An explosives-laden vehicle detonated at a security checkpoint in Beledweyne, Somalia, resulting in the deaths of at least 18 people and leaving 40 others injured. The toll was announced by Abdirahman Dahir Gure, the interior minister of Hirshabelle state. Of the wounded, 20 have been admitted to Beledweyne hospitals, while another 20 are in critical condition and require airlifting to Mogadishu for advanced medical treatment.
Beledweyne, the capital of the Hiran region, has been the focal point of the Somali government’s recent military offensive against al-Shabab, the East Africa-based al-Qaeda affiliate. Images shared on social media showed black smoke billowing and a truck cab engulfed in flames at the checkpoint.
Dr. Suleyman Abdi Ali, the director of Beledweyne General Hospital, confirmed that the bodies of 10 victims were brought to the hospital. As of now, there has been no claim of responsibility from al-Shabab, which is known for carrying out such attacks and controlling parts of Somalia.
According to witness Abdikadir Arba, the explosion occurred when a truck loaded with explosive devices forcefully passed through the government-manned checkpoint. A pickup vehicle belonging to security personnel was chasing the truck when it detonated. Arba, who was approximately 200 meters away from the scene, was one of the first responders.
Authorities are continuing their investigation into the incident.