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Suicide Bomber Strikes in Central Somalia

  • Peter Cobus

Somali militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on an Ethiopian army base in Somalia Tuesday.

Witnesses say the bomber rammed a truck filled with explosives into a government compound in the town of Beledweyne, about 30 kilometers from the Ethiopian border.

The building houses Somali government officials and Ethiopian troops, who helped the government seize control of Beledweyne from al-Shabab last month.

Al-Shabab says 33 Ethiopians were killed in the blast but there has been no confirmation from Somali or Ethiopian officials. The Ethiopian military, which cordoned off the area after the blast, typically does not release casualty figures.

Al-Shabab is fighting to overthrow Somalia's U.N.-backed transitional government and impose strict Islamic law.

The group controls large sections of southern and central Somalia but is battling African Union forces in Mogadishu, as well as Kenyan soldiers in the south and Ethiopian troops in the west.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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