On 14th October 2017, a truck bombing in Somalia’s capital left at least 276 people dead, with many bodies burned to ashes and relatives declaring about 70 people missing. The bomb, which exploded very close to a busy junction in central Mogadishu, was said to have targeted a crowded street and has led to more than 300 injured.
The attack has been regarded as one of the world’s worst attacks in years. The bomb-laden truck destroyed buildings and set vehicles ablaze. Somali’s government has embarked on a three-day national mourning period for the victims. A doctor at one of the hospitals in Mogadishu who visited the scene of the attack shortly after the bombing reported: “I saw bodies everywhere, including very small children. I’ve been working round the clock, I am so tired, but I am also mourning as I lost 19 relatives in the attack.”
Meanwhile, information from the hospitals and relatives of victims is still on the increase. Exhausted doctors and overwhelmed hospitals in Mogadishu are struggling to assist people who were burnt beyond recognition. Countries including Ethiopia and Kenya have offered to send medical aid. More than 100 people badly injured have been to Turkey for further treatment. The United States has sent medical aid to Somalia to help the victims.
Somalia’s government has directed the attack to the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab, but Africa’s deadliest extremist group is yet to take responsibility for it. While some security analysts have expressed little doubt about this position, Matt Bryden, a security consultant on the Horn of Africa, said “No other group in Somalia has the capacity to put together a bomb of this size, in this nature.” Could the attack be in response to the vow made earlier this year by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed with the Donald Trump-led U.S Administration to fight the group which has waged war in Somalia for more than a decade?
Indeed, we are living in a dangerous world, one mired in innumerable insecurity among nations and dominated by violence all around. However, achieving world peace is possible, even in a violence-ridden country such as Somalia. Avoiding the bloodbath from continued violence requires an approach and the formation of military coalitions with sister countries in Africa and beyond to combat violent extremism.