A car bomb exploded near a hotel and restaurant in the Somali capital on Thursday, killing at least eight people, police said.
The afternoon explosion on a busy road in Mogadishu sent a huge cloud of smoke into the sky and destroyed two restaurants and cars parked in the area.
Witnesses reporting seeing bodies strewn on the ground as plumes of smoke rose high into the air.
“So far we know at least eight people died and a dozen others were injured,” police Major Mohamed Husssein told Reuters.
“The blast destroyed a restaurant and killed many who were inside and outside the restaurant. The death toll may rise,” he added.
The AFP news agency quoted medics as saying 11 had died.
“The death toll we have confirmed so far is 11 people, with 16 others wounded,” said Abdulkadir Abdirahman Adan, director of the Aamin Ambulance service, adding that the toll could still rise. “There could be more losses.”
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Mogadishu is regularly targeted by the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab figthers, who have been battling for over a decade to topple the government.
The attack took place on the busy Maka Al-Mukarama road, once of the main highways through the seaside capital, an area busy with businesses and travellers.
Witnesses said several cars and three-wheeler motorbikes were destroyed by the force of the blast.
The bombing is the latest in a recent string of blasts in the capital, which has been hit regularly by Shabaab attacks.
Shabaab fighters fled fixed positions they once held in Mogadishu in 2011, and have since lost many of their strongholds.
But they retain control of large rural swathes of the country, and continue to wage a guerrilla war against the authorities.
On Saturday, 15 people were killed in two explosions and a gunfight between al-Shabab fighters and security personnel in central Mogadishu.