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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - MOGADISHU: At least five people were killed and 11 others, including a regional governor, wounded in a suicide attack on Tuesday in southern Somalia, a police commander told AFP.
A vehicle laden with explosives plowed into a guest house hosting government officials in Bardera, 450 kilometers (279 miles) west of the capital Mogadishu, area police commander Hussein Adan, said.
“The explosion destroyed most parts of the building and five security guards died in the blast,” Adan said.
Eleven people, including the governor, Ahmed Bulle Gared, were injured, he added.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the militant group Al-Shabab remains a potent force in the troubled Horn of Africa nation despite multinational efforts to degrade its leadership.
Mohamud Saney, who witnessed Tuesday’s attack, said, they had “never heard anything as big as the explosion.”
“It shook the earth like and earthquake.”
Al-Shabab has been waging a bloody insurgency against the central government in the fragile nation for about 15 years.
In recent months, the Somali army and local clan militias have retaken chunks of territory from the militants in an operation backed by US airstrikes and an African Union force known as ATMIS.
Despite the gains by the pro-government forces, the militants have continued to demonstrate the ability to strike back with lethal force against civilian and military targets.
In the deadliest Al-Shabab attack since the offensive was launched last year, 121 people were killed in two car bomb explosions at the Education Ministry in Mogadishu in October.
The UN last month said that 2022 was the deadliest year for civilians in Somalia since 2017, largely because of an increase in mass-casualty attacks by the militant group.
Although forced out of Mogadishu and other main urban centers more than a decade ago, Al-Shabab remains entrenched in parts of rural central and southern Somalia.
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