By HUSSEIN MOHAMED and JEFFREY GETTLEMAN
FEB. 19, 2017
Blast in Somalia Kills Dozens
An unusually large bomb exploded at the center of a busy market in Mogadishu, Somalia, on Sunday, killing at least 30 people and injuring others. Photo by Feisal Omar/Reuters. Watch in Times Video »
MOGADISHU, Somalia — A large explosion ripped through a busy market here on Sunday, killing at least 30 people and exposing the grave security challenges that Somalia’s new president faces.
Somali security officials said that the bomb had been packed into a truck that a suicide bomber drove into the Kawo Godey market, near the center of Mogadishu, the capital.
“I was shocked when I saw the bodies of dead men lying on the ground,” said Fa’izo Shimbir, a shopper who was near the market. “The market was full of blood.”
Doctors at a nearby hospital said that dozens of wounded had streamed in, many with deep shrapnel wounds, and that the death toll was certain to rise.
Somali officials blamed the Shabab militant group, which has been terrorizing the country for years, for the blast.
The attack, which occurred in Medina, an area of Mogadishu, came just hours after Somalia’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, announced a new offensive against the Shabab. Mr. Mohamed — best known by his nickname, Farmajo, which comes from the Italian word for cheese — was selected by Somalia’s Parliament this month in an election process widely seen as staggeringly corrupt.
The election process was so bad, several analysts said, that the Shabab did not even try to derail it because the blatant corruption made the militants look upstanding by comparison.
The Shabab has accused Mr. Mohamed of being an apostate and an American “puppet.” Mr. Mohamed is an American citizen and spent years in the United States, working as a contracting officer for the New York State Department of Transportation in Buffalo.
Last week, the United States ambassador to Somalia, Stephen Schwartz, met with Mr. Mohamed and presented him with a baseball cap in Somalia’s national colors, blue and white.
It was printed with a slogan echoing President Trump’s campaign: “Make Somalia Great Again.”