Gunmen launch deadly attack on Somalia courthouse

At least 20 people have been killed in a series of bomb and gun attacks in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

More than 16 people are believed to have died after gunmen stormed the city's main court buildings, shooting and setting off explosions.

Later a car bomb was detonated on the road to the airport, killing four, including two aid workers and the attacker.

There have also been reports of a third attack in an unconfirmed location.

BBC reporter Mohamed Ibrahim at the scene says armed intruders entered the court in the capital and began firing, after which there was an explosion.

The attacks have created an atmosphere of fear among Mogadishu residents.

They are not the biggest Mogadishu has seen. But they came as people in Mogadishu were starting to experience relative calm, when life in the capital was beginning to return to normal.

The attacks have challenged the government's authority in the capital. Police have been deployed on the streets and government buildings are being protected.

But the government has previously admitted there is only so much it can do to stop suicide bombers.

"Armed men entered the court and then we heard a blast. Then they started opening fire," witness Hussein Ali, who works at the courts, told Reuters news agency.

Ugandan troops - part of the African Union force stationed in Mogadishu - arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting started.

The Somali government said that nine gunmen had been involved in the assault, and all had now been killed.

Six of them detonated suicide vests, it said. Al-Shabab said six of its fighters had been killed.

A second car bomb was detonated later, outside a building housing security forces on the road to the airport.

M.D