Thursday, December 05, 2013
At least eight people were killed Thursday when a suicide car bomber
rammed a convoy in Somalia's northern port of Bossasso, a region
harbouring Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents where tensions are high
ahead of elections in January.
"There was a car bomb attack
targeting a vehicle of the security forces, he rammed the convoy and
then exploded," Abdullahi Said, a police officer in the port town, told
"Several people have been killed, so far we confirm that
eight were killed, but the toll could be higher, many of those who were
injured were rushed to hospital."
Puntland's government said in a statement it "strongly condemns" the attack, in which 37 were wounded, including six soldiers.
attack took place in a busy market area of Bossasso, the main port in
Somalia's northeastern Puntland region, lying on its Gulf of Aden coast.
fighters operate from the rugged Golis mountains southwest of Bossasso,
a lawless region under longtime control of warlord, arms dealer and
Shebab ally Mohamed Said Atom, who has been hit with UN Security Council
sanctions for "kidnapping, piracy and terrorism."
have attacked military bases near Bossasso in the past, and its suicide
commandos regularly launch bomb attacks or guerrilla raids.
Puntland's government blamed the Shebab for carrying out the attack, although no group has claimed responsiblity.
"Al-Shebab...has carried out savage attacks against government and civilian targets in Puntland," the statement read.
destructive group is committed to carrying out acts of senseless
violence, extremism and terrorism to achieve their evil goal."
are high in the semi-autonomous region as candidates gear up for
presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for January 8.
elections were originally due to have been held in July, but were
postponed by the government which at the time said the risk of violence
was too great to hold them.
Impoverished Puntland, which forms the
tip of the Horn of Africa, has its own government, but unlike
neighbouring Somaliland, it has not declared independence from Somalia.
parts of the region are still reeling from a devastating cyclone and
heavy flooding last month, with aid agencies warning that over 100,000
Somalia has been riven by civil war since the collapse of the central government in 1991.
The Shebab have been driven out of Somalia's major towns by a UN-mandated African Union force.
However the Shebab still controls large swathes of southern Somalia as well as pockets of Puntland.
group claimed responsiblity for an attack in September on a shopping
mall in Kenya's capital Nairobi, in retaliation for Kenya's military
intervention in Somalia.