At least six killed, 12 wounded in targeted Somali bus explosion

Somali authorities say the armed group’s attack took place on a road between Qoryoley and Marka districts.

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Somali News Agency said the attack happened on a road between Qoryoley and Marka districts and that another 12 people had been injured [File: Hassan Ali Elmi/AFP]

At least six people were killed in an explosion targeting a passenger bus travelling in a region outside Somalia’s capital, the state news agency has said.

Somali News Agency, citing Mohamed Ibrahim, governor of Lower Shabelle region, said on Wednesday the attack happened on a road between Qoryoley and Marka districts and that another 12 people had been injured.

Ibrahim said an armed group’s attack had caused the explosion, the news agency said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Ibrahim did not say which group was suspected to have carried out the attack.

Al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab has in the past taken responsibility for similar attacks.

The group has been fighting since 2006 to topple Somalia’s central government and establish its own rule based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law.

After taking office in May last year, President Sheikh Mohamud declared an “all-out war” on the fighters, rallying Somalis to help flush out members of the armed group he described as “bedbugs”.

In recent months, the army and local clan militias have retaken chunks of territory in an operation backed by US air raids and an African Union (AU) force known as ATMIS whose mandate ended in June.

But the fighters who were forced out of the capital by AU troops in 2011 have frequently retaliated against the latest offensive with bloody attacks.

Despite being driven out of urban centres, the group has remained entrenched in the countryside from where it has conducted numerous attacks in Somalia and neighbouring countries.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies