Large plume of black smoke seen above Somali capital as some 100 people, including children, rushed to hospitals.Dec 28th 2019 · 2 min read
At least 30 people have been killed and many others wounded in a car bomb attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday, police and witnesses said.
Police officer Mohamed Hussein said the blast targeted a tax collection centre during the morning rush hour in Mogadishu.
Close to 100 wounded people, including children, were rushed to hospitals. Among them were several university students who had been travelling in a bus, Hussein said.
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There were conflicting reports about the number of casualties. Speaking to Al Jazeera, the adviser to Mogadishu's capital said the death toll "is above 90 at the moment".
"There are many casualties as well so the death toll is expected to rise," Hodan Ali said, adding that the explosion took place at the Ex-Control junction.
A large plume of black smoke rose above the capital marking one of the deadliest attacks in Mogadishu in recent memory.
Suicide-bomber driving a car laden with explosives detonates at #Mogadishu’s Ex-control Afgoye. Casualties of this horrific blast is yet to clarify. #Somalia. pic.twitter.com/BaHeG44zV2
— Bashiir Maxmud (@BashiirMaxmud) December 28, 2019
"The blast was devastating. I can confirm more than 20 civilians killed, there were many more wounded, but the toll can be higher," said police officer Ibrahim Mohamed.
"I have counted 22 bodies, all of them civilians and there were more than 30 others wounded, this was dark day," said Ahmed Moalim Warsame, who witnessed the explosion.
Speaking to reporters at the blast site, Mogadishu Mayor Omar Muhamoud said the government confirmed at least 90 civilians, mostly students, had been injured in the explosion.
Sakariye Abdukadir, who was near the area when the car bomb detonated, said the blast "destroyed several of my car windows".
"All I could see was scattered dead bodies... amid the blast and some of them burned beyond recognition."
Paramedics and civilians assist a man injured in a car bomb explosion at a security checkpoint as he arrives at a hospital in Mogadishu [Feisal Omar/Reuters]
Government authorities have told medical personnel not to disclose figures as they have done in the past, and journalists are forbidden from going to attack sites.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast.
The attack again raises concern about the readiness of Somali forces to take over responsibility for the country's security from an African Union force in the coming months.
Somalia has been riven by conflict since 1991, when clan warlords overthrew former leader Siad Barre, then turned on each other.