Scores killed in twin explosions at Somalia's education ministry

© Hassan Ali Elmi, AFP

At least nine people, including children, died on Saturday in twin car bomb attacks targeting Somalia's education ministry in the capital Mogadishu, security officers and witnesses said.

Two cars packed with explosives were detonated minutes apart near the busy Zobe junction and followed by gunfire,

"I was among the first security officers to reach the area, I saw dead bodies of nine people most of them civilians including women and children," said security officer Ahmed Ali, adding that dozens had been wounded.

Another security officer Yusuf Abdullahi gave a similar toll.

Police spokesman Sadik Dudishe did not give a death toll figure but said the incident was being investigated.

"The ruthless terrorists killed mothers. Some of them died with their children trapped on their backs," he told reporters at a press briefing, adding the attackers had targeted "students and other civilians".

The response by security forces had stopped the attackers from reaching their intended location, Dudishe said.

The afternoon explosions shattered windows of nearby buildings, sent shrapnel flying and clouds of smoke and dust into the air.

Abdirahman Ise, a witness, said the road had been busy when the first blast went off.

"I saw huge smoke in the ministry area and there is massive destruction," another witness, Amino Salad, said.

The attack happened at a busy junction where a truck packed with explosives blew up on October 14, 2017, killing 512 people and injuring more than 290.

The jihadists have been seeking to overthrow the fragile foreign-backed government in Mogadishu for about 15 years.

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