Death toll from Somalia bombings hits 30: governor
Thursday October 06 2022
The death toll from a triple bombing by the Islamist group Al-Shabaab in central Somalia earlier this week has risen to at least 30, a local official said on Wednesday.
Another 58 people were injured when three cars packed with explosives were detonated in Beledweyne, a city at the heart of recent offensives against the Al-Qaeda-linked militants who control swathes of Somalia.
"We have confirmed that thirty people died in the recent attack," said Ali Jeyte Osman, the governor of Hiraan region where Beledweyne is the capital.
The health minister of the wider Hirshabelle state, and a deputy district commissioner, were among those killed when suicide bombers targeted local government offices in the city.
Witnesses described massive damage in the aftermath of the attacks claimed by Al-Shabaab, which has waged a bloody insurrection against the central government for 15 years.
Somalia's recently elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attack, which comes as national forces, backed by local militias and international allies, wage an aggressive counterinsurgency campaign against the Al-Qaeda affiliate.
Mohamud last month urged citizens to stay away from areas controlled by Al-Shabaab as government forces supported by local clan militias launched offensives in Hiraan.
But Osman, the Hiraan governor, said negligence played a part in the devastating attack in Beledweyne and called for police and intelligence officials to be held responsible.
"There must be someone taking responsibility. The three people used to carry out the attacks made their way into town across the bridge," he said.
"Nobody has been arrested so far in relation to this crime... I request the Somali government investigate the two commanders of police and intelligence agencies in this region."
Al-Shabaab remains a potent force despite multinational efforts to degrade its leadership.
On Monday, the United States confirmed it conducted an air strike on October 1 that killed an Al-Shabaab leader. Just hours earlier, the government had announced the death of the group's number-three operative in a targeted strike on the same day.
Fighters from the group were ousted from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, in 2011 but they continue to stage attacks on military, government and civilian targets.
The group last week claimed responsibility for a bomb blast that killed a top Somali police officer near the Al-Shabaab-controlled village of Bursa, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of Mogadishu.