing most of its territory in the country to African Union peacekeepers supporting Somali government.
This month, Somalia elected a new president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. The dual U.S.-Somali citizen and former prime minister is better known by his nickname, “Farmajo”.
The Horn of Africa country has been torn apart by civil war since 1991. Aid agencies are warning that a severe drought has placed large swathes of the country at risk of famine.