Al-Shabaab militants assault key Somali cities day after President Mohamud known as them ‘bedbugs’, kill 15

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Al-Shabaab militants attack key Somali towns day after President Mohamud called them ‘bedbugs’, kill 15

No fewer than 15 people have been killed and over 50 injured in three separate bombings in a strategic Somali town in central Hirshabelle state, carried out by al-Shabaab militants a day after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud called them “bugs”. .

Somali authorities said Saturday’s simultaneous attacks occurred in the town of Bulobarde, kilometers north of Mogadishu, where a car bomb killed 11 people.

“A suicide bomber driving an explosives-laden SUV was fired upon by security forces before reaching his destination, but explosives detonated near a police station and the base of the Djibouti African Union peacekeeping force,” the statement said on security agencies.

“At least 11 people were killed in the blast and more than 50 injured, 30 of them in critical condition,” Yusuf Isaq Mumin, a medical official in the city, told reporters.

“We are now sending the seriously injured to Mogadishu as the local hospital is unable to treat their cases here,” he added.

According to the report, another powerful car bomb detonated near a Somali military checkpoint in the town of Jalalaqsi, some 160 kilometers north of Mogadishu, when soldiers operating the checkpoint intercepted a vehicle laden with explosives.

“A vehicle driven by a suicide bomber detonated near the checkpoint. Another suicide bomber detonated a vehicle near a school. At least four people were killed in the attack,” said a former deputy district commissioner of Jalalaqsi, Mire Hussein Siyad.

The two cities of Jalalaqsi and Bulobarde are important trading and farming towns on the banks of the Shabelle River, and they are also the second and third largest cities in Hiran Province and have been under “isolation” from all- Shabaab years.

They have recently been at the center of efforts to mobilize local people against al-Shabaab, amid an ongoing Somali military campaign to defeat militants after Mohamud declared a “total war” on the al-Qaeda-linked terror group after his election in May had last year.

Al-Shabab has threatened clans that had mobilized against them in the past with violence.

At least 21 people were killed in similar terrorist attacks on bridges in these cities in October last year.