In central Somalia on Saturday, a suicide bomber drove a truck filled with explosives towards a security checkpoint, resulting in a devastating explosion that claimed the lives of thirteen individuals and left others injured, according to the police.
Voice of America reported that the incident occurred in the town of Beledweyne in the Hiran region of the country.
The blast was so powerful that it demolished nearby buildings, necessitating the use of bulldozers by emergency responders to clear debris, recover bodies, and rescue those trapped beneath the rubble.
Abdullahi Ahmed Malim, the governor of Hiran, while speaking to reporters at the scene condemned the “heinous act” and described it as a catastrophic event that inflicted widespread damage on the area.
Local police officer, Ahmed Yare Adan reported that among the thirteen casualties, the majority were civilians residing nearby, and approximately 45 wounded individuals were admitted to medical facilities, with some in critical condition.
- “We have recovered the dead bodies of 13 people, most of them civilians who stayed nearby.
“There are about 45 wounded people admitted in medical facilities… some of these people are seriously wounded and they are all civilians.”
The attack occurred in the wake of admissions from Somalia’s struggling government about facing “several significant setbacks” in its fight against Al-Shabaab insurgents.
These Islamist militants have been conducting an insurgency for more than fifteen years to topple the fragile internationally supported government in Mogadishu.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Massive devastation unleashed by the explosion
Abdukadir Yasin, a police officer who arrived at the scene after the explosion, stated that rescuers were diligently working to extract injured victims from beneath the debris.
He further stated that the destruction scale was substantial, with a possibility of a higher death toll.
According to AFP, witnesses revealed that the explosion resulted in the collapse of houses, trapping occupants under the rubble while they were at home.
“The whole town is shocked,” remarked Abdifatah Hassan, a resident of the locality, during an interview with AFP.