Bombing shows peace elusive in Somalia - GulfToday

Bombing shows peace elusive in Somalia

Bombing shows peace elusive in Somalia

The Saturday car boming was one of the deadliest attacks in Somalia in the last two years.

For the people of Somalia, Saturday was a black day. The massive car bomb explosion in a busy area of Mogadishu on that day killed and injured scores of people. The act is execrable and the work of utterly bigoted and dangerous elements. It is Somalia’s deadliest attack in two years.

At least 16 of those killed were students from the capital’s private Banadir University, who had been travelling on a bus when the car bomb detonated at a busy intersection southwest of the Somali capital.

Since 2015, there have been 13 attacks in Somalia with death tolls above 20. Eleven of these have been in Mogadishu. All of them involved car bombs.

The deadliest attack in the country’s history was a truck bombing in October 2017 in Mogadishu which left over 500 people dead and nearly 300 injured.

Severed limbs and gutted vehicles were found strewn at the site in Saturday’s attack. Many of the wounded were carried on stretchers from the site, where the force of the explosion left mangled vehicles in its wake. Two Turkish nationals were also killed.

The area is often clogged with traffic due to a security checkpoint and a tax office collecting fees from buses and trucks passing through.

Though no one has claimed responsibility for the dastardly act, Mogadishu is regularly hit by car bombings and attacks waged by Al-Shabaab militants allied to Al-Qaeda.

President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has roundly condemned the attack.

“This enemy works to implement the destructive will of international terrorism, they have never done anything positive for this our country, they have not constructed a road, never built hospitals and not education centres as well,” he said. “All they do is destruction and killing and the Somali public are well informed about this.”

Al-Shabaab emerged from the Islamic Courts Union that once controlled central and southern Somalia and is variously estimated to number between 5,000 and 9,000 men.

In 2010, the Shabaab declared their allegiance to Al-Qaeda.

The following year, its fighters fled positions they once held in the capital Mogadishu, and have since lost many strongholds.

But they retain control of large rural stretches of the country and continue to wage a guerrilla war against the authorities, inflicting bloody death tolls in attacks at home and abroad.

A key instigator of militancy is climate change: droughts and floods strengthen the hand of militants and weaken the government.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said three decades of conflict, along with increasingly severe droughts, were posing serious challenges to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

People escaping weather crises were vulnerable to recruitment by ultras, crowded camps became hot beds for traffickers and more fights erupted over resources. Militants also exploited climate crises to win legitimacy.

The overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991 plunged Somalia into almost three decades of violent turmoil, first at the hands of clan warlords then Al Shabaab.

As if the militancy were not enough, desert locusts are wreaking agricultural mayhem in the country. They are destroying tens of thousands of hectares of crops and grazing land in Somalia in the worst invasion in 25 years, threatening food supplies in both countries and the livelihoods of farming communities.

The government should step in to check the effects of global warming and thereby militancy. If this does not happen, further such horrible scenarios could end up repeating themselves.

The locusts have damaged about 70,000 hectares of land in Somalia and neighbouring Ethiopia, threatening food supplies in both countries and the livelihoods of farming communities.

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