Bombing in Somali capital wounds politician: local official

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Mogadishu (AFP) – A Somali politician was wounded Monday in a bomb blast in the latest in a string of attacks in the war ravaged capital Mogadishu, a local official said.

“The bomb was attached to his car… seriously injuring him,” local district commissioner Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir told AFP.

The politician, former city commissioner Farah Dahir Jimale, was rushed to hospital. One passerby was also wounded.

No group claimed immediate responsibility, but Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels carry out regular attacks, and have vowed to topple the internationally-backed government.

The Shebab have been driven out of fixed positions in Somalia’s major towns by the UN-mandated AU force, but still launch attacks that include bombings and guerrilla-style raids.

Recent Shebab attacks have targeted key areas of government or the security forces, in an apparent bid to discredit claims by the authorities that they are winning the war against the Islamist fighters.

The Shebab on Monday said it had attacked an army convoy across the border in Kenya and killed several soldiers, but Kenya’s army denied it suffered any casualties.

A 22,000-strong African Union force including Kenyan troops is battling the insurgents, and has wrested a series of towns from the Islamists.

On Sunday, fighter jets pounded a key Shebab base in southern Somalia, part of the latest push by AU troops to gain territory.

Continued conflict, compounded by poor rains and funding shortfalls, are threatening the few gains made in Somalia since an extreme famine less than three years ago, with the United Nations and aid agencies warning the troubled country could be sliding back into a food crisis.