On October 14, 2017, a truck bomb exploded at a busy intersection in Mogadishu, killing 587 people and almost 1,000 more. 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 the bomb blew apart buildings and ended so many lives.
Most of the buildings at the former Soobe Junction have been rebuilt, but four years later some lots are still covered in rubble, a reminder of the destruction the blast caused.
The blast also ripped apart hundreds of families who lost relatives and friends. Fahma Hassan Yusuf says she lost her close friend Ayan Mohamed, who was an important pillar in her family, adding that Mohamed’s body, together with another friend, was discovered later. She says Ayan informed her about imminent security threat in the city one week before the attack in order to stay indoors but unfortunately lost her own life.
Stationery shop owner Hassan Abdullahi is a resilient man who was wounded in the blast. Despite the horror he experienced, he is now back at his renovated shop.
He recalls that it was an unexpected painful day when he was admitted to the hospital for three weeks after sustaining a neck injury. He said he now is happy to be back conducting his business at the same location where hundreds died four years ago.
No one claimed responsibility for the horrific attack, but the government blamed it on the militant group al-Shabab.
In February 2018, a Somali military court convicted 23-year-old Hassan Adan Isak for leading the al-Shabab unit said to have carried out the attack. He was executed that October. Another man was sentenced to death in absentia.
A statement Thursday from the president’s office appealed to citizens to support efforts by security agencies to help eradicate terrorist activities.