At least 18 people died this Wednesday and 25 were injured in two simultaneous suicide car bomb attacks in downtown Somaliamilitary sources confirmed to EFE after the Police initially estimated the deaths at nine.
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The attacks occurred in the city of Mahasin the Hiran region, where last year the Somali Army, supported by international allies such as the United States or the African Union force (ATMIS), launched an offensive against the jihadist group Al Shabab.
“I saw the bodies of 18 killed and 25 wounded in the Mahas attacks. The enemy Al Shabab took revenge against us“, the military commander in that city, Mohamed Gedi Wasuge, told EFE by telephone.
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Previously, police commander Osman Nur, quoted by the local media outlet Caasimada, had indicated that “the city of Mahas was attacked by terrorists this morning.” “The attackers used vehicles loaded with explosives and attacked a civilian area. Nine civilians have been confirmed dead and several others injured in the two blasts, Nur said, releasing a first casualty count.
An attack targeted the residence of the Mahas district commissioner, Muumin Maxamed Xalane, who escaped unharmed; and the other shook the house of a federal deputy who was not in the house, according to local media.
I saw the bodies of 18 killed and 25 wounded in the Mahas attacks. The enemy Al Shabab took revenge against us
The attacks, which Al Shabab claimedtook place after the president of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, assured last Sunday in his New Year speech that his country will eliminate that jihadist group in 2023.
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Al Shabab, affiliated group since 2012 to the Al Qaeda network, often perpetrates terrorist attacks in the Somali capitalMogadishu, and other parts of Somalia to overthrow the central government -backed by the international community- and establish by force a Wahhabi-style Islamic state (ultraconservative).
The jihadist group controls rural areas in central and southern Somalia and also attacks neighboring countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia. Since last August, when the Somali president announced “a total war” to end Al Shabab, the Army has waged intense battles against the terrorists, sometimes with the military collaboration of the United States.
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Somalia has lived in a state of war and chaos since 1991when the dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown, leaving the country without an effective government and in the hands of Islamist militias and warlords.
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