Turkey evacuate wounded after Mogadishu blast

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MOGADISHU, Dec 30 (NNN-AGENCIES) — A Turkish military cargo plane landed in the Somali capital to evacuate people badly wounded in a devastating truck bombing in the city that killed at least 90 people, including two Turkish nationals.

The plane also brought emergency medical staff and supplies, according to a tweet from the Turkish embassy, adding these had been transferred to a Turkish-run hospital in Mogadishu.

Somali Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Hayir Mareye told state media that 10 badly injured Somalis would be evacuated to Turkey. He added that Turkey had sent 24 doctors to treat those wounded who would not be evacuated.

Since a 2011 famine in Somalia, Turkey has been a leading aid provider to the country as Ankara seeks to boost its influence in the strategic Horn of Africa in competition with Gulf rivals like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Saturday’s blast, at a busy checkpoint during rush hour in Mogadishu, was the deadliest in war-torn Somalia in more than two years. No-one immediately claimed responsibility, although the city’s mayor blamed al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al Shabaab.

The dead included many students from a university in the city, authorities said.

At Mogadishu airport, 10 injured Somalis and the bodies of two dead Turks loaded on the plane.

The bombing was the 20th vehicle-borne explosives attack of 2019 in Somalia and the year is ending with more deaths from such attacks than 2018, according to the Hiraal Institute, a Mogadishu-based security-think tank.

Grieving families on Sunday arranged burials and funerals for their loved ones, having endured the anguish of identifying charred corpses and body fragments at the blast site and at hospitals around the city.

Separately, in ADDIS ABABA, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission is deeply shocked by the attack in Mogadishu.

Among the precious lives lost were university students; women and children the very future of Somalia, as well as Somali national security forces.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with the families and loved ones of those killed in this horrific attack. We commiserate with the Federal Government of Somalia. We pray for the speedy healing and recovery of the injured,” the AU said in a statement.

This is yet another shocking disregard for the sanctity of life displayed by the forces of terror, destruction and darkness. As has been their practice all along, the terrorists target innocent and defenceless Somali civilians, who continue to bear the brunt of this senseless bloodshed, it added.

The African Union will not relent in the face of such heinous crimes against humanity and neither be intimidated by cowardly acts of violence by terrorists who do not want a Somalia that is peaceful and prosperous.

“Our support to the Federal Government of Somalia, and our mission in Somalia will maintain its resolve and commitment to see through its mandate and to fulfil the legitimate desire of the people of Somalia to live in freedom, peace and security.” — NNN-AGENCIES

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