A car-bomb in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, has killed more than 30 and has left more than 50 wounded, some critically, just days after the election of a new president.
The bomb went off in the market on Feb. 19. Medics are expecting the death toll to rise as the injuries were extensive, according to CNN. Of those injured, most were comprised of traders and customers in the market but additionally were both soldiers and civilians.
This was the first attack since the election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, a dual Somali-American citizen on Feb. 8.
Witness Abdulle Omar said the market was destroyed. “I was staying in my shop when a car came in into the market and exploded. I saw more than 20 people lying on the ground. Most of them were dead,” he said.
Spokesman for the Mogadishu mayor, Abdifitah Omar Halane, noted that, “the aim of the attack was to massacre the innocent civilians at the crowded market.” He further explained the driver was driving a Toyota Harrier loaded with explosives.
Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela said he was “angered” by the situation. “I am even more shocked that this morning’s explosion took place on such a busy road with thousands of drivers passing by every day. The risks are not only for the targets of these attacks but also for passers-by,” Abela said.
In response to the attack, the issue has been put high on the Cabinet of Ministers in Somalia’s agenda when it meets this week. According to Malta Today, the cabinet will discuss how the police’s resources could be strengthened and will be considering the possibility of making penalties harsher of persons involved in such attacks.
Thus far no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but there is one Islamist group in particular that is the likely suspect, al-Shabaab. In January, most recently, similar attacks in the country have been claimed by al-Shabab.
In addition, on Saturday, a senior al-Shabaab commander, Sheikh Hassan Yaqub, vowed to target the new president’s supporters stating that, “anyone who collaborated with the new president, would be at risk of attack by the Islamist group,” according to BBC.