A Mogadishu Morning: Guns and Grenades

Militiaman Fires a Heavy Machine Gun

I woke up to the sounds of heavy gunfire this morning, and so did the residents of Mogadishu. Though at times peaceful, unexpected battles take place at Mogadishu’s front lines. This morning the forces of Harakat Al-Shabaab Al Mujahideen launched a surprise attack on the defences of the government troops. After a heavy exchange of gunfire in a battle that lasted an hour or so, the local radio stations reported that Al-Shabaab have taken over Shibis district headquaters – one of the main strongholds of the TFG.

By conceding defeat in this district also to the Shabaab, the government now retains only 3 districts under its control; namely, Xamar Weyne, Xamar Jajab, Wadajir – that is three districts out of the total of 18! They are also present in the district of Shangani but do not control the whole district.

Since the government’s announcement of a major offensive, Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, the two Islamist groups confronting the feeble TFG, have been gradually advancing towards the Presidential Palace – which is now merely a few hundred metres from where the battle took place this morning – and the government troops seem to be extremely unsuccessful in keeping their grounds, let alone regaining lost territory. Now they are all cornered into a few blocks and the sea is behind them. A few weeks ago they launched an offensive, accompanied by Ugandan tanks, but failed miserably in their attempt and retreated with a wounded pride and morale as Al-Shabaab took over Global Hotel, a very strategic location in Cabdicaziiz district.

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Maxamad Dheere: An Incompetent Appointee


Imagine that a stray bullet, one of the thousands that constantly whiz past you in this deadly city, dislodged itself in your mother’s heart. Quite a normal thing, considering the situation we are in. So you quickly rush her to hospital, hoping that she stays alive at least until you reach there. You put her on the stretcher expecting that the doctor, assessing the severity of the situation, would instantaneously drag her into the theatre for that life saving operation. But no – you are told, instead, to pay upfront the operation cost, the admin fees as well as extra for the services of the handlers; all this while she profusely bleeds beside you. You came in a rush and were perhaps a little too traumatized to remember bringing some sacks of money along with you, so throw yourself at the compassion of the doctors. You march restlessly to and fro pleading with them and promising them that you will bring the money. ‘Just begin the operation please, I will go and get the money,’ you scream but to no avail. The doctor informs you that the hospital operates under the instructions of the governor and he has laid down these rules.

You stare on despairingly as your mother convulses with agony on the stretcher, her blood gently dripping onto the concrete. Her listless body begins to deteriorate as life slowly seeps out of it; her face gradually loses colour and her eyes fade away against her pallid features. Only a few meters away from the operating theatre, she breathes her last as you look on helplessly.

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