Stop exploiting victims for publicity say public

Mogadishu (UM) – After the terrible double explosion and 24 hour gun battle in Mogadishu last week many interviewed by UM felt that both the government and former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud exploited the event to win publicity.

The day after the attack both Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud rushed to different hospitals to show support. Both gave speeches demanding the violence end with the Prime Minister telling the public that the government is doing its best to improve security.

“The attack made all of us angry and both the Prime Minister and Hassan Sheikh did not understand we don’t need more talk, we need action,” said Roble Bashir, a surviving victim. “The Prime Minister in particular makes me angry because he keeps promising better security and nothing is happening.”

“This government can say what it wants but it has failed in secuirty. They live in Villa Somalia and drive bulletproof cars even to go to hospitals and roads are closed for them. For us the public we are victims all the time,”said Nasriin Dini, a salon worker. “Only Allah can feel our anger. Our business was hit and all these politicians can tell me is we are doing better. They can tell their lies to the international community not me.”

Many interviewed were angered that both the Prime Minister and Hassan Sheikh were followed by filming crews and reporters to the hospitals. All felt that this was a political stunt and not a real act of support.

“The Prime Minister should make sure there are no explosions not take photos with victims afterwards. Did he ask for their permission before filming?” asked a journalist who did not wan to be named. “This is a sick culture of exploiting the victims who are always failed by a media obsessed government.”

“Hassan Sheikh’s speech was interesting because he forgot he was President only two years ago and he also did nothing about the Security of the country,”said Faisal Abdi. “Both the Prime Minister and Hassan Sheikh did not tell the public the government does not control or own one hospital which is treating the victims. This is very sad.”

Many questioned why the Prime Minister not the President spoke to the public after the explosion on national TV since he is the head of state.

“President Farmaajo is just missing from his government and public life. Does he not care that all this violence is happening under his leadership? If something happened in a foreign country he would have said something so why not when it happened to us in Somalia?” asked Maryam Mohamed, an angry street vendor in Mogadishu. “This President is growing far apart from the people and their concerns. This was not the man we celebrated when he first became President.”

All the interviewers said the government communication was confusing, badly timed and desperate to find a way to cover up the security failures. Most interviewed felt that the soldiers did well to end the siege but that their leaders are guilty of poor leadership for not preventing the explosions in the city.

“It is sad the same thing keeps happening on one road. Can’t this government protect this single road which is closed for them most of the time?” asked Guled Dirshe, a waiter. “The government can say what it likes about its security reforms and success but the people don’t feel it. Everyday there is an explosion I don’t get paid. I am really tired of this constant violence which the government has no response for.”

To date the number of victims is not yet clear as family members are still searching for relatives who are still missing.

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