Mogadishu eyes security improvement as UN affirms greater support 

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A picture taken on October 15, 2017 shows a general view of the scene of the explosion of a truck bomb in the centre of Mogadishu. (AP)

For years, appeals for greater support by Somali officials have gained little attention. However, the massive truck bomb which killed at least 400 people has further exposed the dire security situation in Somalia, leading to calls for swift actions and drastic changes towards the limited support given to Somalia’s fragile government.

By Judy Maina, judy.maina@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – The deadliest attack in the Somali capital on October 14 appears to be pulling the global attention back to Somalia’s security challenges more seriously than before in view of the growing terrorism threat from the Al-Qaeda linked Al Shabab group and the ISIS-linked fighters that are trying to extend their presence beyond their mountainous hideouts in the country’s north.

For years, appeals for greater support by Somali officials have gained little attention. However, the massive truck bomb which killed at least 400 people has further exposed the dire security situation in Somalia, leading to calls for swift actions and drastic changes towards the limited support given to Somalia’s fragile government.

However, the shift is evident in the beginning, with the United Nations is now leading global efforts to stabilize the seaside Somali capital.

Peter Drennan, the United Nations Under-secretary general for safety and security (Center), Michael Keating, the United Nations envoy to Somalia (Left) and Thabit Abdi, Mogadishu mayor (Right) stand at the site of the deadliest bombing in Somalia on 14 October on Monday. Alleastafrica photo

On Monday, Peter Drennan, the United Nations Under-secretary general for safety and security has arrived in Mogadishu, becoming the highest-ranking official from the global body to visit the Somali capital since the deadliest attack hit the city.

Peter Drennan, the United Nations Under-secretary general for safety and security (left), Thabit Abdi, Mogadishu mayor (center) and Michael Keating, the United Nations envoy to Somalia walk paste the site of the deadliest bombing in Somalia on 14 October on Monday. Alleastafrica photo

Speaking alongside the Mogadishu mayor Thabit Abdi shortly after their visit to the bombing site, Mr. Drennan has reaffirmed cohesive approach towards the security of Mogadishu which has seen frequent attacks  by Al Shabab which vowed further attacks in the city which is recovering from decades of war.

During their meeting, the two men accompanied by Michael Keating, the United nations envoy for Somalia have also emphasized needs for partnership by both sides in an effort to improve security of the city and to protect its war-weary residents from further attacks.

Nevertheless, the United Nation’s new support pledge has raised hopes for collective security support by the international community that may enable ending the security concerns which has likely limited measures at helping Somalia’s security and post-war reconstruction efforts.

NATIONAL SPIRIT

Soon after the massive deadly bombing which killed hundreds of Somalis hit the city, defiant Somalis have held protests across Mogadishu and staged solidarity events.

Amid chaos and bloody scenes, Somali leaders’ responses in the aftermath of the bombing had earned them praise among Somalis.

As the shocking news hit airwaves, the country’s leaders have rushed to hospitals to visit wounded victims, while the Mogadishu mayor has joined hundreds of angry protestors who took to the streets, with his actions at the bombing site in solidarity with victims have drawn a wider praise.

Mogadishu mayor Thabit Abdi (Left) walks near Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed who was interacting with a young female protester at a stadium in Mogadishu.

Wearing a red headband, Mr. Thabit Abdi who defied potential security threats has immediately left behind his security details and mingled out with angry the crowd gathered at the blast scene, comforting bereaved families and relatives of the attack victims.

He vowed that his city would not allow to see its spirit and desire for peace shattered by the bombing, but would instead remain resilient in the face of the tragedy.

“We shall never surrender.” he said shortly after he donated blood to victims of the attack.

Many of the country’s elites and leaders including the president and the prime minister have also responded to pleas for blood donations by the city’s hospitals overwhelmed by hundreds of causalities.

RALLYING CALL

However, the mass rallies that at times felt more like a wartime rally than protests served as a rallying call for the country’s leaders who called for citizens to join army in the upcoming offensive. Some of the protestors shouted in support of the leaders’ calls, terming it a ‘call of duty’.

“The evil enemy must know that we are more united than ever before.” Mr. Abdi said amid applause.

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