The blast occurred in the busy market in the town of Wanlaweyn in the Lower Shabelle region, about 90 km (55 miles) to the northwest of the coastal capital Mogadishu.
Given Wanlaweyn’s lack of hospitals, residents said they took many of the wounded to their homes for the time being after the afternoon blast.
Police said they were investigating whether the explosion was caused by a planted bomb or by a suicide bomber.
“The blast at the khat kiosks killed at least five civilians and injured more others including soldiers. We are investigating whether there are more casualties and the cause of the blast,” police Captain Farah Ismail said.
Residents said the kiosks were busy with soldiers buying khat. “I counted five dead people, including two shoe shiners, a mother who sold khat and two customers. There were 10 other injured civilians,” shopkeeper Ahmed Mohamud said.
“I could also see several soldiers in uniform being transported from the blast scene but I could not confirm whether they were dead or wounded.”