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Turkey dispatches military plane to Somalia to evacuate bombing victims

A woman who was wounded during a bombing attack is pushed on a wheelchair at the Madina Hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia, on December 28, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Turkey has dispatched a military plane with medics to Somalia to help and evacuate victims gravely wounded in a bloody bombing attack in the African country.

The Turkish military plane arrived in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on Sunday to aid those wounded in the devastating bombing a day earlier.

Medics set up facilities to help the overwhelmed local medical staff treat the more seriously wounded victims of the blast, which happened when a vehicle packed with explosives detonated at a busy security checkpoint.

“We have received this morning doctors and medicine sent by the Turkish government and we are working to separate people seriously wounded from others in order to send them outside the country and the rest will be treated by the doctors,” Somalia’s Information Minister Mohamed Abdi Heyr told reporters.

The minister said about 24 doctors specializing in trauma had arrived from Turkey, while Qatar was sending a similar aircraft to assist on Monday.

Somali police chief Abdi Hassan Mohamed said Saturday that 79 people had died in the bombing, but the death toll could rise as some of the victims were seriously wounded.

Somalia’s information minister further said that rescue operations were still ongoing.

Dozens of ambulances were carrying the wounded from various hospitals in the city to the Turkish medical staff, who would take them to Turkey for further treatment.

Two Turkish citizens were killed in the blast, and according to medical sources, another two who were wounded will be among those airlifted home.

Since 2006, Somalia has witnessed deadly clashes between government forces and al-Shabab militants, who aim to overthrow the government in the African state.

The militants have been pushed out of Mogadishu and other major cities in Somalia by government forces and the soldiers of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which is largely made up of troops from Uganda, Ethiopia, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, and Sierra Leone. But they carry out sporadic attacks.

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