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‘The world is so painful’: Newlywed becomes a widow after Somalian bomb blast

Click to play video: 'Bomb blast at Mogadishu checkpoint kills at least 90'
Bomb blast at Mogadishu checkpoint kills at least 90
WATCH ABOVE: Bomb blast at Mogadishu checkpoint kills at least 90 – Dec 28, 2019

Her ears still ringing from the deafening sound of an explosion near her home in the Somali capital on Saturday morning, 18-year-old Qali Ibrahim frantically dialed her husband’s mobile phone. Minutes earlier he had left home, hammer and saw in hand, headed out for a day of construction work.

“The number you are dialing is not reachable,” his mobile responded.

READ MORE: At least 79 people dead after truck bomb explodes in Somalia’s capital

Hours of anguish would pass before she could confirm her worst nightmare, Ibrahim later recounted. From hospital to hospital, there was no word of Muktar Abukar, a 35-year-old homebuilder whom she married four months earlier.

Qali Ibrahim who lost her husband in the car bomb explosion is consoled by an unknown relative during a Reuters interview at the Madina hospital in Mogadishu, Somalia December 28, 2019. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

At Mogadishu’s biggest hospital, Medina, she and her sister-in-law were told to look among a row of dead bodies that had not yet been identified after a huge truck bomb blast. Ibrahim said she pulled back the sheet on the first corpse she came to, finding a badly burned body she recognized as her husband’s from a deep scar on one of his fingers.

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A general view shows the scene of a car bomb explosion at a checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somalia December 28, 2019. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

“We were together last night,” the new widow, three months pregnant, wept as she rocked back and forth, her head veiled by a red scarf and buried between her knees as her sister-in-law squeezed her shoulders. “The world is so painful.”

Click to play video: 'Somalia president attempts to reassure nation after deadly truck bomb kills at least 90'
Somalia president attempts to reassure nation after deadly truck bomb kills at least 90

At least 90 people died in the blast that killed Ibrahim’s husband on Saturday morning, an international organization said. A bomb-laden truck exploded at a busy checkpoint in the deadliest attack in Somalia in more than two years.

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A Somali woman reacts at the scene of a car bomb explosion at a checkpoint in Mogadishu, Somalia December 28, 2019. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

No-one immediately claimed responsibility but the city’s mayor blamed al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al Shabaab.

Click to play video: 'Aftermath of deadly bombing, attack in Somalia'
Aftermath of deadly bombing, attack in Somalia

Saturday’s attack was the 20th vehicle-borne explosives attack of 2019 in Somalia and the year is ending with more deaths from such attacks than 2018, according to the Hiraal Institute, a Mogadishu-based security think-tank.

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(Reporting by Abdi Sheikh Additional reporting by Feisal Omar Writing by Maggie Fick Editing by Frances Kerry)

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