45 Killed in Mogadishu Mosque Bombing

Published on Sunday 2nd May 2010

More than 45 people including Al Shabaab insurgents were killed and 100 others wounded in an Iraq-style twin bombing inside a mosque in Somalia's restive capital Mogadishu, witnesses and security officials told Garowe Online.

Witnesses said the bombs went off shortly after the afternoon prayers inside the Abdalla Shideye Mosque in Bakara Market, a stronghold for the insurgent group, Al Shabaab.

"The explosions were big and occurred inside the Mosque. The place turned dark with huge black smoke everywhere the mosque. I saw several dead and injured people," said eyewitness Abdinasir Ahmed.

He added that at the time of the explosion, a senior commander of Al Shabaab named Sheikh Fuad Mohamed Shongole was delivering a sermon to the mosque's congregants.

Ali Muse of Mogadishu Ambulance Service said they have assisted "over 100" wounded people, and some are in critical condition.

Sheikh Ali Mohammed Rage, Al Shabaab's spokesman, blamed "foreign mercenaries" for the blasts.

"We have warned you early what happened today, which are masterminded by foreign mercenaries. They are targeting worship places where Muslims congregate," he said.

In January, Al Shabaab issued a public warning that "foreign mercinaries," such as Xe (former BlackWater) and DynCorp private security firms, had arrived in Mogadishu to "carry out bombings."

Somalia's transitional federal government and African Union have both condemned the blasts, terming it a total disregard for the religion and human lives.

It is the second explosion within a week that rocked a mosque inside Bakara market, a major headquarters for Mogadishu's insurgents since 2007.

On Tuesday, two people were killed and several others wounded when a landmine went off inside Al Shabaab's Abu Hureyra mosque.

No group has claimed responsibility for the two explosions, which highlight similarities with what is happening in Iraq after the 2003 U.S. invasion, where mosques are frequently targeted with explosions.

However, today's mosque bombing marks the deadliest attack inside a prayer center in Somalia since the outbreak of the Horn of Africa country's civil war nearly 20 years ago.

Al Shabaab is battling to oust the fragile UN-backed Somali government from Mogadishu and to install an Islamic government.

Over 21, 000 civilians have been killed and millions others displaced since the eruption of deadly insurgency in 2007.


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