The death toll from the bomb blast in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu has risen to 231 with more than 200 people injured, making it the deadliest terrorist attack in Somalia’s history.
Hundreds more were wounded when a military vehicle packed with explosives detonated near the entrance of a hotel. Doctors struggled to help terribly wounded victims, many burnt beyond recognition. Officials feared the toll would continue to climb from Saturday’s truck bomb that targeted a busy street near key ministries.
Some of the victims died in their cars and in public transportation vehicles. “There was a traffic jam, and the road was packed with bystanders and cars,” a waiter at a nearby restaurant said on Saturday. “It’s a disaster.” Erdogan Hospital, one of six hospitals that received wounded victims, said at least 127 people had been brought there for treatment.
It’s not clear who staged the bombing, but Mogadishu is a known target for al-Shabab militants battling the government. President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed has declared three days of mourning for the victims of the blast. Police official, Ibrahim Mohamed, told AFP news agency the death toll is likely to rise. “There are more than 300 wounded, some of them seriously,” he said.
The United States released a statement 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.” The US military has also stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against al-Shabab.