Paris, France | AFP | Britain, Turkey and the African Union on Sunday strongly condemned the weekend suicide bombing in Somalia, the worst attack to date with at least 137 deaths.
Saturday’s blast occurred at a junction in Hodan, a bustling commercial district of the capital Mogadishu which has many shops, hotels and businesses. Hundreds of people had been in the area at the time of the blast.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said his country “condemns in the strongest terms the cowardly attacks in Mogadishu, which have claimed so many innocent lives”.
Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairman of the African Union Commission asked the government “to show renewed unity at this critical time and overcome divisions, to rebuild cohesion at all levels of the federal institutions.”
It said the pan-African body, which has deployed a peacekeeping mission in the east African country, would “continue its support to the Somali government and people in their efforts to achieve sustainable peace and security.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Ankara was sending planes “with medical supplies”, adding that the wounded would be flown to Turkey and treated there.
He did not specify numbers.
Turkey is a leading donor and investor in Somalia. In September it inaugurated the largest foreign-run military training centre in Somalia, where local troops are due to take over the protection of a nation threatened by Shabaab jihadists.
Somalia’s fragile government and institutions, including its national army, are backed by the African Union’s 22,000-strong AMISOM force and powers like the United States.
But the gradual withdrawal of the AMISOM troops is due to start in October 2018 and doubts persist over the readiness of Somali forces to confront the Qaeda-aligned Shabaab.