Somalia bomb attack condemned

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The Independent Online

Ministers have condemned extremist Islamist group al Shabab for the "shocking brutality" of its bomb attack in Somalia today that left 70 people dead.

The militant organisation, which has links to al Qaida, claimed responsibility for the blast that devastated an area of the capital city of Mogadishu.

A truck packed with explosives blew up as it pulled up to a checkpoint at the government's Ministry of Education buildings, killing and maiming civilians, including many students and their families.

Africa Minister Henry Bellingham said: "I strongly condemn today's callous attack by al Shabab in Mogadishu, which has cost so many lives.

"On behalf of the UK, I offer my deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of the innocent people who have lost their lives, and to the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.

"The shocking brutality of this attack is demonstrated by the fact that many of the victims were students and parents awaiting the results of scholarships for the Ministry of Higher Education.

"It comes at a time when the country should be coming together, both to deliver political progress and to bring aid and relief to those facing famine across the country."

Al Shabab wants to impose a strict version of Sharia law on the state.