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Suspected shelling by Shabaab group in Somalia kills two

“Shebab militants fired mortar shells late last night, striking different neighbourhoods in Baidoa,” the governor of Bay region, Abdirashid Abdullahi, told AFP.

“The casualty number reached about 20, two of them died and eighteen others were hospitalized, five of them with minor injuries.” There was no immediate claim of responsibility from the Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group blamed for a string of bloody attacks in Somalia and neighbouring Kenya.

Witnesses told AFP that most of the shells landed in civilian areas close to Baidoa’s airport, where the biggest Ethiopian base in the AMISOM mission is located.

AMISOM – the African Union Mission in Somalia – is tasked with shoring up Somalia’s internationally-backed but fragile government.

“There were several blasts near the airport but most of them landed (on) houses occupied by civilians, several people died and others wounded”, Musdhaf sheik Mumin, a resident said.

The Shabaab were forced out of the capital, Mogadishu, five years ago but continue to carry out regular attacks on military, government and civilian targets in their battle to overthrow the internationally-backed administration.

This year is considered critical for the group, which is eager to disrupt an expected change of government leadership due in the coming months. 
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