At least ten are dead after attackers detonated bombs outside Somalia’s Higher Education Ministry and then opened fire.
An Al Jazeera correspondent reporting from the scene, in the center of the capital Mogadishu, said he counted the bodies of eight civilians and two soldiers after Tuesday’s assault.
Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, an Al-Shabab spokesperson, told Reuters that the armed group was behind the attack.
Speaking as fighting still raged around the building, Major Ali Nur, a police officer, told Reuters: “First two blasts occurred, a bike blast and a car blast, outside the building, then armed fighters stormed in.”
About an hour and a half after the explosions, police said they had secured the building.
Sources told Al Jazeera that three African Union soldiers had been holed up inside the building to protect the ministry in the event of such an attack. More African Union forces had quickly reached the ministry, which is located in a busy street adjacent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The AU has been supporting Somali troops in a campaign against Al-Shabab. The government relies heavily on the African peacekeepers for security, guarding major buildings and installations.
Al-Shabab continues to wage a deadly campaign against Somalia’s government and remains a threat in Somalia and the East African region.