According to the head of the city’s emergency services, a vehicle bomb exploded on a route leading to the airport in Mogadishu on Wednesday, killing at least eight people.
Mohamed Osman, a Mogadishu local, claimed the bomb shattered the walls and ceiling of a mosque where he was worshipping nearby.
“I witnessed numerous ancient buildings crumble as I walked out of the mosque, human parts on the street, hands, legs,” Osman told Reuters.
“Destroyed automobiles, burned Tuk tuks (rickshaws); all this devastation and loss of life in a minute, I managed to survive.”
The perpetrators of the bombing were not immediately identified.
Osman said he had seen nine bodies at the scene. Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of Aamin Ambulance service, put the death toll at eight.
“A car bomb targeted a convoy, including bullet proof cars using Avisione street, we do not who owns the convoy. We carried eight dead people from the scene,” Abdirahman told Reuters.
Earlier, a Reuters photographer saw four bodies and four damaged cars and two motor rickshaws while Ahmed Nur, a shopkeeper nearby, said he had seen at least five bodies.
A paramedic was seen attending to at least one wounded person, Reuters photographs from the scene showed.
In the past, al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group has taken responsibility for similar attacks.
The group aims to overthrow the central government and impose a strict interpretation of Islamic law. It carries out frequent gun and bomb attacks on security and government targets, but also on civilians.
It also carries out attacks against African Union peacekeeping troops.