At least 100 people were killed and more than 100 others were injured in twin car bomb explosions targeting Somalia’s Education Ministry in the capital Mogadishu, the Somali government said on Sunday.
In a statement, the Somali government said the attack, claimed by the Islamist militant group Al-Shabaab, which often targets the capital and controls large parts of the country, would not deter it from eliminating the terrorist threat posed by the group.
The Somali government has been conducting a major offensive against Al-Shabaab in recent weeks killing several militants and reclaiming control of dozens of territories previously held by the group.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who spoke to journalists during a visit to the bombing site, condemned the attack, adding that the number of fatalities were likely to rise. Several government offices, hotels and restaurants are situated near the bombing site.
“Today’s cruel and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent people by the morally bankrupt and criminal Al-Shabab group cannot discourage us, but will further strengthen our resolve to defeat them once and for all. Our government and brave people will continue to defend Somalia against evil,” Mohamud said in a statement.
Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre echoed President Mohamud’s sentiments saying the government remained “committed to fighting and eliminating the terrorist group al-Shabaab from our country.”
Barre also appointed a 10-member committee led by Health minister Dr. Ali Haji to assess the scale of the damage caused by Saturday’s terrorist attack and coordinate the emergency response.
The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, also condemned the attack while reaffirming the AU’s support to Somalia in its efforts to achieve sustainable peace and security.
Mahamat also urged the international community to redouble its efforts to ensure robust international support to Somalia’s institutions to consolidate key security gains made in recent years.
The Secretary-General of the East African Community (EAC) Peter Mathuki denounced the attack saying such an “act of cowardice has no space in the modern world”.
Several countries, like Djibouti, Türkiye, Iraq and Jordan, and international institutions, such as the Arab Parliament and the League of Arab States, have also condemned the attacks.
(Story compiled with assistance from wire reports)