It was with exhausting, familiar sadness that we learned of Saturday’s terror attack in Mogadishu. In the space of only two weeks, Somalia has been rocked by an act of pitiless and cowardly violence.
On Saturday, militants from al-Shabaab stormed the Naso-Hablod hotel in Mogadishu after detonating a car bomb by a well-defended front entrance. They proceeded to occupy the hotel, which is popular with government officials, for 12 hours.
In this time, they murdered 23 people, including a senior regional minister and a mother with her three young children whom the attackers believed were his family.
Sickeningly, the militants conducted their rampage while disguised as a service committed to preventing al-Shabaab’s efforts. The gunmen were wearing National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) uniforms and carrying official identification. They entered the hotel unopposed.
Due to the nature of this sickening attack, it is clear that al-Shabaab intended to spread a sense of disillusionment and anger among Somali people. As President Farmajo said after Saturday’s attack: ‘They want to create fear among our people who showed support to the ongoing efforts aimed at pacifying the country.’
In a time when our grief is heightened by dubious circumstances, Farmajo’s words remind us of an important truth: The vast majority of Somalia are constantly striving for a more peaceful and more united future, and we must continue to support one another in achieving this goal.
If we reject hatred on a cultural level, we’ll go some way to ushering in a more stable destiny.
Featured image credit: Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images.