Bomb kills bomb disposal expert


An army colonel in semi-autonomous Puntland who headed the region’s bomb disposal unit was killed when a roadside bomb he was defusing exploded, a military official said.

The incident occurred on a road linking Bosaso, Puntland’s second biggest city, with Galgala Hills, controlled by an al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group.

Colonel Osman Abshir Omar was killed after he started dismantling the bomb a colleague said.
“We were with the colonel. He stopped the car, got out and started dismantling a bomb but it went off and killed him on the spot,” Major Abdirizak Mohamed, among soldiers accompanying Omar, told Reuters.

Al Shabaab claimed responsibility.
“We targeted the colonel. We exploded the bomb,” Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab spokesman for military operations, said.

Militant attacks in Puntland are rare compared to the rest of Somalia mainly because its security forces are relatively regularly paid and receive substantial US assistance.

Al Shabaab, which aims to topple Somalia’s government and impose its strict version of Islam on the Horn of Africa state, has become more active in Puntland after being pushed out of its stronghold further south by African Union peacekeepers and the Somali army, officials say.

This year there has been a rise in violence in Puntland by a splinter group linked to Islamic State which attacked government troops.