Nineteen people have been killed in twin car bombings in central Somalia claimed by Al-Shabaab, a local militia commander in the Hiran region said.
Two cars packed with explosives were simultaneously detonated in Mahas, a town in Hiran where a major offensive was launched last year against the Al-Qaeda-linked militant group.
The attack was claimed by Al-Shabaab, which has been waging a years-long insurgency against the fragile central government, according to the SITE monitoring group.
“Nineteen people, including members of the security forces and civilians, died in the blasts,” said Mohamed Moalim Adan, a leader of a community militia allied with the government in Mahas.
Abdikarim Hassan, a traditional elder in Mahas, said “nearly 20 people died in the blasts” and most were civilians.
Another community leader, Mohamud Suleyman, said 52 people were wounded and “most were transported to Mog