An attempt to defuse a bomb in a car left by Al Shabab in the Somalia capital Mogadishu went horribly wrong.

Damage from the car bomb blast in Mogadishu on May 17, 2017.
Damage from the car bomb blast in Mogadishu on May 17, 2017. (TRT World and Agencies)

Three soldiers were killed when a car bomb exploded while they were trying to defuse it on Wednesday in the Somali capital Mogadishu, police and the Al Shabab terrorist group said.

The men were dismantling part of the car when the device went off. "First two soldiers died and another was injured. The third soldier died of the blast wounds minutes later," police major Mohamed Hussein said.

Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabab claimed responsibility, but gave different details. "Five mine experts including security officials and foreigners died in the Mogadishu blast," spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab said.

Police officer Hussein said all the dead were Somalis. One of the dead was a member of the specialised bomb squad. The other two were regular soldiers.

Since losing large swathes of territory to African Union peacekeepers supporting the government, Al Shabab militants have frequently launched raids and deadly attacks in Mogadishu and other regions controlled by the federal government.

Somalia has been in a state of war since 1991, when clan-based warlords overthrew dictator Siad Barre and then turned on each other.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies