Truck bomb kills scores in Mogadishu

Truck bomb kills as many as 70 in Mogadishu.

A truck bomb has exploded at a busy security checkpoint in Mogadishu, killing at least 73 people.

The attack during rush-hour on Saturday morning was one of the deadliest attacks in the Somali capital in recent memory.

The toll was likely to rise because scores of people were taken to hospital, Ismail Mukhtar, a government spokesman, said.

Mohamed Yusuf, director of Madina hospital, said it had received 73 bodies.

Abdiqadir Abdirahman, the director of the Aamin ambulance service, said more than 50 others had been wounded.

The mayor, Omar Mohamud Mohamed, speaking at the scene, said most of those killed were university and other students returning to class. Two Turkish nationals and many university students were among those killed, police said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but al-Shabaab often carries out such attacks. The al-Qaida-linked group was pushed out of Mogadishu several years ago but continues to target high-profile areas such as checkpoints and hotels in the coastal city.

Al-Shabaab was blamed for a truck bombing in Mogadishu in October 2017 that killed more than 500 people. The group never claimed responsibility for the blast and some analysts said it did not dare claim credit as its strategy of trying to sway public opinion by exposing government weakness had backfired.

The latest attack has raised concerns about the readiness of Somali forces to take over responsibility for the country’s security from an African Union force in the coming months.

Al-Shabaab, the target of a growing number of US airstrikes since Donald Trump became president, controls parts of Somalia’s southern and central regions. It funds itself with a taxation system that experts describe as extortion of businesses and travellers that brings in millions of dollars a year.

Source: AP