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Somali governor killed in Al-Shabaab suicide blast: official

The governor succumbed to his wounds at the hospital [Twitter]

Date of publication: 30 March, 2020

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Abdisalan Hassan Hersi, governor of Nugaal region, succumbed to his injuries after being rushed to a hospital in the capital of Puntland.
A governor in Somalia's Puntland has been killed in a suicide bombing claimed by the al-Shabaab jihadist group, police and hospital sources said on Monday.

Abdisalan Hassan Hersi, governor of Nugaal region, succumbed to his injuries after being rushed to a hospital in Garowe, the capital of Puntland where the blast occurred on Sunday.

"The doctors tried to save the governor's life but unfortunately he died from his injuries," Mohamed Weli, a police officer in Puntland, told AFP by phone.

"He was in a critical condition when he was admitted to hospital."

A source at the hospital, who did not wish to be identified, said the governor died less than an hour after being admitted to the intensive care ward.

"He was badly wounded in the blast and he had little chance of surviving such serious injuries," the source told AFP.

A former police commander and a civilian also wounded in the blast were being treated at hospital, officials said on Monday.

Several witnesses described the attacker running at the governor's vehicle before detonating a suicide vest, triggering an explosion.

Al-Shabaab, an Islamist militant group waging a deadly insurgency in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement.

The Al-Qaeda affiliate was driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 and lost most of their strongholds, but still control vast swathes of the countryside.

They have vowed to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu and have carried out many attacks in the capital.

The Islamist group has carried out a series of attacks in recent weeks including a massive car bombing in Mogadishu on December 28 that killed 81 people.

That attack, which hit a busy checkpoint in the southwest of the city, was Somalia's deadliest assault in two years.

In January, the jihadists killed four people in an attack that apparently targeted Turkish engineers. Weeks earlier, the militant group stormed a military base used by US forces in Kenya's coastal Lamu region, killing three Americans.

The uptick in attacks comes almost a year since the January 15 siege on an upscale Nairobi hotel which left 21 people dead.

In recent statements, al-Shabaab has referred to an increase in US military air strikes under President Donald Trump, accusing Washington of killing innocent civilians.

According to the Institute for Security Studies, the United States has 34 known military bases in Africa, from where it conducts "drone operations, training, military exercises, direct action and humanitarian activities”.

AFRICOM said in April it had killed more than 800 people in 110 strikes in Somalia since April 2017.

The spate of attacks highlights the group's resilience and capacity to inflict mass casualties at home and in the region, despite losing control of major urban areas in Somalia.

In a November report, a UN panel of experts on Somalia noted an "unprecedented number" of homemade bombs and other attacks across the Kenya-Somalia border in June and July last year.

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