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A truck bomb attack in Beledweyne, central Somalia, has left 18 people dead.
Abdirahman Dahir Gure, the interior minister of Hirshabelle state, updated the death toll on Saturday following the explosion, which targeted a residential area security checkpoint. The aftermath also saw 40 people sustaining injuries.
Eyewitnesses recounted the scene, with Abdikadir Arba detailing how a truck, pursued by a security vehicle, detonated after “forcefully” passing a government checkpoint.
Evidence from the devastation was documented on social media, with locals seen sifting through the wreckage for survivors. The immediate vicinity witnessed extensive damage, with several buildings and shops obliterated. Halima Nur, a resident near the affected area, expressed her distress at being unable to locate her niece post-explosion.
This comes as the region has witnessed a surge in attacks orchestrated by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab group since President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, re-elected for a second term, announced an intensified campaign against the group. Despite efforts by government forces, including recent operations that reportedly neutralized numerous fighters, Somalia remains mired in conflict, with threats from both al-Shabab and ISIS-linked factions.