Death toll in Somalia bombing climbs to 81

Updated: 31 December, 2019 13:15 IST | Agencies | Sydney

Although, no group has claimed responsibility for the blast, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has blamed the Islamist group Al-Shabaab

This image has been used for representational purposes only
This image has been used for representational purposes only

Mogadishu: The death toll from a massive car bomb in the Somali capital has risen to 81, a government spokesman said on Monday, as rescue workers pursued their search for the missing.

No one has claimed responsibility, though President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed blamed Islamist group Al-Shabaab, which has regularly carried out car bombings and other attacks as part of its decade-long bid to topple the internationally-backed government.

"The overall number of the dead stands at 81 currently. Two more people died from their injuries," Ismail Muktar, a spokesman for Somalia's information ministry, told AFP Monday. One of the new fatalities was among the injured who had been evacuated to Turkey via a Turkish military plane on Sunday, Muktar said.

Around two dozen people were listed as missing after the attack, but 12 have been located - five of them dead - and the rest remain unaccounted for, he said. Some 125 people were injured in Saturday's blast, a caseload that has overwhelmed health facilities in Mogadishu.

At least 16 of those killed were students from the capital's private Banadir University, who had been travelling on a bus when the car bomb detonated. The attack was the biggest to hit Somalia since a truck exploded in 2017 near a fuel tanker in Mogadishu, creating a fireball that killed over 500 people.

Al-Shabaab was blamed for that strike too, though it never formally claimed responsibility - as it often does not do when there is a large number of civilian casualties.The US military on Sunday said it had killed four "terrorists" in three airstrikes targeting Al-Shabaab. US Africa Command (AFRICOM) said two militants were killed and two vehicles destroyed in Qunyo Barrow, while two more militants were killed in Caliyoow Barrow.

16
No. of students killed in the blast

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First Published: 31 December, 2019 10:55 IST

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