At least one killed in blasts targeting troops in central Somalia

One person was killed and at least six others injured in a suicide car bombing at a checkpoint manned by Somali government troops in the central region of Hiran on Saturday, witnesses said, part of a twin suicide car attack.

The al-Shabaab extremist group claimed responsibility for the attacks, which went off almost simultaneously according to the witnesses, adding they targeted military bases in Jalalaqsi and Bulobarde towns in Hiran.

Federal government soldiers and allied clan militias launched a major offensive against al-Shabaab last August. The group has retaliated with a series of attacks after they were driven out of some of the territories.

“A suicide car bomb exploded at a government forces checkpoint near the bridge,” said Seinab Abdullahi, a shopkeeper in Jalalaqsi, who counted one body and six injured victims.

Police and government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Government forces fired at the car that carried the second explosive, said Hussein Abdiasis, another resident of Jalalaqsi, in an attempt to stop the attackers.

“After the first blast, we heard gunfire and then another blast,” he said.

Al-Shabaab has been waging an insurgency against Somalia’s government since 2007, with the aim of enforcing its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

It has been pushed back by government offensives in the past, only to regroup and return to areas that the army does not have the capacity to hold.

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