MOGADISHU: One civilian was killed and another seriously wounded on Thursday when mortars fired by Al Shabaab insurgents exploded close to the presidential palace in Mogadishu, police said.
Explosions were heard in the heavily guarded government district around Villa Somalia, the presidential palace, around noon on Thursday.
“Several rounds of mortar shells landed in the neighbourhood where the palace is located,” police officer Jama Mohamed said, adding one person was killed and another wounded.
A government worker, Ibrahim Hussein, said he heard three explosions.
The Al Qaeda-linked Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on a pro-Shabaab website.
“The attack is part of operations carried out inside Mogadishu by the mujahedeen fighters,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, survivors of a university massacre in Kenya where gunmen killed 148 people have recounted scenes of terror at a trial of five men linked to the slaughter.
The deadly attack at Garissa University in northeastern Kenya on April 2, 2015, was claimed by Shabaab insurgents.
Speaking to the court in Nairobi, witnesses lined up to testify about the horror they had experienced as masked gunmen staged a terrifying pre-dawn assault on the campus, with their accounts detailed in Kenya’s main newspapers.
Addressing the court, Rispa Nyang’au said she was at a dawn prayer meeting with around 30 students when she saw a “tall man armed with a rifle,” his face covered, hurl an explosive device into the room. “I heard an explosion and saw sparks, before the man walked into the hall and started shooting,” she said, in testimony reported by the Daily Nation newspaper.
During the attack, the gunmen lined up students for execution in what President Uhuru Kenyatta described at the time as a “barbaric medieval slaughter.”
“I heard the door opening, they were spraying us with bullets and shortly after there was silence in the hall as most of my colleagues had fallen down,” said another student, Evelyn Chepkemoi, according to The Standard newspaper.
Chepkemoi, who was shot in the legs and hand, said she lay among the bodies of her slaughtered classmates, pretending to be dead for over five hours until the security forces entered the hall.