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Rush hour car bomb kills dozens in Somali capital

Media captionWatch: The aftermath of the blast in Mogadishu

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.

  • Who are Somalia’s al-Shabab?

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.

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Reuters

Image caption

Many were severely injured in 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.

Many of the dead are reportedly university students.

“May Allah have mercy on the victims of this barbaric attack,” the former internal security minister added.

Five people were killed earlier this month when al-Shabab attacked a Mogadishu hotel popular with politicians, diplomats and military officers.

Media captionJamal Osman, a Somali journalist, talks about how his country has been torn apart by civil war for three decades