Ten people were killed in central Mogadishu on Monday when a suicide bomber set off an explosives-laden car on a busy street, said witnesses and police.

“It was terrible and caused many losses, including two government soldiers and eight civilians,” said police spokesman Abdullahi Hassan Barise. “We are still investigating,” he said.

The bomber appeared to be targeting a passing car carrying a senior security official, but instead hit two minibuses and nearby cafes.

The wounded were treated at the scene and taken to hospital.

Khalif Ahmed Erig, the head of the government security forces in the Somali capital, was injured and moved to the nearby African Union hospital for medical attention.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but similar attacks in the past have largely been the work of insurgent group al-Shabaab.

The Islamist rebels are on the back-foot, ceding ground in central and southern Somalia to government forces and AU troops, but they still manage to stage attacks in key locations.

However, the capital is now broadly considered safer than it has been in many years.

Somalia was plunged into chaos two decades ago, but last year a proper government was formed in a United Nations-backed attempt to bring stability to the Horn of Africa nation.

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