At least 39 people were killed and 50 others injured in a car bomb explosion in Somalia’s Mogadishu on Sunday, Reuters reported. The attack comes several days after the nation elected dual United States-Somali citizen and former prime minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed as president. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but officials suspect militant group al-Shabab’s involvement.
The mayor of Wadajir said the attack in the market area was a suicide bombing.
The incident follows reports that the extremist group had threatened to wage a “vicious war” against the newly elected president and his supporters. Abdullahi has taken over at a time when the al-Shabab has control over sections of the country’s terrain.
The president condemned the attack and visited some of the wounded on Sunday. He offered a $100,000 (approximately Rs 66 lakh) reward in exchange for information on the perpetrators of the attack, BBC reported. “It was a horrific and barbaric attack only aimed at killings civilians,’’ he said.
The European Union also condemned the attack and said it supported the president’s plan to develop his nation and increase security.
At least 28 people were killed when al-Shabab targeted a hotel in Mogadishu on February 8, a week before the election. Al-Shabab frequently attacks hotels and government buildings in Somalia in protest against the country’s government, which is backed by Western countries. On January 2, an explosion near the security checkpoint at Mogadishu’s international airport left three dead. The blast had occurred near the main base of the African Union peacekeeping mission, reported AP.
The country has suffered the aftermath of civil war since 1991 and has also grappled with severe drought.