MOGADISHU – At least 76 people have been killed and dozens of others injured at a busy security checkpoint in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday, a medical charity confirmed.
Medical charity Aamin Ambulance which conducted swift rescue operations confirmed the death toll, saying 70 others who sustained injuries were rushed to the hospitals in Mogadishu.
Mogadishu’s Ex-control Afgoye death toll has reached 76 and 70 others were injured after a suicide truck bomb blast, founder and chairman of Aamin Ambulance Abdulkadir Adan tweeted.
However, Mogadishu Mayor Omar Filish said 90 people were injured in the truck bomb attack. The mayor did not mention the death toll, saying the truck was heading to Mogadishu but the security forces intercepted at the checkpoint, west of Mogadishu.
Filish said most of the casualties were students from the Banadir University in Mogadishu.
He told reporters the security forces managed to block the vehicle with explosives from entering the city.
The government and the police had earlier said at least 30 people were killed and more than 50 others injured.
“We know so far that 30 people were killed and more than 50 others injured in the blast. The death toll could rise at any time,” a police officer who requested anonymity told Xinhua.
He added that the security forces are working on gathering the information on the attack.
Witnesses reported that a massive car bomb ripped through the checkpoint near Ex-control Afgoye in the outskirts of Mogadishu.
“I was in a rickshaw and I heard a heavy blast, then I saw black smoke up in the air,” said Jibril Aden, a witness. “All three people onboard a rickshaw right in front of us were killed in the blast. People panicked and ran to different directions for safety.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Al-Qaida linked group al-Shabab usually stages similar attacks despite having been driven out of Mogadishu in 2011.
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The latest attack came after at least four people were killed and six others injured when al-Shabaab militants stormed a popular hotel in Mogadishu on Dec 10.