Nearly 80 die in Somalia car bomb blast

A car bomb explosion rocked Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu on Saturday, killing at least 78 people and injuring 125 others, officials there said.

Security officers gather at the scene of a large explosion near a checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somalia Saturday. Photo by Said Yusuf Warsame/

The explosion happened at an intersection on the outskirts of the city during rush hour traffic Saturday morning. Authorities said students, other civilians and soldiers were among the people killed in the blast.

Somali government spokesman Ismael Mukhtar said the alleged attacker drove a vehicle into a checkpoint that links south Somalia to the capital on the city’s outskirts. Authorities do security searches at the checkpoint that is also heavily traveled by civilians and security forces.

“When the explosion happened, I was coming out of an ear by tea shop,” Somali police Sgt. Osman Abdulle said. “With my own eyes, I have seen pieces of human beings and blood scattered around. I have collected the bodies of my fellow policemen, who I recognized. I have also seen a university bus reduced to ashes.”

The bombing was the largest attack on Mogadishu since Oct. 14, 2017, when almost 600 died in a market after two bomb-carrying trucks nearby detonated.

Al-Shabab, the terrorist group that has pledged its allegiance with al-Qaeda, has carried out attacks on public spaces in Somalia but no one immediately claimed responsibility yet for the car bomb.

Two Turkish nationals who worked for a private construction company died in the blast as well, one Somali official said.

ByClyde Hughes