At least 18 people, including 10 security personnel, were killed with more than 40 others wounded in a suicide truck car bombing in central Somalia, police said late Saturday.
Police spokesman Sadik Aden Ali Doodishe told the media that a truck full of explosives exploded at a security checkpoint in Beledwayne, killing 18 people, including seven police officers.
Fardowso Ahmed, a resident in the Nur-hawad neighborhood told Anadolu the explosion was one of the biggest the city has ever seen and it reduced dozens of shops and residential homes to rubble.
Beledwayne is the provincial capital of the central province of Hiran, located 341 kilometres (211 miles) from the nation’s capital of Mogadishu. The town has been the epicenter of an uprising against the liberation group al-Shabaab.
The truck bomb has affected many families in the country as well as Somalis in the diaspora who took to social media to express sadness.
However, no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack but former Hirshabele state President Mohamed Abdi Ware suggested that al-Shabaab was behind it.
The Horn of Africa country has been plagued by insecurity for years, with the main threats emanating from al-Qaeda and the ISIS terror groups.
Al-Shabaab has increased attacks since Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was elected for a second term last year, declared an all-out war on the local group.
Insurgents have been fighting the foreign backed puppet governments and African Union peacekeepers in Somalia since 2007, claiming other recent deadly bombings.
The Somali government has requested the UN Security Council a three-month delay in the planned drawdown of the African Union Transition Mission Forces in Somalia (ATMIS) amid setbacks in the fight against the Al-Shabaab terror group, Anadolu Agency reports.
Somalia formally requests a technical pause in the drawdown of the 3000 African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) uniformed personnel by 3 months, as outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 2687 (2023).
Mogadishu’s request to the UN Security Council stemmed from the pressing need to address significant challenges and profound implications for Somalia’s security transition.
The unforeseen turn of events has stretched our military forces thin, exposed vulnerabilities in our front-lines, and necessitated a thorough reorganisation to ensure we maintain our momentum in countering the Al-Shabaab threat.
The first batch of 2,000 peacekeeping troops left the country earlier this year as part of the Somalia Transition Plan (STP), a guide developed by the Somalia government and its partners to transfer security responsibility to the Somali Armed Forces.
The ATMIS is a multi-dimensional mission authorized by the AU and mandated by the UN Security Council to operate in the Horn of Africa nation since 2007.
The Somali Defense Ministry, on Friday, announced fresh airstrikes in the south-western province of Bakool, killing a senior Al-Shabaab leader and his seven guards.
The Horn of Africa country has been plagued by insecurity for years, with the main threats emanating from Al-Shabaab and the terror groups.
Middle East Monitor / ABC Flash Point News 2023.