MOGADISHU, Somalia - A suicide car bomb attack on a building housing Burundian peacekeepers wounded at least seven people in the Somali capital Tuesday, witnesses and an African Union official said.
Officials said they did not know if a body at the scene was the bomber's or a victim's.
The military wing of Somalia's main Islamic insurgent group claimed responsibility for the attack in a southern neighborhood of Mogadishu.
"A car driving at breakneck speed passed us and within seconds turned around and rammed into a locked gate that is not normally used. Then we heard a huge explosion whose dust covered us," said Abdullahi Hussein Sabriye. He said he witnessed the attack from a tea shop.
"A huge explosion occurred outside the building where Burundian peacekeepers are based," said Maj. Bahoku Barigye, the African Union force spokesman, adding two soldiers were wounded.
"One man, believed to be a Somali, died on the spot. I'm not sure if he was the suicide bomber or not," Barigye said.
The car exploded before it got inside the complex, said a Burundian soldier who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. He said five Somali civilians also were wounded.
Sheik Mukhtar Robow, a spokesman for al-Shabab told The Associated Press that his group was behind the attack. Al-Shabab, or "The Youth," is the military wing of the Council of Islamic Courts that Ethiopian troops backing Somali soldiers ousted from its southern Somalia strongholds and the capital in December 2006.
"One of our fighters has targeted the African Union troops who are here to support the Ethiopian troops' massacre of our people," Robow said. He did not give any other details.
The 2,000 Ugandan and Burundian troops in Mogadishu are part of a proposed 8,000-troop AU peacekeeping force that has not been fully deployed because African countries have failed to commit the required troops. The force is supposed to protect key government buildings, the port and airport as well as train a national army and police force for Somalia.
The peacekeepers have generally been well received by Mogadishu residents because they are perceived to be neutral in the near daily violence that hits the capital.
Somalia has a weak U.N.-backed government, but the country has experienced anarchy and chaos since warlords ousted longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Later the warlords turned on each other, plunging Somalia into a cycle of violence.
Associated Press writer Mohamed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu contributed to this report
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