0349 GMT November 30, 2022
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, at the site of the explosions in Mogadishu, told journalists that nearly 300 other people were wounded. “We ask our international partners and Muslims around the world to send their medical doctors here since we can’t send all the victims outside the country for treatment,” he said, according to AP.
The Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab terrorist group, which often targets the capital and controls large parts of the country, claimed responsibility, saying it targeted the Education Ministry. It claimed the ministry was an “enemy base” that receives support from non-Muslim countries.
Al-Shabab usually doesn’t make claims of responsibility when large numbers of civilians are killed, as in the 2017 blast, but it has been angered by a high-profile new offensive by the government that also aims to shut down its financial network. The group said it is committed to fighting and it asked civilians to stay away from government areas.
Somalia’s president, elected this year, said the country remained at war with Al-Shabab “and we are winning.”
The attack in Mogadishu occurred on a day when the president, prime minister and other senior officials were meeting to discuss expanded efforts to combat violent extremism and especially Al-Shabab. The extremists have responded to the offensive by killing prominent clan leaders in an apparent effort to dissuade grassroots support.
The attack has overwhelmed first responders in Somalia, which has one of the world’s weakest health systems after decades of conflict. At hospitals and elsewhere, frantic relatives peeked under plastic sheeting and into body bags, looking for loved ones.