MOGADISHU, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and the United Nations on Saturday condemned the attack at a busy checkpoint in Somalia's capital Mogadishu that has claimed at least 76 lives.Dec 28th 2019 · 2 min read
MOGADISHU, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and the United Nations on Saturday condemned the attack at a busy checkpoint in Somalia's capital Mogadishu that has claimed at least 76 lives.
Farmajo sent his condolences to those affected and wished the injured quick recovery. He said terrorists targeted innocent children, mothers and their fathers who were going about their activities.
"Today is a sad day that shows how terrorism has targeted our people. I share our grief with the families...I hope Allah will heal us from the wounds," he said in a statement issued after the attack at the checkpoint in Afgoye, about 30km west of Mogadishu.
A medical charity said earlier that 76 people were killed and 70 others injured in the suicide truck bomb blast.
Abdulkadir Adan, the founder and chairman of Aamin Ambulance told Xinhua that the death toll in Saturday's car bomb blast has been rising since morning.
"Our medical staffs on the scene confirmed they carried 76 people dead and 70 others injured, mostly civilians," Aden said.
There have been conflicting reports about the number of casualties. The death toll published by the Somalia government has remained at 30. However, a Somali MP tweeted earlier saying that he had been told the death toll stands at more than 90, including 17 police officers.
Sources said among the dead included foreign nationals who were involved in road construction.
It's believed that the attack was targeted at a control checkpoint used to collect taxes in the area.
Deputy UN Representative in Somalia Adam Abdelmoula condemned the attack, noting the world body stands with the people of Somalia during the difficult moments.
"I condemn today's barbaric attack in the strongest possible terms. My prayers are with all those affected. The UN stands firm in its continued solidarity with the people of Somalia and their government," said Abdelmoula in a tweet.
Omar Mohamud Filish, the Governor of Benadir Region and also Mayor of Mogadishu said in a press conference in Mogadishu that more than 90 people were injured in the attack and the officials are still following up on the casualty toll.
According to Filish, the vehicle involved in the attack was a truck that blew up at a busy road near the checkpoint where there were several vehicles that waited for security check before they could proceed with their journey.
Eyewitnesses told Xinhua they had seen many bodies scattered on the road. "I have seen people who lost their limbs screaming, it was a terrifying scene," Lul Qali, an eyewitness said.
At least 15 students from Banadir University who were traveling in a minivan were also killed, according to multiple sources.
The loss came barely two months after the university marked a decade since the Shamo Hotel attack in Mogadishu which killed at least 20 graduands, teachers and government officials.
On Dec. 10, al-Shabab extremists stormed a popular hotel in Mogadishu, which left at least four people dead and six others injured.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for the latest attack but al-Shabab militants carried out such attacks in the past.
The high civilian toll is likely to explain the group's silence in claiming responsibility on Saturday.
The latest attack could be the third deadliest one in the country's history since a truck bombing in October 2017 in Mogadishu which left over 500 people dead and more than 300 others injured. The previous deadliest attack occurred on Oct. 4, 2011 at Hargaha and Saamahain in which around 100 people were killed.