Mogadishu: 73 killed in auto bombing

At least 90 people were killed and dozens wounded in a truck bombing in Mogadishu yesterday, according to a report from an worldwide organisation working in Somalia.

"The number of the dead from the blast is still increasing, we now have 78 dead and 125 injured", the director of the private Aamin Ambulance service, Abdukadir Abdirahman Haji, told AFP.

The blast was the latest in a series of deadly events in the country this year, and while the Al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al-Shabaab regularly carries out attacks to undermine the government, no terrorist organization immediately claimed responsibility for Saturday's bombing.

The dead included many students and two Turkish nationals, Somalia's foreign minister said, adding that dozens were injured.

Captain Mohamed Hussein said the blast targeted a tax collection centre during the morning rush hour as Somalia returned to work after its weekend. Since 2006, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group has carried out repeated attacks in Mogadishu against different targets - killing worldwide aid workers, journalists, civilian leaders and peacekeepers - as well as Somalia's government and military targets.

While the attack has not been claimed, experts said the vehicle bombing bore all the hallmarks of past attacks by al Shabaab militants allied to al Qaeda.

The attacker drove his vehicle into the "Ex-control Afgoye" checkpoint, a well-known junction that links the south of Somalia to the capital, Mukhtar told CNN.

Prince Philip taken to hospital
Prince Philip was reportedly rushed to King Edward VII Hospital to seek treatment for a pre-existing condition. Queen Elizabeth arrived at Sandringham from London on a regular passenger train to begin her Christmas break.

Speaking to reporters at the blast site, Mogadishu Mayor Omar Muhamoud said the government confirmed at least 90 civilians, mostly students, had been injured in the explosion.

"I condemn the terror attack in Mogadishu, I wish Allah's mercy upon two Turkish citizens and Somalian brothers who lost their lives and speedy recovery for those who were injured", Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote on Twitter.

It claimed responsibility for an attack in January on an upscale hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital that killed 21 people. "Some of those dead were police officers, but majority were students".

The explosion occurred at a checkpoint on a road near governmental buildings.

"This explosion is similar like the 2017".

The militant group emerged from the Islamic Courts Union that once controlled central and southern Somalia and is variously estimated to number between 5,000 and 9,000 men. It funds itself with a "taxation" system that experts describe as extortion of businesses and travellers that brings in millions of dollars a year.

  • Sonia Alvarado