At least 90 people were killed and many injured when a bomb-laden vehicle exploded at a checkpoint in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, on Saturday, AFP reported. Somali Foreign Minister Ahmed Isse Awad said the dead included many students and two Turkish citizens. Turkey’s foreign ministry confirmed the death of two of its citizens.
Police officer Mohamed Hussein said the blast targeted a tax collection centre during morning rush hours, Al Jazeera reported. Rescuers rushed around 100 wounded, including children, to hospitals.
Hodan Ali, the advisor to Mogadishu Mayor Omar Muhamoud, said that over 90 people were killed. “There are many casualties as well so the death toll is expected to rise,” he added. However, Abdiqadir Abdirahman, director of the Aamin Ambulance service, said 61 people were killed in the attack.
Rescuers carried bodies past the wreckage of a vehicle and a minibus smeared with blood. Sakariye Abdukadir, who was near the area when the car bomb detonated, told AFP that the blast destroyed several of her car windows. “All I could see was scattered dead bodies... amid the blast and some of them burnt beyond recognition,” she said.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. However, the Al-Shabaab extremist group has in the past carried out bombings in Somalia. Since 2015, there have been 13 attacks in Somalia in which 20 or more were killed, and 11 of these took place in Mogadishu, according to AFP.
Continuous attacks in Somalia
The worst of the attacks took place in October 2017, when a truck bomb left 512 dead and 295 wounded. On December 11 this year, five people were killed when Al-Shabaab extremists attacked a hotel popular with politicians and diplomats in Mogadishu. The police killed the two attackers.
In July, the former Mogadishu mayor, Abdirahman Omar Osman, was severely injured when a suicide bomber attacked his office, killing several people. The blast took place soon after United Nations envoy to Somalia James Swan had made a visit to the mayor’s office.
The same month, at least 26 people, including foreigners, were killed and more than 50 were wounded in an attack on a hotel in Kismayo in southern Somalia. Kenyans, Americans, a Briton, a Canadian and Tanzanians were among those dead along with a presidential candidate for regional elections. Jubbaland President Ahmed Mohamed blamed Al-Shabaab for the attack.