Suicide blasts kill 29 in Somalia

Powerful explosions including a car bomb hit government buildings in northern Somalia killing at least 29 people and leaving several wounded, officials and witnesses say.

According to CNN, most of the victims were in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa, where the presidential palace, Ethiopian consulate and UN offices were targeted.

“We are still counting the bodies,” said Ismail Adani, a spokesman for the government of Somaliland. He said at least 29 people died in those assaults — not including an unknown number of suicide bombers — and that the death toll could get higher.

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 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.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. Government officials blamed a militant Islamist group called the Shabab, which the United States considers a terrorist organization.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991, when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted. The current government was formed in 2004 with the help of the United Nations, but has failed to tackle the growing violence or the country’s poverty.