Mogadishu, Dec 31 (IANS) The Al-Shabab terror group has claimed responsibility for the December 28 bombing in the Somali capital of Mogadishu that left 92 people dead and 125 others injured.
In a message broadcast over Al-Shabab’s Radio Andalus, spokesman Ali Dheere said on Monday that the intended targets of the truck-bomb attack were Turks who travelled to the East African nation to work on infrastructure projects in cooperation with the Somali government, reports Efe news.
“We will continue attacking the Turks who invade our country,” Dheere said.
Turkey has a major diplomatic and economic presence in Mogadishu, which is also the site of the Turkish military’s largest training facility outside the country’s borders.
Two Turkish engineers were among the victims of the deadliest terror attack in the restive nation since October 2017, when a coordinated assault using explosives-laden trucks left more than 500 dead.
The truck bomb detonated during the morning rush hour at a checkpoint on a highway connecting Mogadishu with the city of Afgoye.
Al-Shabab had previously expressed opposition to the road, which was built by Turkey with financing from Qatar.
At least 25 people, including six children, remain unaccounted fo, government spokesman Ismael Mukhtar said.
The number of confirmed deaths stands at 92, Nasra Ali, a doctor at Medina Hospital in Mogadishu, told Efe news on Monday.
The government has so far kept the official death toll at 81.
While Mogadishu technically remains under the full control of the Somali government, it is a frequent target for attacks by Al-Shabab, which has links to Al Qaeda.
Its aim it to expel all foreign forces from the nation and establish a strict Islamic state.