Several people injured Friday in a suicide bombing in central Somalia died overnight, bringing the death toll to at least 16, including a dozen civilians and several senior army officers, security sources said on Saturday. to AFP.
The initial death toll from this attack by a suicide bomber at the entrance to a stadium where Somali Prime Minister Rooble Mohammed Hussein was expected, in the southern part of the city of Galkayo, was six dead, including three senior officers.
A military official from Galkayo, Colonel Ahmed Dahir, told AFP on Friday that “the suicide bomber was targeting senior military officials who were near the entrance to the stadium.”
“The number of people killed in the explosion increased this (Saturday) morning: 16 people perished, mostly civilians,” said Abdullahi Suleyman, a local security official reached by telephone.
According to a police official, Ahmed Abdiasiz, “the place of the explosion was crowded, so many seriously injured people died later”. “In addition to the soldiers, a dozen civilians perished,” he added, without specifying the number or rank of soldiers killed.
The radical Islamists Shebab, linked to Al-Qaeda, claimed, in a brief statement, the attack which they claimed targeted the Prime Minister. This had not yet arrived at the time of the explosion.
The Shabab claimed that several army officers had perished, citing the commanders of two local military units.
Galkayo, 600 km north of Mogadishu, straddles two semi-autonomous states of Somalia: its southern part is in the state of Galmudug and its northern part in that of Puntland. The city has been the scene in recent years of deadly violence between troops from the two states and between rival clans occupying its northern and southern parts.
“My uncle is among the dead, he is one of the military officials killed (…) he will be buried soon with four of his colleagues killed in the explosion,” Dahir Ali, a resident, told AFP on Saturday. by Galkayo.
According to another resident, Mumin Adan, “the town is in mourning and many bodies are buried in the main cemetery. I saw more than ten people brought there to be buried ”.
Somalia has plunged into chaos since the fall of President Siad Barré’s military rule in 1991, followed by a war of clan leaders and the rise of the Shebab.
The latter controlled the Somali capital before being ousted in 2011 by African Union (AU) troops who support the fragile Somali government. They still control large rural areas from which they operate.