AU in search, rescue operation after Mogadishu attack

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President Hassan Sheik Mohamoud of Somalia.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) said Monday its security officers are helping the government in search and rescue operation to ensure those still trapped in the rubble are rescued following Saturday’s bomb attack in Mogadishu.

AMISOM contingent commander, Brig. Muhanga Kayanja, who visited the scene of the Saturday attack which has so far claimed some 276 lives also condemned the attack, terming it a cowardly act.

“We have been informed that some people are still trapped in the rubble and they have been calling but their phone batteries have died, however, all efforts are in place to make sure that we rescue survivors from the rubble,” he said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

A vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device, suspected to have been deployed by Al-Shabaab detonated at a busy junction in the central business district, on Saturday, killing innocent civilians and destroying property worth millions of dollars.

Later in the day, a second bombing was reported in the city’s Madina district.

The blast destroyed buildings and set vehicles ablaze, in one of the worst such attack to date in the capital, which has suffered nearly three decades of violence.

No group including Al-Shabaab terror group which usually carries out such attacks, has claimed responsibility for the latest attack which has been condemned by the international community.

Kayanja, who assessed the damage and identified areas of support ahead of a massive cleanup operation, said Somalis with the support of AMISOM will triumph over terrorism.

“This is an act of cowardice by the terrorist group, Al-Shabaab, and it is intended to coerce the civilian population into fearing and supporting them, but it is an act of cowardice and we shall defeat it,” Kayanja said.

AMISOM staff is also donating blood in response to an appeal by the government to help treat those injured in the blast.

AMISOM troops, working together with their Somali counterparts and the civilian population, have been taking part in the search and rescue operation since the day of the blast.

“This is the location of the hotel at km five in Mogadishu city where the terrorists bombed. As you can see from the destruction around, many people have died but we have not established the number,” he said.

Troop contributing countries of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi and Djibouti together with the Somalia National Army have been battling the terrorist group, Al-Shabaab, in an effort to restore peace and stability in the Horn of Africa country. (Xinhua/NAN