Tuesday, June 19, 2018
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MPs killed in central Somalia suicide attack

Al-Shabab say they were behind the car bomb attack in Mogadishu which killed one personSix people, including two members of parliament, have been killed in a suicide attack in central Somalia, authorities in the town of Dusa Mareb have said.

A suicide attack on Tuesday that targeted a cafe where government and military officials were meeting killed at least two legislators, said a parliamentarian who escaped the strike.

Parliamentarian Dahir Amin Jesow said at least six other parliamentarians and military officials were among the wounded, some seriously, in the cafe attack in the town of Dhusomareb, north of Mogadishu.

Al-Sunna Wal Jama'a, the Sufi militia which controls much of Galgadud, said the suicide attacker was among the dead.

The officials were part of a delegation that recently arrived in the region to help form a local government.

In a separate incident in the capital Mogadishu, a bomb planted inside a car killed a man near the busy Kilometre 4 junction.

Al-Shabab said it had killed him because he worked for the government.

Most suicide bombings in Somalia are carried out by the group al-Shabab, which over the last year has faced increasing military pressure from African Union troops in the capital, as well as Ethiopian troops in the west and Kenyan troops in the south.

The success against al-Shabab has allowed the Mogadishu-based central government to start reaching out to regions outside of Mogadishu, the task the government officials were carrying out during Tuesday's attack.

Dhusomareb, which lies about 640km north of Mogadishu, is under the control of a moderate pro-government force.

The Horn of Africa nation has been without a functioning central government since 1991 and has been racked by fighting ever since.

The UN-backed transitional Somali government only controls the capital, Mogadishu.

Last month, African Union troops, which back the government, for the first time deployed to Baidoa, a strategic south-western town, after it was wrested from al-Shabab's control by Ethiopian troops.

Somalia's prime minister said last month that al-Shabab members are fleeing to northern Somalia in the face of the increased military pressure.

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