Twin blasts in Somalia kill at least 19

By AAP Newswire

At least 19 people have been killed and 50 people are wounded after two suicide bombers wearing explosives vests attacked a restaurant and a hotel that are popular with civilians and local government officials in the town of Baidoa in Somalia.

Police officer Mahad Mohamed said a man wearing an explosive device walked into Beder restaurant and blew himself up on Saturday, killing multiple people and wounding others.

Shortly after the first blast, Mohamed said another suicide bomber blew himself up at the Bilan hotel, killing more than six people.

Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attacks on the pro-insurgent radio station Andalus. The al-Qaeda-linked militant group is fighting to topple the country's government and establish an Islamist state based on its strict interpretation of Islamic law.

Baidoa, considered a centre of economic activity in Somalia, lies some 250km west of Somalia's capital of Mogadishu. The town is due to hold elections for the regional presidency next month, and one of the candidates is al-Shabaab defector Mukhtar Robow, who once served as the group's deputy commander.

The US military says it conducted an airstrike targeting the militants near the town of Haradere the day before.