At least 15 people were killed and 18 others were wounded at a popular cafe in Mogadishu on Sunday night when a car packed with explosives was detonated nearby, witnesses and officials said.
Pools of blood and twisted bodies were littered along Maka Mukarama Road after a loud explosion and huge flames shot up, said Abdi Jimale, 35, a witness who was drinking coffee nearby.
“I saw several people burned by the flames of the explosion lying on the ground.” Mr. Jimale said in an interview.
President Hassan Sheik Mohamud of Somalia condemned the attack in a speech broadcast Sunday night by local media, and he accused the Shabab, a militant group with ties to Al Qaeda, of carrying out the bombing.
“This indicates the hopelessness of the Shabab, for they are harming innocent civilians,” Mr. Mohamud said.
Nicholas Kay, the United Nations special representative for Somalia, condemned the attack on the cafe in Mogadishu, describing the bombing as an “appalling terrorist attack against innocent civilians.”
“The use of such indiscriminate tactics against the Somali people is a cruel and despicable crime,” Mr. Kay said. “I commend the swift response of Somalia’s security and medical staff. The perpetrators need to be brought to justice swiftly.”
No group had yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but members of the Shabab have vowed to retaliate for the death of their leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, who was killed last month in an American airstrike.
In a separate incident on Sunday, assailants severely wounded a Somali television journalist, Abdirisak Jama Elmi, outside his home in Howlwadag neighborhood in Mogadishu.
Mr. Elmi, who colleagues said had recently received death threats, suffered several gunshots to the stomach and was being treated at Madina Hospital, where most of the victims of the cafe attack were also being treated.
In another attack on Monday, two civilians were wounded when attackers hurled a hand grenade into a garage in the Hodan district of Mogadishu. The victims were also admitted to Madina Hospital.
“The government must do something to protect the civilians,” said Isse Omar, who was waiting at the hospital where his brother was being treated for wounds suffered in the cafe bombing. “It’s a tragedy to witness innocent family members suffering.”