Top regional officials among 13 killed by suicide blast in central Somalia


MOGADISHU (Somaliguardian) – At least 13 people were killed and 18 others wounded on Saturday in the central Somalia town of Baladweyne, police and health officials said, after a suicide bomber blew himself up at a busy restaurant that witnesses said was packed with local officials and politicians.

Patrons, who included local officials, parliament candidates and elders, were meeting at the restaurant, which is popular with politicians, as a bomber detonated an explosive vest.

Among those killed in the attack are the deputy governor of Hiran region Abdirashid Sh. Ali, deputy mayor of Baladweyne for social affairs Abdirahman Keynan, parliament candidate Adan Abdi Farah and former deputy intelligence commander in the town, and a director with regional administration.

Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble condemned the explosion and sent condolences to those who had lost their loved ones.

I condemn the blast that terrorists carried out in Baladweyne which has caused casualties including deaths and injuries on innocent people,” Somali Prime Minister tweeted.

Al-Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabaab said it had carried out the attack claiming to have killed at least 20 people, including senior Hiran regional officials. The blast occurred hours before Somalia’s former spy boss Fahad Yasin arrived in the town to run for parliament in a disputed election scheduled for Sunday.

Parliamentary votes are due to kick off in the town on Sunday. Unlike other candidates, Mr Yasin’s election is expected to be held inside a heavily fortified area in Baladweyne airport.

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