A week after a massive truck bomb exploded in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu, the death toll in the tragedy has crossed 358. The attack has now been called the worst attack to have hit Somalia. Apart from 358 people killed, about 228 have been injured.
A truck packed with explosives blew up in Hodan on October 14, destroying some 20 buildings in the bustling commercial district, leaving scores of victims burned beyond recognition.
Several experts told AFP the truck was probably carrying at least 500 kilos (1,100 pounds) of explosives. “The latest number of casualties 642 (358 dead, 228 injured, 56 missing). 122 injured people flown to Turkey, Sudan & Kenya,” Somali Minister of Information Abdirahman Osman tweeted.
The figures mark a sharp increase in the toll, which earlier this week was put at 276 dead and 300 wounded.
The attack has overwhelmed Somalia’s fragile health system, and allies from the US, Qatar, Turkey and Kenya have sent planeloads of medical supplies as well as doctors.
Reports suggest Al-Shabaab, a militant group aligned with Al-Qaeda, may be behind the attack. Al-Shabaab carries out regular suicide bombings in Mogadishu in its bid to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed vowed on Wednesday to step up the war against Al-Shabaab, saying that the attack showed “that we have not done enough to stop Shabaab.”
“If we don’t respond to this now, the time will surely come when pieces of flesh from all of us are being picked up off the ground. We need to stand up together and fight Al- Shabaab who continue massacring our people,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)