231 killed in big blast in Mogadishu

The death toll from the most powerful bomb blast witnessed in Somalia's capital rose to 231 with more than 275 injured, making it the deadliest single attack ever in this Horn of Africa nation, a senator said on Sunday.

  • Published 16.10.17
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A couple look at the damage caused by the bomb blast in Mogadishu. (AFP)

Mogadishu (AP): The death toll from the most powerful bomb blast witnessed in Somalia's capital rose to 231 with more than 275 injured, making it the deadliest single attack ever in this Horn of Africa nation, a senator said on Sunday.

Abshir Abdi Ahmed cited doctors at hospitals he had visited in Mogadishu. Many of the bodies in mortuaries had not yet been identified, he said. Officials feared the toll would continue to climb from Saturday's truck bomb that targeted a busy street near key ministries.

Doctors struggled to assist horrifically wounded victims, many burned beyond recognition. "The hospital is overwhelmed by both dead and wounded," said Dr Mohamed Yusuf, the director of Medina hospital.

"This is really horrendous, unlike any other time in the past."

Ambulance sirens echoed across the city as bewildered families wandered in the rubble of buildings, looking for missing relatives. "In our 10 year experience as the first responder in #Mogadishu, we haven't seen anything like this," the Aamin Ambulance service tweeted.

Grief overwhelmed many.

"There's nothing I can say. We have lost everything," wept Zainab Sharif, a mother of four who lost her husband.

She sat outside a hospital where he was pronounced dead after hours of efforts by doctors to save him.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed declared three days of mourning and joined thousands of people who responded to a desperate plea by hospitals to donate blood. "I am appealing to all Somali people to come forward and donate," he said.

Angry protesters gathered near the scene of the attack as Somalia's government blamed al Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group for what it called a "national disaster". However, al-Shabab, which often targets high-profile areas of the capital with bombings, had yet to comment.

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