The number of people killed in twin car bombings in the Somali capital Mogadishu, claimed by Al-Shabaab Islamists, has risen to 100, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said on Sunday.
“So far, the number of people who died has reached 100 and 300 are wounded, and the number for both the dead and wounded continues to increase,” he said after visiting the blast location.
Two cars packed with explosives blew up minutes apart near the busy Zobe intersection, followed by gunfire in an attack targeting Somalia’s education ministry.
The afternoon explosions tore through walls, and shattered windows of nearby buildings, sending shrapnel flying and plumes of smoke and dust into the air.
The victims included women, children and the elderly, police spokesman Sadik Dudishe said.
“The ruthless terrorists killed mothers. Some of them died with their children trapped on their backs,” he said on Saturday, adding that the attackers had been stopped from killing more “innocent civilians and students.”
The attack took place at the same busy junction where a truck packed with explosives blew up on October 14, 2017, killing 512 people and injuring more than 290, the deadliest attack in the troubled country.
Mohamud described the incident as “historic”, saying “it is the same place, and the same innocent people involved.”
“This is not right. God willing, they will not be having the ability to do another Zobe incident,” he said, referring to the Islamist group Al-Shabaab.
Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement, saying its fighters were targeting the ministry of education.
The bloody siege drew international condemnation from Somalia’s allies, including the United Nations, Turkey as well as the African Union force tasked with helping Somali forces take over primary responsibility for security by the end of 2024.
The UN mission in Somalia UNSOM vowed to stand “resolutely with all Somalis against terrorism.”
“These attacks underline the urgency and critical importance of the ongoing military offensive to further degrade Al-Shabaab,” the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), which replaced the previous AMISOM peacekeeping force, said on Twitter late Saturday.
Al-Shabaab has been seeking to overthrow the fragile foreign-backed government in Mogadishu for about 15 years.
Its fighters were driven out of the capital in 2011 by an African Union force but the group still controls swathes of the countryside and continues to wage deadly strikes on civilian and military targets.
In August, the group launched a 30-hour gun and bomb attack on the popular Hayat hotel in Mogadishu, killing 21 people and wounding 117.
Mohamud, who was elected in May, vowed after the August siege to wage “all-out war” on the Islamists.
In September, he urged citizens to stay away from areas controlled by jihadists, saying the armed forces and tribal militia were ratcheting up offensives against them.
Al-Shabaab remains a potent force despite multinational efforts to degrade its leadership.
The group last week claimed responsibility for an attack on a hotel in the port city of Kismayo that killed nine people and wounded 47 others.
Somalia has been mired in chaos since the fall of president Siad Barre’s military regime in 1991.
His ouster was followed by civil war and the ascendancy of Al-Shabaab.
As well as the insurgency, Somalia — like its neighbours in the Horn of Africa — is in the grip of the worst drought in more than 40 years. Four failed rainy seasons have wiped out livestock and crops.
The conflict-wracked nation is considered one of the most vulnerable to climate change but is particularly ill-equipped to cope with the crisis as it battles the deadly Islamist insurgency.
Kremlin demanding security guarantees from Ukraine shows Russian aggression has failed – Zelenskyy
Ukraine’s president, Volodimir Zelenskyy has said Russia demanding security guarantees from Kyiv demonstrates the failure of Moscow’s invasion after eight months of fighting.
On Wednesday November 1, Russia resumed its participation in the UN-brokered grain deal that it had left days earlier, saying it had received written security guarantees from Ukraine on demilitarizing the maritime corridor.
In televised comments, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “having received the necessary guarantees from the Ukrainian side that the humanitarian route will not be used for military purposes, Russia resumes the implementation of the grain deal.”
In his nightly address on Wednesday, November 2, the wartime leader said;
“252 days ago, Russia demanded security guarantees from the United States of America. After eight months of Russia’s so-called ‘special operation,’ the Kremlin is demanding security guarantees from Ukraine. These are indeed striking changes.”
“It shows both the failure of Russian aggression and how strong we are when we remain united,” Zelensky added.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 with intentions to topple the Zelenskyy led regime but have received setbacks on the battlefield and are currently battling to hold on to the Donbas region, the industrialized area of Ukraine comprising of it’s south and Eastern cities.
120 Killed In Seoul Halloween Party Stampede, 100 Injured – Officials
More than 100 people have died in a crush among huge Halloween crowds in a popular nightlife area of South Korea’s capital, officials say.
The death toll jumped from 59 to 120 in the last hour, with local media reporting a further 100 injured.
Videos from Seoul’s Itaewon district show body bags on the streets, emergency workers performing CPR, and rescuers trying to pull people trapped beneath others.
It is not known what caused the crush.
South Korea’s President Yoon Suk-yeol has called an emergency meeting.
Meanwhile Choi Seong-beom, chief of Seoul’s Yongsan fire department, told the AP news agency that the bodies of 13 dead had been sent to hospital while the other 46 remained on the streets.
Crowded area ‘felt unsafe’
There were reportedly 100,000 revellers in the area celebrating the first outdoor no-mask Halloween event since the pandemic.
Social media messages posted earlier in the evening show some people remarking that the Itaewon area was so crowded that it felt unsafe.
The BBC’s Hosu Lee, who visited the scene, said he saw “a lot of medial staff, a lot of ambulances, they were taking the bodies away one by one”.
Mr Lee said there were thousands among the crowds, and a number of bodies covered in blue sheets, alongside a “ton of police”.
“A lot of young people have gathered here tonight. A lot of people came to the party and club, wearing costumes and a lot of people I’ve seen distraught and sad and there are chaotic scenes,” said Mr Lee.
Photos and videos show a number of both emergency responders and civilians attending to what appear to be unconscious people on the streets.
In one video numerous responders appear to be performing CPR on people in a narrow road in the district.
In another, emergency responders try to pull out people from what appears to be a pile of people’s bodies following a crowd surge.
Another local journalist said that an emergency broadcast had been sent to every mobile phone in the Yongsan District urging citizens to return home as soon as possible due to “an emergency accident near Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon”.
Video: Students Collapse At Jamaican High School During Devotion
Classes were dismissed early Wednesday at Oberlin High in St Andrew in Jamaica over an incident which involved students reportedly falling to the ground and screaming after a religious exercise.
Speaking to Observer Online, a staff of the school said more than 200 students collapsed in the incident.
A staff said a female teacher was talking to the students about their behavior and decided to pray for them because she said “she got a message” from God. Shortly after the teacher started praying, students started shaking and “dropping”.
The affected students were reportedly transported to the Lawrence Tavern Health Centre, Stony Hill Health Centre and Kingston Public Hospital.
It was also learnt that the school, the principal and board members had a meeting over the incident.
The country’s Ministry of Education says it is investigating the incident and will provide details to the public on what transpired at the school.
One of the affected students who spoke with Radio Jamaica News, said she and her fellow classmates became disorientated during devotion. She also said she does not know exactly how many students fainted.
The student said;
“So, we were all up there and we were keeping devotion and they start pray and… the teachers got into spirit, and a girl in 11th grade – she’s a prefect at Oberlin High School as well – she got into spirt. And from that, everybody start faint, basically.
“I don’t have a number, but the auditorium of Oberlin High School, that was full, and the nurse’s office was full, and the agriculture lab was full, and outside pickney was actually fainting again, over and over.”
Antoinette Gray, the acting principal of Oberlin High School, later sought to explain what happened at the school.
She said all students and teachers were participating in general assembly in the school yard when two teachers were given an opportunity to share what she calls a “word” with the students.
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