Deadliest Attack in African Nation

Horrendous attack causing destruction of life and property in Mogadishu

The Mogadishu Bombing in Sudan is one of the deadliest attacks in sub-urban Africa, larger than the Garissa University attack in Kenya in 2015 and the US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.

Experts say the truck that exploded was carrying about 500 kg of explosives.

More than 300 people were killed by twin bomb explosions in Mogadishu. The death toll has steadily risen since 14th Oct. 2017, when the blasts struck at two busy junctions in the heart of the capital city. One truck bomb detonated near a fuel truck, creating an enormous fireball. The blast occurred at a junction in Hodan, a bustling commercial district which has many shops, hotels and businesses in the city’s northwest.

The bomb attacks were the deadliest since Islamist militant group al Shabaab began an insurgency in 2007. Al Shabaab has not claimed responsibility but the method and type of attack, a large truck bomb, is increasingly used by the al Qaeda linked organization. Al Shabaab stages regular attacks in the capital and other parts of the country. Although the group claims it targets the government and security forces, it has detonated large bombs in crowded public areas before. It has sometimes not claimed responsibility for bombings that provoked a big public backlash, like the 2009 suicide bombing of a graduation ceremony for medical students. The group is waging an insurgency against Somalia’s UN-backed government and its own strict interpretation of Islam.

Over the past three years, the number of civilians killed by insurgent bombings has steadily climbed as al Shabaab increases the size of its bombs. In 2016, 723 Somalis were killed in 395 bomb attacks, according to Nairobi based think tank Sahan Research, up from 193 deaths in  265 attacks in 2015.

Doctors at Mogadishu hospitals struggled to assist badly wounded victims, many burnt beyond recognition. Inside, bleary-eyed nurses transported a man whose legs had been blown off. Exhausted doctors struggled to keep their eyes open, while screams from victims and newly bereaved families echoed through the halls. Ambulance sirens echoed across the city as bewildered families wandered in the rubble of buildings, looking for missing relatives.

The country’s Somali-American leader, 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. The explosion shattered hopes of a recovery in an impoverished country left fragile by decades of conflict and it again raised doubts over the government’s ability to secure the seaside city of more than 2 million people. 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.

The US military has stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against al-Shabaab, which is also fighting the Somali military and over 20,000 African Union forces in the country. The United Nations special envoy to Somalia called the attack “revolting”. The spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attack and urged all Somalis to unite against extremism and work together to build a functional federal state.

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