MOGADISHU (SoOHA) – A massive car bomb exploded in a busy area of Mogadishu on Saturday, leaving at least 78 people dead and scores injured in Somalia’s deadliest attack in two years.
At least 16 of those killed were students from the capital’s private Banadir University, who had been traveling on a bus when the car bomb detonated at a busy intersection southwest of the Somali capital.
Scores of wounded were carried on stretchers from the site, where the force of the explosion left the charred and twisted remains of vehicles. Two Turkish nationals were also killed, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter.
The area was often clogged with traffic due to a security checkpoint and a tax office collecting fees from buses and trucks passing through.
The attack has not been claimed, however, Mogadishu is regularly hit by car bombings and attacks waged by Al-Shabaab Islamist militants allied to Al-Qaeda.
“The number of the dead from the blast is still increasing, we now have 78 dead and 125 injured,” the director of the private Aamin Ambulance service, Abdukadir Abdirahman Haji, told AFP.
A student of Banadir University, who asked not to be named, told AFP he had rushed to the hospital after hearing of the blast, as his sister had been on one of two buses headed to the university. Hers, however, made it through before the explosion.
“What happened today was horrible. I was among several students who rushed to the hospital after we have received the information. I have counted the dead bodies of 16 male and female students some of them had parts of their bodies severed,” the student told AFP.
“The minibus carried 17 students and only one of them who had gotten off the bus before the blast to get a pass receipt from the tax collection point had survived,” he added.