At least 10 people died in a suicide bombing by suspected al-Shabaab militants in a port city in Somalia’s Puntland region, the government said.
A vehicle laden with explosives targeted police vehicles passing through a “heavily populated” area of Bosasso, Puntland Information Minister Abdirahman Abdi Ismail said by phone from the city, about 330 kilometers (206 miles) north of Puntland’s capital, Garowe. Soldiers were among those killed in the attack, which occurred at about 11 a.m., the government of the semi-autonomous region said in an e-mailed statement.
The government accused al-Shabaab of carrying out “savage attacks” against government and civilian targets in Puntland. The al-Qaeda-linked militants use “senseless violence, extremism and terrorism to achieve their evil goal,” it said.
Somali government troops, backed by about 17,000 African Union peacekeepers, have pushed al-Shabaab out of the Somalian capital, Mogadishu, and other major towns over the past two years. The militia has been battling the government since at least 2006 as it seeks to create an Islamic state.
Puntland, located on the tip of the Horn of Africa, declared autonomy in 1998 and seeks the creation of a federal Somali government. Companies including Africa Oil Corp. of Canada and West Perth, Australia-based Range Resources Corp. are exploring for oil in the semi-arid region.