Death toll from recent suicide bombings in Somalia rises to 30

The death toll from suicide bombings launched by the Islamist group Al-Shabab in central Somalia earlier this week has risen to at least 30, a local official said Wednesday.

And 58 others were injured when three cars filled with explosives were detonated in the city of Beledweyne, which recently witnessed military operations by Somali forces against militants linked to al-Qaeda.

"We have confirmed the death of thirty people in the latest attack," said Ali Jiti Othman, governor of the Hiran region, of which Baldwin is the capital.

Hirschapel state's health minister and deputy district commissioner were among the dead when suicide bombers targeted government offices in the city.

Witnesses said that the massive devastation caused by the attacks claimed by the youth movement, which has waged a bloody insurgency against the central government for 15 years.

Recently elected Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attack, which comes at a time when national forces, backed by local militias and international allies, are waging a military campaign against al-Qaeda.

But the governor of Hiran pointed out that negligence played a role in the Baldwin attack, and called on police and army officials to assume their responsibilities.

"Someone has to take responsibility. The three people who carried out the attacks made their way into the city via the bridge," he said.

He added, "No one has been arrested so far in connection with this crime (...) I ask the Somali government to investigate the police and intelligence chiefs in this area."

Al-Shaba remains a powerful force despite efforts to weaken its leadership.

The United States confirmed on Monday that it had carried out an air strike on October 1 that killed a leader of Al-Shabaab.


 Just hours ago, the Somali government announced the killing of the third man in the movement in a raid on the same day.

The militants were expelled from the Somali capital Mogadishu in 2011, but they continue to launch attacks on military, government and civilian targets.

Last week, the movement claimed responsibility for a bomb explosion that killed a senior Somali police officer near the village of Bursa, which it controls, about 30 km north of Mogadishu.

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