, MOGADISHU, Feb 29 – At least 30 people have been killed in twin bomb attacks claimed by Shabaab Islamists in the Somali city of Baidoa, the regional governor said Monday.
“The official number of the dead has reached 30 people — all of them civilians — and 61 others have been wounded, 15 of them seriously,” Abdurashid Abdulahi, governor of Bay region, told AFP.
An initial car bomb struck a popular restaurant in a busy part of the regional capital on Sunday afternoon, with a suicide bomber nearby hitting people as they fled the area.
“The explosion occurred in a densely populated area,” said Abdirahman Ibrahim, a police officer in Baidoa.
Another policeman, Abdi Hared, said there were “twin blasts” from a car bomb and a suicide bomber.
The explosions shredded the roofs of nearby buildings, tore chunks out of vehicles and left bodies, plastic chairs and tables strewn across the road.
The Al-Qaeda aligned Shabaab jihadists claimed responsiblity for the attacks, saying local officials were targeted.
“The mujahideen carried out two massive explosions in Baidoa targeting restaurants used by members of the apostate South West Administration,” the Shabaab said in a statement.
The regional administration in Baidoa is protected by troops of the 22,000-strong African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which is protecting the internationally-backed government of Somalia.
The African Union’s top official for Somalia, Francisco Caetano Madeira, condemned Sunday’s attack. “I am saddened by the loss of innocent lives through acts of terror committed by ruthless individuals who have no value for life,” he said.
On Friday Shabaab gunmen stormed a hotel in the capital Mogadishu and bombed a nearby park killing at least 14 people and wounding 18.