A bomb blast in a vegetable market in Somalia's third-largest city, Baidoa, has killed at least 12 people and wounded another 30. The country's major militant group al Shabab has claimed responsibility.
A bomb attack targeting Ethiopian and Somali troops has rocked a vegetable market in Somalia's third-largest city, Baidoa, in the latest of a series of militant attacks in the east African nation.
"What they did was contrary to Islam and our culture ... We are committed to clearing al Shabab out of the country," said Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali shortly after news of the attack broke.
Baidoa police officer Abdullahi Ahmed said the blast was caused by a roadside bomb. An eyewitness told news agency Reuters that the explosive was hidden in a female shopper's plastic bag. There were conflicting reports of soldiers and militants firing shots into the crowd after the blast.
The al Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack shortly after it occurred via a message on their website.
A worrying trend
Last week a female suicide bomber killed at least six people in the Somali capital Mogadishu during an attack on the national theater. Among the dead were two top sports officials.
On March 14, a suicide bomber struck at the presidential palace in Mogadishu, with al Shabab pledging further attacks at the time. The building has also come under mortar fire recently.
Baidoa was a major base for the al Shabab group until Ethiopian troops and Somali soldiers seized the town in February. Some 100 soldiers are being sent to Baidoa as an advance team for 2,500 troops soon to be deployed there.
al/ng (AFP, AP, Reuters)