At least seven people were killed in the central Somalia town of Beledweyne on Saturday after a suicide bomber blew himself up in a restaurant crowded with local officials and politicians, witnesses said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but the militant group al Shabaab, which frequently attacks government targets and civilians, has launched two attacks in the past two weeks.
A witness in Beledweyne said at least seven people were killed in the mid-morning attack.
“I counted seven dead, including soldiers and civilians, and more than ten wounded. I was among those who took the injured to the hospital,” local elder Aden Farah told Reuters.
Police and government officials confirmed that the attack on the restaurant was the result of a suicide bombing, but did not give the number of casualties. One of those killed in the Beledweyne attack was a candidate in the ongoing parliamentary elections, residents said.
Legislative elections began on November 1 and were originally due to end on December 24, but are currently due to end on February 25.
Under Somalia’s indirect electoral process, delegates, which include clan elders, choose members of the lower house, who will then choose a new president on a date yet to be determined.
Recent al Shabaab attacks could pose more problems for the election, which has been delayed for a year.
Al-Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab aims to overthrow the central government and impose its own harsh interpretation of Islamic law.