At least five people, including three military officials, were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up Saturday morning at a busy restaurant in the Somali town of Galkayo, a military official said.
“A man wearing an explosive vest has detonated himself in a crowded restaurant in northern Galkayo targeting security officials drinking tea early in the morning, killing three security officials and two soldiers,” said Ahmed Abdullahi Yusuf, the minister of security for Puntland, a federal state in northeastern Somalia.
Eight people were injured, said Capt. Abdi Jama, a police officer in the town. He cautioned that the death toll may rise as some of the injured were in a critical condition at a local hospital.
Al-Shabaab, the al Qaeda-linked terror group, claimed responsibility for the bomb attack in a statement posted on pro-rebel websites, saying the bomber had managed to enter the restaurant and killed five Somali army commanders.
Galkayo is about 750 kilometers (466 miles) northeast of Mogadishu, the Somali capital.
Top officer slain
Col. Abdihukun Abdullahi Mohamud, the commander of local joint security forces and soldiers, was among the army officers who died in the bombing, Yusuf said.
Al-Shabaab has been waging a war with the Somali government for more than 10 years, prompting the African Union to send in peacekeeping troops. The terror group is now based mainly in rural areas in the south of the country, having lost control of Mogadishu in 2011.
Earlier this month, at least five people were killed and 10 injured when Al-Shabaab detonated a bomb during a soccer game in the port city of Barawe, south of Mogadishu.
Omar Nor reported from Mogadishu. Laura Smith-Spark wrote from London.