Turkey emergency response team airlifts 34 critically wounded to Ankara for specialised treatment. PHOTO/FACEBOOK/YASSIN JUMA
By ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN
The United States and United Nations have condemned the suspected terror attacks in Somalia that has claimed more than 270 lives and injured hundreds.
In separate statements they will continue to stand with the Somali government, its people, and our international allies to combat terrorism and support their efforts to achieve peace, security, and prosperity.
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks that killed and injured hundreds in Mogadishu on October 14,” the statement from State Department said.
At least 276 people have been killed and 300 injured by a massive truck bomb that tore through a busy shopping district of Mogadishu, the government said Monday, making it the “deadliest attack ever” to hit war-torn Somalia.
The figure was a huge jump from an initial police estimate of 20 dead in the hours after the deadly explosion ripped through the Somali capital on Saturday, causing scenes of carnage and widespread devastation
“We extend our deepest condolences to all Somalis, especially those who lost friends and family in the attacks. We further wish for a quick recovery for all those injured,” the US statement added.
President Mohamed Farmaajo taking and making calls from and to distressed families seeking their missing kin at the voluntary crisis response center that has been at the nerve center of information dissemination that has helped many families trace their loved ones. Its a center initiated by volunteering youth. PHOTO/FACEBOOK/YASSIN JUMA
The US said to stand with the Somali government, its people, and our international allies to combat terrorism and support their efforts to achieve peace, security, and prosperity in the face of the senseless and cowardly act.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres strongly condemned the attacks perpetrated on Saturday in Mogadishu and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families and wished speedy recovery to the injured.
“The Secretary-General commends the first responders and the inhabitants of Mogadishu who have mobilized to assist the victims throughout the city,” the statement said.
He urges all Somalis to unite in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism and work together in building a functional and inclusive federal state.
The Secretary-General reaffirms the support and solidarity of the United Nations with the people and government of Somalia in their pursuit of peace and stability.
Security officials said hundreds of people had been in the area at the time of the blast, with police saying it was difficult to get a precise number of victims because the bodies had been taken to different medical centres while others had been taken directly by their relatives for burial.
“Somalia Federal government confirmed that 276 people were killed in the blast… and 300 others wounded people were admitted at the different hospitals in Mogadishu,” the country’s ministry of information said.
Police official Ibrahim Mohamed told AFP that many of the victims were “burned beyond recognition” in what he described as “the deadliest attack ever.”
“There is still national rescue operation,” ongoing the ministry said in a statement, adding that there would be “national mourning and prayers for the victims” in the coming days.
Rescuers worked through the night to try to pull bodies from the rubble after the truck bomb exploded outside of the Safari Hotel on a busy road junction, levelling buildings and leaving many vehicles in flames.
“This is the most painful incident I can remember,” the deputy speaker of the Somali Senate Abshir Ahmed said in a Facebook post after visiting the Medina hospital where many of the victims had been taken.
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Shabaab, a militant group aligned with Al-Qaeda, has carried out dozens of suicide bombings in its bid to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government.
Saturday’s blast was universally condemned, including by the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Turkey and the African Union.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Ankara was sending planes “with medical supplies”, adding that the wounded would be flown to Turkey and treated there. The country is a leading donor and investor in Somalia.
A victim of the Mogadishu attack is ferried into an ambulance. PHOTO/FACEBOOK/YASSIN JUMA
Mogadishu’s mayor Tabid Abdi Mohamed also visited those wounded in the blast and said the horror of the attack was “unspeakable”.
“There is no tragedy worse than when someone comes to the dead body of their relative and cannot recognise them.”
Hundreds of people, chanting anti-violence slogans and wearing red or white bandanas around their heads in a show of grief, took to the streets of Mogadishu to condemn the deadly attack that has shocked Somalians.
“We have seen what the terrorists can mercilessly do by shedding the blood of innocent civilians,” Mohamed told the protesters after they ended their march at a square in southern Mogadishu. “We need to stand united against them”.
Activist Abukar Sheik added: “There is no house in which people are not crying today. There is no tragedy worse than when someone comes to the dead body of their relative and cannot recognise them.”
The explosion occurred at a junction in Hodan, a bustling commercial district which has many shops, hotels and businesses in the city’s northwest.
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