- The blast occurred at a busy intersection southwest of the Somali capital.
- Mogadishu’s Mayor, Omar Mohamud Mohamed, said in a press conference that the exact number of the dead was unknown.
- No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack.
At least 76 people have died, and many others have been injured, after a massive car blast in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu. However, the death toll is toll expected to rise. “The number of casualties we have confirmed is 76 dead and 70 wounded, it could still be higher,” the director of the private Aamin Ambulance Service, Abdulkadir Abdirahman, told AFP.
The blast occurred at a busy intersection southwest of the Somali capital, where traffic is always heavy due to a security check point and a tax office. A large black plume of smoke rose above the capital as the explosion took place. The wounded were carried on stretchers from the site where the force of the explosion left twisted and charred remains of vehicles. It is said to be one of the deadliest attack in Mogadishu in recent days.
A police officer, Mohamed Hussein, said that the attack targeted a tax collection center during the morning rush hour in the capital city as people returned to work after the weekend. Hussein said that dozens of wounded people, including children, were rushed to hospitals, adding that among them were university students who had been traveling in a bus.
“We have confirmed that two Turkish nationals, presumably road construction engineers are among the dead, we don’t have details about whether they were passing by or stayed in the area,” said a police officer, Ibrahim Mohamed, describing the explosion as devastating. Somalia’s Foreign Minister, Ahmed Awad, tweeted that two of the Turkish engineers died in the blast. Turkey’s foreign ministry has also confirmed the death of its two nationals.
Mogadishu’s Mayor, Omar Mohamud Mohamed, said in a press conference that the exact number of the dead was unknown, but added that around 90 people were injured. “We will confirm the exact number of the dead later, but it is not going to be small, most of the dead were innocent university students and other civilians,” he said.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack. Mogadishu is regularly hit by attacks by Al-Shabaab, a militant group that has fought for more than a decade to topple the Somali government. Al-Shabaab emerged from the Islamic Courts Union that once controlled southern and central Somalia. In 2010, Al-Shabaab declared their allegiance to Al-Qaeda. In 2011, its fighters fled positions they once held in the capital Mogadishu and have since lost many strongholds.
Earlier this month, five people were killed when militants attacked a hotel that is popular among politicians, diplomats and senior government officials. Since 2015, there have been 13 attacks in Somalia which have claimed around twenty or more individuals. Eleven of the attacks have been in Mogadishu. All of them involved car bombs. The deadliest attack was in October 2017 in Mogadishu, which left 512 people dead and around 295 injured.