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16 Killed in al-Shabab Attack on Somali Police

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Militants have attacked a police station in central Somalia, leaving 16 people dead.

Witnesses said a car driven by the militants exploded Tuesday outside the entrance to the station in the town of Beledweyne.

A group of four gunmen then stormed the building and began shooting. Pro-government forces soon surrounded the facility, sparking a firefight that lasted several hours.

Officials said all of the attackers as well as several police officers and civilians were killed, while several injuries were also reported.

Islamist militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility, saying it had killed both Somali and Djibouti nationals.

Djibouti is one of the countries that contributes troops to the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud condemned the attack as "self-defeating," saying his government was determined to bring peace and stability to Somalia.

Beledweyne lies near the country's border with Ethiopia and at a major road linking the capital to the north and south of the country.

Al-Shabab said it was behind a bombing at a cafe in the same town last month that killed at least 15 people.

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