MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Three bomb disposal experts were killed in a car bomb blast west of Somalia’s capital on Wednesday, police said.
The bomb detonated as the experts were trying to dismantle a car laden with explosives that security forces seized in Wadajir district, Capt. Mohamed Hussein said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast. The Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group often claims responsibility for such attacks.
Al-Shabab has vowed to step up attacks in Mogadishu and elsewhere after President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed announced a new offensive against the group. Targets in recent months have included hotels, military facilities and checkpoints and areas around the presidential palace.
Somalia’s military is under growing pressure to assume responsibility for the country’s security as a 22,000-strong multinational African Union force prepares to start withdrawing in 2018. The force, which has been supporting the fragile central government, plans to leave by the end of 2020.
Somalia’s president last week urged the international community to lift the arms embargo on his long-chaotic country, saying the military needs more than AK-47s to combat the extremists.