AFRICA/SOMALIA - Suicide bombing in Mogadishu near the Cathedral

Tuesday, 16 January 2024


Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) - Three people were killed and two injured in a suicide attack carried out this morning, January 16, 2024, in front of the mayor's office in Mogadishu. Authorities report that the explosion caused significant damage to the Banaadir regional administration building.
Contacted by Fides, Father Giorgio Bertin, former apostolic administrator of Mogadishu (see Fides, 13/1/2024), declared that "the explosion took place near our cathedral, which has been in a state of abandonment since January 9, 1991". The Cathedral, consecrated in 1928, was entrusted first to the Consolata missionaries and then to the Friars Minor. It was destroyed during the civil war.

According to the local press, the Islamist terrorist group Al-Shabaab immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming that its targets were people working for the government and stressing that the suicide attack was carried out by a member of its group.

The damaged building is in the heart of the city and is a focal point for government work in the region. Exact information about the incident is not yet available. According to reports, first aid is currently underway and the number of victims, the severity of the injuries and the extent of damage to the building are being assessed.
According to local authorities, the attacker blew himself up while being chased by security forces.

The security situation in Mogadishu had recently improved and the frequency of car bomb attacks that hit the city in the past has significantly decreased (see Fides 27/9/2023). However, today's tragic event is a reminder that security problems persist. Authorities fear a new crisis that would add another dark chapter to the history of the region. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 16/1/2024)