Death toll from car bomb­ings jumps to over 40 in So­ma­lia

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

MOGADISHU: The death toll from a string of car bomb­ings near a pop­u­lar ho­tel in the So­mali cap­i­tal Mogadishu has jumped to at least 41, po­lice said on Satur­day.

Fri­day’s at­tack was the lat­est in a wave of bomb­ings by Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda af­fil­i­ate which has been fight­ing to over­throw the in­ter­na­tion­ally-backed So­mali gov­ern­ment for over a decade.

Twin car bombs ex­ploded within mo­ments of each other, fol­lowed by gun­fire and a third blast, send­ing thick plumes of black smoke into the sky.

The blasts oc­curred near the Sa­hafi ho­tel and Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tion Divi­sion (CID) po­lice head­quar­ters. Par­lia­ment speaker Mo­hamed Mur­sal said the at­tack­ers de­lib­er­ately tar­geted civil­ians.

“Th­ese ter­ror­ists have mas­sa­cred civil­ians at a time when peo­ple were out to spend time dur­ing the week­end. I call on the So­mali peo­ple to stand to­gether against those killers,” he told re­porters.

Po­lice of­fi­cial Ibrahim Mo­hamed said in­for­ma­tion re­ceived from var­i­ous hospi­tals in­di­cated that the num­ber of dead had reached 41, with an­other 106 wounded.

“Most of th­ese peo­ple were civil­ians and nearly 20 of them died in minibuses that were pass­ing by the road when the blast oc­curred,” he added. An­other se­cu­rity of­fi­cial, Ab­di­rah­man Os­man, said that nearly 50 had been con­firmed dead so far, although the fi­nal num­ber was not yet known.

Of­fi­cials on Fri­day had put the death toll at about 20.

“There was chaos af­ter the blast. Some of the ve­hi­cles were buses, which caught fire. I could see peo­ple scream­ing as they fled the buses,” wit­ness Fad­umo Ali said.-

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