Car Bomb Kills 39 in Somali Capital

Car Bomb Kills 39 in Somali Capital

At least 39 people were on Sunday killed and about 50 injured in a car bomb blast in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.

The car blew up in the city’s southern Madina district, officials say.

The blast – which ripped through shops and food stalls – is the first major attack in the capital since the election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed earlier this month.

No group has claimed responsibility, although al-Shabab militants are likely to be the prime suspects.

On Saturday a senior al-Shabab commander vowed to target the president’s supporters.

Sheikh Hassan Yaqub said that anyone who collaborated with the new president – who he described as evil-minded – would be at risk of attack by the Islamist group.

President Mohamed has condemned the bombing, accusing al-Shabab of being behind the attack. He urged Somalis to unite against the group’s brutality.

The new president visited some of the wounded, as well as the site of the blast on Sunday. He offered a $100,000 reward to anybody who supplies information leading to the capture of those responsible.

“It was a horrific and barbaric attack only aimed at killings civilians,” he said.

The attack underlines the magnitude of the challenge faced by the new president whose administration relies heavily on international support and does not control all of Somalia.

Troops from the African Union forced al-Shabab out of Mogadishu in 2011, but the militants remain powerful in some rural areas.

Last month at least 28 people were killed in a bomb attack by militants at the Dayah hotel in Mogadishu.