According to a militia with ties to the government and a local elder, a car explosion planted by Al Shabaab militants on Wednesday in central Somalia‘s Hiraan region resulted in the deaths of at least 10 persons and the destruction of many homes.
Al Shabaab, an offshoot of Al Qaeda, has been fighting the Somalian government since 2007. The government’s military and the macawisley, or allied clan militias, drove it out of Hiraan last year, but it has continued to mount assaults.
“We were awoken this morning by two huge explosions,” Ahmed Nur, a local elder, said. “We have seen many houses levelled to the ground. At least 10 people died including civilians, soldiers and macawisley fighters.”
The local Mahas district’s representative Farah Abdullahi added that at least 10 individuals were killed in the explosion.
Mumin Mohamed Halane, the district commissioner for Mahas, informed state radio that one bomb was intended for his home and the other for the residence of a federal senator.
Al Shaabab’s media office claimed responsibility in a statement, saying it had targeted “apostate militias and soldiers”.
Since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud launched a military attack shortly after taking office, the militants have been under pressure.
United States and African Union military have backed the government forces and macawisley. Although various parties frequently give divergent accounts of clashes, the government claims it has killed hundreds of al Shabaab fighters and reclaimed dozens of settlements.
Despite the offensive, al Shabaab has launched numerous strikes in recent months, including a number against hotels and government buildings in the capital Mogadishu.
The activities of Al Shabaab have also limited the delivery of humanitarian supplies, aggravating the effects of the worst drought to hit the Horn of Africa in forty years.
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