At least 16 people have been
killed and more than 30 injured
after a suicide bomber blew
himself up in a crowded
restaurant in the central
Somali town of Beledweyne.
The Islamist militant group al-
Shabab has said it carried out the
attack.
The Somali government, backed by troops from
several African countries, is fighting al-Shabab for
control of the country.
Al-Shabab said its target was Ethiopian and
Djiboutian soldiers in Beledweyne.
The bombing occurred at a tea shop popular with the
troops in Beledweyne, 300km (185 miles) north of
the capital, Mogadishu, close to the border with
Ethiopia.
“Our main target was Ethiopian and Djibouti troops
who invaded our country,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu
Musab, al-Shabab’s military operations spokesman,
said.
But witnesses, including a Somali MP in Beledweyne,
Dahir Amin Jessow, have told the BBC that most of
those killed were civilians.
“There is a lack of medicine in the hospital and they
can’t cope with the flood of wounded patients, so we
asked the central government to send us planes to
evacuate patients,” Mr Jessow said by phone.
Al-Shabab militants have been
driven out of Somalia’s major
towns, including Mogadishu and
the key southern port of Kismayo,
by a UN-mandated African Union
force of some 18,000 soldiers.
But the militants still control large
parts of southern Somalia.
Last month, the group claimed the
attack on the Westgate shopping
centre in the Kenyan capital,
Nairobi, in which 67 people died
during a four-day siege.
It said it staged the attack in
response to Kenya’s army carrying
out operations on Somali territory.
Somali suicide bombing kills AU
soldiers in Beledweyne
Somalia:
Failed State
Al-Shabab
profile
What drives
al-Shabab?
Al-Shabab
frontline
Islamist purge
Al-Shabab
“The Youth” in Arabic
Formed as a radical offshoot of
the Union of Islamic Courts,
which controlled Mogadishu, in
2006
Previously ran much of southern
Somalia
Lost some popular support by
banning Western aid agencies
during 2011 famine
Estimated to have 7,000 to 9,000
fighters
Announced merger with al-Qaeda
in 2012

Tags: | |

Advertisements