Capt Mohamed Hussein, a police officer, said the first attack happened after a truck laden with explosives struck the gate of Galkayo municipality headquarters, killing five people, including security official Col. Khadar Dhuubane.
Hussein said a second car bomb exploded outside the local government office, targeting the first responders and emergency personnel who had gathered at the area to take the wounded to hospitals.
Sunday’s double bombing in Galkacyo is becoming one of the deadliest Al Shabaab attacks in the volatile town in recent years, as the country is preparing to hold elections later this year.
UNSOM, the United Nations Assistance Mission to Somalia, and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) in Somalia, Michael Keating, strongly condemned the twin explosions that took place this morning in the city of Galkayo, located some 750Km north of the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab militants claimed responsibility for the attack that was carried out in two vehicles laden with explosives that targeted a municipal government building near a crowded market; among the victims were schoolchildren who died in the second blast.
“Extremists have once again demonstrated their disregard for human life,” said SRSG Keating. “This act of terror highlights the vulnerability of Somali civilians, including children, to extremists who continue to use violence to achieve their objectives.”
Mr. Keating applauded the quick reaction of the Puntland security forces who opened fire on the second vehicle, thereby preventing the suicide bomber from reaching the government building and inflicting even more casualties.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the loved ones of the victims, especially the parents of the children who have suffered the worst tragedy that can befall a family,” he said. “We wish the wounded a full and speedy recovery from the injuries they sustained in the attack.”
Additionally, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and his Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarake, have condemned the attack and sent condolences to the families and friends of those lost their loved ones in the Al Shabaab bombings.
Omar Nor is senior reporter in the field covering for ArmedPolitics from the vast East Africa region, focusing on political issues including scenarios of conflict, with a special focus on Al-Shabaab. Follow Omar on Twitter at @Omaar_nor