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Somalia Bomb Blast: Death Toll Rises to 358, Over 400 Injured

Doctors struggled to assist horrifically wounded victims, many burned beyond recognition.

Updated
World
2 min read
Somalia Bomb Blast: Death Toll Rises to 358, Over  400 Injured
i

Somalia’s information minister on Friday, 19 October, the death toll has risen to 358 in the country’s worst-ever attack that also injured over 400 people.

Minister Abdirahman Osman said around 56 people are still missing from a truck bombing on a busy street in Mogadishu on 14 October. Somalia’s government has blamed the bombing on extremist group al-Shabab, which has not commented.

The United Nations' senior envoy in Somalia had condemned the bombing and offered the world body’s support.

Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Somalia, Michael Keating said the immediate priority is to support efforts led by the authorities to recover from the attack and help all those affected.

The blast is the single deadliest attack ever in this Horn of Africa nation.

Doctors struggled to assist horrifically wounded victims, many burned beyond recognition. Officials feared the toll would continue to climb.

Ambulance sirens still echoed across the city throughout 15 October, as bewildered families wandered in the rubble of buildings looking for missing relatives.

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Grief Overwhelms Families, Three-Day Mourning Declared

“There's nothing I can say. We have lost everything,” wept Zainab Sharif, a mother of four who lost her husband. She sat outside a hospital where he was pronounced dead after hours of effort by doctors to save him from an arterial injury.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed declared three days of mourning and joined thousands of people who responded to a desperate plea by hospitals to donate blood for the wounded victims. “I am appealing all Somali people to come forward and donate,” he said.

The hospital is overwhelmed by both the dead and the wounded. We also received people whose limbs were cut away by the bomb. This is really horrendous, unlike any other time in the past.
Dr Mohamed Yusuf, director, Medina Hospital

Overnight, rescue workers with flashlights searched for survivors trapped under the rubble of the largely-destroyed Safari Hotel, which is close to Somalia's Foreign Ministry. The explosion blew off metal gates and blast walls erected outside the hotel.

Somalia’s government has blamed the al Qaida-linked al Shabab extremist group for the attack it called a “national disaster.” However, al Shabab, which often targets high-profile areas of the capital with bombings, had yet to comment.
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“They don’t care about the lives of Somali people, mothers, fathers and children," Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said. “They have targeted the most populated area in Mogadishu, killing only civilians.”

Somalia’s Information Minister, Abdirahman Omar, said the blast was the largest the city had ever seen. “It’s a sad day. This how merciless and brutal they are, and we have to unite against them,” he said, speaking to the state-run radio station.

The United States joined the condemnation, saying “such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.”

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The blast occurred two days after the head of the US Africa Command visited Mogadishu to meet with Somalia’s President, and also two days after the country’s Defence Minister and army chief stepped down for undisclosed reasons.

The US military, in 2016, stepped up drone strikes and other efforts against the extremist group, which is also fighting the Somali Military and over 20,000 African Union forces in the country.

(With inputs from AP, IANS)

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