“At 9:10 AM, a terrorist car loaded with explosives … rammed into a checkpoint near the Sayidka Junction. The security forces opened fire at the car while speeding to the Presidential Palace in Mogadishu,” a police statement read.
Police said the suicide car bomber also died in the blast.
“Thank God, the vigilance of the security forces has saved the people from the threat of terrorism to the innocent Somali people,” the statement added.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack that comes amid a political crisis in Somalia after the country’s president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s mandate expired on February 8 with no timely elections.
Saturday’s incident was he second major explosion in the Somali capital in recent weeks.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for that attack through a statement broadcast by Andalus Radio, its mouthpiece channel. CNN has been unable to independently verify this claim.
The insurgent group seeks to turn Somalia into a fundamentalist Islamic state. It has previously claimed responsibility for other attacks in Mogadishu, including a truck bombing in December which killed 85.