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Tuesday’s blast killed students and their parents who were gathered around a notice board to learn about the result of scholarships offered by the Turkish government.

“It shows their barbarism and how hellbent they are to hit the public where it hearts most,” he said. “We can certainly say their ideology is directed at annihilating Somali people. What they’re targeting is the education.”

Gen. Mugisha, the commander of the African Union Mission to Somalia force, known as AMISOM, said the attack targeted several Somali government institutions.

Al-Shabab said it was striking government officials and foreigners — a reference to AU peacekeeping troops.

The U.N. Security Council called the attack a “heinous crime.” In Washington, White House press secretary Jay Carney said it was a “despicable and cowardly act.”

Somalia has been mired in violence since 1991, plunging the country into a chaos that sprouted militants and piracy off the coast of Horn of Africa nation.

Malkhadir M. Muhumed reported from Nairobi, Kenya. Associated Press writer Anita Snow at the United Nations contributed to this report.