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Somalia roadside blast kills at least 19 bus passengers

Though there was no immediate claim of responsibility, road bombs are common al-Shabaab tactic


Somali security forces attend the scene of a car bomb attack on a restaurant in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Wednesday. (Farah Abdi Warsameh/Associated Press)           

A roadside bomb exploded and killed at least 19 people in a minibus in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region Thursday evening, a security official said.

Six others were injured, regional security official Nur Abdullahi told the Associated Press.

The massive bomb buried beside the road struck the vehicle near Golweyn village and largely destroyed it, Abdullahi said.

“It’s a horrible incident. Bodies are lying in a pool of blood, and some of them were burnt beyond recognition,” he said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Road bombs common extremist tactic

The Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabaab claims control over parts of the largely coastal Lower Shabelle region, which has been a focus of efforts to counter the group by a 22,000-strong multinational African Union force.

The area in which the bomb exploded is a contested area. Roadside bombs are one of the tactics commonly used by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab.

Civilians often have been casualties in this long-chaotic Horn of Africa country. Now hundreds of thousands of Somalis are on the move as a drought threatens roughly half of the country’s population of 12 million.

New Somali-American President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who was elected in February, has promised to make security a priority as the weak central government tries to assert itself beyond the capital and some other urban areas.

Civilians often have been casualties in this long-chaotic Horn of Africa country. Now hundreds of thousands of Somalis are on the move as a drought threatens roughly half of the country’s population of 12 million.

New Somali-American President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who was elected in February, has promised to make security a priority as the weak central government tries to assert itself beyond the capital and some other urban areas.

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