At least 231 people have been confirmed dead after two deadly bombs exploded at a busy junction outside the Safari Hotel in the heart of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.
The first bomb exploded outside the Safari Hotel at the K5 junction. The area is filled with restaurants, kiosk and government offices. It demolished buildings and set cars on fire.
The second bomb detonated at the Medina district two hours later.
It is the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation. Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo declared three days of national mourning and ordered flags flown at half-mast.
He also joined thousands of people who responded to pleas by hospitals to donate blood for the wounded victims. “I am appealing all Somali people to come forward and donate,” he said.
So far no group has come forward claiming responsibility for the bombings, although the Islamist al Shabaab group has carried out regular attacks in the capital.
“They don’t care about the lives of Somali people, mothers, fathers and children,” Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said when asked if al Shabaab was to blame. “They have targeted the most populated area in Mogadishu, killing only civilians.”
Saturday’s blast occurred two days after the head of the U.S. Africa Command was in Mogadishu to meet with Somalia’s president, and two days after the country’s defense minister and army chief resigned for undisclosed reasons.
Yesterdays bombings come two days after the head of the U.S. Africa command was in Mogadishu to meet with President Farmajo, and two days after the country’s army chief and defense minister resigned for reasons not yet made public.