Mogadishu: African Union military units in Somalia on Tuesday said a “cowardly” bomb attack the previous day had killed 19 people, almost twice the number initially stated to the reports.
Baidoa – about 250 km (150 miles) southwest of Mogadishu – was the second most significant urban center of Al Shabaab insurgents after the port of Kismayu, before they were routed by Ethiopian military personnel in 2012.
“A car bomb killed 12 people including government forces and residents,” Captain Nur Aden. “His cars and others which were also parked at that place were destroyed.
“The car bomb was aimed at the erstwhile governor of Bay region who was by then in a local bank opposite the cafeteria.
The Shebab have been ridden out of fixed positions in Somalia’s major towns by the UN-mandated AU force, but still regularly launch attacks that include bombings and guerilla-style raids.
There was no immediate claim for the onslaught. Al Shabab could not be reached for comment.
“I have counted 12 people (dead) including five of my fellows,” Mohammad Hussain, a worker at the bank, told Reuters by phone.
“I see destroyed cars and dead people lying in front of me.
Today, over 50,000 severely malnourished children are at “death’s door”, a coalition of 22 international and Somali aid agencies warned earlier this month, with nearly three million people in crisis and over one million forced from their families.
Somalia’s government is fighting to impose any sense of order, more than two decades later the downfall of Dictator Mohammad Siad Barre tipped the nation into chaos.
Western countries involved in Somalia, worry it could drop back into chaos and provide a launch pad for Islamist militancy.