MOGADISHU - At least 14 people were killed and several others injured when the minibus they were travelling in hit a landmine in the southern Somali region of Lower Shebelle Thursday, police said.

“Fourteen civilians, seven of them women, were killed in the landmine explosion near Golweyn, the minibus was transporting 21 people when it ran over the landmine and most of them died in the blast,” local police official Ibrahim Isack told AFP.

“The mine was planted by the violent terrorists,” said Isack, referring to the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab group.

The bus was travelling from the town of Bulomarer to Marka when it hit the landmine near the village of Golweyn which lies some 120 kilometres (74 miles) from the capital in an area hotly contested between government and African Union troops and the Shabaab.

“I saw the dead bodies of more than ten people including three children and seven women, their bodies were shattered by the blast,” Mohamed Abdulahi, a witness from a nearby village told AFP by telephone.

“This incident is horrible and everybody is shocked, innocent civilians blown up while travelling to their houses,” said Abdulahi Moalim Abdi, an elder from Golweyn.

The blast came just hours after Somalia’s new President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed declared fresh war against the Islamists who continue to launch strikes at will in the countryside and the capital Mogadishu.

“I am announcing a state of war in the country and call on the public to stand with the national army to help fight terrorists,” the president, widely known by his nickname Farmajo, told a press conference.

Farmajo, who took office in February, on Thursday replaced the heads of the army, police and national intelligence.

“We are very sorry for those kids who have been misled and we are offering the Shabaab fighters an ultimatum of 60 days to surrender otherwise they will face the consequences,” he said.

“I also extend amnesty to the youth who have been misled with the wrong extremist ideas.”