Nurses carry a wounded person on a stretcher after a blast near the Somali parliament at the Medina hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, January 8, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

Mogadishu: A bomb exploded at a busy junction in Mogadishu on Wednesday, wounding at least 11 people, the head of the rescue service in the Somali capital said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, which happened near buildings housing government offices.

Abdikadir Abdirahman, head of Aamin ambulance services, told Reuters that three of those wounded were women.

There was no immediate comment from the police but a plume of thick black smoke was seen over the city and witnesses said a number of vehicles were on fire.

“There was smoke and chaos along the road, the blast was very heavy and I was on my way to the location where it occurred,” said Shamso Ali, one of the witnesses to Wednesday’s explosion.

“Thanks to God I was a distance away but I saw the smoke and several vehicles caught on fire,” he said.

Another witnhess, Dahir Yare, said: “There were several vehicles in the area where the blast occurred and there must be casualties but we don’t know so far because the road is cordoned off and security forces were spraying fire.”

“It looks like a car bomb, but we don’t have details yet,” security official Mohamed Abdikadir told AFP.

The powerful blast comes just days after the Al-Shabaab Islamist militants claimed a massive car bombing in Mogadishu on December 28 that killed 81 people, and the storming by the militants of a military base in Kenya used by US forces on Sunday.