JoAnna Mitchell, Staff Reporter
Two U.S. citizens are among the 276 dead following a devastating terror attack on the Somalian capitol city of Mogadishu last Saturday, October 14.
Three hundred more bystanders were left injured after a member of the militant group al-Shabab drove a truck filled with explosives into the city which was crowded with civilians. This is the deadliest attack the region has experienced in many years.
“This is the Somali 9/11,” one official said. “The man we arrested has confessed. He is proud of what he has done. He says it was for jihad.”
A second truck was in route to the detonation site but was stopped, and the driver was apprehended by Somali security forces. The suspect told interrogators the attack was planned by the region’s al-Quaida linked extremist group, though al-Shabab has not formally claimed the attack as of Tuesday.
Xarakada Mujaahidiinta Alshabaab, or “Movement of Striving Youth”, has been operating in East Africa since 2006 and pledged their allegiance to al-Quaida in 2011. The group aims to wage jihad, or “holy war”, against the enemies of Islam and recently vowed to increase their attacks after the Trump administration and the newly elected Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed issued a renewal of military endeavors against the group.
Doctor Aden Nur of the Madina hospital said, “One hundred and sixty of the bodies could not be recognized and so they were buried by the government.”
The extent of the damage is still unfolding, with rescue workers combing debris and leveled city streets and pulling more victims from the ruins of what was once a highly populated downtown.
President Mohamed declared a three-day period of national mourning after he personally donated blood and encouraged his citizens to do the same.
“Today’s horrific attack proves our enemy would stop nothing to cause our people pain and suffering. Let’s unite against terror,” the president said on Twitter.
Turkey, Djibouti and neighboring country Kenya have all sent humanitarian aid workers as well as airlifted survivors to their respective countries for medical treatment.
A U.S. military aircraft has brought supplies to be distributed to hospitals and trauma centers, and the State Department has arranged for medical teams and more emergency medical supplies to be delivered to the city following the attack.
A U.S. official has condemned the attack, staying that “Such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.”