Several university students were killed in the attack, which happened in a busy intersection in the Somali capital Saturday.by Muri Assunção Dec 28th · 1 min read
A massive explosion at a security checkpoint in the Somali capital has killed at least 78 people Saturday morning, officials said.
Dozens of others were wounded in one of the deadliest attacks in the country in Mogadishu in over two years, according to The Associated Press.
“May Allah have mercy on the victims of this barbaric attack,” a member of the Somali Federal Parliament, Abdirizak Mohamed, wrote in a tweet.
The blast, which came from a bomb-laden truck, took place at Ex-control Junction, a busy intersection that connects the country’s capital Mogadishu to the rest of southern and southwestern Somalia, as reported by The New York Times.
The explosion happened just before 8 a.m.
Among the victims, there were several university students who were traveling in a bus, according to Al Jazeera.
Two Turkish nationals were also confirmed dead, according to the Somali foreign minister.
Witnesses told Reuters that a team of Turkish engineers were at the site when the attack took place, constructing a road from the Ex-control Junction to the city.
Turkey has been a major ally to Somalia since 2011.
A video posted on Twitter shows a large plume of black smoke rising above the city, into the cloudless blue sky.
“All I could see was scattered dead bodies ... amid the blast and some of them burned beyond recognition,” a witness, Sakariye Abdukadir, told the BBC.
No group has immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
However, suspicions fell on Al-Qaeda-linked militant group Al-Shabab. According to Reuters, the Islamic militants routinely carry out similar attacks against the government, which is backed by the United Nations and African Union troops.