Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, widely known as Farmajo, has declared three days of mourning following Saturday afternoon’s terrorist attack in the capital of Mogadishu that claimed 40 lives.
Farmajo announced the mourning period in a televised address late Saturday as rescue teams intensified search for terror victims who could have been trapped in the rubble.
“Tonight we have lost very important people in our country so we declare three days of mourning and all flags shall be flown half-mast,” said the Somali leader.
He condemned the terrorist attack by Al-Qaida-linked Al-Shabaab militants and vowed to pursue justice for the innocent victims and their families.
“I say to you my people the attack was conducted by Al-Shabaab against innocent people. It was not directed at government headquarters or its staff; it shows the extent of hostility to Somali people,” said the president.
Even as the president spoke, emergency rescue teams worked all night as the fire that had consumed several building continued into the night.
The number of the dead could not be easily established but could have gone beyond 50.
Hospitals sent out appeals for blood donations to help save victims who sustained serious injuries.
Mogadishu mayor who was at the scene of attack asked security teams to allow family members access to enable them identify bodies of their loved ones.
Majority of the deceased were burned beyond recognition and charred remains could be spotted on the streets.
An emergency rescue member at the scene said he had never witnessed terrorist attack of that magnitude.
“I have worked in Mogadishu in emergency rescue but I have never witnessed such an attack in recent times,” said the rescue worker who preferred not to be identified.
President Farmajo called on Somalis to unite as he declared the latest terrorist attack a national disaster.
The militant group Al-Shabaab that has carried out similar attacks before is yet to claim responsibility for the latest one. Enditem