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Somalia: Suicide blast leaves over a dozen dead

February 19, 2022

A blast tore through a busy restaurant in the Somali town of Beledweyne, killing at least 14 people. Jihadist group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Family members hold the naitonal flag as they bury the body of a man killed by an Al-Shabab suicide bomber in November 2021
Somalia has suffered numerous terrorist attacks claimed by al-ShababImage: AFP

A suicide bomber on Saturday killed at least 14 people in the Somali city of Beledweyne.

The blast took place at a busy restaurant in the town which is situated 340 kilometres (210 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu.

Popular restaurant targeted

Initially police had reported that 10 had been killed, however that number has risen.

"The number of people who have died in the heinous terrorist attack in Beledweyne today has increased from 10 people to 14 as of now," police officer Mohamud Hassan told news agency AFP.

Islamist militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, and said in a statement that one of its fighters carried out the bombing.

According to witnesses the blast ripped through an open area at a popular eatery, as people were sitting down to lunch.

The attack has come ahead of a vote for parliamentary seats, and a number of the dead include government officials.

Somalia's insurgency

The Horn of Africa nation has been battling an insurgency by Islamist militant group al-Shabab.

The jihadist group has been fighting government forces since 2007. It had controlled Mogadishu until it was pushed out by African Union forces in 2011. 

Al-Shabab has carried out regular attacks against military and civilian targets.

In November, the group claimed responsibility for a car bombing near a school in Mogadishu which killed at least eight people.

The November attack came days after the group said it killed a prominent journalist.

kb/wd (AFP, Reuters)