Huge blast rocks Somalia's capital; police say 20 killed

Oct 15, 2017, 00:23
Huge blast rocks Somalia's capital; police say 20 killed

Al Shabaab, an al Qaeda allied group who were largely forced out of Mogadishu by military operations in 2011, have been known to carry out suicide attacks on civilians. We have never seen such death and destruction, said Abdukadir Haji Aden, director of the main ambulance service in Mogadishu.

Dozens more were wounded when a lorry packed with explosives detonated near the entrance of a hotel.

One witness told the AFP that the bomb went off alongside a busy road and that it left many people dead.

"For 10 years I have been in the emergency service, this is the first I have witnessed".

"This was very frightful incident".

The so-called "Kilometre 5" junction is in the Hodan district, a bustling commercial part of the city with many shops, hotels and businesses. A hotel apparently was targeted.

In any case, the devastation caused was widespread.

"There were dead bodies everywhere and injured people were screaming, some of them from under the rubble of destroyed buildings", said Fadumo Dahir, a witness.

A huge blast was heard in the center of Mogadisho.

About two hours later, a second blast took place in the city's Madina district.

In another incident on Saturday, the Militant Somali group, Al Shabab said that they had retaken the town of Barire without a fight, after Somali National Army withdrew from the town of Bariire of Lower Shabelle region.

The attack occurred two days after the head of the US Africa Command was in Mogadishu to meet with Somalia's president.

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