MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — Isaq Ahmed lifted his head from his hands, his eyes clouded with tears, as he looked at the crowd gathered near the twisted wreckage from a car bomb blast that ripped open buildings and killed at least seven people in Somalia’s capital this week.

As smoke filled the air, the 30-year-old car washer recalled another suicide blast that rocked a restaurant last year where he also works and killed more than 15 people.

“I’d been feeling that peace was almost achieved, but I was wrong,” the grief-stricken Ahmed said before shuffling off to wash another car, despite the destruction nearby. “I don’t think I can keep working, because horrible images and agony are really weighing me down.”

Mogadishu has seen a relative period of peace the last 18 months, after African Union troops forced al-Shabab militants out of the city in August 2011. The city has moved past a recent history of running street battles involving mortars, rockets and tanks.

But a recent series of suicide blasts has residents worried that Mogadishu’s version of peace will be upended by regular bombings.

An al-Shabab suicide car bomb attacker targeting a convoy with Mogadishu’s intelligence chief rammed his vehicle into a civilian bus on Monday, killing at least seven people and wounding the intelligence chief.

In early March, a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a seaside restaurant in Somalia’s capital, killing himself and one diner. In mid-February a bomber attacked a restaurant next to the Indian Ocean; only the bomber was killed.

The African Union forces’ ousting of the al-Qaida-linked fighters from the capital and surrounding regions brought back to life Mogadishu’s seaside for the first time in 20 years. Schools, shops and markets have reopened. The city government has repaired potholed streets and installed streetlights. Turkish Airlines now makes weekly flights, the first time in decades a reputable international carrier has regular flights here.

Mogadishu has also seen a revival in the arts, sports and business over the last year. Residents dance at weddings. New restaurants have opened, and construction is up. But the violence is holding back progress.

Beach-goers once flocked to Mogadishu’s sandy shores. On a recent morning, dozens of people strolled along the waterfront, dipping their feet in the water, but the nearby restaurants were mostly empty.

“Because of the attacks, our business has suffered a sharp decline,” said Hassan Ali, a manager at a beachfront restaurant in Mogadishu called Village close to where the restaurant attacks took place. “More than 50 percent of our customers haven’t returned after the attack. It’s hugely damaging to our earnings.”

Outgunned and on the defensive, al-Shabab are still battling the African Union forces, but the group has resorted to roadside bombs, suicide attacks and assassinations, instead of infantry street battles which cause high casualties.

“What’s happening is a setback to the security gains in Somalia by the government,” said Mohamed Sheikh Abdi, a Somali political analyst. “But in comparison to what has been achieved thus far in terms of security, what is happening is merely a hiccup, rather than a game changer in the long run.”

Somalia’s prime minister said this week that the attacks will have no long-term effect.

“We have made far too much progress to regress to the bad old days,” said Abdi Farah Shirdon.

However, in another worrying security sign, al-Shabab fighters in the last week recaptured Hudur, a town in southwestern Somalia, after Ethiopian and Somali troops left it. The retreat has raised fears that the Ethiopian troops who control several towns in western Somalia will make a more extensive pullout.

“They (al-Shabab) have greeted us with beheadings of two residents upon their arrival,” said Ali Daud, a resident in Hudur, by phone. “We don’t know why the Ethiopians have made that surprise departure.”

Hassan Yaqub, a member of al-Shabab, said: “If the Ethiopian Christians have abandoned two towns for now, then why don’t you expect more territorial gains?”

Source : AP


  1. Muqdisho and Somalia are peaceful in the eyes of America and its allies in the west, they have already started deporting Somali criminals from all over the world. No more Somali asylum seekers because you have a government now that can take care of you folks. This was one of the reasons why America recognized this weak government. Compare Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan, they are all peaceful, don't they? what a hypocrisy. Munaafiqiin reer galbeedkaa ka danbeeya waxan oo dhan.

  2. When is this shame gonna stop. PuntlandGeezer where are u hidding those savages. I wanna fly over from America and make easy money catching bloody criminals for $10 M

    • seriously thats a lot of money just to capture one skinny somali. most of Al shabaab senior leaders are hiding in bay and bakool. I wanna join Al shabaab then inform the Americans (CIA) where godane is hiding 10$ million for me thank you very much I'm gonna buy me own island and I will be surrounded by hot beautiful topless blondes wearing nothing but a bikini lingerie.

  3. Alshabaab is a cancer and needs to be eleminated at all means, Somalailand should support the Somali government and share intelligence, These guys are a threath to the peace of all East Africa.

  4. What progress? the only progress that has been made so far was that USA to sell more arms to Somalia so they can continue killing each other.

  5. Bugland is behind all this string of attacks, because Bugland people do not like have seen any improvement in Mogadisho. They aree the ones who are behind the Alshabab, and are always underminging any effoerts for progress and stability in Mogadisho. They want to show that only Marteenis can make Somalia Somalilan and no else can – a cheap hallucination and illusion everyone from Marjeertania believes. See how fools they are

  6. All the Spritual leaders of Alshabab are still Hiding in Puntland and they use it to destroy any administration who does not listen or accept its demands and this is exactly what is happening in Mogadishu

    • Awdal boy,

      Think about your neck of the woods because in reality you don't have much happening in Awdal.

      Every body knows including IC where Al-shahab central commend located Hargeisa.