Somalia bombings kill 15 at local government HQ, market

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden vehicle at the gates of a local government headquarters in Somalia while another bomber targeted a marketplace, killing at least 15 people and wounding more than 30 others, police said Sunday.

Abdisalam Yusuf with the police said one bomber rammed the car into a checkpoint in Galkayo town 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.

Yusuf said gunfire could be heard, but it was unclear whether gunmen were involved in the attack.

The targeting of the crowded market raised the possibility that the death toll could climb.

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

Al-Shabab is waging an insurgency against Somalia’s weak U.N.-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 multi-national African Union force. Al-Shabab opposes the presence of foreign troops in the country.

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