At least 15 killed after blasts hit restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia

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BBC – Explosions at a popular restaurant and hotel near the parliament building in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu have killed 15 people, police say.

The blasts hit the Village restaurant and Muna hotel. Both are popular with government workers and have been targeted before.

It was not clear who carried out the attacks, which appeared to tear much of the roof off the restaurant.

Somalia is battling an Islamist-led insurgency and high levels of crime.

The Village, about 1km (0.6 miles) from the presidential palace, is not within the city’s security zone but is popular with journalists and those in political circles.

Run by Somali businessman Ahmed Jama, who returned to the country from the UK in 2008, it was targeted by two suicide bombers last September in attacks that killed 14 people.

One of many expatriates to go home to help rebuild their war-ravaged country, Mr Jama vowed he would not give up after the attack.

“My decision was to do something and as long as I live, I will continue – I’m a business guy with restaurants and I’m going to continue with that,” he told the BBC at the time.

Since the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has seen clan-based warlords, Islamist militants and its neighbours all battling for control.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took office a year ago in a UN-backed bid to end two decades of violence.

Although the al-Shabab Islamist group was pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011, they have frequently staged attacks in the city since then.

The group still controls large swathes of southern and central Somalia.