On Sunday, Somalia’s capital city, Mogadishu, experienced two suicide bombings, killing at least 35 people; however, a Somali official told journalists that the death toll is expected to rise because the severely wounded may not survive.
A militant Islam group, Shabab, was eager to claim responsibility for the attacks. These attacks have been the deadliest since the Shabab were driven from the city in 2011. Mogadishu has recently been considered relatively peaceful; however, recent events may encourage the Somali government to reconsider there stance.
The first attack, which occurred around noon, blew up the gate to Somalia’s Supreme Court complex. Nine militants stormed the premises, six of which ignited their suicide bomb vests. Shortly after, a car bomb was detonated in front of a government building on the airport road as a convoy drove by. The intended target remains unclear.
Among the dead at the court complex were a Somali journalist who had acted as the courts’ media adviser and two human rights lawyers, Mohamed Mohamoud Afrah, the head of the Somali Lawyers Association, and Abdikarin Hassan Gorod, who had won the release of a Somali journalist who was jailed after interviewing a rape victim. The two lawyers were working for a United Nations-sponsored legal aid program. Many civilians were killed as well, including women and at least one child.
The president of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, stated on Sunday that the attacked showed nothing but desperation from the terrorists group. United Nations representative, Augustine P. Mahiga, expressed similar sentiments: “Somalia is making remarkable progress toward stabilization and these great strides will not be overshadowed by the desperate acts of these cowardly terrorists.”
Despite these confident statements, the Somalia government is taking the necessary steps to reprimand the Shabab terrorists. Somalia troops march to the outskirts of the city to confront the militants; however, many fear this movement will leave a security vacuum within the city. Clearly, nerves have risen since the initial blast.
Will Somalia experience another period of severe instability? Only time will tell.