Three days of mourning after Somalia bombs left hundreds dead

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A Somali woman mourns at the scene of an explosion in KM4 street in the Hodan district of Mogadishu, Somalia October 15, 2017. Reuters/Feisal Omar

Somalia bombs death count has reached 276, and about 300 are injured. Officials said the twin blast in Somalia's capital was the deadliest attack ever in the Horn of Africa nation.

The update on the death toll was announced by Information Minister Abdirahman Osman. He called the attack "barbaric.”

Mogadishu was stunned by the force of blast on Saturday. The attacks caused doubts over the government's ability to secure the seaside city of over 2 million people. Protesters reportedly gathered near the scene of the attack.

The government blamed the Al Qaida-linked Al Shabaab extremist group, with Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire reportedly saying they do not care about the lives of “Somali people, mothers, fathers and children.” He pointed out that they have targeted the most populated area in Mogadishu, killing only civilians. A BBC Somali reporter said the Safari Hotel had collapsed, with people trapped under the rubble.

Three days of mourning

President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has declared three days of mourning. He also joined people who responded to a plea by doctors to donate blood. The president said he was appealing to all Somali people to come forward and donate blood for the victims.

Police captain Mohamed Hussein said several victims have died at hospitals. He said the blast was the worst the city had ever seen. "It's a sad day- this how merciless and brutal they are, and we have to unite against them," he told the state-run radio station.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted that he was "sickened" by the attack. Through this spokesperson, he encouraged all Somali people to unite against extremism and work together to build a "functional" federal state.

Mogadishu's Mayor Thabit Abdi called for unity. He said Mogadishu shouldn't be a graveyard for burnt dead bodies. "Mogadishu is a place of respect, and if we remain united like we are today, moving ahead, we will surely defeat the enemy, Allah willing,” he added, according to the BBC.

Ambulance sirens echo

Doctors struggled to assist badly wounded victims. Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, the director of Medina hospital, said it was really horrendous, unlike any other time in the past. Nurse Samir Abdi said it was "unspeakable horrors.” She added that almost all injured victims were seriously wounded.

According to local media, some families gathered in the area on Sunday to look for missing loved ones. Police official Ibrahim Mohamed told AFP news agency that the death toll was likely to rise.

AFP news agency/YouTube

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