Nine Killed In Central Somalia Car Bombings

At least nine people were killed and several others wounded in simultaneous car bomb attacks in a town in central Somalia today, security officials and witnesses said.

The terrorists attacked Mahas town this morning using vehicles loaded with explosives, local security official Abdullahi Adan told AFP by phone.

They targeted a civilian area, leaving nine people, all of them civilians, dead from two explosions.

The attack, blamed on Al-Shabaab jihadist fighters, took place in the Hiran region of central Somalia, where a major offensive was launched last year against the Al-Qaeda-linked group.

Witnesses said the blasts occurred near a restaurant not far from a district administration building in Mahas.

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has declared “all-out war” against Al-Shabaab, which has been waging a bloody insurgency against the fragile internationally-backed federal government for 15 years.

In July, local clan militias known as “Macawisley” launched a revolt against Al-Shabaab in parts of central Somalia, and Mohamud sent in troops in September to support the fight-back.

In recent months, the army and the militias have retaken swathes of territory in the central states of Galmudug and Hirshabelle (where Hiran is located) in an operation backed by US air strikes and an African Union (AU) force known as ATMIS.

On October 29, 121 people in the capital Mogadishu were killed in two car bomb explosions at the education ministry, in the deadliest attack in the troubled Horn of Africa nation in five years.

Eight civilians died on November 27 in a 21-hour siege at a hotel in Mogadishu popular with politicians and government officials.