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SA govt condemns terrorist bombing attack in Somalia

South Africa has joined those countries promising to work with the United Nations and African Union to explore long term solutions to fighting terrorism.

The aftermath of a truck bomb in the centre of Mogadishu, Somali. The bomb exploded outside a hotel at a busy junction in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on 14 October 2017. Picture: AFP

PRETORIA – The South African government’s condemned the terrorist bombing in Somalia that’s left more than 260 people dead and hundreds injured.

It’s the most deadly attacks since Al-Shabaab began its insurgency a decade ago.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the attack aimed at Somalia’s foreign ministry.

An explosive-laden truck blew up at the entrance to a hotel.

Particularly worrying for authorities is the fact that the truck passed through several checkpoints before reaching the place of detonation.

South Africa has joined those countries promising to work with the United Nations and the African Union to explore long-term solutions to fighting terrorism.

The Somali government has declared three days of mourning for the victims of one of the worst terrorist attacks on earth in recent years.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo declared three days of national mourning and called for donations of blood and funds to victims of Saturday’s attack.

“Today’s horrific attack proves our enemy would stop nothing to cause our people pain and suffering. Let’s unite against terror,” he tweeted.

Police said a truck bomb exploded outside a hotel in the K5 intersection that is lined with government offices, restaurants and kiosks, flattening several buildings and setting dozens of vehicles on fire.

Two hours later, another blast struck the capital’s Medina district.

A spokesperson for Aamin Ambulance service said it knew of more than 250 people wounded during the bombings on Saturday.

“Some people who searched for their relatives just found unrecognisable body parts,” its director Abdikadir Abdirahman told Reuters.

“In our 10-year experience as the first responder in Mogadishu, we haven’t seen anything like this,” tweeted the ambulance service, which is reliant on private donations and the only free ambulance service in the city.

“We’re mourning the loss of 5 Somali Red Crescent volunteers, also killed in this attack,” tweeted the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Police and emergency workers searched the rubble of destroyed buildings on Sunday. They had recovered dozens of corpses the night before, most of which were charred beyond recognition.

Hundreds of people came to the junction in search of missing family members and police cordoned off the area for security reasons.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, which is allied to al-Qaeda, stages regular attacks in the capital and other parts of the country.

The group is waging an insurgency against the UN-backed government and its African Union allies in a bid to topple the weak administration and impose its own strict interpretation of Islam.

The militants were driven out of Mogadishu in 2011 and have been steadily losing territory since then to the combined forces of African Union peacekeepers and Somali security forces.

But al-Shabaab retains the ability to mount large, complex bomb attacks. Over the past three years, the number of civilians killed by insurgent bombings has steadily climbed as al-Shabaab increases the size of its bombs.

Additional reporting by Reuters

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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