At least eight people, including six children, were killed on Sunday when a modified auto-rickshaw they were travelling in struck a landmine in Somalia’s Hirshabelle state.
The incident took place between the village of Jicibow and the town of Bulaburde, which is located 220 kilometers (136 miles) from the nation’s capital, Mogadishu.
Ibrahim Abdi Ali, a security official in the town of Jowhar, the administrative capital of the state, who spoke to Anadolu by phone, said the victims were two families travelling together in the same auto-rickshaw to their farms.
“A father, a mother and six children from two families were tragically killed today by a landmine that the terrorist group al-Shabaab planted near the road. It is heartbreaking and tragic to even talk about this,” he said.
Although no group has claimed responsibility so far, local officials have blamed al-Shabaab for being behind the roadside bombing.
This incident has come to light when the Somali National Army backed by the country’s international security partners conducted ground and aerial operations against al-Shabaab on Sunday, killing over 40 terrorists, including ringleaders.
The attack is a grim reminder of the security challenges facing Somalia, where al-Shabaab has been conducting a violent insurgency for over a decade. The group has been blamed for a series of deadly attacks in the country, including bombings, assassinations, and suicide attacks.
According to the United Nations, the group still poses a significant threat to the stability of Somalia and the wider region. The UN estimates that al-Shabaab has between 5,000 and 7,000 fighters in Somalia, and the group has continued to carry out attacks despite being forced out of many urban areas by government forces.
The Somali government, has vowed to continue its fight against al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups operating in the country.
In a statement issued on Sunday, the government said that it would not be deterred by the attack and would continue to work with its international partners to ensure the safety and security of its citizens.