At least 73 people are reported to have been killed by a car bomb during morning rush hour in Somalia’s capital.
The blast took place at a checkpoint at a busy intersection in Mogadishu. Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, director of Madina hospital, told the AP news agency they had received 73 bodies. The death toll is expected to rise.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bomb but al-Shabab militants have often carried out attacks there.
Al-Shabab – a group of Islamist militants, allied to Al-Qaeda – has waged an insurgency for more than 10 years. It was forced out of the capital in 2011 but still controls areas of the country.
Witnesses described carnage at the scene.
“All I could see was scattered dead bodies … amid the blast and some of them burned beyond recognition,” said Sakariye Abdukadir, who was close to the blast.
One Somali MP, Mohamed Abdirizak, put the death toll at more than 90, although the information he said he had received has not been independently confirmed.
“May Allah have mercy on the victims of this barbaric attack,” the former internal security minister added.
Many of the dead are reportedly university students.
Three witnesses told Reuters that the blast had taken place next to a small group of Turkish engineers who were constructing a road. It is not known if the engineers survived but their car was destroyed.
Turkey has been a major donor to Somalia since a famine in 2011.
Five people were killed earlier this month when al-Shabab attacked a Mogadishu hotel popular with politicians, diplomats and military officers.