By Mohammed Dhaysane
The death toll from Saturday’s suicide bombing in the Somali capital Mogadishu has climbed to well above 200, with just as many or more injured, a federal member of parliament said Sunday.
MP Mahad Salad said in a statement posted on his official Facebook page that 230 had been killed in the attack, based on his visits to local hospitals.
From visits to Medina Hospital and Recep Tayyip Erdogan Hospital — a jointly run Turkish-Somali facility — Salad wrote: “There are 230 dead in these two hospitals alone, 130 of them unrecognizable. This is a national disaster.”
Of more than 278 people wounded, 30 sustained life-threatening injuries, he added.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed announced three days of mourning.
Turkish aid, condemnation
As Ankara sent air ambulances with medical supplies to take the critically injured to Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the attack.
In a message to Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, Erdogan said: “I condemn this attack targeting security and stability in Somalia in the strongest terms.”
He added that Turkey remains committed to standing by the government and people of Somalia against terrorism.
Last month Turkey opened a military base to train soldiers in the Horn of Africa nation, its largest base outside Turkish soil.
Saturday’s suicide truck attack at the capital Mogadishu’s busiest intersection destroyed buildings, restaurants, and hotels.
Farmajo and Somalia’s prime minister also called on the public to donate blood at hospitals, setting the example by doing so themselves.
“It was the deadliest explosion in Somali history,” Abdisalam Yusuf Guled, former deputy director of Somalia’s Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), told Anadolu Agency.
“There will be no accurate accounting of the deceased, injured, or missing anytime soon because there are no facilities in place. But given the time, location, and the magnitude of the explosion, I will not be surprised if the numbers reach into the hundreds.”