On October 14, 2017, a truck bomb exploded at a busy intersection in Mogadishu, killing 587 people and killing nearly 1,000. Four years later, the scars of the attack are still seen and felt in the Somali capital.
Today the intersection is known as the October 14 Junction, and a monument marks the spot where bombs blew up buildings and took many lives.
Most of the former Prefecture Junction buildings have been rebuilt, but four years later some are still covered in a lot of rubble, reminiscent of the destruction caused by the explosion.
The blast also shattered hundreds of families, who lost relatives and friends. Fahma Hassan Yusuf says that he lost his close friend Ayaan Mohammed, who was an important pillar in his family, adding that Mohammed’s body, along with that of another friend, was later discovered. She says that Ayaan informed her about the impending security threat in the city a week before the attack to stay indoors but unfortunately lost her life.
Stationery shop owner Hassan Abdullahi is a resilient man who was injured in the blast. Despite the horrors he experienced, he is now back at his renovated shop.
He recalls that it was an unexpectedly painful day when he was hospitalized for three weeks after a neck injury. He said he is now happy to operate his business in the same place where hundreds of people died four years ago.
No one claimed responsibility for the gruesome attack, but the government blamed the al-Shabaab terrorist group for it.
In February 2018, a Somali military court convicted 23-year-old Hassan Aden Isaac of leading the al-Shabaab unit, which is said to have carried out the attack. He was executed that October. Another person was sentenced to death in absentia.
A statement from the President’s Office on Thursday called on citizens to support the efforts of security agencies to help eliminate terrorist activities.