A Somali girl and her brother run to safety near the scene of a blast in Mogadishu Photo: REUTERS
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) -- At least 10 heavily armed militants forced their way into a court building Sunday in Mogadishu, Somalia, and launched a deadly attack, according to a local journalist who witnessed the aftermath.
Some of the assailants detonated explosives before others exchanged fire with government security, witnesses said.
Diplomatic sources told CNN that 29 people were killed in the courthouse attack, including a number of militants. Nearly 60 people were wounded in the skirmish, the officials said.
Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and said five of its members were killed.
"Above all, today's operations ought to drive this unambiguous message home: there is no safe haven for apostates in Mogadishu!" the group said on Twitter, according to a CNN translation.
The regional court was in session at the time of the attack, witnesses said. The building also houses the nation's Supreme Court.
Radio Mogadishu, a state radio service, reported that at least 100 people who were in the building had come out safely.
A statement from Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attack and others on Sunday, including one at a regional government headquarters.
"This attack is nothing but a sign of desperation by the terrorists, who've lost all their stronghold and are in complete decline right across Somalia," he said.
Somali security officials said two Turkish nationals from a passing aid convoy and two Somali civilians were killed in a car bombing attack near Mogadishu airport.
Witnesses told CNN there also were fatal bombings at a military intelligence building and a clinic.
Somalia's shaky transitional government, backed by African Union peacekeepers, has been battling Islamist guerrillas for years. The country has lacked an effective central government since 1991, with portions of the Horn of Africa nation left lawless.