In the deadliest attack since a 2017 truck bombing which killed more than 500 at least 120 people have been killed and almost 300 wounded near the Ministry of Education in Mogadishu. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has requested international medical assistance to meet the needs of the large number of blast and projectile casualties.
The al-Shabab jihadi group which aligns with al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the bombings and has stated in their justification for the attack that the Ministry of Education receives support from non-Muslim countries and has as an objective the diverting of Somali children from the Islamic faith.
It is probable that al-Shabab has atypically claimed responsibility for the attack which has killed and injured large numbers of civilians in response to the high-profile offensive mounted by the government that also aims to shut down al-Shabab’s financial network to further undermine their objective of Somalia being governed under Sharia Law contrary to the wishes of the majority of the population.
The 29 October attack took place on the same day as the Somalia President met with senior officials to discuss enhanced efforts to combat Islamic extremism. Al-Shabab have also killed prominent clan leaders, who are working in concert with the Government offensive, in an effort to discourage wider support for the latest military offensive.
Witnesses stated that the first detonation was near the Ministry of Education perimeter wall and the second in front of a restaurant packed with lunchtime customers. It is suspected but not confirmed that the VBIEDs were driver initiated and the explosive payload of each vehicle has been estimated as in excess of 100kg. That the VBIEDs evaded the many city checkpoints to reach their target will be the subject of investigation.
Photo: Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP