Anger with confused security response to attack

Makka almukarama road is the busiest road in the city. The explosion damaged several buildings and cars in the area. Photo credit/ UM

Mogadishu (UM) – Al-Shabaab fighters carried out a violent attack on the Maka Al Mukarama road in Mogadishu last night, the busies road in the city. The attack began with a huge explosion and was followed by gunfire which was still heard by nearby resident at the time of this story. The whole Maka Al Mukarama road has been closed off until the security situation is brought under control by the government security services.

The number of the dead and wounded are not clear yet but many eyewitness say it was a devastating explosion which was among the largest they have experienced. Many private properties including hotels and restaurants in the area have been damaged.

‘I was having a cup of tea in a nearby restaurant and then everything shook. It was like an earthquake,”said Ibrahim Abdi,a laborer. “I ran and saw many other people running away from the explosion too. It was very scary.”

“The explosion has hurt my business and this both the building and customers. Thursday and Friday are the best days for business but now we will make a loss again,” said Nur Mohamed, a barber. “I don’t make much money anyway but when these things happen it is even worse.”

Many witnesses interviewed by UM said that after the explosion the responding government security forces slowed down their escape and just engaged in firing bullets rapidly. Some were even told to stay where they were very close to the sight of the fighting becuase they had to be verified before they were released.

“This is a confused army and security. I understand they need this verify things but what will they do this against? Not all of us have government ID cards,” said a witness that did not want to be named. ‘The security forces bad coordination and lack of plan nearly killed us.”

“These responding soldiers are brave and we are happy for their support but their commanders are just unprofessional. They just know how to tell them to shoot but not do other things like evacuate the people,” said Mohamed Sheikh Farah a visitor from Nairobi. “Our car was stuck in one spot for nearly 1 hour while a soldiers closed the roads and pointed guns at anything that moved.”

Explosions and fire fights are now so common on the Maka Al Mukarama road that many felt the government security services should have responded better.

“This is the only road the government can fully claim to manage an there is always something happening regularly. If the security people can’t keep it safe then at least they should prepare a better response,” said Mumina Suleiman a resident on the Maka Al Mukarama Road. “Every explosion takes lives and destroys our property. The government should take our security seriously.”