Somalia on Friday marked the fifth anniversary of the deadliest bombing in the Horn of Africa nation’s history.
On Oct. 14, 2017, a truck full of explosives caused a massive blast at the busy Zoobe intersection in the capital Mogadishu, killing more than 600 people and wounding nearly 1,000 others.
Somalis in the country and abroad took to social media platforms on Friday to mark the anniversary of the attack, carried out by the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group Al-Shabaab.
Families who lost their loved ones in the attack told Anadolu Agency that they were still mourning as they have been, like many others, unable to locate their loved ones’ bodies.
Fadumo Abdi, a Mogadishu resident, said she still remembered the day of the attack, the “worst day” of her life.
“Five people among my close relatives, including my sister’s five-year-old baby girl, died in that attack and we have yet to find some of their bodies. We’re still mourning,” Abdi said.
Their lives were cut short while on their way to Mogadishu’s scenic Liido beach on the Indian Ocean coast, she said.
Suleiman Ahmed also lost loved ones in the terrorist attack. Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ahmed said he lost five of his relatives and five friends who were killed in the attack, adding that he knows dozens of others who were wounded.
“I myself wasn’t far away from the bomb site and I still remember the magnitude of that blast, which was the biggest bombing I’ve ever heard. I lost a lot of friends, including five close friends and five of my relatives,” he said.
Ahmed added that he still saw nightmares of the blast and said Somalis must unite in order to defeat the terrorists responsible.
Today, the site of the attack has been dedicated to mark its anniversary.
The fifth anniversary of the deadly bombing coincides with Somalia gaining significant ground against Al-Shabaab in its recent military operations in the central region of Hiran.
“We will never forget the victims of the worst terrorist attack in #Somalia on 14 October 2017. We lost over 600 people on that fateful day. Best way to celebrate their lives is to defeat Al-Shabaab and their violent extremist ideology. Let’s join the struggle,” Abdirahman Aynte, Somalia’s former planning minister, said on Twitter.
Hussein Sheikh Ali, the national security adviser of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, also marked the attack’s anniversary, and said the government would defeat al-Shabaab and its ideology.
“The feeling of this anniversary is not one of despair and pain but rather resistance and resilience. We shall defeat AlShabaab and terror ideology,” Ali said.
Somalia has been grappling with security threats for years, with Al-Shabaab being one of the main ones in the country.
Since at least 2007, al-Shabaab has waged a deadly campaign against the Somali government and international forces that has claimed thousands of lives.
The UN has warned of growing instability in the country, with its periodic reports on Somalia this year detailing attacks by al-Shabaab and groups aligned with the Daesh/ISIS terror group.
At least 1,242 civilians have been killed in the terrorist attacks in Somalia in 2018-2019, while 1,735 have been injured, according to UN in Somalia.