More than 100 people are now believed to have died in Tuesday’s explosion in Mogadishu making it the single most deadly attack by Islamist militants since their insurgency began in 2007.
The estimated death toll contained in a UN situation report issued on Thursday means the truck bomb attack on a government compound in the capital killed more people than the World Cup bombings in Kampala, Uganda, last July when 76 died in two separate explosions.
“Incidents like the suicide bomb blast that killed more than 100 people are a stark reminder of the prevailing insecurity in Somalia,” said the UN report.
It added that insecurity was hampering efforts to provide emergency relief to those affected by the famine in the country which the UN predicts might kill 750,000.
Condemnation of this week’s atrocity has been pretty universal but it seems not to matter to al-Shabaab, Somalia’s Islamists who have pledged allegiance in the past to al-Qaeda, and who quickly – proudly – claimed responsibility for the truck bombing.
Hours after the blast while the dead and wounded were still being collected bloodied and burned from the busy K4 intersection Shabaab spokesman Sheikh Ali Mohamud Rage promised more attacks.
“Somalis, we warn you: keep away from government buildings and the bases of their soldiers, more serious blasts are coming,” he said.
“We wish to inform the Muslim people that the campaign against infidels will be back-to-back and by God's grace will increase day by day and will increase in the coming hours,” Rage said. "I will give a good tiding to the infidels: You will face big and broad blows.”
Rage identified the suicide bomber as a young Somali man called Bashar Abdullahi Nur. The Somalia Report website has an interview with a man said to be a close friend of the bomber as well as a transcript of the bomber’s martyrdom message.