In Mogadishu, two suicide bombers carried out back-to-back attacks on the first Monday of 2017 near the Medina Gate security checkpoint for the International Airport, and according to media reports, the al-Shabab militant group is claiming responsibility for the double attack.
A witness, quoted in a Voice of America report of the Somali bombing attacks, described what was experienced.
“First I heard gunshots, then a car explosion… When we came out to help the wounded we saw a big truck drive through it (checkpoint) and it exploded.”
The back-to-back Mogadishu suicide bombing idea has been used by this terrorist group once before, according to the VOA, and it is particularly evil. The back-to-back suicide vehicles apparently are meant to first “provoke panic” while the second was purposefully devised “to cause maximum casualties.”
A report from the Associated Press suggested there are three persons dead from the explosion while the Voice of America is reporting that there are five dead in the suicide bombing attack and at least 17 others have been injured in those two huge suicide car bombs. VOA cites ambulances services and Somali officials for the information.
The official Twitter page of the Turkish Embassy in Mogadishu posted a closed circuit video recording that shows the explosion from a distance.
This is the cctv record of today's explosion from Lido Beach. Terrorism is the scourge of humanity everywhere. pic.twitter.com/8eCa9WxUvj
— Turkey in Somalia (@TC_Mogadishu) January 2, 2017
From Twitter, users posted their experiences of the explosions.
Subhanalah We are safe but this More than Explosion, dad Ma Noola ???????? pic.twitter.com/qHzrYUw12A
— Amina Arale (@AminaAbdulkadir) January 2, 2017
This YouTube video explains the first facts gathered on the explosions.
The Mogadishu suicide bombers used by the extremist group to inflict the carnage targeted the Somali security checkpoint, per the information from RT. This location is very near to the main base of an African Union peacekeeping mission and the Peace Hotel as well. That United Nations hub is “frequently visited by foreigners and officials.”
Police captain Mohamed Hussein, who was cited in the RT report, apparently told the AP that “the bomb was detonated as security forces were busy searching cars at the checkpoint.”
Further, a police officer named Abdikadir Hussein stated that “there are Somali security forces at the checkpoint and it is too early to know the number of casualties.” The death toll was expected to rise because “the bomb was powerful and caused damage to nearby residential buildings.”
The bombing blasts blew roofs off nearby buildings, according to the news from USA Today. The report also notes that “a second blast and heavy gunfire could be heard at the checkpoint after the attack, but there were no immediate details.”
The article also points out another important fact.
“Somalia’s capital has seen frequent bomb attacks at hotels and military checkpoints. In July, two al-Shabab suicide bombers detonated explosives-laden cars outside the office of the U.N.’s mine-clearing agency and an army checkpoint near the African Union’s main base, killing 13.”
According to police officer Mohamed Ahmed, one assailant first drove a car into a checkpoint outside the headquarters of the African Union peacekeeping force AMISOM, killing three Somali officers stationed there.
Then, another vehicle drove towards the mission’s main gates, but came under fire from peacekeepers and “exploded about 200 meters from the gate.”
This Mogadishu suicide bombing, which was quickly claimed as an attack by Somalia Islamic extremist rebels al-Shabab, underscores the idea that the militant group has been “making a comeback” since the 2016 bombing last summer in Mogadishu.
[Featured Image by Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP Images File]