File photo: People look through the debris of a truck bomb explosion outside a hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. AFP
The "simultaneous explosions occurred along the Zobe road and there are various casualties. We will provide details later," Sadik Dudishe, Somali police spokesman said.
A vehicle loaded with explosives was driven into the ministry compound and followed by gunfire, police officer Ibrahim Mohamed said.
"In a few minutes another blast occurred in the same area," he said.
Abdirahman Ise, a witness, said the road had been busy when the first blast went off.
"I saw huge smoke in the ministry area and there is massive destruction," another witness, Amino Salad, said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack but Islamist group Al-Shabaab remains a potent force despite multinational efforts to degrade its leadership.
Fighters from the group were ousted from the Somali capital Mogadishu in 2011 but they continue to stage attacks on military, government and civilian targets.
The group last week claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel in the port city of Kismayo that killed nine people and wounded 47 others.