At least 38 people have lost their lives and about 50 others have been wounded in a car bomb explosion in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, officials and witnesses say.
Ahmed Abdulle Afrax, the mayor of Wadajir, the district in the city of Mogadishu that was bombed, said that the deadly incident took place on Sunday when an explosive-laden car exploded near a busy market in the capital city.
“We carried 39 dead bodies and there were many others injured,” Dr. Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of the Aamin Ambulance Service, told Reuters.
Meanwhile, manager of Madina hospital, Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, said his facility had taken in 47 injured people.
Witnesses said the bombing happened in an area where soldiers, civilians and traders were present.
The death toll is expected to rise as many of the injured are said to be in critical condition.
No group or individual has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, but the al-Shabab Takfiri militant group has been blamed for such attacks in the past.
The explosion is the first big attack in the Somali capital since the election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo last week.
The latest attack comes days before the African country is due to inaugurate a new president.
On February 8, hours before the election, a terrorist attack by the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militants on a hotel in Somalia’s port city of Bosasso left four guards and two assailants dead.
Somalia has not seen a powerful central government since former dictator, Mohamed Siad Barre, was toppled by warlords in 1991.
Since 2007, nearly 22,000 African Union peacekeeping forces have been deployed to the impoverished country in a bid to assist the government’s battle against al-Shabab. The group continues to wage terror attacks in Mogadishu despite having been flushed out of the capital and other major cities by the joint forces of the government and the African Union.
By Africafrique and agencies