A “fearless” Somali female MP was among dozens of people killed in a series of bomb attacks in rural Somalia.
According to a witness quoted by the Associated Press, the bomber ran towards and embraced opposition MP Amina Mohamed Abdi before detonating a bomb as she campaigned in the town of Beledweyne in central Somalia ahead of parliamentary elections this week.
The local police chief, Col Isak Ali Abdulle, said the authorities were still trying to establish the total number of fatalities. At least 30 people were killed when a car bomb was detonated outside a hospital.
Parliamentarian Abdirizak Mohamed tweeted: “Somalia has lost a promising giant leader, an activist, a fearless advocate who finally paid the ultimate price for seeking justice for Ikram Tahlil.”
Ikram Tahlil was a female intelligence officer whose killing Abdi had reportedly been trying to investigate.
Abdi was running to be reelected in the next Somali elections and was reportedly in the city to defend her seat.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo has sent his “deepest condolences to the family and relatives of Amina Mohamed Abdi,” the government’s official Twitter page said.
The country’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has said on social media following the apparent bombing: “I strongly condemn the terrorist attack on Amina Mohamed Abdi in Beledweyne tonight.”
He also urged security agencies to carry out a thorough investigation into the killing of Abdi, who he described as an exemplary politician.
The British ambassador to Somalia, Katie Foster, said on Twitter: “We strongly condemn the use of violence to intimidate and disrupt the elections.”