MOGADISHU, Somalia - A wave of suicide bombings killed more than 20 people Wednesday in northern Somalia, striking just as international leaders held talks on ending decades of deadly turmoil in this chaotic African nation. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the blasts.
The five seemingly coordinated attacks targeted a U.N. compound, the Ethiopian consulate and the presidential palace in Somaliland's capital, Hargeisa. All occurred in the breakaway republic of Somaliland and in Somalia's Puntland region - both of which have largely been spared the deadly violence seen in the country's south.
"(They) certainly bear some of the markings of an al-Qaida attack," said Jendayi Frazer, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs. She spoke in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, where the international talks on Somalia were being held.
"We are still counting the bodies," said Ismail Adani, a spokesman for the government of Somaliland. He said at least 20 people died in those attacks - not including an unknown number of suicide bombers - and that the death toll could rise.
Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin's secretary died in the blast at the palace, but the president was not hurt, Adani said. Kahin said in a radio broadcast it was too early to tell who was behind the attacks.
Suicide bombers also attacked two intelligence facilities in the northern port city of Bossaso in Puntland. The two bombers and a security official died in the attack, said Muse Gelle Yusuf, the governor in Bossaso.
Regional heads of state, along with Frazer, met Wednesday in Nairobi to discuss Somalia's crisis.