At least 231 people have been killed and more than 275 injured after the Deadliest Bomb in Somalian History was detonated in Mogadishu. Officials fear the death toll will continue to climb after the lorry bomb set off on Saturday targeted a busy street near key ministries. Doctors struggled to assist horrifically wounded victims, many of whom were burned beyond recognition.
‘The hospital is overwhelmed by both dead and wounded,’ Dr Mohamed Yusuf, director of Medina hospital, said. ‘This is really horrendous, unlike any other time in the past.’ Ambulance sirens wailed across the city as distraught families searched for their missing loved ones in the rubble of buildings. ‘In our 10 year experience as the first responder in #Mogadishu, we haven’t seen anything like this,’ the Aamin Ambulance service tweeted.
As hundreds of people realised that those closest to them had died, grief overwhelmed the city. Zainab Sharif, a mother-of-four, sat outside a hospital where her husband was pronounced dead, after doctors spent hours trying to save him. She wept: ‘There’s nothing I can say. We have lost everything.’ President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has declared three days of mourning in the country, and is pleaded with people to donate blood to help the victims. ‘I am appealing to all Somali people to come forward and donate,’ he said.
The government has blamed al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group, for what it is calling a ‘national disaster’. Al-Shabab has yet to comment.
PM Hassan Ali Khaire said: ‘They don’t care about the lives of Somali people, mothers, fathers and children. They have targeted the most populated area in Mogadishu, killing only civilians.’ The explosion was so forceful it blew off metal gates and blast walls erected outside the Safari Hotel, which is close to Somalia’s foreign ministry. Rescue workers have spent the day desperately searching for survivors in the rubble of the now largely destroyed hotel.
(Picture: AFP/Getty Images)
The United Nations special envoy to Somalia called the attack ‘revolting,’ saying an unprecedented number of civilians had been killed. Michael Keating said the UN and African Union were supporting the Somali government’s response with ‘logistical support, medical supplies and expertise’. Saturday’s blast occurred two days after the head of the US Africa Command was in Mogadishu to meet with Somalia’s president, and two days after the country’s defense minister and army chief resigned for undisclosed reasons.
This post first appeared on Metro Online
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