Mogadishu run out of tears: The grim aftermath of city terror attack

By: Dahir Abdullahi

Prior to the civil war, Mogadishu was known as the white pearl of the Indian Ocean.Filled with scenic landmarks that speak to the city unexploited rich history coupled with sun-soacked beaches of Lido, Jazeera and Warsheekh.

Just before the fall of the Somali central government, Mogadishu was unnegotiably a preferred destination for thousands of tourist and a host to high level meeting including that of the African Union (AU) head of state meeting that was held in Mogadishu in 1974.

The famous Uruba hotel, the hardworking and receptive communities of Hamarweyne and Shangani and remains of one of the largest Roman Catholic churches in eastern African gave the city a special position in Africa. Today, Mogadishu makes headline for record-breaking-terror attacks rather than its beauty.

Former Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon once twitted “A bright future for Somalia is within a touching distance”. To a certain extent, many of us believed him not because we knew his capacity to deliver rather a hope of many hopes that dashed before. It was just a tweet.

Mogadishu has seen many postsSiad Bare government’s administration that is backed by the western powers. Each of these administrations promised to bring peace and stop the city from bleeding. Al-shabaab remains the sole armed opposition group that is causing havoc to the civilians and government too.

They operate comfortably within the city and vast swathes of countryside. The government is yet to make good of its threat to decisively pin down the group instead much time, resources and energy is spent on containing ‘UAE-backed state warlords’ and Orphans of Ethiopia-Tigre impunity in the region.

This divisive and clan interest politics rebranded the city into a ‘ghostly figure’ that ate up and graced burying its own people. The great USA president, Ibrahim Lincoln is quoted ‘Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe’ better summarizes today ailing condition of once powerful African nation.

As the face of the nation, Mogadishu took blows in every political blunder that our leaders made including years of an ugly face-off triggered by inter-clan violence and warlords, Islamist militias and insurgency.

Since the fall of the Somalia central government in 1991, Mogadishu experienced a series of wars and conflicts that caused deaths of people, destruction of property and huge displacement. Mogadishu has never been quite peaceful for some time but bleeding all the times.

A harrowing tales from the residents will shock you how many of them survived different armed conflicts and atrocities committed by powerful clans and Islamist militias. A human life doesn’tmatter and worse there is a saying in Mogadishu that goes by “A rat killer would not waste much time to kill a human being”.

Somalia is marking the first anniversary of one of the world’s deadliest attacks since 9/11, a truck bombing in the heart of Mogadishu that killed well over 500 people. The October 14, 2017 attack was so brutal that even al-Shabaab shied away claiming its responsibilities amid the local outrage.

Many of the people who were killed in the bombing were very hardworking mothers who were either hawking items or selling fuel in jerrycans in an open market in the vicinity of the attack. Memories of the bombing are still fresh in people s minds.

“Is like the attack happened yesterday. Its still fresh in my mind. I see the bleedings and the flesh of the people scattered all over,” Said Khadija Hassan, a 51-year-old who lost one of her relatives. More badly, there are hundreds of people still missing and remain unaccounted for.

Mogadishu was at again world headlines for the wrong reasons. It’s also worth mentioning that this terror attack ignited a renewed sense of unity among Somalis, leading to a protest in a major cities and brought together feuding federal state members ever before.

While the current Somali federal government had made positive strides in its governance and policies such as fight against corruption, transparency, employment and decisive foreign policy, the best is yet to come from the duos, the President who many of us love and the youthful Prime Minister who happen to be a technocrat and well informed of the Somali geopolitics.

In September 2018, a marriage proposal by a young handsome and hardworking boy from a minority tribe in Mogadishu turned into bloody scene. The boy from Jararweyne tribe and a lady from one of the affluent tribes in Mogadishu agreed to settle down into a marriage. Once they agreed, they sought the blessings of their parents.

The marriage was conducted as per the Islamic provision however few days later, the in-laws felt that they gave their daughter to a minority family. They attacked their son in-law uncle at a garage he was working at in Mogadishu’s Yaqshid district. He was first beaten ruthlessly and unconsciously burnt to death. It was another dark day and first case of its kind that happened in Mogadishu.

The city has seen all sorts of crimes and if not addressed the recurring security lapses, the 14th October attack will not stand the record.

DahirAbdullahi is a PR and Communications Specialist. You can follow him @RacepDahir

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