Somali bombings kill 17 at local government HQ and market

Somali bombings kill 17 at local government HQ and market

At least 17 people have been killed and more than 30 others wounded when a suicide bomber detonated explosives at the gates of a local government headquarters in Somalia and another bomber targeted a marketplace nearby.

One bomber rammed his car into a checkpoint in the town of Galkayo on Sunday morning after reaching the main gate of Puntland's local government.

Puntland, a semi-autonomous state in northern Somalia, controls the northern part of the town, while the southern part is controlled by rival regional state Galmudug.

The al Qaida-linked al-Shabab group claimed responsibility for the attack. The town rarely sees such attacks, unlike other parts of the country where al-Shabab continues a deadly guerrilla campaign.

The town's main hospital received more than 15 wounded people, including some with horrific wounds, said nurse Abdikareem Ali.

"Some of them were burnt beyond recognition. It was a dark day," he said.

Some of the bodies were discovered in nearby houses destroyed by the blasts, said senior police officer Colonel Muse Hassan.

Somali prime minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke condemned the twin blasts, saying that "evil-doers" had targeted innocent civilians.

Al-Shabab is waging an insurgency against Somalia's weak UN-backed government with the goal of establishing an Islamic emirate, ruled by a strict version of Shariah law.

More than 22,000 peacekeepers are deployed in Somalia in the multinational African Union force. Al-Shabab opposes the presence of foreign troops in the country.

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