- “On Saturday, the Mujahedeen executed an attack at Ex-Control, targeting an enemy Turkish and the militias who were guarding them.”
- The death toll from Saturday’s attack remains 80, but the number is expected to rise.
- The United States conducted three airstrikes in Somalia, a response to the bombing in Mogadishu.
The al-Shabbab militant group has claimed responsibility for Saturday’s blast in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, a tragedy that claimed 80 people and injured dozens. The official spokesperson of the group, Ali Mohamud Rageh, also known as Ali Dhere, made the statement through the group’s official station, Radio Andalus. Ali Dhere added that the attack targeted a Turkish convoy and security officers at the city’s busy Ex-Control junction.
“On Saturday, the Mujahedeen executed an attack at Ex-Control, targeting an enemy Turkish and the militias who were guarding them,” he said. “It hit the convoy and inflicted heavy losses on the Turks and the apostate militias who were guarding them.” Ali Dhere admitted that civilians were killed in the attack. He said that he regretted the loss of civilian lives but at the same time Dhere justified it saying, “Protecting religion comes before saving a life.” The al-Shabaab spokesperson accused Turkey of training Somalia Forces and “taking over economic resources” in Somalia.
Two Turkish engineers working on a road construction project were among those who died in the explosion. Turkey has been training the Somali army at a modern training facility in Mogadishu, and it has also implemented developmental projects in Somalia, including rebuilding roads, hospitals and buildings.
The death toll from Saturday’s attack remains 80, but the number is expected to rise. Turkey and Qatar have offered help in treating and evacuating the wounded. The two countries have been applauded by Somali leaders. An ambulance service reported that hundreds of Mogadishu residents donated blood in response to desperate appeals.
The United States conducted three airstrikes in Somalia, a response to the bombing in Mogadishu. This brings the number of airstrikes in Somalia this year to 63. The airstrikes killed four militants and destroyed vehicles. It is alleged that those targeted were senior al-Shabaab figures.
Earlier, Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) had accused an unidentified foreign country of planning the deadly attack. “We have submitted to the national leaders a preliminary report indicating that the massacre against the Somali people in Mogadishu on 28 December, 2019 was planned by a foreign country,” NISA said in a tweet on a Monday. “To complete the ongoing investigation we will seek cooperation from some of the intelligence agencies.” NISA did not identify the country nor provide evidence that backed up the claim.
However, Somalia’s President, Mohamed Abdullahi, on Saturday blamed al-Shabaab, saying the militant group was bent on killing innocent civilians. “Al-Shabaab don’t build, they destroy,” he said. “They don’t build schools, they don’t build health centers, they don’t feed children. They are contracted on preventing progress and killing the people and children of Somalia.” The president said, “We need to be vigilant against terror attacks, since the primary goal of terrorists is to cause maximum damage to everyone.”