19 Dead in Northern Somalia Suicide Bombings

By: AP
By: AP

MOGADISHU, Somalia – A spokesman for a breakaway republic in northern Somalia says at least 19 people have died in three suicide attacks.

Ismail Adani says officials are still counting the bodies after Wednesday's attacks, so the death toll could rise.

A wave of suicide attacks hit targets in Somaliland's capital, Hargeisa, including a U.N. compound, the Ethiopian consulate and the presidential palace.

Also Wednesday, suicide bombers attacked two intelligence facilities in the northern Somali region of Puntland.

Muse Gelle Yusuf, governor of Somalia's northern port city of Bossaso, says a security official and he two suicide bombers and died in those attacks.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Suicide bombers struck targets across northern Somalia on Wednesday, including a U.N. compound, officials said. There were deaths and dozens of injuries, but an exact casualty figures were not immediately available.

"We are still counting the bodies," said Ismail Adani, a spokesman for the government of the breakaway republic of Somaliland, where bombers hit the U.N. compound, the Ethiopian consulate and the presidential palace.

The secretary of Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin died in the blast, but the president was not hurt, Adani said.

The U.N. confirmed that its compound was hit.

"There are known casualties as well as deaths, but the numbers are currently being verified," said Dawn Elizabeth Blalock, a spokeswoman for the U.N.'s Somalia program in Nairobi, Kenya.

It wasn't immediately known how many suicide bombers had attacked the three locations in Somaliland or whether they had traveled in vehicles.

Also Wednesday, suicide bombers attacked two intelligence facilities in the northern Somali region of Puntland. The two suicide bombers and a security official died in the attack, and five other security officials were wounded, said Muse Gelle Yusuf, governor of Somalia's northern port city of Bossaso. The region is a hotbed of abductions and piracy.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991, when clan warlords ousted longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre and then turned on each other. The current government was formed in 2004 with the help of the United Nations, but has failed to protect citizens from violence or the country's poverty.

Somalia's north has tried to sever ties with the chaotic south, which includes the beleaguered capital, Mogadishu.

Puntland has a semiautonomous administration, and Somaliland has long sought international recognition as being its own nation, separate from Somalia.


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