Mogadishu, Somalia: Local police and state media report that at least 40 people have been killed in a huge blast in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Saturday. More than 15 people were also injured, local police says, adding the number of casualties “will surely rise.”
The blast, around 14.40pm, occurred when a truck loaded with explosives hit the city’s K5 Junction, near the Foreign Ministry and the Safari Hotel, which was partly destroyed. This is a busy road lined with government offices, hotels, and restaurants.
Local police forces report a second attack in the Wadajir district (Madina district), near the old home of the national airline, Somalia Airlines. There would be two dead people following this explosion.
The blast was reportedly targeting the Safari Hotel.
A police officer at the scene said the blast smashed doors, windowpanes and shook some buildings in the city.
A second blast was reported hours later in the city’s Madina district, killing two civilians, Reuters reports citing local police.
One suspect in the second blast was questioned by police on suspicion of planting explosives.
Hospitals in the area are overwhelmed by those affected by the explosion, all civilians, mainly street vendors of this busy street in the center of the city.
Authorities have deployed a security force device in the affected area to prevent further attacks as health workers treat and transport the wounded.
Islamic terrorists, Al Shabab, who joined the Al Qaeda international network in 2012 claimed responsibility for the attacks
The al Qaeda-allied group is waging an campain to topple the weak U.N.backed government and its African Union allies and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam.
They frequently launch gun, grenade and bomb attacks in Mogadishu and other regions controlled by the federal government.
But in recent years, the militants have lost most territory under their control to African Union peacekeepers and government troops.
Al Shabab controls part of the territory in the center and south of the country and aims to establish a Wahhabi Islamic State in Somalia.
This East African country has been in a state of war and chaos since 1991, when dictator Mohamed Siad Barré was ousted, leaving the country without effective government and in the hands of radical Islamic militias, warlords who respond to interests of a particular clan and gangs of armed criminals.
The US military has stepped up its attacks with drones and other media against the Somali extremist group.