MOGADISHU - Somali Islamist militants drove a car bomb at a hotel in a town in central Somalia that was being used by African Union and Somali military forces, a resident and the militant group said.

The al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab movement said its raid on Monday claimed many lives, but poor communications to that region of the Horn of Africa nation, a country wracked by fighting for more than two decades, made it difficult to verify numbers.

The insurgent strike followed an attack on a military convoy near the capital Mogadishu on Monday which killed four Somali soldiers, an army captain said.


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