A car bomb outside a tax collection centre in Somalia has killed at least 79 people, according to officials.Dec 28th 2019 · 1 min read
A car bomb outside a tax collection centre in Somalia has killed at least 79 people, according to officials.
The blast struck a checkpoint during the morning rush hour at the start of the working week in the capital Mogadishu, in one of the deadliest attacks in the city in recent memory.Images taken at the scene showed a mass of mangled vehicles below clouds of black smoke.Survivors described the intensity of the explosion as being similar to when a truck bomb detonated in the city two years earlier, leaving more than 500 dead.Both ambulance and government spokesmen warned in the aftermath of Saturday's blast that further fatalities were expected because of the severe nature of the injuries among an estimated 50 people hurt.Somalia's president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, has condemned the attack as a "heinous act of terror" and blamed the al-Shabab extremist group, which is linked to al-Qaeda."The people of Somalia and their government cannot be disappointed and cannot be stopped from developing and rebuilding their country," he said."These al-Shabab terrorists are working for the interests of international terrorists. They are here to massacre and legalise the blood and the property of the Somalis and to cause havoc and destruction..."I send my condolences to the bereaved families and at the same time pray that those killed in this heinous attack go to heaven."The city's mayor, Omar Mohamud Mohamed, said university students - believed to be the occupants of a mini-bus - were among those killed.One witness, Mohamed Abdi Hakim, told the AP news agency: "I saw many dead bodies lying on the ground."Some of those dead were police officers, but most of them were students."Another witness, Abdurrahman Yusuf, compared the explosion to the attack in 2017, and said: "This one occurred just a few steps away from where I am and it knocked me on the ground from its force."I have never seen such an explosion in my entire life."No group has yet said it was behind the attack but it bears all the hallmarks of al-Shabab.The extremist group, which controls parts of the country, has a history of targeting the city's infrastructure, including checkpoints and hotels, since it was pushed out of Mogadishu several years ago.The latest bombing will raise questions over whether Somali forces are ready and able to replace an African Union force that has been responsible for boosting security.The capital's last mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman, a British national who returned to Somalia to help lead the war-torn country's recovery, died following an al-Shabab attack in July.
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