At least six people were killed in a car-bombing claimed by al-Qaeda-linked militants in part of Galkayo city that belongs to Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region.
The blast struck around the Unlay Hotel, with the dead including the director of the local government’s finance department, police officer Shire Yusuf said by phone from the city. The number of fatalities may rise, he said.
Islamist group al-Shabaab took responsibility for the attack in a statement to Radio Andalus. The militants “killed a number of senior apostates from the Puntland administration,” spokesman Abdulaziz Abu Musab told the broadcaster, which supports their insurgency.
Puntland, which had avoided most of the violence carried out by al-Shabaab, clashed with the group along the coast earlier this month and said it had killed about 170 of their fighters. Al-Shabaab has waged an insurgency in Somalia since 2006.
Galkayo is divided, with one part governed by Puntland and the other by the Galmudug administration. Galmudug’s government said March 28 it had concluded fighting with al-Shabaab militants who’d fled from Puntland, killing 115 of them and capturing 110.