MOGADISHU An official with the Somali transport ministry was killed by a bomb blast in the capital of Mogadishu on Monday, hours after at least two people were killed and seven wounded when another bomb blast ripped through a busy market, officials said.
Al Shabaab militants, who have vowed to mount a series of attacks during Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month which began on Sunday, claimed responsibility for both attacks. The militant Islamist group also claimed its gunmen shot dead three people on Sunday and said the killings were just the start of its group's Ramadan campaign.
Ahmed Issack, a police officer in the city, told Reuters the dead government worker succumbed in hospital to injuries he sustained when a bomb went off as he drove his car.
It was not clear if Monday's bomb was planted in the car or was planted along the road and detonated remotely, Issack said.
Sheikh Abdiasis abu Musab, al Shabaab's spokesman for military operations, said the group carried out both attacks and vowed to unleash more.
"We killed this government worker. In a separate incident we killed a government soldier around the market. These are our operations and we shall redouble them," abu Musab said.
The first blast was targeted at a busy market.
"It was a bomb they planted in a small room in the market that the local government staff used as they collected tax," Ahmed Hassan, the district commissioner of Kaaraan district, told reporters.
The government and African Union peacekeepers have stepped up security to try to prevent assaults during Ramadan by al Shabaab, which has waged a seven-year campaign to impose its strict interpretation of Islamic law.
In the past year or so, al Shabaab has killed dozens of people in guerrilla-style assaults in Mogadishu, on U.N. offices, the presidential compound, parliament and the courts.
(Additional reporting by Abdi Sheikh in Mogadishu; Writing by Drazen Jorgic and Duncan Miriri; Editing by Larry King)