Somalia attack: Death toll rises in Mogadishu blast
16 October 2017
At least 276 people have died in a massive bomb attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday.
A Turkish military plane has arrived with medical aid. It will then evacuate about 40 of the injured to Turkey for medical treatment.
It is the deadliest terror attack in Somalia since the Islamist al-Shabab group launched its insurgency in 2007.
One of the victims was a medical student who was due to graduate the next day.
Her father had flown to Mogadishu to attend her graduation but instead witnessed her burial.
No group has yet said it was behind the bombing.
But President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed blamed al-Shabab, calling it a “heinous act”.
Al-Shabab, which is allied to al-Qaeda, and which often attacks Mogadishu, normally claims them fairly quickly afterwards.
On Sunday, some Somalis took to the streets of Mogadishu to condemn the group.
The explosion was at a busy junction, destroying hotels, government offices and restaurants.
Some 111 of the dead have been identified and buried by their families.
However, 165 bodies who cannot be identified will be buried in a national mass funeral, according to Somalia government News Agency, Sonna.
Maryam Abdullahi had been due to graduate as a doctor the following day.
Ms Abdullah’s sister Anfa’a told the BBC Somali Service that she was devastated.
“The family is so shocked, especially our father who travelled all the way from London to attend her graduation, but instead he attended her burial.”
Anfa’a said she had spoken to her sister 20 minutes before the blast.
“At that time she was in Banadir Hospital where she was working. She told me she was waiting for some files from the hospital and she promised to call back”.
A BBC Somali reporter at the scene of the main blast said the Safari hotel collapsed with people trapped under the rubble.
An eyewitness, local resident Muhidin Ali, told AFP it was “the biggest blast I have ever witnessed, it destroyed the whole area”.
Meanwhile, the director of the Madina Hospital, Mohamed Yusuf Hassan, said he was shocked by the scale of the attack.
“What happened yesterday was incredible, I have never seen such a thing before, and countless people lost their lives. Corpses were burned beyond recognition.”(BBC News)