At least 100 people have been confirmed dead while 300 were wounded as two car bombs exploded at a busy market intersection near the education ministry in Somalia on Saturday.
Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told reporters on Sunday adding that the attack was the deadliest since a truck bomb exploded at the same place killing 500 people in 2017.
Reuters reports that the al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al Shabaab has claimed responsibility, saying the ministry was at the centre of a “war on minds” that teaches Somali children using a Christian-based syllabus.
Mohamud also said in a statement emailed to the press that the members of the security agents were among the dead and injured.
Al Shabaab, which is seeking to overthrow the government and reinstate its own reign based on an extreme interpretation of Islamic law, frequently stages attacks in Mogadishu and other places.
Read Also Indian Bridge Collapse Kills 60
The first of the explosions hit the education ministry at around 2 p.m. on Saturday. The second hit minutes later as ambulances arrived and people gathered to help the victims.
According to Reuters, Mohamed Moalim, who owns a small restaurant near the intersection, said his wife, Fardawsa Mohamed, a mother of six, rushed to the scene after the first explosion to try to help.
“We failed to stop her,” he said. “She was killed by the second blast.”
President Mohamud said some of the wounded were in serious condition and the death toll could rise.
Read Also Give Security, Terror Alerts To Police, Not General Public – IGP Tells Foreign Govts
“Our people who were massacred … included mothers with their children in their arms, fathers who had medical conditions, students who were sent to study, businessmen who were struggling with the lives of their families,” Mohamud said.
Meanwhile, Somalia’s international partners condemned the attack and sent condolences to affected families.
“These senseless attacks against innocent civilians including women and children only serve to remind us of the group’s barbarity towards its own people and reveal the true hypocrisy of its intent,” the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said in a statement.