Two cars packed with explosives blew up minutes apart near the busy Zobe intersection, followed by gunfire in an attack targeting Somalia’s education ministry.
The afternoon explosions tore through walls, and shattered windows of nearby buildings, sending shrapnel flying and plumes of smoke and dust into the air.
The number of people killed in twin car bombings in the Somali capital Mogadishu, claimed by Al-Shabaab Islamists, has risen to 100, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said on Sunday.
“So far, the number of people who died has reached 100 and 300 are wounded, and the number for both the dead and wounded continues to increase,” he said after visiting the blast location.
The victims included women, children and the elderly, police spokesman Sadik Dudishe said.
“The ruthless terrorists killed mothers. Some of them died with their children trapped on their backs,” he said on Saturday, adding that the attackers had been stopped from killing more “innocent civilians and students.”
The attack took place at the same busy junction where a truck packed with explosives blew up on October 14, 2017, killing 512 people and injuring more than 290, the deadliest attack in the troubled country.
Mohamud described the incident as “historic”, saying “it is the same place, and the same innocent people involved.”
“This is not right. God willing, they will not be having the ability to do another Zobe incident,” he said, referring to the Islamist group Al-Shabaab.
Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying its fighters were targeting the ministry of education.
The bloody siege drew international condemnation from Somalia’s allies, including the United Nations, Turkey as well as the African Union force tasked with helping Somali forces take over primary responsibility for security by the end of 2024.
The UN mission in Somalia UNSOM vowed to stand “resolutely with all Somalis against terrorism.”
“These attacks underline the urgency and critical importance of the ongoing military offensive to further degrade Al-Shabaab,” the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), which replaced the previous AMISOM peacekeeping force, said on Twitter late Saturday.