At least 100 people have died and 300 have been injured this Saturday in an attack with two car bombs perpetrated against the Ministry of Education in the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu. The Somali president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, confirmed the death toll this morning when he traveled to the scene: “So far, the people who have died have reached 100 and 300 are injured. And the number of dead and wounded continues to rise.”
“Our people who were massacred, including mothers with their children in their arms, fathers who suffered from medical conditions, students who were sent to study, businessmen who were fighting for the lives of their families,” Mohamud denounced. In a message posted on his Twitter social network account before going to the scene of the attack, the head of state attributed the “cruel and cowardly terrorist attack” to the jihadist group Al Shabab, affiliated since 2012 with the terrorist network Al Qaeda.
The massacre, he has said, “will further strengthen the determination to defeat them once and for all.” “Our government and our brave people will continue to defend Somalia against evil,” stressed Mohamud, who has asked his compatriots to donate blood in hospitals to help the wounded.
The attack targeted the Ministry of Education, which is located near the Zobe intersection, also known as K-5 and one of the busiest in Mogadishu. According to police sources cited by local media, among the deceased are a police commander and a well-known Somali journalist.
“We are shocked and saddened by the murder of our colleague, Mohamed Isse Koonaa, who was reporting today for Universal TV,” said the Somali Journalists Union (SJS). “Two other colleagues, the Reuters photojournalist and the VOA (Voice of America) collaborator are injured and in hospital,” adds the SJS.
The Zobe intersection was the site of a two-truck bomb attack on October 14, 2017, killing more than 500 people and injuring more than 300 in the worst terror attack in Somalia’s history.
The UN mission in Somalia has condemned on Twitter “strongly the ruthless attack by Al Shabab” on Saturday, has sent its condolences to the families of the victims and has shown solidarity with “all Somalis against terrorism”.
The United States embassy in Mogadishu has also condemned the “cowardly” attack on that social network and reaffirmed its support for the people and Government of Somalia. “While Al Shabab loses on the battlefield, he continues to attack innocent Somali citizens,” added the US legation.
President Mohamud declared on August 23 a “total war” to “eliminate” Al Shabab, whose terrorists took over a hotel in Mogadishu for thirty hours days before and killed 21 people. Since then, several military operations supported by the United States have been carried out against the fundamentalists, which last September killed “more than a hundred members” of the jihadist group, according to the Somali government.
This Saturday’s attack occurred when a national meeting was being held between the central government and the presidents of the five federal states of Somalia with the aim of promoting peaceful coexistence and discussing the jihadist threat.
Al Shabab often commits terrorist attacks in Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia to overthrow the central government – backed by the international community – and establish by force a Wahhabi (ultra-conservative) Islamic state. The jihadist group controls rural areas of central and southern Somalia and also attacks neighboring countries such as Kenya and Ethiopia.
Somalia has lived in a state of war and chaos since 1991, when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown, leaving the country without an effective government and in the hands of Islamist militias and warlords.