The death toll from two al-Shabab bombings in Mogadishu has risen to 121, Somalia’s Health Minister Dr. Ali Haji Adam, said Tuesday.
In an interview with VOA’s Somali Service, Adam said 10 people have been recorded as missing from the Saturday bombings. He said the National Response Committee appointed by the government also recorded 333 injuries.
“This morning there are 142 injured people in the hospitals, some of them in the intensive care unit,” he said.
Adam said the government set up a call center for people who are missing their loved ones to contact. He said the government has also been distributing food and water to the wounded and their relatives who are coming to the hospitals.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has appealed to the international community to send doctors to help treat the wounded.
Adam said Turkey was the first country to respond to the appeal made by the president.
“We were expecting an air ambulance, carrying medical supplies and doctors (from Turkey) today but it was delayed,” he said.
He said they are also expecting medical supplies, two ambulances and a trauma team from the World Health Organization.
Adam said the government also set up a victims’ support fund, to which the government has donated $1 million. Three private companies, Dahabshiil, Hormud and BECO have donated $500,000, $200,000, and $50,000 respectively.
The al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the Saturday explosions. A senior Somali government official who requested not to be identified because he is not authorized to speak with the media told VOA Somali the first explosion was caused by a suicide car bomb that targeted the Ministry of Education. A three-wheeled motorcycle pulling a small trailer full of explosives caused the second blast.
The rising death toll makes the attack the second deadliest in Somalia’s history. The deadliest bombing occurred on October 14, 2017, when a truck laden with explosives blew up at a major intersection in the capital, killing 587 people and injuring hundreds more.
The Somali government and the international community condemned the latest incidents.
President Mohamud described the bombings as a “cruel & cowardly terrorist attack on innocent people by the morally bankrupt & criminal al-Shabab group.”
In Washington, White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said the United States strongly condemns the “tragic terrorist attack.”
“We send our deepest condolences to the Somali people and to all those who lost loved ones or were injured by these unconscionable attacks against innocent civilians. The United States remains committed to supporting the federal government of Somalia in its fight to prevent such callous terrorist acts.”
In New York, a spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he is “deeply saddened” by what happened.
“The Secretary-General strongly condemns these heinous attacks and reiterates that the United Nations stands in solidarity with Somalia against violent extremism,” said Stephane Dujarric.
Al-Shabab has been fighting to topple the internationally recognized Somali government for more than 15 years. Government troops supported by local militias are currently engaged in an offensive that has succeeded in retaking some areas that were controlled by al-Shabab in central Somalia.