Ex-al-Shabab leader donates blood to survivors
As many as 165 unidentified bodies have been buried after a massive truck bomb attack in the Somali capital Mogadishu at the weekend.
At least 276 people have died and the government news agency Sonna said only 111 of them have been identified. A Turkish military plane has airlifted 40 of the injured to Turkey for medical treatment.
It is the deadliest terror attack in Somalia since the Islamist al-Shabaab group launched its insurgency in 2007. Some of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition. Of those who were identified, one of the victims was a medical student who was due to graduate the next day.
Her father had flown to Mogadishu to attend her graduation but instead witnessed her burial.
No group has yet said it was behind the bombing at a busy junction, destroying hotels, government offices and restaurants.
But President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed blamed al-Shabaab, calling it a “heinous act”. Al-Shabaab, which is allied to al-Qaeda, and which often attacks Mogadishu, normally claims them fairly quickly afterwards. On Sunday, some Somalis took to the streets of Mogadishu to condemn the group.
Maryam Abdullahi had been due to graduate as a doctor the following day. Ms Abdullah’s sister Anfa’a told the BBC Somali Service that she was devastated. “The family is so shocked, especially our father who travelled all the way from London to attend her graduation, but instead he attended her burial.”
Anfa’a said she had spoken to her sister 20 minutes before the blast. “At that time she was in Banadir Hospital where she was working. She told me she was waiting for some files from the hospital and she promised to call back”.
Meanwhile, a former commander in Somalia’s militant Islamist group al-Shabaab has been donating blood to survivors. He was one of the founders of al-Shabaab, along with other more radical leaders following the defeat of the Islamic Courts Union in late 2006.
Robow quickly rose in the group’s ranks to become its official spokesman and a deputy leader.
He, however, fell out with the al-Qaeda-linked group’s leadership in 2013, and remained a fugitive in the remote areas of south-western Somalia until his surrender.
In June, the United States’ State Department withdrew Robow from its terror list and lifted the $5m (£3.8m) reward for information leading to his capture. He announced his defection to the Somali government in August.