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We Will Not Be Divided by Al Shabaab’s Mogadishu Bombings

We were incredibly saddened by the news last week of anotherhorrific attack in Mogadishu.

On Friday, 9thNovember, three car bombs were detonated near a popular hotel for visitors and international journalists in a coordinated attack by Al Shabaab, leaving 52 people dead and over 100 injured.

A former government official, a district police chief, and a journalist are among those wounded in the Friday incident.

Five of the attackers attempted to storm the Sahafi hotel but were shot and killed by policemen. Efforts to rescue Somali officials from the scene of the attack were also successful, with 52 people rescued from the vicinity, and from a nearby hotel, police said.

Yesterday the UK Minister for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, released a statement condemning the attack and offered her condolences to the families of the victims:

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the appalling attacks in Mogadishu on 9 November, which have killed and severely injured many Somalis. My thoughts are with the families of the victims, as well as the people and government of Somalia. I wish those wounded a rapid recovery and pay tribute to the first responders who reacted to the attack.

All acts of terrorism are indefensible, and the UK condemns this criminal attack in the strongest possible terms. Our determination to support Somalia stands fast. We will continue to help battle against terrorism in the region, and we remain committed to supporting a prosperous and secure Somalia.”

Since 2006, Al Shabab has carried out repeated attacks in Mogadishu against different targets, killing international aid workers, journalists, civilian leaders and peacekeepers, as well as Somalia’s government and military targets.  

Their propensity to target these individuals – who risk their lives daily to help save ordinary Somalis and make the nation a more stable a prosperous place – demonstrates the group’s warped and morally bankrupted ideology.

Whilst they continue to claim legitimacy for their violence, we will continue to call it out for what it is: mass murder, which devastates the lives of the very people they claim to be acting to protect.  The timing of the bombings – just over a year since Al Shabaab committed the worst terror attack in Somali history – is a painful reminder of this.  

But our message now is the same as it was then: we cannot allow these acts to halt our nation’s continued efforts toward ending the politics of division and hatred.

This attack is an example of the desperate measures that Al-Shabab will go to in order to disrupt these efforts and sow discord. But, time and again, we have seen their attempts at fail.

The resolve of peace-loving Somalis continues to grow in the face of terror, and we have taken significant steps toward rebuilding our civil society and democratic institutions; from the opening of new diplomatic missions, to the promise of elections.