Somalia bomb
Somalis salvage goods after shops were destroyed in a car bomb in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019. Image Credit: AP

Mogadishu: Update: The UAE has strongly condemned the terrorist attack that took place on Saturday morning near a security center in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, resulting in about 76 deaths and the injury of numerous others.

In a statement on Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation denounced such criminal acts and affirmed its principled and unequivocal position rejecting all forms of violence and terrorism that aim to undermine security and stability and contravene religious and humanitarian values and principles.

The statement also expressed the UAE’s condolences to the families of the victims of this heinous crime and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

The director of an ambulance service in Somalia's capital says the death toll from a truck bombing has risen to at least 61.

Abdiqadir Abdirahman, the director of Aamin Ambulance, says more than 50 people were wounded.

A massive car bomb blast left more than 20 people dead and many others wounded in the Somali capital Mogadishu on Saturday, police and witnesses said.

"The blast was devastating, and I could confirm more than 20 civilians killed, there were many more wounded, but the toll can be higher," said police officer Ibrahim Mohamed.

"I have counted twenty-two dead bodies, all of them civilians and there were more than thirty others wounded, this was dark day," said Ahmed Moalim Warsame, who witnessed the explosion.

The explosion occurred in a busy area prone to heavy traffic due to a security checkpoint and a taxation office.

"This was a devastating incident because there were many people including students in buses who were passing by the area when the blast occurred," said another witness Muhibo Ahmed.

Sakariye Abdukadir, who was near the area when the car bomb detonated, said the blast "destroyed several of my car windows."

"All I could see was scattered dead bodies... amid the blast and some of them burned beyond recognition."

Mogadishu is regularly hit by car bombs and attacks waged by Al-Shabaab Islamist militants allied to Al Qaida.

The group was forced out of the Somali capital in 2011 but still controls parts of the countryside and has also staged attacks in neighbouring Kenya.

Two weeks ago five people were killed when al-Shabaab attacked a Mogadishu hotel popular with politicians, army officers and diplomats in an hours-long siege.