War on Al-Shabab: Remembering 14th October

Mogadishu, Somalia

Five years ago, 14th of October was one of the darkest days in Somali history.

On October 14, 2017, a truck bomb exploded at a busy intersection in Mogadishu, killing 587 people and almost 1,000 more. Five years later, the scars of the attack are still seen and felt in the Somali capital.

Today the intersection is known as the October 14 junction, and a monument marks the spot where the bomb blew apart buildings and ended so many lives.

Most of the buildings at the former Soobe Junction have been rebuilt, but five years later some lots are continue to remain covered in rubble, a reminder of the destruction the blast caused.

No one claimed responsibility for the horrific attack, but the Somali government blamed it on the militant group al-Shabab.

In February 2018, a Somali military court convicted 23-year-old Hassan Adan Isaaq for leading the al-Shabab unit said to have carried out the attack. He was executed that October. Another man was sentenced to death in absentia.

Significance Today

Somalia and Somalis again are attempting to unshackle themselves from the grasps of the militant group Al-Shabab which has been holding Somalia hostage for 15 years, despite the presence of a 22,000-strong AU force in the country.

The deaths of hundreds and thousands of innocent Somali lives can be attributed directly to the group over the past number of years, let alone the past 15 years.

Somalis must perceive the 14th October tragedy as a day to not only remember lives lost but also as a day of vengeance, a day of unity and a day that marks the beginning of the end for Al-Shabab as we unite against them.

Since early September, a clan uprisings in Hiiraan and other regions of central Somalia has liberated dozens of towns, villages and cities across the region including many regions that were used by the group for extorting the local population as well as makeshift courts including Matabaan district of Hiiraan or in near Basra village in Lower Shabelle region.

In fact according to the Somali government, Al-Shabab has lost over 15 villages and towns across Hiiraan, Galgaduud and Bay while simultaneously losing over 200 fighters in recent weeks alone.

I again call on the President to utilise the momentum against the group:

  • Call the National Consultative Leaders together to find a national strategy alongside local clan leaders and MPs to find a new avenue forward to encircle the militants from all sides.
  • Visit the frontline and encourage frontline soldiers
  • Returns troops from Eritrea

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