Somali suicide bomber kills 4 at Puntland checkpoint
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A suicide bomber blew himself up at a military checkpoint in northern Somalia’s semiautonomous state of Puntland, killing at least four people, a Somali police officer said Tuesday.
The bomber approached soldiers at the checkpoint and detonated explosives strapped to his waist in Bossaso, the region’s commercial hub, Col. Ahmed Hussein said. Two soldiers were among the dead, he said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which was the first such suicide bombing in Puntland since 2014, when a bomber targeted the region’s police chief.
Security forces in Puntland have been battling Islamic State-linked fighters who have broken away from the long-established, Somalia-based al-Shabab extremist group. The IS-linked fighters are seen as a growing threat and have been trying to expand areas under their control in the semiautonomous state.
Both extremists groups are active in the region. In April, a roadside bomb in the remote Puntland town of Galgala hit a military convoy and killed at least eight soldiers. The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab claimed responsibility for that attack.
In February, suspected extremists tried to storm a hotel in Bossaso often frequented by government officials, sparking clashes that killed at least four people and two attackers.