Somali’s al Shabaab kills 70 in Mogadishu bomb

MOGADISHU, (Reuters) – Somalia’s al Qaeda-linked  rebels struck at the heart of the capital yesterday, killing  more than 70 people with a truck bomb in the group’s most deadly  attack in the country since launching an insurgency in 2007.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed denounced the blast,  which caused the most casualties among young students waiting  for exam results at the education ministry, as a “cruel and  inhumane act of violence”. Another 150 people were wounded.

The African Union force in Somalia (AMISOM) said a truck  laden with drums of fuel rammed a checkpoint outside a compound  housing government ministries in the K4 (Kilometre 4) area of  Mogadishu, where students had gathered to register for  scholarships offered by Turkey.

Hundreds of parents stood weeping outside the Madina  Hospital in Mogadishu after being denied access for security  reasons and nurses said they were overwhelmed.

The al Shabaab insurgents who carried out the attack later  warned Somalis to stay away from government buildings and  military bases. “More serious blasts are coming,” spokesman  Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage told reporters.
The twisted axle from the exploded truck lay on blackened  soil. A body draped with a red shawl lay nearby. People used  corrugated iron, rugs and white sheeting to carry corpses away  from the devastation at a normally bustling junction.

Ambulances rushed to and fro past twisted, charred trees and  a burnt out car.
“I was among the first people to arrive here moments after  the explosion. I looked around and reassured those who were  still alive,” said witness Halma Abdi.

Britain condemned the attack and France reasserted its  support for the country’s U.N.-backed transitional government.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was appalled by  the vicious attack.
“It is very difficult to prevent these types of terrorist  attacks which we have consistently warned are likely to be on  the increase,” the U.N. special envoy to Somalia, Augustine  Mahiga, said.

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