Zoobe Attack: We Need Answers! -UM

Somali security forces and others gather and search for bodies near destroyed buildings at the scene of Saturday's blast, in Mogadishu, Somalia Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017. (Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP)

Mogadishu (UM) – The painful bombing in Zoobe last week shocked the world. Even an uncaring world which became so accustomed to Somali violence stopped in anger. How could this happen most asked? Many paid tribute to the deceased and wounded victims and even more people and nations pledged support. However, the Somali people do not need international sympathy as much as they need answers from their Government.

The single largest public financial cost in Somalia goes on security. Every Government beginning with the Transitional ones prioritized security above all else. Security, Security, Security! Security has become both an obsession and a financial black hole in Somalia which should have ensured that tragedies like Zoobe did not ever occur let alone as frequently as they do. The Somali security forces are working in the most difficult environment and the average soldier is paid poorly and very late. However, their leaders, including the self-styled Generals and their political masters, must be held to account for the Zoobe attack.

Zoobe was a tragedy on a new scale. The suffering still goes on as families are still looking for loved ones who simply disappeared. This attack must be a wakeup call for the Administration to hold security personnel accountable. Empty condemnation is no longer enough. The President and PM wearing military uniforms and seeking to go to war with the enemy will no longer do. Real action must begin with accountability of the security services and their bosses. This is where the failure lies.

What happened? Who did it? Why? How did it happen given that Mogadishu and its surroundings are among the most securitized? These are the questions that need answering urgently. The public no longer have any faith in Committees established after disasters which produce nothing of value while wasting valuable, meagre public money.

It was reported and confirmed by senior Villa Somalia officials that President Farmaajo wanted to ask the Parliament for further powers to fight Al-Shabaab but they wisely refused. This is because this is pointless unless this Government makes an effort to learn from the costly mistakes of the past so that they can tighten security and reform the incompetent and often competing security networks that endanger rather than protect the public they are supposed to be serving.

Poor pay, clan appointments and a large number of ghost soldiers are the key challenge this Government must turn its full attention to if it wants to deliver on its security priorities and regain public trust. International support is recognized and welcome, but it is only when Somalis take their security seriously that others will too.

May Allah SWT bless all the victims of the Zoobe attack and provide the survivors with comfort and speedy recovery and good health.