By Mohammed Dhaysane
The truck bomb that killed more than 300 people in Mogadishu was packed with 2 tonnes (2.2 U.S. tons) of explosive, a senior police officer involved in the investigation said Wednesday.
The bomb was constructed from military-grade as well as homemade explosives, the officer said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
Saturday afternoon’s blast ripped through the busy KM5 road junction, igniting a fuel truck and causing hundreds of casualties.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but al-Shabaab terror group has been widely blamed.
“The investigation is still going on but with a help of military experts we have got that over 2 tons of explosives, including homemade and sophisticated military explosives, were used,” the officer said.
A suspect arrested within minutes of the attack told police that al-Shabaab were behind the attack, the officer added.
The suspect claimed the driver and the truck used had come from Afoogye, a town 24 kilometers (15 miles) northwest of Mogadishu.
A year ago, a car bomb positioned outside the town’s police station killed six officers, a boy and two women.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has blamed al-Shabaab, which is tied to al-Qaeda, for Saturday’s blast.
- Turkish base 'not a target'
Abdisalam Yusuf Guled, who resigned as deputy head of the National Intelligence and Security Agency in May, told Anadolu Agency that local media reports that the truck bomb was intended to target a Turkish military base and the city’s international airport were not true.
Turkey opened its biggest overseas military base last month in Mogadishu. More than 10,000 Somali soldiers will be trained by Turkish officers at the $50 million base.
“We don't know the real target but there is no indication that the target was the airport and the Turkish base,” he said.
He added: “The ingredients of the blast were alien to our experience of al-Shabaab and expertise may say the element of this particular bomb was more sophisticated than homemade.”
Another security official, speaking under the same condition of anonymity, said the government was also investigating the possible involvement of members of the security forces.
The official added that some security personnel had been arrested.
Anadolu Agency could not verify the claims.
Information Minister Abdirahman Omar Osman said an initial investigation report would be revealed later Wednesday.
Al-Shabaab was driven out of Mogadishu in 2010 but have continued to mount deadly attacks in both Somalia and neighboring states.