Three bodies had been dug out of the rubble of collapsed buildings near Friday’s devastating restaurant blast raising confirmed deaths to above 25.
A vehicle packed with explosives hit a popular restaurant near the Turkey-managed seaport of the capital of federal Somalia at dinner time immediately killing 20 people and injuring 30 as confirmed by an ambulance service that collected the dead and the injured from the site.
Contradicting the number to, ostensibly, lower fears down, a police spokesman slashed the numbers in half immediately after the blast which did not convince anybody.
Many of the more seriously injured who had been rushed to medical centres, according to other reports, had since then succumbed to their injuries dying. The exact number is not yet known.
Reports indicate that many of the buildings near the Lul Yamani restaurant had yet to be investigated for more corpses and/or people trapped under the collapsed structures. Why it has taken this long to ascertain that there were no more people under the rubble showed how disorganized and lacklustre the government rescue operation was.
Many more people who had been last known present at the restaurant had not been found yet – dead or alive raising the spectre of a higher death toll more as suspected.
At the time the blast happened, the government was busy defending itself from an opposition who demanded that it step down and hand over the leadership of the government to a transitional council since its mandated term expired nearly a month ago.
Talks between the council of presidential candidates – an alliance of opposition leaders – and the government collapsed the same day when the government deployed a great number of its specially-trained troops at strategic junctions of the city to prevent people arriving for a demonstration planned for Saturday which it agreed to earlier. The opposition saw it as another preparation of the government to hit protesters again with live munition as it did on the 19 February rally which caused the death of a score of people.
The Council of Candidates cancelled the scheduled demonstration bringing to an end a week-long lull that vaguely promised a state where the two sides could continue talking to help bring the electoral impasse to a fruitful conclusion that has eluded everyone up to now.
Busy on going back on its word, the teetering, weak government which nominally existed in the capital, Mogadishu, alone neglected vigilance a state which Al Shabaab exploited reaping more deaths to add to its macabre score of the fallen.
AMISOM and a plethora of other less-announced security personnel, including a US-manned base at Balidogle, have kept al Shabaab at bay from openly taking over Villa Somalia – the government statehouse at a high cost to the world both on personnel and financial upkeep.