At least four people have been killed when a suicide bomber in the Somali capital Mogadishu rammed a car packed with explosives into a UN convoy, police say.
The attack took place on Wednesday close to the heavily fortified gates of the airport in Mogadishu, the entrance to the “green zone” and base of foreign embassies in the Somali capital.
“The bomber drove in between the security escort and the UN armoured vehicles and detonated the car, ramming into one of the escort vehicles,” police officer Mohamed Liban said.
“I saw four dead people so far, but the casualties are believed to be more, we are still investigating the incident and there is chaos in the area,” Liban added.
A dark plume of smoke was seen rising high in the sky after the large blast, which was heard across the seaside capital.
“The explosion was very big and there is smoke all around the area, I can hardly see people lying on the ground, either dead or wounded,” said witness Shamso Idle.
“It is difficult to go nearby as police are blocking the road,” he added.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab rebels have carried out a string of bombings and attacks in the city.
Four UN armoured vehicles were reportedly ferrying staff either from or to the airport to a protected UN base in the city. The airport zone is also the base of the 22,000-strong African Union force, which is fighting al-Shabab.
The UN convoy was flanked by utility vehicles carrying private security officers who provide protection for international staff in the dangerous city.