Somalia: Death toll rises to 20 after suicide bombings

People carry a wounded man after a suspected suicide bombing in Baidoa, some 250 km Northwest of the capital Mogadishu, Southern Somalia, 13 October 2018. STR/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock—STR/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock
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MOGADISHU (Reuters) – The death toll has risen to 20 people on Sunday following two suspected suicide bombers that struck in the southern Somali city of Baidoa on Saturday, a local hospital official said.

“We received 20 dead people and about 40 others injured from the twin blasts of yesterday,” Abdifatah Hashi, the general manager of Baidoa city hospital told reporters on Sunday.

Al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab militants, who want to topple Somalia’s Western-backed central government and impose their own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law, claimed responsibility for the attacks.

“What seems to be two suicide bombers blew themselves up in two restaurants in Baidoa,” Ali Aden, a police officer in the city, told Reuters on Saturday.

Residents of Baidoa told Reuters they heard two loud blasts in the early evening, followed by huge plumes of the smoke.

The al Shabaab militants had targeted the two restaurants because they were frequented by government troops, Abdiasis Abu Musab, the group’s spokesman for military operations, told Reuters.

The attacks follow a U.S. airstrike against al Shabaab militants in Haradere, a district in Galmudug region.

The U.S. military’s Africa Command said on Saturday it was still assessing the impact of the strike, which was carried out on Friday together with the Somali military.

Somalia has been engulfed by violence and lawlessness since the early 1990s after the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

– Feisal Omar I Omar Mohammed I Jason Neely I Reuters

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