In a tragic incident, an explosives-laden vehicle detonated at a security checkpoint in Beledweyne, central Somalia, resulting in the loss of at least 18 lives and leaving 40 others wounded, as confirmed by local authorities.
Abdirahman Dahir Gure, the interior minister of Hirshabelle state, provided this grim update to reporters, shedding light on the devastating aftermath of the explosion. He disclosed that 20 of the injured individuals have been admitted to hospitals in Beledweyne, while an additional 20 remain in critical condition, prompting a request for their urgent airlift to Mogadishu for advanced medical care.
Hirshabelle, encompassing Beledweyne as its capital within the Hiran region, has been a focal point for the Somali government’s ongoing military efforts against extremists linked to East Africa’s al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Shabab.
Images circulating on social media vividly depict billowing black smoke and the incinerated wreckage of a truck cab at the ill-fated checkpoint.
Dr. Suleyman Abdi Ali, the director of Beledweyne General Hospital, revealed to AP that the remains of 10 victims have been brought to his facility, underscoring the tragic toll of this attack.
As of now, no group, including al-Shabab, has claimed responsibility for this horrific incident. Al-Shabab, known for perpetrating such attacks and maintaining control over parts of Somalia, remains a constant threat to the region’s stability.
Eyewitness Abdikadir Arba, who was approximately 200 meters away from the scene and one of the first responders, provided a harrowing account of the event. He recounted that a truck, laden with explosive devices, forcibly breached the government-manned checkpoint, with a security personnel’s pickup truck in hot pursuit. Tragically, the explosives detonated, resulting in this devastating loss of life.
This tragic incident serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing security challenges facing Somalia, particularly in regions like Beledweyne, as authorities continue their efforts to combat extremism and maintain stability.