Security was tight in Somalia on Monday on the second anniversary of the country’s worst-ever terror attack, which claimed the lives of more than 600 people.
On Oct. 14, 2017, terrorists of the al-Qaeda-affiliated group al-Shabaab carried out two truck bombings in the capital Mogadishu, destroying a hotel and also injuring some 300 people.
On the anniversary, busy roads in Mogadishu and business places remained closed as people thronged to the site of the bombing to commemorate and mourn their loved ones.
“I thank everyone who came in to help us. I lost my mother who was a doctor, but I have left everything to God,” Ahmed Abshir Mohammed told Anadolu Agency.
Before the attack, the 29-year-old medical student was set to meet with her mother at a hotel near ground zero but was delayed by an errand.
Abdulrashid Abdikadir, the brother of bombing victim Dr. Mohamed Abdikadir, who operated a clinic in Mogadishu, praised his brother, saying his dream was to help others with affordable treatment.
“Just after university, he used to treat people even without pay,” said Abdikadir. “He would go to their houses even if they couldn’t walk to his clinic. When he became a professional, he continued treating people even for free, he was out to live his dream.”
Two years later families are still feeling the impact of the attack, he said.
“There are families who lost everyone apart from the young children. These children are now orphans.”
He added: “I’m sure many Somali families out there are still crying to this day.”
-International support, including Turkey
Hodan Jawaahir, who lost her daughter that day, said: “My daughter had told me not to work, she would provide everything including medical care for me.
“She was to travel abroad and work in Germany, she was here because she wanted to get me cleared for travel.”
Jawaahir concluded: “Terrorism has no place in Islam or in our lives.”
Marking the anniversary, James Swan, special UN envoy to Somalia, reaffirmed UN support for the Horn of Africa nation.
“Despite such senseless acts of terrorism, Mogadishu and the rest of the country have continued on their path towards peace and prosperity. The United Nations remains committed to supporting all Somalis on this journey,” he said.
Turkey was among the first countries to send aid to Somalia following the truck bombings, and hundreds who were critically injured were airlifted to Turkey for special medical treatment.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Turkish Ambassador to Somalia Mehmet Yilmaz said: “We commemorate the Oct. 14 bombing, and our feelings are with our Somali brothers and sisters. Turkey has been supporting Somalia’s endeavors to stand on its feet as Turkey and Somalia have been fighting terror for decades. Turkey well understands the pains and sufferings of the Somali people.”
“We are dedicated to continuing our support in all fields. We believe that the will and endeavors of Somali people and the government will make stability and prosperity flourish and bring glorious days back to Somalia as Somalis enjoyed in the past.”
He also thanked the government of Somalia and Somali people for supporting Turkey’s fight against terrorist groups such as the PKK/PYD/YPG and Daesh.
Inaugurating a new emergency response center on the anniversary, Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre said the launch “will enhance our national preparedness in responding to both natural and man-made disasters.”
In a statement Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said: “Since that day our government took huge steps in securing the safety of our people.”
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