Mogadishu, Somalia — On Saturday, Somalia’s capital city of Mogadishu was rocked by a massive explosion from a a large vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED). Mogadishu police officials reported that a large truck full of explosives pulled up next to the Safari Hotel just off the busy K5 roadway and detonated. The explosion ripped through the hotel collapsing a large portion of the building with four unknown gunmen racing into the courtyard shooting the unarmed and injured until security forces engaged them.
The blast killed upwards of 300 people and injured up to 400 more in what is now one of the worst terrorist attacks in Somalia’s history. Survivors of the blast describe a gruesome scene with blood and body parts splattered all over the area. Mogadishu emergency medical response was quickly overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of seriously wounded that a desperate call from the Somalia Information Minister, Abdirahman Omar Osman for international medical aid, especially blood donations, was sent out.
Turkey and Qatar answered Somalia’s call and sent teams of trauma surgeons and hospital supplies who began treating casualties in the main hospital of Mogadishu on Monday. The overall commander of the U.N.-backed peacekeeping operation of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) organized a blood drive at the AMISOM headquarters where both peacekeepers and Somali locals lined up in a show of solidarity to donate.
Somali’s living in the Eastleigh district of Nairobi, Kenya also organized a blood drive and while wearing red headbands as a sign of protest in regards to the bombing lined up as well in the hopes of donating up to 400 pints of blood for the Somali’s wounded by Saturdays terror attack.
No one terrorist group has yet to claim this deadly attack however, this attack has all the tell-tale signs of being the work of the al-Qaeda-linked terror group known as Harakat al-Shabaab al-Muhajiadeen (HSM). this type of attack where a car-bomb is used to initiate an attack followed by gunmen swarming the target and killing survivors has become the modus operandi of the Somalia based al-Shabaab terror group who has been actively trying to usurp its version of strict Salafist sharia law throughout Somalia and East Africa since 2008.
Al-Shabaab has been attempting to stall the Somali government’s offensive against the group who has been the target of both joint U.S. and Somali Special Operations raids, cobbled with increased U.S. airstrikes on key leadership and its base camps hidden within the rural areas of the Lower Shabelle.
The terror group may fear claiming such a devastating attack that resulted in 300 innocent people being killed due to the unforeseen public and international outcries denouncing such a brutal attack on Somali’s. Which in turn may decrease any and all support al-Shabaab may have had with the local population in Mogadishu to include its rural base in the Lower Shabelle. And will dramatically affect its recruitment of new fighters into its ranks.
The “War on Shabaab” was announced by the newly elected Somali president, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo in mid April in conjunction with the Trump administration’s approval for more relaxed rules of engagement in regards for both U.S. air and ground units assigned to assist Somalia in ridding the country of the terror group al-Shabaab. If al-Shabaab is responsible for Saturday’s truck bomb attack then the support that will most definitely begin to flood in from others in the international community will possibly become the final nail in the terror group’s coffin.
Feature image courtesy of: Associated Press