Somalia: At Least 30 Killed in Al-Shabaab Restaurant Bombings

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At least 30 people have been killed in bomb attacks on a busy restaurant in the Somali city of Baidoa.

The city’s regional governor Abdurashid Abdulahi confirmed the attack on Monday, which has since been claimed by Al-Shabaab. He revealed at least 30 people were killed in the bombings – all of them civilians.

 

Deadly blasts

“The official number of the dead has reached 30 people — all of them civilians — and 61 others have been wounded, 15 of them seriously,” Abdulahi told AFP.

The attack took place on Sunday afternoon with an initial car bomb striking a popular restaurant in the area. One attacker reportedly hit people as they tried to escape the scene. A second explosion struck shortly afterward; the blasts heavily damaging buildings, cars and leaving bodies strewn across the street.

Al-Shabaab was quick to claim the attack, confirming that local officials who frequent the popular restaurant were targeted.

 

Days after Mogadishu attack

The attack in Baidoa comes a matter of days after car bombings and gunfire killed more than 20 people in the Somali capital Mogadishu. On Friday night, a bomb was detonated outside the popular SYL hotel, close to Villa Somalia where the presidential palace sits.

A second explosion sounded minutes later at the nearby Mogadishu Peace Garden. Al-Shabaab also claimed this attack – the second it has staged against the SYL hotel in less than a year.

Intelligence officials have said the explosives used in the attack were of a higher grade than used in previous attacks by the group. This is in line with investigations into the recent bomb that was smuggled aboard a Somali passenger jet, with officials saying the device was more sophisticated than previous efforts.

Despite being considerably weakened by African Union (AU) and Somali troops over recent years, Al-Shabaab has managed to increase the frequency of attacks it carries out in Somalia over the last 12 months. And now it seems these attacks are backed by more advanced weaponry than the group has been known to use before.

 

Feature image: Public domain

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.