At least 6 have died in a landmine explosion that rocked the strategic central Somali town of Beledweyne, the regional capital of Hiiraan, some 206 miles (332 km) north of the Somali capital Mogadishu, witnesses said on Monday.
Eyewitnesses say the Sunday night blast, which targeted the regional headquarters was huge that could be heard across the town, claiming the lives of at least six people.
“The landmine blasts dug a huge hole around the gates of the regional headquarters and we have seen charred body parts of the victims. people collected the parts so as to be buried,” said one of eyewitnesses who declined to be named.
“Body parts of the victims could still be seen today (Monday) afternoon on the floor of the building and nearby trees. Efforts to collect the parts and bury them are underway,” said a trader in the town.
Reports said the blast targeted some Hizbul Islam officials but the rebel group has declined to confirmed those reports.
Meanwhile, A Somali forces commander called Yussuf Ahmed Hagar has claimed that his forces have retaken the control of the strategic town after fighting with rebel forces.
However those claims were refuted by Hizbul Islam’s spokesman Sheikh Mohamed Osman Arus, who alleged that his forces are still stationed in western wing of the town.
The town, which borders Ethiopia, strategically connects the capital Mogadishu to central Somalia and has changed hands several times in the recent past.
The Horn of African nation has been marred by two decades of civil strife that started after the ouster Former President Mohammed Siad Bare in 1991.