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SOMALIA: DEATH TOLL RISES TO 22 AFTER TWIN BLASTS IN BAIDOA

MOGADISHU, Death toll had risen to 22 while more than 30 others had been injured after Saturday's twin suicide bomb attacks in Baidoa town, located at the southern part of the Horn of Africa nation, officials said.

Governor of Bay region Ali Wardhere Doyow told reporters that the locals are donating blood to the victims of the twin bombings in Baidoa town, adding that those with serious injuries would be transferred to Mogadishu for further treatment.

"The death toll from Saturday's terrorist attacks is now 22, and over 30 others still remain in hospitals, the victims are receiving emergency healthcare and blood donations, some with serious wounds will be taken to the capital Mogadishu today," Doyow said.

Ugaas Hassan Abdi, information minister for Southwest State in Somalia, said that two young al-Shabaab militants wearing vests carried out the attacks at two main social gatherings in the center of the town.

The police said a man wearing an explosive device walked into Beder restaurant and blew himself up, killing several people and injured others in Baidoa which is considered as the hub of economic activities.

According to the police, another suicide bomber blew himself up at the Bilan hotel, killing more than six people.

Hussein Mohamed, security minister for the Southwest State in Somalia, urged people to be vigilant and unite for the fight against terrorist militants going to massacre them.

"We can defeat terrorists if we are united to the fight against al-Shabaab," Mohamed said, calling on people to support one another and donate blood to the victims.

Al-Shabaab had claimed responsibility for the latest attacks, saying its fighters killed more than 20 people.

Meanwhile, President Mohamed Abdulahi Farmajo has condemned the attacks and wished speedy recovery to the victims.

Farmajo also ordered relevant ministries to immediately provide medical assistance to the victims of the terror attacks in Baidoa.

He vowed to enhance security order to thwart any terror incidences posed by the militant group which has engaged the government in nearly daily attacks.

Meanwhile, the United Nations and African Union missions in Somalia condemned the twin explosions. In separate statements, the UN and AU missions said the attacks will not derail efforts to stabilize Somalia.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) sent condolences to families and relatives who lost their loved ones and wished a quick recovery to the injured.

"As the state readies to hold elections for the regional presidency next month, such senseless attacks on the people are a deliberate attempt by terrorists to curtail political progress,"said the AU mission.

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) said arbitrary targeting of innocent Somalis will not achieve any political agenda for perpetrators.

"No political agenda can be served by the random and indiscriminate targeting of innocent civilians," said the UN mission.

The attacks came after two years of relative calm in Baidoa town considered as the economic hub of the Horn of Africa nation.

The latest attack took place as local leaders were due to bold elections for the regional presidency next month.

Among the candidates who have expressed their intention to vie for the presidency is former al-Shabaab deputy commander Mukhtar Robow.

The Somali government has however barred Robow from running for public office in the country. Robow abandoned the group six years ago due to ideological differences.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK