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A Somali soldier, left, stands by the wreckage of a passing minibus that was destroyed in a suicide car bomb attack near the defense ministry compound in Mogadishu, Somalia Sunday, April 9, 2017. Somalia's new military chief Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Jimale survived the blast which targeted the convoy he was traveling in with senior military officials, police say, but a number of soldiers and civilians were killed. (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

Somalia's new army chief survived a car bomb that killed 13


Somalia's new army chief survived a car bomb attack in Mogadishu Sunday that killed 13 people. 

Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Jimale was sworn into office with an official order to launch an offensive against Islamic extremists just moments before a bomb exploded near a convoy he was traveling in, according to police. 

Capt. Mohamed Hussein told reporters that five soldiers and at least 8 civilians traveling in a passing minibus were killed. 

"What happened here was a painful tragedy - the blast struck two packed minibusses and no one survived," said Abdifitah Halane, a spokesman for Mogadishu's mayor.

Al-Shabab, Somalia's Islamic extremist rebels, claimed responsibility for the attack. 

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed had just appointed Jimale to his position as the chief of the Somali National Army on Thursday. The president, who was elected in February, replaced many of the country's top military and intelligence officials after taking office. 

The president's aim is to ramp up the country's offensive against al-Shabab in an attempt to improve the worsening security situation. He gave members of al-Shabab a 60-day period to join the government's side. 

Fatalities and Injuries from Terrorist Attacks in Somalia
Terrorist Attacks in Somalia

Just last week, a car bomb near a restaurant in Somalia's capital of Mogadishu killed at least seven people. 

The Somali-American president said he plans to focus on securing the capital first and then the rest of the country. Beyond that, the new president is faced with a drought that is threatening about half of the country's 12 million citizens

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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