A Turkish military plane arrived in Mogadishu on Sunday to evacuate around 15 people seriously injured in the attack which left 79 dead the day before in the Somali capital regularly targeted by Islamist insurgents.
The plane also brought in doctors to help treat some 125 people injured in the car bomb attack, the deadliest to hit Mogadishu in two years, which occurred on Saturday at a checkpoint in a busy area. .
No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion, but Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi has accused the Islamists Shebab, an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group that perpetrated regular car bombings and other attacks on the capital in the context of an insurrection launched against the government supported by the international community.
The president denounced « the terrorist organization Al-Shebab » in a televised message and accused her of « intimidating and terrorizing Somalis and killing them on every occasion ».
Saturday’s bombing was the deadliest since a 2017 truck bomb attack that killed more than 500 people in the capital.
Among the 79 dead are at least 16 students from the private university of Banadir whose bus was passing at the time of the explosion at a busy crossroads in southwest Mogadishu.
According to the management of the Aamin Ambulance, Abdukadir Abdirahman Haji, the attack also injured around 125 people.
Police chief Abdi Hassan Mohamed reported 79 dead on Saturday, adding that he could get heavier. Two Turkish nationals are among the dead. According to medical sources, two other Turks have been injured and are to be repatriated.
Turkish and Qatari aid
« There are still rescue operations underway to help those who have been massacred by terrorists while engaged in their occupations, » Somali Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Heyr told reporters on Sunday.
« We have received doctors and medicines this morning from the Turkish government and we are working to separate the seriously wounded from the rest in order to send them out of the country, » he added.
The minister said about 24 trauma doctors had arrived from Turkey – a key ally of Somalia – and that Qatar was to send a similar plane on Monday.
‘‘ At 5.30 am this morning, the first flight to evacuate the injured arrived from Turkey. He was accompanied by Turkish doctors and emergency medical supplies, ”said Somali police deputy chief Zakia Hussein in a tweet. The plane will evacuate about 15 seriously injured, she said.
Ambulances transported the wounded from various hospitals to Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital, operated by Turkey, from where they were taken to the airport.
« The problem with the explosion is that even if you escape death, you can still have life-threatening injuries like my cousin. He has head injuries and doctors could not treat him in the country. Thank goodness he is going to be taken to Turkey now and we hope that in time he will get better, « said Abdukadir Moalim, a resident of Mogadishu.
Since 2015, there have been 13 attacks in Somalia that have each killed at least 20 people, including eleven in Mogadishu, according to an AFP count.