Two suspected suicide bombers have struck separately in the southern Somali city of Baidoa, killing at least 11 people and wounding many more, according to officials.
Al Qaeda-affiliated al Shabaab militants have claimed responsibility for the twin attacks.
“What seems to be two suicide bombers blew themselves up in two restaurants in Baidoa. So far we know three civilians have died,” Ali Aden, a police officer in the city said.
At least 10 of the wounded were being treated at Baidoa’s main hospital, most had horrific injuries. Police Colonel Ahmed Muse said the death toll is only expected to rise.
Residents of Baidoa said they heard two loud blasts in the early evening, followed by huge plumes of the smoke that were visible from far.
The al Shabaab militants had targeted the two restaurants because they were frequented by government troops, Abdiasis abu Musab, the group’s spokesman for military operations, told Reuters.
The attacks follow a US airstrike against al Shabaab militants in Haradere, a district in Galmudug region.
The US military’s Africa Command said on Saturday it was still assessing the impact of the strike, which was carried out on Friday together with the Somali military.
Somalia has been engulfed by violence and lawlessness since the early 1990s after the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
Australian Associated Press