Police stated on Sunday that eight people were killed in a roadside bombing claimed by Al-Shabaab in central Somalia where a major offensive is underway to retake territory from the jihadists.
The attack occurred on Saturday afternoon in Buloburde, a city in Hiran district where government forces and clan militias have been battling the Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents since the middle of last year.
According to Abdullahi Mohamud, a local police commander, the bomber detonated a car laden with explosives near an administrative building.
“Five people were killed on the spot, while three others died overnight in hospital,” he said on Sunday, adding the bomber had been planning to destroy the city’s main bridge before redirecting the attack at a civilian area.
Witnesses said the explosion damaged buildings and the city’s main mosque.
In another news, the police said a car bomb was detonated in Jalalaqsi, another town in Hiran, but only the attacker died.
A second attack was foiled and the suspect detained trying to flee a vehicle packed with explosives, police said.
Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for all three attacks in a message transmitted via its communication service.
The militants have been waging a bloody insurgency against the frail internationally-backed central government for 15 years, carrying out attacks both in Somalia and neighbouring countries.