Monday October 3, 2022
Beledweyne (HOL) - At least 20 people were killed, including state ministers, and 30 others injured after a triple explosion in Beledweyne on Monday.The third suicide car bombing occurred behind the Beledweyne police station.
Eyewitnesses told the HOL that the first two explosions were carried out by suicide car bombers who targeted the Lamagalay compound, the regional government headquarters, which has served as an administrative center for the recent mobilization efforts for the ongoing offensive against al Shabab.
The Hiran governor, Ali Jeyte Osman, confirmed that the health minister of Hirshabelle state, Dr. Zakariye Hurre and the deputy governor of Hiiraan in charge of finance, Abukar Madey were among those killed in Monday’s attack.
“The first explosion occurred at the compound’s gate, and after a few minutes, a large truck barrelled toward the headquarters building and detonated, killing many civilians who came to the office to receive services,” the governor said. “Cowards carried out this attack, but their brutal acts will never distract us from rising against them.” He added the attack severely damaged the administration’s headquarters.
Mohamed Abdi Dhoobey, the director of the Hilaal private hospital in Beledweyne, told local media that 14 people were brought to the hospital, while four were airlifted to Mogadishu in critical condition.
Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre held an emergency security meeting on Monday afternoon to organize an emergency response.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud sent condolences to the families and relatives of the victims.
A statement from the Villa Somalia said the President ordered federal security agencies in Hirshabelle to heighten security to prevent Al Shabaab from committing similar attacks.
The US embassy in Mogadishu condemned the attack.
“The U.S. condemns the al-Shabaab attacks in Beledweyne that targeted government officials working to bring peace to the region & healthcare workers tending to the wounded. Our condolences to the bereaved. We support the people of Somalia in their fight for a peaceful and just future.”
The Somalia-based extremist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack in Beledweyne, about 300 kilometres (186 miles) north of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.
The attack could be retaliation for the killing of senior Al Shabaab leader Abdullahi Nader by government forces on Saturday during a joint operation in Middle Jubba.
The explosions come during a government offensive against Al Shabaab militants in the Hiiraan region and other parts of central Somalia.