A truck bomb exploded at a checkpoint in the central Somali town of Beledweyne on Saturday, killing at least 10 people and obliterating nearby buildings, a police officer said.

It was not immediately clear who was responsible but the extremist group al-Shabaab frequently carries out bombings in the Horn of Africa country.

“So far I have seen 10 dead people including soldiers and civilians and over a dozen others injured, but the death toll is sure to rise,” police officer Ahmed Aden told Reuters.

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Beledweyne is in central Somalia’s Hiran region which has recently witnessed battles between the military and al-Shabaab.

Aden said the dead included five police officers who fired on the truck in a failed attempt to stop it ramming the checkpoint. Nearby buildings and shops were reduced to rubble, along with the checkpoint, he added.

A woman, Halima Nur, who was near the site, told Reuters her niece and others had been in a nearby shop and could not be reached. “I do not know what to say, all the kiosks are now just rubble. I can’t trace my niece,” she said.

Al-Shabaab has been battling Somalia’s central government for more than a decade, aiming to establish its rule based on strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

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