At least 19 killed, 23 others wounded in bomb attacks in Somalia

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At least 19 people were killed and 23 others injured in separate bomb attacks in two towns of southern Somalia Wednesday, officials said.

In the first incident, 13 people lost their lives while five others were wounded when a suicide bomber blew himself up in Marka town, Lower Shabelle region.

A regional official also confirmed that six people were killed while 18 others were wounded in twin attacks in Afgoye town, also in the Lower Shabelle region.

Governor of Lower Shabelle region Ibrahim Aden Ali Naja said a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest blew himself up outside the administrative office in Marka town, killing District Commissioner Abdullahi Ali Wafow and 12 others.

"Wafow was killed in the explosion together with 12 other people who he was talking to outside his office," Naja told journalists in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.

The al-Shabab militant group which has engaged the Somali government in near-daily attacks across the country claimed responsibility for the attack in Marka town.

In the second attack, an official said the six were killed in two roadside explosions at a local market in Afgoye town in the same region.

Former spokesman of Afgoye district Administration Abdukadir Idle who was at the scene said two remotely-controlled landmines exploded at the crowded market. Idle noted that the second blast happened a few minutes later and targeted the people who were engaged in rescue operations.

"At least six people, mostly civilians, were killed and 18 others injured in the twin attacks conducted through remote-controlled explosive devices at Afgoye's animal market, the second blast caused more casualties," Idle told the Somali News Agency.

He said the market often hosts a large number of people who come to buy livestock Wednesday, which is a market day.

The militant group has intensified attacks as the government forces have made intensive operations against the extremists in central and southern regions in recent months in an attempt to flush out the al-Shabab cell.

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