The death toll from Friday’s car bomb blasts in Somalia’s capital has climbed to 52, according to admission records from five hospitals.
Somali security officials who responded to the attack say four militants entered the hotel and went to the roof, firing on people down below. They said the security forces eventually killed the assailants and rescued dozens of people from hotel rooms.
The militant group al-Shabab, which has waged an insurgency for more than 10 years, claimed responsibility.
The blasts, which occurred within minutes of each other, targeted Mogadishu’s Sahafi Hotel and its surroundings. The hotel is near the headquarters of the Somali Police Force’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID).
Doctors and administrators of the five hospitals in the city that mainly treat the victims of gunshots and explosions — Medina, Darul Shifa, Erdogan, also known as the Digfer, Kalkaal and Somalia Sudanese Hospital — aside from putting the death toll at 52, say 106 others are wounded.
Doctor Mohamed Yusuf, the director of Medina hospital, the biggest emergency care facility in the city, told VOA that 63 blast victims had been admitted.
“We received 63 victims. Thirty-two were brought wounded, but three of them died in the hospital and the 31 others were already dead and we transferred them to the morgue,” he said.
Yusuf said patients wounded by gunfire and explosions had been occupying almost 100 percent of Medina’s beds, though recently the number has dramatically dropped due to a decline in the number of blasts and a longer timeframe between some of the larger bombings.
“The number of receptions for the wounded people has been recently unusual, but we always remembered that we were in Mogadishu and things can happen at any time,” stated Yusuf.
Mohamed Osman Abas, director of Darul Shifa hospital, said 26 critically wounded people were being treated at that facility from the three car bomb explosions and gunfire that rocked the city Friday.
A witness who was inside the hotel at the time said on condition of anonymity that the front of the building was destroyed by the force of the explosions.
Former Somali lawmaker Abdi Barre Jibril said women and children were among the victims. “Two women and an eight-year-old child were among the dead,” he told VOA.