Some Twin Cities Somalis say they're having problems reaching relatives in Somalia in the wake of a devastating terrorist attack in Mogadishu Tuesday morning.
The al-Qaida-linked terrorist group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack, which cut off cell phone service.
The thunderous blast outside the Ministry of Education, where students accompanied by their parents were registering for scholarships offered by the Turkish government, killed more than 70 people and covered the city in dust more than a half-mile away.
Dahir Jabreel, of the Somali Justice Advocacy, said that two cell phone services were cut. Later, a United Nations news service reported one of the companies had restored operations. Jabreel also said Somalis are having problems getting financial aid to relatives because al-Shabab has shut down an important money wiring service. That's a particularly troubling situation for people with relatives in parts of the country hit hard by drought and famine.
"People are dying in many of those places," and money sent overseas from relatives is often the only source of income for people living in Somalia, he said. "You need to send them money so that they can survive."
The attack comes as Somalia struggles to rebound from its worst famine in 60 years. Al-Shabab fighters have compounded the suffering by preventing aid agencies from helping famine victims in areas under militant control in southern Somalia.
The U.S. says 29,000 children have died since the famine began, and the U.N. says 750,000 more are at risk of starving to death in the next several months.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)