“We will observe three days of mourning for innocent victims, flags will be flown at half-mast. Time to unite and pray together. Terror won’t win,”
The death toll of Saturday’s explosion in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu has increased to at least 85 people, an official from the city’s ambulance service told Al Jazeera.
Another 250 people were wounded in the blast, which occurred at a busy junction, Abdulkadir Abdirahman said.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo declared three days of national mourning starting on Sunday, following the attack.
“We will observe three days of mourning for innocent victims, flags will be flown at half-mast. Time to unite and pray together. Terror won’t win,” President Mohamed said in a statement posted on the presidency’s official Twitter account early on Sunday.
The blast, described by the city’s residents as the most powerful they had witnessed in Mogadishu in years, also left dozens injured and the president call on people to help those affected by the attack.
“I call on our citizens to come out, extend help, donate blood and comfort the bereaved. Let’s get through this together,” Mohamed said.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The explosion left a trail of destruction with nearby homes and businesses flattened and vehicles turned into burned wrecks.
Emergency services were overstretched and worked late into the night as they tried to rescue people who were trapped in the destroyed buildings.
The city’s mayor called on residents to donate blood as hospitals were running out of blood.
“I call on the Somali people to visit the city’s hospitals and donate blood. Please, come to the rescue of your brothers,” Thabit Abdi Mohammed, told reporters after donating blood at a local hospital.
Saturday’s truck explosion comes 48 hours after Horn of Africa country’s defence minister and army chief both resigned from their posts without explanation.