Somalia’s security agencies have reported the death of at least 13 people after a suicide bomber detonated explosives in a popular restaurant in the central Somali town of Beledweyne known for its politician-clientele, a day before the first round of voting in the town.
The attack on Saturday which was claimed by the Al-Shabaab Islamist militant group is one in a series of constant attacks by the terrorist group in recent weeks as the country struggles through the electoral process of selecting a new parliament and president.
The dead were mostly civilians alongside 20 others who sustained grave injuries, according to police spokesman Dini Roble Ahmed. The blast caused “huge damage”, he added.
At least six people were killed and several others injured in another suicide attack in the capital, Mogadishu on February 10, 2022. The Islamist group al-Shabab said it carried out the attack.
The terrorist group’s spokesman Abdiasis Abu Musab said the suicide bomber targeted a minibus full of delegates involved in the selection of MPs for what he described as “the apostate administration”.
Security analysts say rival politicians are responsible for instigating much of the violence, some through their links with al-Shabab, whose fighters carry out killings on their behalf.
Somalia is due to wrap up voting for the lower house of parliament by 25 February under the latest timetable for the elections, which are already more than a year behind schedule.