Massive explosion kills 230 in Somali capital

  • 16/10/2017

The death toll from a massive explosion in Somalia's capital has risen to 230 with over 200 others injured, police and hospital sources say, making it the single deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation.

Doctors are struggling to assist hundreds of horrifically wounded victims, with many burnt beyond recognition.

A suicide bomber exploded a truck at a busy intersection despite being fired on by security forces, sending clouds of white smoke spiralling into the sky.

Police Captain Mohamed Hussein says many victims died at hospitals from their wounds.

Witness Ahmed Hassan described dozens of public buses destroyed as wounded survivors and panicked people sought safety.

"Dead bodies were scattered around the area," he said. "I have never seen such a terrible attack. It is like an earthquake in terms of the destruction it has caused."

Another witness, Abdiasis Qorane, said he had lost his car, one of over 100 cars that were burnt out in the attack. "There was a blood everywhere. My eyes could see parts of dead bodies being cut into pieces," Qorane said.

Ambulance sirens were continuing to echo across the city as bewildered families wandered in the rubble of buildings.

Speaking on state-run radio, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed described the attack as a national tragedy and called on the public to help the victims by giving blood.

Mohamed announced three days of mourning as thousands of people took the city's streets to visit local hospitals and look for their loved ones who were still missing.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Somali Information Minister Abdirahman Yarisow said the militant group al-Shabaab was likely behind it.