Ten civilians were killed in today’s blast in the town of Beledweyn, along with the bomber, and four others died later in a hospital, Colonel Mohmud Ali said in a telephone interview. Most of those injured were also civilians, he said. The Islamist group al-Shabaab told reporters it carried out the blast to target troops from neighboring Ethiopia and Djibouti, calling them invaders.
“I am deeply saddened by the death of innocent people in Beledweyn,” Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid said in an e-mailed statement. “Together we will work as hard as possible to bring lasting peace to Somalia.”
Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab said it was behind an attack on a shopping mall in neighboring Kenya last month that left at least 67 civilians and members of the security forces dead. Five gunmen also died in the four-day siege in Nairobi.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud called on Oct. 13 for more support for his military to help sustain gains made against the militants as the African Union warned the group is gaining strength again. Al-Shabaab is seeking to topple the government and establish an Islamic state.
Somalia’s central administration in the capital, Mogadishu, is trying to establish order following more than two decades of civil war since the fall of Mohamed Siad Barre’s dictatorship in 1991.
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