Mogadishu Somalia 26 November 2016
Civilians carry the dead body of a man from an explosion near the vegetable market in Mogadishu, Somalia, 26 November, 2016 Reuters/Feisal Omar

At least 20 people have been killed in Somalia after a suspected car bomb tore through the capital of Mogadishu on Saturday (26 November). Many corpses could be seen laying in pools of blood after the bomb was detonated in a densely populated vegetable market in the city's Waberi district.

The Somali-Islamist group al Shabaab often carries out such attacks in the capital, although there was no immediate claim of responsibility by the group.

"The whole market is ruined and people perished," Colonel Abdikadir Farah, a police officer, told Reuters. "The death toll is sure to rise."

Medical sources confirmed to reporters on the ground the number could be as high as 30, though this is yet to be verified by authorities.

"Our ambulances have collected 13 wounded civilians and 28 dead bodies," Dr Abdulkadir Abdirahman Adem, director of the AMIN ambulance service told AFP.

"The toll could be higher because of the density of the location where the blast occurred.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud says an arrest was been made following the attack.

He said: "The man who carried out the deadly attack on civilians today was captured by the security forces and he is not in custody."

Explaining the attack, Waberi district commissioner Husein Ahmed Ulosow said: "The suspect attacker parked his car, and then detonated it when the security personnel asked him to move the car away

"He attempted to escape with injuries but the security forces apprehended him and now he is in custody."

If the initial numbers of the dead are correct, it would be the most deadly attack in recent months after a car bomb outside a popular hotel close to the presidential palace left 15 dead in August.

Despite being driven out of the capital in 2011 by an African Union force deployed in 2007, the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group still controls vast swathes of outlying rural areas from which it launches guerrilla operations.

The attack takes place as Somalia is holding a drawn-out, controlled election in which some 14,000 specially selected voters are picking 275 members of parliament who will later join senators in electing a president.

Political infighting and insecurity led leaders to ditch a plan where it would be a one-person, one-vote election in favour of the current process.

The parliamentary vote was due to end on 30 November, but an official told Reuters it was now likely to last until mid-December.