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Somalia Mogadishu bombings: Twin blasts kill 100 in capital

by Mahmmod Shar

Twin car bomb explosions near a busy junction in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, killed at least 100 people, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud says.

Among the victims “who were massacred [were] mothers with their children in their arms”, the AFP news agency quotes the president as saying.

He appealed for international medical help to deal with the 300 injured.

The president blamed the al-Shabab militant group for Saturday’s attack which targeted the education ministry.

The pro-jihadist Somali Memo website has reported that the group has said it was behind the blasts.

An affiliate of al-Qaeda, al-Shabab has engaged in a long-running conflict with the federal Somali government.

President Mohamud, in power for five months pledged “total war” against the Islamist militants after they attacked a popular hotel in Mogadishu in August killing at least 21 people.

Saturday’s blasts happened within minutes of each other, destroying buildings and vehicles in the vicinity.

Image caption,The plumes of smoke arising from the blasts could be seen across the city

The first one struck the ministry of education, and the second one went off as medical teams were arriving to deal with the aftermath, according to the Reuters news agency.

Nearly five years ago, a lorry exploded at the same intersection, killing more than 500 people and being the deadliest such attack in nation’s history.

Following the attack on Saturday, hundreds of people have gathered nearby to search for missing relatives.

A well-known journalist and a senior police officer were among those killed.

God willing, I’m here to assure the Somali people that attacks like the one in October won’t occur again, said President Mohamud after visiting the attack site.

Even though government forces had defeated the militants on the battlefield, he continued, “the bombings were a message sent by the militants to show that they are still alive.”

Attacks “underline the urgency and critical importance of the ongoing military offensive to further degrade al-Shabab,” according to the African Union (AU) mission in Somalia.

Germany, Qatar, the United States, and Turkey have all denounced the assault.

For roughly 15 years, Al-Shabab has been at war with the federal government of Somalia, which is supported by the AU.

The group has been able to expand its influence into regions under the control of the Mogadishu-based government while still maintaining control over a large portion of southern and central Somalia.


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