December 30, 2019 / 3:55 PM / a month ago

Somalia says unnamed country behind blast that killed 90 people

MOGADISHU, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Somalia said an unnamed country helped plan Saturday’s bomb explosion in Mogadishu that killed at least 90 people, and added it would investigate the assault with help from a foreign intelligence agency.

The bombing was the deadliest in more than two years in a country wrecked by nearly three decades of Islamist violence and clan warfare.

“A foreign country planned the massacre of the Somalis in Mogadishu on 28 Dec 2019,” the National Intelligence and Security Agency said in a tweet on Monday.

NISA said it would use assistance from an unnamed foreign intelligence organisation in its investigation.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing at the busy Ex-Control checkpoint in the northwest of Mogadishu.

However, Mogadishu mayor Omar Muhamoud blamed al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al Shabaab.

The group carries out frequent bombings to try to undermine Somalia’s central government, which is backed by the United Nations and African Union peacekeeping troops.

The most deadly attack blamed on al Shabaab was in 2017 when a truck bomb exploded next to a fuel tanker in Mogadishu, killing nearly 600.

In recent years, Somalia has become an arena for military and diplomatic rivalry between Turkey and Qatar on one side, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on the other.

Reporting by Abdi Sheikh; writing by Elias Biryabarema; editing by Giles Elgood

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