Suicide bomber kills at least 9 in central Somalia

Abdi Guled Associated Press

Mogadishu, Somalia — A suicide bombing in central Somalia killed at least nine people and wounded 10 others, a police official said Thursday.

The bomber blew himself up among a group of people at a cafe near a hotel in the town of Galkayo on Thursday, said Ali Aden.

Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it targeted officials from Puntland, a semiautonomous state in northeastern Somalia.

Galkayo, located in the central region of Mudug, is divided into two zones, with one zone falling under Puntland’s control while the other is controlled by Galmudug, a regional administration formed by Somalia’s federal government as parts of the new federalism the government aims to adopt in the country. Attacks by Islamic extremists in central Somalia are rare in the town.

Al-Shabab, which has ties with al-Qaida, has been carrying out a campaign of deadly violence targeting government officials, government and international troops. Neighboring Kenya, which has sent troops to fight the Islamic extremists in Somalia, has been repeatedly attacked by al-Shabab.

At least six people, including two Turkish doctors, were killed in a drive-by shooting in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Wednesday.

Al-Shabab was pushed out of the Somali capital Mogadishu in 2011 but still controls some rural towns, especially in the southern parts of the country.