MOGADISHU, Somalia – The Islamist terrorist group Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for Friday’s deadly triple bombing in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, as government officials raised the death toll from the incident.
On Saturday, Somali officials raised the death toll from the triple bombing to 40 and said that seven terrorists too were killed in the blasts.
Senior police officer Ali Hassan told reporters that the death toll stood at 32 on Friday, but more civilians succumbed to their injuries by Saturday.
Hassan added, “We have records that eight wounded civilians passed away in two different hospitals in the city.”
He added, “Some families are searching for their loved ones because they are still missing, as several whose bodies were burned badly beyond recognition were found in civilian vehicles.”
Later on Friday, the Islamist extremist group, Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the bombings.
Detailing the bombings, local police officials said that Al Shabaab fighters detonated two car bombs in front of the Sahafi Hotel, while the third bomb went off at a nearby car park.
The police said that the first two bombs targeted the hotel that is located at a busy intersection of the capital city and is frequented by government officials and other members of Somalia’s elite.
They added that two militants drove the cars packed with explosives into the hotel, while another group of militants engaged in a gun battle with security forces as they attempted to storm the building.
Hassan said that the two militants driving the explosives-laden cars and five other militants were killed in the incident.
Meanwhile, the third bomb exploded in the car park and was hidden in an unmanned car that was parked there.
Further, officials added that the Hayat Hotel and the Central Investigation Department (CID), that were near the Sahafi Hotel were damaged by the powerful blasts.
Meanwhile, the dpa news agency quoted Mohamed Yusuf, Director at Madina Hospital said that 27 people that suffered injuries in the incident were admitted there and tha three of them had died later from their wounds.
On Saturday, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) strongly condemned Friday’s deadly attacks in Mogadishu.
In a statement, Raisedon Zenenga, UN secretary-general’s deputy special representative for Somalia, said that increased terror attacks will not deter international community’s efforts to stabilize the Horn of Africa nation.
In a statement issued on Friday evening, Zenenga said, “We join the people and the Federal Government of Somalia in condemning this act of terror in no uncertain terms – such reprehensible acts of terrorism will not in any way undermine the determination of the Somali people to pursue their state-building, economic recovery and security priorities.”
Zenenga added that the United Nations and the wider international community stand with Somalis as they struggle to reconstruct their country.
Al Shabaab, which was ranked as the deadliest Islamist extremist group in Africa in 2016, has led a decade-long insurgency in Somalia, killing hundreds of civilians across East Africa and thousands of Somalis.
The Al Qaeda-linked militant group has battled to topple the central government and impose its rule, based on its own strict interpretation of Islam’s sharia law.
Al Shabaab regularly orchestrates acts of terrorism throughout the country and border towns and has claimed several such attacks on security officers in the country this year already.
The extremist group recently stepped up their assault against the government and African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) bases across south and central parts of the Horn of Africa nation.