At least 16 people have been killed and more than 30 injured after a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowded restaurant in the central Somali town of Beledweyne.

The Islamist militant group al-Shabab has said it carried out the attack.

The Somali government, backed by troops from several African countries, is fighting al-Shabab for control of the country.

Al-Shabab said its target was Ethiopian and Djiboutian soldiers in Beledweyne.

The bombing occurred at a tea shop popular with the troops in Beledweyne, 300km (185 miles) north of the capital, Mogadishu, close to the border with Ethiopia.

"Our main target was Ethiopian and Djibouti troops who invaded our country," Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al-Shabab's military operations spokesman, said.

But witnesses, including a Somali MP in Beledweyne, Dahir Amin Jessow, have told the BBC that most of those killed were civilians.

read more:BBC News - Somali suicide bombing kills AU soldiers in Beledweyne