TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
MOGADISHU, Somalia — The death toll in a weekend truck bombing in Mogadishu has risen to 276, the Somali government said Monday, with 300 others injured and dozens of people missing.
“These numbers are expected to rise as more victims continue to be rescued from the rubble,” said humanitarian affairs and disaster management minister Maryan Qasim, calling the attack a “national crisis.”
The Somali government launched an emergency operations management center on Monday to assist with victim identification, coordinate the medical response and provide logistical support, Qasim said in a statement.
At least 111 of the bodies already had been buried as they were burned beyond recognition, the government statement said.
A suicide attacker detonated a truck filled with explosives at a busy intersection in the capital Mogadishu on Oct. 14. It was the deadliest single attack in the volatile East African nation’s history.
The explosion occurred at a major intersection normally packed with cars, buses and taxis, where hotels, stores, restaurants and government buildings cater to locals.
Rolled over vehicles
The nearby Safari hotel is thought to have been a possible target in the attack for offering accommodation to Somalis returned from abroad, government workers and journalists.
Before detonating the truck he was driving, the suicide bomber had raced along a Mogadishu street at high speed on Oct. 14, rolling over motorcycles and cars and shunting some vehicles stuck in traffic.
Security forces opened fire on the truck but were unsuccessful in their attempt to shoot the driver.