Terrorist Attack in Somalia Leaves 350+ Dead, 200+ Injured

Attack had highest casualty count in country’s history

The+Safari+Hotel+in+downtown+Mogadishu+lies+in+ruin+after+a+truck+bomb+detonated+nearby%2C+killing+over+350+people.

The Safari Hotel in downtown Mogadishu lies in ruin after a truck bomb detonated nearby, killing over 350 people.

Colin Fullinfaw, Copy Editor

A truck laden with explosives detonated in a busy intersection in Mogadishu last week, killing 358 people and injuring 228 others, according to BBC News. A second bomb exploded 30 minutes later a mere 300 meters away, killing a further two people. Somali officials have blamed the well-known, local Islamic extremist group Al-Shabaab for both bombings, but the terrorists have denied any involvement.

Many tourist hotspots and government buildings were either damaged or completely destroyed in the October 14 attack. The Safari Hotel, which was across the street from the blast and popular with foreign and domestic tourists alike, mostly collapsed. In addition, the Embassy of Qatar was severely damaged, with Qatar’s foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani tweeting, “The attack on #Qatar diplomatic mission in Mogadishu will not deter our support for #Somalia’s democracy, security and stability.”

Al-Shabaab have pulled off numerous high profile terrorist attacks in the region throughout the years, including an assault and siege on a pizza restaurant in Mogadishu just this past June which killed 31 people and an attack on a university in neighbouring Kenya in June 2015 that killed 148 mostly Christian students, according to Vox.

Native Somalis were not the only nationality represented in the death toll. According to Newsweek, “At least two Somali-Americans were reportedly among the more than 300 people killed in a double truck bombing in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Saturday.” Many cities with notable Somali immigrant populations throughout the United States held vigils to remember those killed in the attack. “Efforts were also underway to raise money for victims, as well as money for medical supplies and food,” according to the Omaha World Herald.

The Safari Hotel mostly collapsed after a truck bomb detonated in downtown Mogadishu, killing over 350 people.

In Somalia, the attack has brought an outpouring of grief for the victims, but also anger. That anger has united Somalis to take to the streets while wearing red bandanas in protest and frustration at the attack. According to the BBC, in the past, Somalis have been afraid of retribution by Al-Shabaab if citizens were to protest one of their attacks. Now, the red bandanas show Somalis will not be silent after a callous assault on their own people.

Somali protestors wore red bandanas after the attack to voice their anger and frustration at Al-Shabaab.

Landmarks and leaders across the world showed their support to the Somali people. The Eiffel Tower in Paris went dark yet again, and French President Emmanuel Macron said in a tweet, “Solidarity with Somalia. Support to the African Union against Islamist terrorist groups. France stands by your side.” Meanwhile, Washington released a statement saying, “We condemn the bombing in the strongest terms,” according to Al Jazeera.

Just as prayers are said for the United States and France after attacks there, there are too for Somalia. Somalia has endured a brutal attack on its people, and it is no different than Las Vegas or Paris. NATO’s Article 5 states, “An attack on one is an attack on all”, and this latest one proves that when terror knocks, worldwide love and unity will answer the door.

Colin Fullinfaw - Copy Editor

Colin became a member of The Flightline in August of 2017. He is a senior this year and is involved in Cross Country. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his dog, Harley. You can email him at [email protected]