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Somalia: Seven killed, eight injured in two terrorist explosions

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file photo, Somali security officers assess the scene of an explosion in Mogadishu on February 13, 2021. (By Reuters)

Two separate terrorist attacks have struck two cities in Somalia, killing at least seven people and injuring eight others.

One of the explosions hit the central town of Baidoa, 250 kilometers northwest of the capital Mogadishu, in which six civilians died and seven more were injured.

In this attack, an Al-Shabaab suicide bomber blew himself up outside a cafe, police and witnesses said on Saturday.

The police said the target was the regional governor, who was inside the cafe taking tea, but managed to flee the attack.

“A terrorist suicide bomber blew up himself at Suweys cafeteria and killed six people, he was targeting the governor Ali Wardheere but he survived the attack,” local police officer Mohamud Adan told AFP by phone. 

“Two of his security guards were among the wounded, one of them seriously, and five other civilians.”

“The suspicious bomber was stopped at the door by the guards but unfortunately, he suddenly blew himself (up) and caused fatalities. The governor survived with a few scars,” the officer added. 

Witness Ataf Moalim said, “It was a horrible incident which shocked us, I was sitting in a shop not far away… and I rushed to see what happened.

“I saw bodies of people shattered amid the blast.”

The Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombing in a statement on a pro-Shabaab website, explaining the governor had been the target.

In the other explosion which went off in the Huriwa district of Mogadishu, at least one government soldier was killed and a bystander was wounded, the Associated Press quoted the police as saying.

It is not known whether the two explosions in Baidoa and Mogadishu are related. 

Al-Shabaab has been fighting to overthrow Somalia’s federal government since 2007 and launches regular attacks against government and civilian targets.

Last Saturday Somalia’s army said soldiers had killed scores of Al-Shabaab gunmen who attacked two key military bases.

The same day in Mogadishu, five civilians, including a child, were killed when a suicide bomber detonated himself at a tea shop.

The people of Somalia are seeing major security lapses as leaders remain in deadlock over the political situation after elections were delayed earlier this year.

There have been fears that the terrorist group would be emboldened by Somalia’s current political crisis as President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is under pressure to step aside.

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