Dozens dead in Somalia car bomb blast

At least 100 people are reported dead and dozens wounded in an explosion outside government buildings in Mogadishu. The blast was caused by a truck bomb.

­Rescue services said the toll from the blast in the Somali capital had risen to 100 from an earlier estimate of around 50. Dozens of people were injured in Tuesday’s terrorist attack.

Many of the casualties were civilians, including students. Ambulance workers at the scene of the explosion say many burn victims have been taken to hospital for treatment.

The blast outside the gates of a government building zone was caused by a truck laden with explosives. Eyewitnesses say the vehicle was trying to pass a checkpoint when the bomb was set off.

A government meeting was taking place there when the bomb went off. There are no immediate reports of casualties among the officials.

The terrorist group Al-Shabaab, which has links to Al-Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the attack via a website. It said it was targeting one of the ministerial buildings in the secured compound.

Later on Tuesday al-Shabaab insurgents publicly announced that they were planning more attacks soon. Al-Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage warned civilians to stay away from government buildings and military bases, because more blasts are coming.

"We are still in Mogadishu. How else could we conduct such an attack in the heart of the town?" he told reporters. 

The attack is the largest since Somali authorities drove al-Shabaab forces out of Mogadishu in August.

Dozens dead in Somalia blast
Dozens dead in Somalia blast

­Failed state

Somalia is a de facto failed state. The internationally-recognized central government in Mogadishu controls only the city and its suburbs. The rest of the territory is in the hands of warlords and radical Islamists, with violent clashes between the warring parties accruing each week.

Poor governance and unending violence are hitting the population hard. The UN recently declared six regions of Somalia a famine zone.

Al-Shabab controls areas in south and central Somalia and is trying to take more territory from Mogadishu government. Last week it failed to capture two towns near the country’s border with Kenya.