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32 of the 76 people killed in Mogadishu blast were university students



MOGADISHU—At least 32 university students are feared dead, score others injured in Mogadishu’s rush hour bombing on Saturday morning at the “Ex-control Afgoye” checkpoint, a busy intersection that links southern regions to the capital. 

Founder of Al Aamin Ambulance, the free ambulance service, Abdulkadir Adan, said his team had counted at least 76 dead and 70 wounded. Police conducted security searches at the checkpoint, but there is nothing linking any group to the attack.

Although it has all its hallmarks, Al Shabab is yet to claim responsibility for the attack.

Somali government spokesman Ismael Mukhtar said the attacker(s) “were probably targeting a taxation office located nearby. The area is heavily populated with civilians and security forces.

Two Turkish nationals are also among the dead, Mukhatar added.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu confirmed the death of the two in the 8 am attack.

“May Allah’s mercy be upon our 2 citizens and innocent Somali brothers&sisters who lost their lives in the heinous terrorist attack,” Çavuşoğlu wrote on his Twitter account. He added Turkey would continue to stand with Somalia in the fight against terror.

Mohamed Warsame, 62, was among the first respondent. He narrated to Kulan Post the harrowing site at the scene of the blast. He said it looked like a “river of blood.”

“Books belonging to the university students was strewn all over with blood stains turning the plain pages into red,” he said, adding that he helped collect dislodged bodies from all over the area.

“I saw lots of blasts, but this was my worst,” Mohamed noted, tears welling his eyes.

The Banadir University lost 22 students in the blast. The institution has since set up a committee to take stock of the attack and console with the bereaved families.

The lead doctor at the Madina Hospital, Mohamed Yussuf said the facility received 52 injured victims and more than 76 bodies since morning as more trickle in even as the government project death toll could rise.

Mogadishu’s mayor, Omar Mohamud Mohamed, said at a news conference earlier that there had been “many deaths and injuries,” but that the precise death toll was unknown. He said that many of the wounded were students.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ordered the government to pull its resources toward supporting the wounded and families of the dead.

“The terrorists massacred the people because of the enmity they have for the country’s development,” he said in a statement.

The Prime Minister Hassan Khayre, said in a statement that “he had appointed a national crisis committee that would help respond to the victims and evacuate those who might need medical care abroad.”

The attack, one of several this year in Mogadishu, fueled concerns about the abilities of the Somali government to respond to the rise of mass-casualty attacks coming when the Amisom troops are planning to move out of the country by May next year.

Abdihakim Ainte of the Heritage Institute said the “politicization of security and lack of comprehensive security plan” is to blame for the continued attacks on the civilian population.

“This attacks serve as litmus test for Shabab on whether the local security forces can stop the massacre,” Ainte told VOA Somali.

This year alone it has targeted a shopping mall, the city mayor’s office and high-end hotels. Saturday’s bomb came two weeks after a hours-long hotel siege in which five people were killed.


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