Death toll from twin Somalia bombings rises to 48: regional leader

MOGADISHU, March 24 (Reuters) - The death toll from two bombings that killed a parliamentary election candidate in central Somalia has risen to 48, a regional leader said on Thursday.

Amina Mohamed, a vocal critic of the government, was killed on Wednesday by a suicide bomber in the city of Beledweyne, around 300 km (185 miles) north of Mogadishu, on the eve of her expected re-election, witnesses and relatives said. read more

"The two blasts killed 48 people including traders, clerics, officials and civilians and injured 108 others," Ali Gudlawe Hussein, president of Hirshabelle state, said in a statement broadcast on Facebook.

"The first suicide bomber targeted lawmaker Amina and those with her. And when the casualties were taken to hospital, a suicide car bomb targeted them."

Police officers work in Mogadishu, Somalia, March 23, 2022, in this still image obtained from a social media video. Twitter/@Hajishire/via REUTERS

Al Qaeda-linked militant group al Shabaab said it was behind the bombings.

Somalia is conducting parliamentary elections in an indirect process that involves clan elders picking the 275 members of the lower house, who then choose a new president on a date yet to be fixed.

In a statement late on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble said Wednesday's killings were aimed at disrupting the elections.

Data from the election commission shows that the election of 246 lawmakers has so far been completed, ahead of an April 15 deadline.

Reporting by Abdi Sheikh and Feisal Omar; Writing by Hereward Holland; Editing by Nick Macfie and Jonathan Oatis

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