Somalia's Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman has put out a call for blood donations following Saturday's massive truck bomb which, as of today, left more than 320 people dead and injured at least 400 others.
“We are requesting blood, we are requesting assistance for verifying the dead in order for their relatives to know,” he said during a telephone interview with Reuters.
Turkey is heeding that call. Omar Osman confirmed that Turkish Minister of Health Ahmet Demircan, as well as Turkish surgeons and specialists in spine injuries, have arrived in Somalia and “are treating people in hospitals in Mogadishu.”
Thirty five critically-wounded people were evacuated by plane to Ankara for treatment, according to Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag.
While Omar Osman said he hoped other corpses could be identified, the bodies of over 100 people “blown beyond recognition” were buried on Monday.
Saturday's detonation occurred two days after the head of the U.S. Africa Command was in Mogadishu to meet with Somalia’s president. It also came 48 hours after both the defense minister and army chief left their posts without giving any reasons.
The U.S. military recently increased drone strikes targeting the Islamist militant group al-Shabaab group, which has increased attacks on army bases across south and central Somalia.
Last month, Turkey opened its largest overseas military training base, valued at US$50 million, in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, although al-Shabaab, which is allied to al-Qaeda, stages regular attacks in the capital and other parts of the country.