The death toll in Saturday’s massive suicide car bomb attack at a busy intersection in Somalia’s capital has now climbed to at least 230 – making it the largest terror attack in Somalia since the group launched its holy way in 2007.
Residents say an entire city block in the KM5 intersection in Mogadishu’s Hodan district was blown away yesterday after a lorry packed with explosives was detonated in bumper to bumper traffic, killing dozens instantly and sending hundreds of victims to hospitals all over the city.
The rescue operation went into the early night as ambulances wailed as they ferried passengers from the bomb site to local hospitals.
A hospital official working at Medina hospital told that the hospital was still treating hundreds of wounded, some of them with very serious injuriesIn an appeal to residents, Mogadishu’s Mayor said that the people must rally behind this terror attack. Wiping away tears from his face, he said that Mogadishu must stand up to Al-Shabaab once and for all.
Al-Shabaab which is normally quick to lay claim to attacks they perpetrate has been oddly quiet since yesterday. Pro Al-Shabaab media outlets have been circulating stories about the takeover of Bariire village after a government pull out.
Analysts speculate that the extremely high civilian death toll may play a factor in their hesitance to claim responsibility.
The Somali President and Prime Minister have both condemned the twin suicide attacks perpetrated on Friday calling for three days of mourning for the victims.
The President said: “Today’s horrific attack proves our enemy would stop nothing to cause our people pain and suffering. Let’s unite against terror. We will observe 3 days of mourning for innocent victims, flags will be flown at half-mast. Time to unite & pray together. Terror won’t win.I call on our citizens to come out, extend help, donate blood and comfort the bereaved. Let’s get through this together”.
Condemnations and condolences have poured in from the international community.
In a statement, the US Mission to Somalia said: “Such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.”
The United Nations in Somalia said it “strongly condemned yesterday’s blasts in the capital, Mogadishu, which reportedly killed or injured dozens of people.”
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said: “My thoughts are with families of the victims, and the government and people of Somalia at this difficult time.
“Those responsible have shown no regard for human life or the suffering of the Somali people. The UK will continue to support Somalia in the fight against terrorism.”