Almost 80 dead after truck bomb blast in Somali capital Mogadishu

28 December 2019, 13:29

Wreckage left by the truck bomb in Mogadishu
Wreckage left by the truck bomb in Mogadishu. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Almost 80 people have been killed in a truck bomb blast in one of Somalia’s deadliest attacks for years.

At least 76 people died and more than 50 people were also injured in the explosion at a busy security check-point in Mogadishu in Saturday.

The blast targeted a tax collection centre during the morning rush-hour as Somalians returned to work after their weekend.

It was one of the deadliest attacks in the city in recent memory, and witnesses said its force reminded them of the devastating 2017 bombing in the city that killed hundreds.

More than 50 people were injured in the explosion at a security check-point
More than 50 people were injured in the explosion at a security check-point. Picture: PA

Government spokesman Ismail Mukhtar said the death toll could yet increase further as more than 50 people injured in the incident, some seriously, are being treated in hospital.

Most of those killed were university and other students returning to class, mayor Omar Mohamud Mohamed said at the scene.

Witness Mohamed Abdi Hakim said: "I saw many dead bodies lying on the ground. Some of those dead were police officers, but most of them were students."

Photos from the scene showed the mangled frames of vehicles, with a large black plume of smoke rising into the sky above.

At least 76 people have died in the attack
At least 76 people have died in the attack. Picture: PA

No group has yet said it was behind the blast, but Al Qaida-linked al-Shabab often carries out such attacks.

The extremist group was pushed out of Mogadishu several years ago but continues to target high-profile areas such as checkpoints and hotels in the city.

Al-Shabab was blamed for a devastating truck bombing in the capital in October 2017 that killed more than 500 people, though the group never claimed responsibility for the blast.

Some analysts said al-Shabab did not dare claim credit as its strategy of trying to sway public opinion by exposing government weakness had badly backfired.

Abdurrahman Yusuf, another witness to Saturday's attack, said: "This explosion is similar to the one... in 2017.

“This one occurred just a few steps away from where I am and it knocked me on the ground from its force. I have never seen such an explosion in my entire life."

Latest World News

See more Latest World News


Bidens honour Pearl Harbour’s fallen in visit to World War Two memorial

Russia US

Biden and Putin square off for two-hour call as Ukraine tensions mount

Jamal Khashoggi

Suspect in killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi arrested in France

A whistleblower claims the UK Foreign Office failed tens of thousands of Afghans and left them to the mercy of the Taliban

Afghans left behind by UK to be murdered by the Taliban, whistleblower claims

An Israeli soldier stands guard during a ceremony to open the newly completed barrier along the Israel/Gaza border

Israel announces completion of security barrier around Gaza

Security forces and others gather at the scene

Dozens of inmates killed in Burundi prison fire, says government

How Beijing Landed Olympics Explainer

China accuses US of violating Olympic spirit through diplomatic boycott

Michael Steinhardt

US billionaire to return stolen antiquities worth £53m

Indonesian president Joko Widodo, centre, visits an area covered in ash following the volcanic eruption

Indonesian president visits eruption survivors and vows to rebuild

US president Joe Biden and Russian president Vladimir Putin

Biden to warn Putin of economic pain if he invades Ukraine

Harry has been criticised as has been slammed as "privileged" and "out of touch"

Harry sparks social media row after saying people who don’t like their jobs should quit

FILE - This undated photo shows Emmett Louis Till, a 14-year-old black Chicago boy, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 1955 after he allegedly whistled at a white woman in Mississippi

US Justice Department closes Emmett Till investigation with no new charges

Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced that all employees of private firms must be vaccinated

Mandatory vaccines for all employees in New York City, says mayor

Jussie Smollett Trial

US actor Jussie Smollett tells his trial attack ‘was no hoax’

Obit Bob Dole

Bob Dole to lie in state at Capitol as nation honours senator

China Ski Cross World Cup

US plans diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics