35 dead as twin bomb blasts hit Somalia

35 dead as twin bomb blasts hit Somalia
Police officers stand guard near Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia August 21, 2022. (Reuters)
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Updated 04 January 2023

35 dead as twin bomb blasts hit Somalia

35 dead as twin bomb blasts hit Somalia
  • “Most of the dead are civilians. They are women and children,” a deputy police commissioner said
  • Al Shabab’s activities have restricted deliveries of international aid

JEDDAH: At least 35 people, including eight members of a single family, died on Wednesday when Al-Shabab terrorists detonated two car bombs in central Somalia.
The attack in the town of Mahas in the Hiran region was the latest in a series by the Al-Qaeda affiliate since government forces and allied clan militias began pushing the insurgents out of territory they had long held.
“Most of the dead are civilians. They are women and children,” said Hassan-Kafi Mohamed Ibrahim, deputy police commissioner of Hirshabelle state.
“Only one child survived from a family of nine. Other families also lost half of their members. The two suicide car bombs burnt many civilian homes to ashes.”
Mahas District Commissioner Mumin Mohamed Halane said one bomb targeted his house and the other hit the home of a member of the Federal Parliament.
Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has declared “all-out war” against Al-Shabab, which has been waging a bloody insurgency against the frail internationally-backed federal government for 15 years.

In July, local clan militias known as Macawisley launched a revolt against Al-Shabab in parts of central Somalia, and Mohamud sent in troops in September to support the fightback.
In recent months, the army and the militias have retaken large tracts of territory in the central states of Galmudug and Hirshabelle, where Hiran is, in an operation backed by US airstrikes and an African Union force.
However, the insurgents have frequently retaliated with bloody attacks, underlining their ability to strike at the heart of Somali towns and military installations despite the offensive.
Although forced out of the country’s main urban centers about 10 years ago, Al-Shabab remains entrenched in large parts of rural central and southern Somalia. It has carried out frequent attacks in recent months, including several in the capital Mogadishu against government installations and hotels.
Al-Shabab’s activities have also restricted deliveries of international aid, compounding the impact of the Horn of Africa’s worst drought in four decades. 

On Oct. 29, 121 people in the capital Mogadishu were killed in two car bomb explosions at the education ministry, the deadliest attack in five years. Eight civilians died on Nov. 27 in a 21-hour siege at a hotel in Mogadishu popular with politicians and government officials.
A triple bombing in October in the city of Beledweyne, the capital of Hiran, left 30 dead. And at least 21 were killed in a siege at a Mogadishu hotel in August that lasted 30 hours before security forces overpowered the militants.