Explosion and gunfire in Somali capital Mogadishu

Deaths reported after a car bomb explodes near the presidential palace, just hours after the new prime minister names his cabinet.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Somali security officers secure the scene of a suicide car explosion in front of the national theatre in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, March 21, 2017

Updated 10 hours ago.

Police in Somalia said a car bomb has exploded at a military checkpoint near the presidential palace in the capital, killing at least five people.

Capt. Mohamed Hussein said Tuesday's blast was detonated after soldiers tried to stop the car. He added that three other people have been injured.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.

The incident comes just hours after Somalia's new prime minister, Hassan Ali Khaire, named a 26-strong cabinet. The list is be put before the parliament for approval in the coming days.

Khaire, who was appointed to the post by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed last month, read out his list of cabinet ministers to reporters.

President Mohamed was sworn in last month after unseating Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, whose administration faced public and Western criticism for corruption scandals.

A dual US-Somali citizen and a former prime minister, President Mohamed has promised to tackle hunger, corruption and violence in Somalia, which has been mired in civil war for a quarter of a century.

Somalia has been in turmoil since 1991, hit by decades of conflict at the hands of clan militias. Over the past several years, it has faced an insurgency by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, which the government is battling with the help of regional troops.

President Mohamed has pledged to his people that the era of al Shabaab and other militant groups was over, promising the group's fighters "a good life" if they surrendered.

TRTWorld and agencies