Suicide car bombings in Somalia claimed the lives of more than 20 people. The bombers are from Al-Shabaab, which is an al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group that operates in Somalia.
Two car bombs were detonated near local government headquarters. Eyewitnesses in Galkayo in north central Somalia said they heard the explosions, which was followed by gunfire.
A Reuters report describes the scene from the perspective of a resident of the area.
“There were two huge bombs. The first one was a truck bomb, followed a minute or so (later) by another car bomb. My brother was injured at the scene,” Halima Ismail, a local resident, told the publication.
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The militant group is believed to have about 9,000 members within their ranks. Al-Shabaab took credit for the suicide bombings.
The group frequently uses the media for propaganda videos and messages. They release material in multiple languages to reach out to as many people as possible. Like al-Qaeda, the organization wants to destroy western civilization and use terrorism as a fighting tactic.
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The Reuters report reveals how Al-Shabaab has become more active in the north-central regions of Somalia due to being pushed back by African forces.
“Al Shabaab has become more active in Puntland, a large part of northern Somalia, since moving more forces there after being pushed out of strongholds farther south by an African Union force and the Somali National Army, experts and officials say.”
The death toll has increased with about 30 people wounded. Survivors are being treated at the local hospitals, and many are expected to pull though. Many of the victims in the suicide bombing are students and market traders.
Al Shabab suicide bombers kill at least 20 in Puntland, Somalia https://t.co/yZwEfhwOQd
— euronews (@euronews) August 21, 2016
One of the bombers reportedly drove into a building to increase the damage of the explosion. The attack was strategically carried out as the second car bomb exploded when locals went the scene of the first explosion to helped the injured.
A policed officer is among the dead, according to CNN.
According to the publication, Al-Shabaab took credit with a radio announcement.
“The terror group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted a government compound housing administrative offices, police said. The group’s spokesman, Sheikh Abdiaziz Abu Musab, spoke to Andalus Radio, a pro-militant station.”
A representative of United Nation’s Secretary-General in Somalia Michael released a statement condemning the attacks, saying, “This act of terror highlights the vulnerability of Somali civilians including children to actors who continue to use violence to achieve their objectives.”
— FRANCE 24 (@FRANCE24) August 21, 2016
Al-Shabaab has made several attacks throughout the Horn of Africa nation. The extremist group wants to turn the country in an Islamic States. However, African Union soldiers have had success in pushing the group away from many of their strongholds.
The militant group frequently attack public places of interest including hotels, restaurants, and airports. CNN reported several attacks preceding the suicide bombing in Galkayo on Sunday.
“Just days prior, suicide bombers detonated two vehicles laden with explosives near the capital’s Aden Adde International Airport, killing at least 12.
“In June, the group also claimed separate attacks on two hotels popular with Somali politicians, which left more than two dozen people dead.”
Somalia has been at war since 2009. Due to issues with establishing an army, the federal government of Somalia requires the assistance of African Union peacekeeping troops.
They help fight militant Islamist groups such as Al-Shabaab who frequently made small attacks in hopes of winning the war.
Most of the country is controlled by the government and Al-Shabaab has a significant stronghold in the county. However, they are being overwhelmed by allied forces of the government.
Most of the victims of Al-Shabaab attacks are innocent civilians of Somalia.
[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]