Somalia beefs up security after suicide bombings

Somalia beefs up security after suicide bombings  As the number of victims of two attacks on Wednesday increases, Somalia is preparing to strengthen its security.  The death toll from two attacks in central Somalia has risen to 48, state leader Hirshabelle said on Thursday, with al-Shabaab insurgents claiming they were targeting politicians in the approach of the elections.  The first attack in the Beledweyne district of Hirshabelle was carried out by a suicide bomber on Wednesday evening and killed two local lawmakers, including Amina Mohamed Abdi , and several of her guards as she campaigned for re-election.  Minutes later a car bomb exploded outside Beledweyne's main hospital where the injured were being taken for treatment, killing dozens, causing buildings to collapse and leaving vehicles in charred and twisted ruins.  " As far as we can confirm, 48 people were killed and 108 others injured in the two blasts ," Hirshabelle state chief Ali Gudlawe Hussein said, adding that rescue workers found bodies buried under the roofs. debris.  " We urge (citizens) to be very vigilant, we order all security agencies to step up security ," he said.  Earlier on Thursday, the Beledweyne district police chief told AFP that the attacks had killed more than 30 people.  “ The terrorists carried out the first attack using a suicide bomber and prepared a car loaded with explosives in front of a hospital to cause more casualties ,” Colonel Isak Ali Abdulle said .  “ These were devastating simultaneous attacks that damaged property and caused massive civilian casualties, ” he added.  The bombings occurred on the same day as three people were killed in another attack near Mogadishu airport, also claimed by Al-Shabaab. Al-Qaeda- linked militants frequently target civilian, military and government targets in and outside the Somali capital.   Targeting politicians Al-Shabaab said it carried out the attacks to target politicians contesting the ongoing elections.  The British Ambassador to Somalia , Katie Foster, offered her condolences on Twitter: " We strongly condemn the use of violence to intimidate and disrupt the elections ". The European Union Ambassador to the country, Tiina Intelmann, also offered her condolences, writing on Twitter: " Violence is no way forward for #Somalia. #EU condemns terrorism and politically motivated killings ."  Earlier on Wednesday, security forces shot dead two gunmen who tried to storm a heavily fortified area in the Somali capital Mogadishu, near the city's main airport. The airport complex is home to the United Nations , aid agencies, missions and foreign contractors, as well as the headquarters of the African Union military mission , AMISOM. Three people were killed in this attack: a policeman, an AMISOM soldier and a civilian. For more than ten years, Al-Shabaab has sought to overthrow the country's fragile government.  Somalia has been the scene of a series of attacks in recent weeks, as the electoral process has been long delayed.

As the number of victims of two attacks on Wednesday increases, Somalia is preparing to strengthen its security.

The death toll from two attacks in central Somalia has risen to 48, state leader Hirshabelle said on Thursday, with al-Shabaab insurgents claiming they were targeting politicians in the approach of the elections.

The first attack in the Beledweyne district of Hirshabelle was carried out by a suicide bomber on Wednesday evening and killed two local lawmakers, including Amina Mohamed Abdi , and several of her guards as she campaigned for re-election.

Minutes later a car bomb exploded outside Beledweyne's main hospital where the injured were being taken for treatment, killing dozens, causing buildings to collapse and leaving vehicles in charred and twisted ruins.

" As far as we can confirm, 48 people were killed and 108 others injured in the two blasts ," Hirshabelle state chief Ali Gudlawe Hussein said, adding that rescue workers found bodies buried under the roofs. debris.

" We urge (citizens) to be very vigilant, we order all security agencies to step up security ," he said.

Earlier on Thursday, the Beledweyne district police chief told AFP that the attacks had killed more than 30 people.

“ The terrorists carried out the first attack using a suicide bomber and prepared a car loaded with explosives in front of a hospital to cause more casualties ,” Colonel Isak Ali Abdulle said .

“ These were devastating simultaneous attacks that damaged property and caused massive civilian casualties, ” he added.

The bombings occurred on the same day as three people were killed in another attack near Mogadishu airport, also claimed by Al-Shabaab. Al-Qaeda- linked militants frequently target civilian, military and government targets in and outside the Somali capital.


Targeting politicians
Al-Shabaab said it carried out the attacks to target politicians contesting the ongoing elections.

The British Ambassador to Somalia , Katie Foster, offered her condolences on Twitter: " We strongly condemn the use of violence to intimidate and disrupt the elections ". The European Union Ambassador to the country, Tiina Intelmann, also offered her condolences, writing on Twitter: " Violence is no way forward for #Somalia. #EU condemns terrorism and politically motivated killings ."

Earlier on Wednesday, security forces shot dead two gunmen who tried to storm a heavily fortified area in the Somali capital Mogadishu, near the city's main airport. The airport complex is home to the United Nations , aid agencies, missions and foreign contractors, as well as the headquarters of the African Union military mission , AMISOM. Three people were killed in this attack: a policeman, an AMISOM soldier and a civilian. For more than ten years, Al-Shabaab has sought to overthrow the country's fragile government.

Somalia has been the scene of a series of attacks in recent weeks, as the electoral process has been long delayed.
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