More than 300 people were killed in the weekend truck bombing in Somalia’s capital and scores remain missing, authorities say.
As funerals continue and the fragile Horn of Africa nation reels from one of the world’s worst attacks in years, the government says the death toll is expected to rise.
Nearly 400 people were also injured in the bombing on Saturday that targeted a crowded street in Mogadishu.
The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab has been blamed, though the Islamic extremist group has not claimed responsibility.
The SITE Intelligence Group says al-Shabab has recently posted claims of responsibility for other attacks on Somali and African Union forces but not for Saturday’s blast.
Still, analysts said on Mondaay there was little doubt the group carried out the bombing, one of the deadliest in sub-Saharan Africa.
“No other group in Somalia has the capacity to put together a bomb of this size, this nature,” said Matt Bryden, a security consultant on the Horn of Africa.
Nearly 70 people remained missing, based on accounts from relatives, said police Captain Mohamed Hussein. He said many bodies were burned to ashes in the attack.
As the death toll rose to 302, overwhelmed hospitals in Mogadishu were struggling to treat badly wounded victims, many burned beyond recognition.
Exhausted doctors struggled to continue as the screams from victims and bereaved families echoed in halls.
Africa’s deadliest Islamic extremist group, al-Shabab has waged war in Somalia for more than a decade, often targeting high-profile areas of the capital.
Earlier this year, it vowed to escalate attacks after both the Trump administration and Somalia’s recently elected Somali-American president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, announced new military efforts against the group.
After Saturday’s attack, Mohamed declared three days of mourning and joined thousands of people who responded to a plea by hospitals to donate blood.
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