Somalia mourns victims of October 2017 attacks amid call for unity, resilience

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA – OCTOBER 14 : Destroyed vehicles are seen at the scene of a massive explosion in the capital Mogadishu, Somalia on October 14, 2017. (Photo by Sadak Mohamed/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The international community on Wednesday joined Somalis in mourning the deaths of 587 people who were killed and 316 others who were injured during one of the deadliest bomb attacks on October 14, 2017, in Mogadishu.

The Somalis including government officials and lawmakers as well as officials from the African Union and the United Nations urge Somalis to remain resilient and foster unity to help bring lasting stability in the Horn of Africa nation.

In its statement, the UN in Somalia paid tribute to the victims and survivors of the horrific attack and reaffirmed the world body’s solidarity with all Somalis.

“Together with Somalis, the United Nations family is focused on the future and on continuing to build on progress towards peace, good governance, and prosperity,” said the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, James Swan.

Swan said advances since 2017 are a reflection of Somalis’ resilience and desire for a better tomorrow despite the scourge of violent extremism.

Among those killed at the now renamed October 14 junction with respect to the victims of the twin bombings included senior government servants, journalists, and health workers.

The government has already declared October 14 as a national day to remember all victims of terrorist bombings across the Horn of Africa nation.

Abdirahman Beileh, the finance minister also joined the international community in mourning the victims of the terror attack and called for unity among Somalis.

Beileh said despite such senseless acts of terrorism, Mogadishu and the rest of the country have continued on their path towards peace and prosperity.

“I pay my respects to the victims and survivors of the horrific attack. Somalia is stronger than any single adversary and we are rebuilding better and together,” said Beileh in his message.

In a statement, AMISOM said it stands with the people of Somalia on this day and reaffirmed the world body’s solidarity and commitment to all Somalis.

“As we remember the innocent people that were killed three years ago at the Zoobe junction. Let us embrace peace and the continued fight against terrorism,” AMISOM said in its message.

The commemoration took place amid tight security in and out of Mogadishu as the police intensified patrols in all major installations in the restive capital.

It also comes as the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) forces said they seized sulfuric acid, one of the explosives used by al-Shabab in the bombings.

NISA said in a statement that it seized 79 of the sulfuric acid and arrested individuals who had brought it to the country. It said the explosive materials were being passed on to al-Shabab militants to stage terror attacks in the country.

“The investigation is being carried out jointly by NISA and the anti-terrorism agencies,” it said in a statement.

The attack killed at least 587 people and ranks as the deadliest ever terrorist bombing in Africa involving the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Mahad Mohamed, aged 13 who was among those orphaned by the terrorist attack three years ago is still devastated.

“I still can’t believe that my father is dead. I often imagine him walking through the door one day,” said Mohamed.

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