Missiles Rock Mogadishu

Mogadishu is under attack. Dozens of BM rockets, as they are called here, fired by the AMISOM forces have crippled the busy Bakara market and brought the entire business hub of Mogadishu into a complete standstill. Just as worshipers exited the mosques, after noon prayer today, the rockets fell. Hundreds of people in the market scrambled for safety, some hiding under concrete buildings and others rushing back into the mosques.

I had just left my apartment and decided to meet a journalist, Keyse, for lunch when the shelling began. Squeezing through the riotous crowds of shoppers, hawkers, tea ladies and past the tightly crammed stalls whose fetid odour assaulted our senses, medicine shops and juice bars, we made our way to Tawakkal Restaurant, a fairly clean and quiet place compared to the other noisy eating places in Bakara. But just before we could enter the restaurant, the sound of a rocket fired caught Keyse’s attention. Being still fairly new to this war-torn city, my senses were not quite alert yet, though I am now slowly becoming attuned to the music of mortars.

The frenzied look on my friend’s face explained it all. Without a second spared, we dashed into the nearest building, hurdling past donkey carts, screaming kids and stumbling women. Though it becomes the natural instinct to help the elderly and the weak when in need, but during times like these, and in Mogadishu’s mayhem, it is every man for his own. Several rockets, whose whistling noise was enough to send fear running through your veins, fell a few streets away from where we were.

The rockets left a devastating trail of destruction. An hour of panic and confusion had wiped out the smiles from the jovial shoppers’ faces and brought the atmosphere of safety to an abrupt end.

When the whistles of the rockets had faded, we exited the building, along with a group of angst-ridden residents and shoppers, and made our way back to my apartment. I wasn’t ready for what I’d encountered. Just at the entrance of the apartment, the bloody entrails of a young woman lay scattered in front of a tin-roofed shop. Her face looked unusually tranquil, as if she had finally received that long-awaited moment of peace; her dark hair rested unruffled on the soft soil, painted with blood; her bulging eyes stared into the open space and a trickle of blood oozed from her mouth. Shuddering with twinges of pain, I watched painfully as the lifeless body of a beautiful young woman was being covered with a shroud.

I was completely gripped by the horrific scene, when the screams of some children pulled my attention, not far away from the young woman. Instinctively, I made my way to the location of the noise and saw four children, of almost equal age, bleeding and crying. Large pieces of shrapnel had punctured their frail bodies. The youngest, a blood-stained 4-year-old, glued her pleading eyes at me as I knelt down beside her. Lifting her hand with effort, she stretched a delicate finger which I held. Her legs were swimming in a puddle of blood, as her brittle bones were broken by shrapnel. There were no words to console this innocent child. Words would make no meaning to her muddled mind now. Wiping her face with my kerchief, I returned her hand to a relative who came looking for her.

These images are now engraved in my mind and I have lost any appetite I had for food. Keyse escorted me back to my apartment, bewildered and entranced by the sights I had seen. A local journalist who had covered the Somali conflict for more than a decade, Keyse looked quite composed.
‘Do you not feel what I feel, Keyse?’ I asked

He looked at me, slightly perplexed.
‘I’ve been living here for all my life M,’ he said, ‘I’ve witnessed scenes like these more than a million times. Now I’ve reached a point where I’ve become insentient.’

A wry smile adorned his face.

‘You must feel a tinge of pain or sadness at least? I responded

He was contemplative for a while.

‘I don’t know if I do. Death has benumbed us. We live everyday expectant; if not today then certainly tomorrow will be your turn.’

He was right. Everyone lives here in Mogadishu is expectant of a sudden death; shrapnel or a bullet or a grenade will eventually take your life one way or the other. And the thought now makes me want to look at the possibility of living outside Mogadishu.

The rockets were not restricted to the Bakara market alone but have also hit other parts of Hawlwadaag, Hodan, Wardhiigley and Yaaqshiid districts. Up to 5 people are reported to have been killed in Bakara, 4 in Yaaqshiid, and others in Hodan. Gubta, a hugely populated residential area several kilometres away from bakara, received heavy blows. The number of casualties is on the increase, thought to be 15 now, and the injured are estimated to be as high as 30.

Though no encounters between the Islamists and the TFG were reported, yet the rockets were fired from the Ugandan strongholds, increasing the fury of the already incensed public. Tanks were also seen surrounding the Dabka junction, close to the Ugandan base. This merciless assault on the residential and business areas of Mogadishu came at a time when the government forces were holding a Military Parade in the Presidential Palace, in front of TFG president Sheikh Sharif, to mark their first anniversary. Perhaps the BM rockets were all they had for fireworks today!

About Mogadishu Man
Blogging from Mogadishu seems somewhat inconceivable doesn't it?

6 Responses to Missiles Rock Mogadishu

  1. To begin with the last to the first, Ahmed Sheikh Sharif is currently out of Somalia in fact by the time this article mentions as sheling time he was seen in one of the capital cities of one of the East African countreis so i wonder if there are two Ahmed Sheikh Sharif.

    People in Mogadishu are suffering from bombardments from the warring parties thats true and so are the AMISOM forces just as your articles have always said in prais of the al shababs. What i wait to be convicied about is wether there is no provocation of this bombardment on the part the shababs and where exactly are they located for them not to be the primary targets of the TFG and AMISOM. Otherwise for one to be in bakara market at the time it is about to recieve indiscriminate shelling can cannot be called a coincedence or even being out for tea at a cool restuarant.

    But if innocent human beings have gone beyond being mere human shields to items to be used by writers of good articles to be ptrayed as DEATH BY AMISOM or simply good headings for Jihadist propaganda then this is very unfortunate. However if one is to work to demonise the Forces that are trying to bring back sanity to Somalia while decorating the image of the shabaabs then its like pouring water in a basket because their attrocities are beyond the most inhuman acts ever heard about.

  2. mogadishuman says:

    RM, Thank you for the comment. Now to get you out of the dark, Somalia’s president was in Villa Somalia yesterday giving a speech to the military.

    As for the bombardments, I fail to understand where you are coming from. Perhaps you are more informed of the situation here, so enlighten us please and give us a plausible justification for AMISOM’s indiscriminate shelling of residential areas – areas where no Islamists are to be found?

  3. i meant no offence Mr MM, and i cannot enlighten you of the situation but i smell a rat in the contradictions of you stories, in all of them you alway somewhat inclined to the Shabs and they are always heros in your articles. Then you will always feature somewhere in a peaceful ambience which is always spoilt but of the AU.
    But i love your style anyway to say the truth you are a professional writer. though i insist that the timings of the incidents in your article Sharif if he is the one i see in papers was not in Somalia. find out.

  4. mogadishuman says:

    RM, unless the voice i heard that day on radio wasn’t his, and unless all of Mogadishu’s radio stations were lying then it must have been him. 😀

    As for an inclination towards the Lads, mine is merely a journalistic approach to the events as they unfold – relating the narratives of the Mogadishians here. The aim is to narrate the accounts of Mogadishu as I perceive them whilst remaining impartial. Al-Shabaab may be perceived as terrorists in the Western World, but the locals here have an entirely different concept. Locals here have accepted the Lads as an administrative authority. I will write a detailed post soon, if time permits.

  5. Mr MM. There is nothing new you are going to write am sure you will only be singing te old song in a new tune. Thanks for the confession because i really wondered how a single journalist opens a website only to put lipstick on a pig. So where are the ethics? My ass is on a banjo “the lads” “the locals” as they amputate them, as they axhume the dead, as they extrort them and lately NO USE OF BELLS IN SCHOOLS . that is if their are any schools remaining, no music, no bbc, no football.. no.. etc etc and you talk of lads common style up Mr MM. would i be wrong if i thought you ….. Oh God forbid it can’t be please tell me NO. show me you are just a journalist because you are too good to be.

  6. One thing though, about the presence or absence of the president in Somalia i did not say he was not there that day. i was talking about the moment of the incident Mr MM with technology this world has become a small village and information move so fast. He may have been their before the moment of the incident but in your article you may have wanted to show that it went on with his full knowledge and he was unbothered.

    On many ocassions i have noted that the departure of Sharif from Somalia and celebrations at the state house attracts the provocation of the shabs and those two situations happened on that day. But from google earth i see lots of spaces from which they can lauch their mortars other than Bakara market, red mosque , african village ect . Why not the stadium cause it is under their control or areas beyond industrial road behind former Min of defence compoud. and why target positions where they expect return of fire only that this time they also targeted UN, UNICEF and WFP compouds i dont know where exactly these are located but if they are within AMISOM guarded position of course they will say they are acting in self defence.

    Humanity is no play thing and one day people will answer for their inhumaty.

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