The Al Shabab group claimed responsibility for the attack.

People remove a dead body after a vehicle bomb attack on a security checkpoint located near the presidential palace, in Mogadishu, Somalia.
People remove a dead body after a vehicle bomb attack on a security checkpoint located near the presidential palace, in Mogadishu, Somalia. (AP)

A car bomb exploded at a checkpoint in Somalia's capital on Wednesday morning, killing three people and wounding six others, according to a local official. The Al Shabab group immediately claimed responsibility.

Salah Omar, a spokesman for Mogadishu's mayor, said that the blast occurred as soldiers conducted searches at a checkpoint. He said the bomb attached to the vehicle was remotely detonated.

Among the dead were two government officials, including an adviser of the parliament speaker and a ministry department director, said Ahmed Mohamednur, a Somali lawmaker.

Al Shabab often targets checkpoints, hotels and government offices in Somalia's capital despite being pushed out of Mogadishu years ago.

Wednesday's attack follows a devastating truck bombing in Mogadishu on December 28 that killed at least 78 people, including many university students. It was the worst attack in Mogadishu since the devastating 2017 truck bombing that killed hundreds.

On Sunday, Al Shabab fighters overran a key military base used by US counter-terror forces in neighbouring Kenya, killing three American Department of Defense personnel and destroying several US aircraft and vehicles. The US later sent in additional troops to increase security at the base and adjacent Manda Bay airfield.

It was the first attack by Al Shabab against US forces in Kenya, a country long targeted by the group for sending troops to Somalia to fight it.

The latest attack in Mogadishu again raises concerns about the readiness of Somali forces to take over responsibility for the country’s security in the coming months from an African Union force.

Al Shabab, the target of a growing number of US airstrikes since President Donald Trump took office, controls parts of Somalia’s southern and central regions.

Source: AP