ANKARA: People wounded in the weekend’s massive bombing in Somalia—the deadliest ever attack to hit the conflict-torn nation—were flown to Turkey on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) for treatment, an Agence France-Presse photographer said.
The Turkish military plane carrying 35 wounded Somalis landed at an Ankara airport, where ambulances were at the ready to rush the victims to hospital.
Turkey strongly condemned Saturday’s bombing in Mogadishu which killed at least 276 people and left 300 injured.
The blast occurred at a junction in Hodan, a bustling commercial district of the capital Mogadishu which has many shops, hotels and businesses.
Turkey sent planes with medical supplies in the wake of the attack, and Health Minister Ahmet Demircan was in Mogadishu on Monday to coordinate the transfer of the injured.
Turkey is a leading donor and investor in Somalia.
In September, it inaugurated the largest foreign-run military training center in Somalia, where local troops are due to take over the protection of a nation threatened by Shabaab jihadists.
There has been no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Shabaab, a militant group aligned with Al-Qaeda, has carried out dozens of suicide bombings in its bid to overthrow Somalia’s internationally-backed government.
The US military Monday said it is ready to boost its support for the Somali government.
“We will be prepared to support the government of Somalia when they ask,” a Pentagon spokesperson said. “We are planning what we can provide.”
The US military already has 400 troops on the ground in Somalia providing training and advice for the Somali military and also logistical support.
The US supports the country’s fight against the Shabaab jihadist rebel group.
No Americans have been identified among the victims of the blast, which took place at a junction in Hodan, a busy commercial district in northwestern Mogadishu that has many shops, hotels and other businesses.