At least three people were killed, including a lawmaker and a local municipality staffer, in a bomb blast in Somalia’s central state of Galmudug on Monday, a security official confirmed.
The attack took place in El-Garas town, which the Somali National Army said to have liberated from al-Shabaab terrorists with the help of locals earlier on Monday.
Mohamed Mohamud, a member of the Galmudug state parliament, was killed in the attack while accompanying other politicians and Somali military officials to visit the area liberated from al-Shabaab militants, a security officer in Dhusamareb, the administrative capital of the Galmudug state, told Anadolu over the phone, requesting anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The blast also killed two others, including a Dhusamareb Municipality official, he said.
“Based on preliminary information, we believe it was an improvised explosive device (IED) planted along the roadside and detonated using a remote control,” he said.
Later, the Somali-based al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement posted on its propaganda social media platform.
The Somali Defense Ministry issued a short statement on the liberation of El-Garas from the militants by the army, but it did not mention any casualties or the bomb attack.
“(The) Somali National Army, supported by local forces, regains full control of El Garas in Galgudud, formerly a Khawarij stronghold,” the Defense Ministry said.
A cleanup operation is underway, the statement said, adding that the liberation of the town marks a “significant victory in our war against terrorism.”
“Ceel Garas, a strategic town in Galmudug, is now free from Al Shabab’s control. Somali National Army and civilian forces successfully reclaim the town, ensuring a safer future for its residents,” Information Minister Daud Aweis said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Locals also confirmed to Anadolu that the militants had left the town, fearing that they would be surrounded by the army.
The Horn of Africa country has been plagued by insecurity for years, with the main threats emanating from al-Shabaab and the Daesh/ISIS terror groups.
Since 2007, the al-Shabaab terror group has been fighting the Somali government and the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), a multidimensional mission authorized by the African Union and mandated by the United Nations Security Council.
The terror group has increased attacks since Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who was elected for a second term last year, declared an “all-out war” on al-Shabaab.