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Islamist group kills eight in twin blasts in Somalia




SOMALIA’S al Shabaab Islamist group bombed a busy junction and a nearby restaurant yesterday in the town of Baidoa, killing at least eight people, a police officer and the group said.

Al Shabaab often carries out such suicide attacks in the capital and elsewhere in its bid to topple Somalia’s Western- backed government. The group wants to impose its strict version of Islamic rule in the Horn of Africa nation.

“The restaurant and the junction were very busy and the death toll may rise,” Police Major Bilow Nurr told Reuters, adding that 10 others had been wounded in the attacks in Baidoa, which lies about 245 km northwest of Mogadishu.

A witness said he had seen 11 bodies.

The police officer said a suicide car bomb blew up at the junction while a suicide bomber attacked the restaurant.

“We targeted government officials and forces,” al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, told Reuters, adding there was a police station nearby.

Ismail Olad said the two locations were full of civilians and security forces. “I heard a huge crash at the busy junction and as I ran, I heard another blast at a restaurant ahead of me. The whole place was covered by smoke,” he said.

The blasts follow a car bomb attack in Mogadishu near a park and hotel on Friday that killed 14 people, police said. He said three militants from the al Shabaab group were also killed.

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