On October 14, at least 231 people were killed, and hundreds more wounded, in a deadly truck bomb attack in Somalia. The explosion occurred in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, the country’s most populated city. The Somali government has declared that the nation will be in a period of mourning for three days as a result of the attack. President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo stated on Twtter, “We will observe three days of mourning for innocent victims, flags will be flown at half-mast. Time to unite and pray together. Terror won’t win.”
The devastating attack has brought back attention to the country’s decade-long battle against Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Al-Shabaab is a jihadist militant group, which has pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda, and has been carrying out lethal terrorist attacks in the region for years. In light of this most recent attack, the United States has reasserted its foreign policy mission of helping rid Somalia of the terror group. A top U.S. official stated, “Such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.” Earlier this year, a spokesperson for Al-Shabaab claimed that any military efforts by the U.S. or Somalia to thwart the organisation’s operations would result in increased attacks and retaliatory measures by the group. Unfortunately, the attack on Saturday is one of several to occur at the hands of Al-Shabaab in recent years. It is believed that the militant group is intentionally trying to destabilize and overthrow the Somali government under its new administration.
Although medical professionals have been working tirelessly to treat victims, the number of fatalities continues to rise. According to the Associated Press, it is believed that this most recent attack is the single deadliest in the country’s history. Unfortunately, the death toll is expected to further increase. The blast, a result of a truck packed full of several hundred kilograms of military-grade and homemade explosives, has made it difficult for rescue workers to determine a definitive death count, as the remains of countless individuals will not be recoverable.
Officials believe that that bomb was intended to target the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Somalia. However, it exploded on a busy street in the city, killing only civilians. It is reported that the truck may have stopped at a checkpoint to be searched, but consequently accelerated through the barrier in order to avoid inspection. The driver then crashed the truck, igniting its own explosives and creating a fireball with a nearby fuel tanker. Zainab Sharif, a woman who lost her husband in the bombing, epitomized the nation’s grief, saying, “There’s nothing I can say. We have lost everything.”
In light of this attack, both Somali government officials and citizens will begin working together to rebuild their beloved city of Mogadishu. The mayor of Mogadishu has pleaded with the Somali people to help save the lives of the bombing victims by visiting hospitals and donating blood. However, Somalia has no intention of simply moving past the attack, as it will spend three days collectively mourning the tremendous loss it suffers as a nation.
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