At least 16 people have been killed in Somalia in bombings that targeted a restaurant and a coffee shop, police say.
he blasts took place in the southwestern city of Baidoa, where the bombers walked into the two locations and detonated their vests within minutes of each other, according to witnesses.
“The number of the dead we have confirmed from the two blasts is 16 and nearly twenty others were wounded, some of them seriously. Nine people died in the second blast and seven in the first,” said Abudulahi Mohamed, a police official in Baidoa.
“The targeted locations are populated by innocent civilians so that all of the victims were civilians, and the number of the dead can increase anytime because of the wounded,” he added.
Mohamed Adam, another police official, gave the same toll.
“I saw fifteen dead bodies at the hospital, all of them collected from the scene of the attacks. Many worried people poured into the hospital looking for their relatives,” said Abdi Hassan, a relative of a patient who was wounded in the blast.
The explosions came a day before the first anniversary of a truck bombing that left more than 500 dead in Mogadishu, the worst-ever attack in Somalia which was blamed on the al-Shabab terrorist group.
The al-Qaeda-linked militant outfit, which has long sought to topple Somalia’s Western-backed government, was forced out of Mogadishu by African Union forces in 2011.
However, the terrorist group still wields control in large parts of the countryside, and every now and then carries out attacks against government, military, and civilian targets in the capital as well as regional towns.