MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A car bomb exploded outside a popular cafe in Somalia's capital on Sunday, killing 11 people and wounding eight others, a senior police official said.
The blast struck the Aroma cafe in Mogadishu and the bomb was believed to have been detonated by remote control, senior police official Mohammed Hussein said. Most of those who died were sitting outside the cafe, he said.
Somali soldiers sent to the scene fired in the air to disperse a growing crowd that gathered amid shattered coffee glasses, and broken tables and chairs. Medical workers transported the wounded into waiting ambulances.
"What crime have these innocents committed?" said Liban Abdi, who survived the attack, which killed his friend.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion has fallen on the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab militants who have vowed to avenge the death of their leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, who was killed in early September in a U.S. airstrike. Godane has been replaced by Ahmed Omar, also known as Abu Ubeid.
Al-Shabab has continued to carry out attacks on Somalia's capital despite being pushed out of Mogadishu by African Union forces supporting Somalia's weak U.N.-backed government in August 2011. The Somali government troops backed by AU forces are making progress in capturing the remaining al-Shabab strongholds. Recently, they captured the port town of Barawe.
Earlier Sunday, gunmen shot and seriously wounded a Somali television reporter, officials said. The African Union Mission in Somalia, or AMISOM, condemned the attack on the reporter, who was shot three times while fleeing from the gunmen.
The Somali government said the attack on Abdirizak Jama, the director of Somali Channel TV in Mogadishu, was an attempt to silence the media.
The attack was the third targeting journalists in Somalia this year, AMISOM said. Somalia remains one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Last year, 18 journalists were killed in Somalia.