Somali security assess the scene of a car bomb explosion at a checkpoint in Mogadishu. Feisal Omar/Reuters
At least 90 people were killed in a truck bombing in Mogadishu on Saturday, according to a report from an international organisation working in Somalia.
The death toll from the blast had earlier been reported as 76.Suicide bomber claims 4 lives in Somalia
The toll was likely to rise as scores of people were rushed to hospitals, government spokesman told the media. The director of the Aamin Ambulance service, confirmed the 76 dead and said more than 50 others were wounded.
Mayor Omar Mohamud Mohamed, speaking at the scene, said university students were among those killed. Police said the dead also included two Turkish nationals.
Capt. Mohamed Hussein said the blast targeted a tax collection center during the morning rush hour as Somalia returned to work after its weekend. Images from the scene showed the mangled frames of vehicles and bodies lying on the ground.
A large black plume of smoke rose above the capital.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast. The Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabab often carries out such attacks. The extremist group was pushed out of Mogadishu several years ago but continues to target high-profile areas such as checkpoints and hotels in the seaside city.
Al-Shabab was blamed for a devastating truck bombing in Mogadishu in October 2017 that killed more than 500 people. The group never claimed responsibility for the blast that led to widespread public outrage. Some analysts said al-Shabab didn't dare claim credit as its strategy of trying to sway public opinion by exposing government weakness had badly backfired.
The latest attack again raises concern about the readiness of Somali forces to take over responsibility for the Horn of Africa country's security in the coming months from an African Union force.Al-Shabab, the target of a growing number of US airstrikes since President Donald Trump took office, controls parts of Somalia's southern and central regions. It funds itself with a "taxation” system that experts describe as extortion of businesses and travelers that brings in millions of dollars a year.
The militant group Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place as a crowd waited for Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble to speak — but he had not yet arrived.
Ali Abdullahi, an official with the Southwestern regional state, told The Associated Press that the mine was detonated by remote control as people were dining during the morning rush. Several others were wounded, he said.
The bloodshed in the capital comes amid an ongoing surge in attacks across Afghanistan, where some 1,500 people were killed or injured last month alone.
The Centre also confirmed that it is following the situation around the clock and would continue brief the public on the latest developments, calling on the public, road users and motorists to exercise precautions when driving during rain, and to avoid nearing surface runoffs and pools of rainwater. It also appealed to members of the society to follow the bulletins and reports issued by the NCM and not to circulate rumors.
The multi-millionaire ex-Chancellor and his wife Akshata Murty were last year granted planning permission to build a swimming pool, gym and an adjoining tennis court on farmland at the manor house.
Asad Kaleem, an executive producer at ARY, said that the action means that 4,000 employees at the TV are now without work. He pleaded with the government to reverse its decision and bring the hugely popular ARY back on air.