A suicide bomber has killed a senior official and several policemen in a café in central Somalia, authorities said. The al-Shabab Islamist militia, an ally of al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the strike.
At least nine people were killed and ten more wounded when the bomber activated his charge in the café in the town of Galkayo, police sources said in Sunday.
The bomber targeted regional treasurer Saeed Ali while the official was entering a car, and took out several police officers from his security team, officer Nur Ahmed told the Reuters news agency.
Witnesses claim that at least two bystanders also died in the blast.
"I heard a heavy explosion and I have seen parts of dead bodies," said local resident Ahmed Sadaq.
The jihadist approached Ali and put his arms around him as in a hug before detonating the bomb, officials say.
Bombing and drive-by shooting
Islamist rebels from the al-Shabab group claimed responsibility for the strike.
"The mujahedeen fighters targeted the head of the finances for Puntland in the Mudug region, and together with five of his security guards they were killed in the attack," pro-Shabab radio Andalus reported, quoting militia's commanders.
The Galkayo bombing comes only a day after gunmen killed six people in a drive-by shooting in Mogadishu, including two Turkish hospital workers. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the incident in the Somali capital.
However, the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab rebels have been conducting regular terror strikes against the so-called "soft targets" in the country. The terror group boosted their terror campaign after losing ground to government troops and African Union forces.
The jihadists still control some rural towns, especially in the southern parts of the country.
Darko Janjevic (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)