82 die in Mogadishu suicide bomb blast
At least 82 people were killed in Somalia's capital Mogadishu yesterday when a suicide truck bomb exploded outside a compound housing several government ministries.
Responsibility for the attack, one of the most devastating in the city to date, was claimed by the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab.
A bomb in a second vehicle reportedly failed to detonate.
Just two months ago the al-Qa'ida-linked group announced its withdrawal from Mogadishu, following an offensive by government troops and African Union forces to retake the city as famine spread throughout the country.
The bomber detonated the explosives at a security checkpoint outside a compound housing four ministries, including the Ministries of Education and External Relations.
A second truck laden with explosives failed to go off and its current whereabouts is still being determined, Lieutenant Colonel Paddy Ankunda, a spokesman for the African Union peacekeeping force, said.
Ali Muse, the head of Mogadishu's ambulance services, said last night that the death toll had reached 82.
According to a government statement, many of the dead were students and parents who were waiting at the Ministry of Education for the results of applications for scholarships.
Sheikh Ali Mohamed Rage, a spokesman for al-Shabaab, told the BBC the group had carried out the attack, a claim repeated on a website it regularly uses. (© Daily Telegraph, London)