A roadside bomb killed at least seven people on Sunday – mostly women farmers – in an area outside the Somali capital dominated by Islamist insurgents who have defied public protests to end years of violence, residents and the army said. A truck bombing in Mogadishu last weekend killed at least 358 people, with 56 people still missing. Almost all of the dead were civilians and the attack triggered angry demonstrations in the capital.
Sunday’s bombing hit a minibus in Daniga village about 40 km (25 miles) to the northwest of Mogadishu.
“We heard a huge crash today and we went to the scene, we saw a ruined minibus and at least seven dead bodies, mostly women. We could not identify some people, they were just pieces of human flesh,” farmer Nur Abdullahi told Reuters by phone. The area of the bombing is close to areas held by al Shabaab, the al Qaeda-linked insurgents who want to overthrow the weak U.N.-backed government and impose strict Islamic law.
“We are scared,” Abdullahi said “Hundreds of masked militants are everywhere and we anticipate the government will attack here. They also planted mines everywhere and today we pack our clothes to flee.”
An army officer said the death toll might be higher.
“We know the minibus left Afgooye (town) this morning and it was carrying farmers, mostly women,” said Captain Isa Osman of the Somali National Army. “It was carrying more than 10 people. We cannot get many details because the area is not controlled by government.”
After last Saturday’s attack, the government promised new offensives against the insurgency. Somalia has been riven by civil war since 1991, when clan warlords overthrew a dictator then turned on each other.