Death toll in Somalia truck bomb blast rises to 76

Death toll in Somalia truck bomb blast rises to 76

A truck filled with explosives blew up in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Saturday reportedly killing at least 90 people and wounding dozens more in the Somali capital.

'The blast was devastating, and I could confirm more than 20 civilians killed, there were many more wounded, but the toll can be higher, ' police officer Ibrahim Mohamed said.

The blast took place at the Ex-Control checkpoint in Mogadishu and comes amid persistent insecurity in the Horn of Africa nation.

A nurse at Medina, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the facility had received more than 100 wounded people.

"The attack looks similar in all forms and shape to those of al-Shabab and they always take advantage of government weakness to send a signal that they are still capable and can cause damage where they want and when they want", Ayte said.

The attack has not been claimed, however Mogadishu is regularly hit by auto bombings and attacks waged by Al-Shabaab Islamist militants allied to Al-Qaeda.

The police were not reachable for comment on casualty numbers.

While Al-Shabaab carries out frequent attacks, the death tolls are often lower than in yesterday's blast.

A Reuters witness at Mogadishu airport saw 10 injured Somalis and the bodies of two dead Turks loaded on the plane.

"What happened today was awful".

At least 16 of those killed were students from a local university, who had been travelling on a bus when the vehicle bomb detonated at a busy intersection southwest of the Somali capital.

Banadir University said they would shut for five days after the disaster. Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, director of Madina hospital, said they had received 73 bodies.

Somalia's president condemned the incident as a "heinous act of terror". "The people and its government will never be demoralized from achieving our development goals and the rebuilding of our country".

Among those killed were university students, women, children and members of the Somali national security forces. He said it was the deadliest attack so far this year.

"He stressed that the perpetrators of this horrendous crime must be brought to justice", a statement by his spokesperson said.

A vehicle belonging to the engineers was destroyed instantly in the blast, the witnesses said.

Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire has named an emergency committee to assist victims and help the wounded receive proper treatment.

"We will seek medical assistance outside the country for those whose health situation can not be dealt with inside the country".

Many people, including students in buses, were passing through the area when the blast occurred, according to AFP.

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