Insurgents Kill 60 in Somali Capital Blast

Posted October 4th, 2011 at 11:05 am (UTC-5)
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A truck bomb tore through a Somali government compound in Mogadishu on Tuesday, killing at least 60 people and wounding nearly 150.

The insurgent group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was aimed at Somalia's Transitional Federal Government and African Union peacekeepers who assist the TFG.

Witnesses told VOA that two suicide bombers drove a truck up to the compound's entrance and detonated the bomb at about 11 a.m. local time Tuesday.

A government statement gave a death toll of 15, but a journalist at the scene confirmed the death toll of 60 given by police and medical officials.

Managers at Mogadishu's Medina and Bandir hospitals told VOA they had received a total of 147 people wounded in the attack.

Many of the victims were students, who came to the Ministry of Education to learn the results of exams they took to obtain scholarships in Turkey.

The Somali government condemned the attack, saying it shows the danger from terrorists is not over.

Al-Shabab pulled its fighters from Mogadishu in August, but said it would continue to fight the government. The group is trying to seize power and to impose a strict form of Sharia, or Islamic law across Somalia.

Al-Shabab has carried out suicide bombings with devastating effect in the past. In late 2009, a suicide bomber killed 24 at a graduation ceremony in Mogadishu.

Last July, twin bombings in Uganda's capital, Kampala, killed at least 76. Uganda contributes troops the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia.