In an event that was not covered widely by media in the United States, nearly 300 people were killed and at least 500 people were injured in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital. On Oct. 14, a truck with 350 kilograms of explosives concealed under agricultural produce and a tarpaulin exploded in a crowded intersection. The attack is attributed to al-Shabaab, the local terrorist organization, although they have not yet claimed responsibility for the attack. The explosion occurred at the K5 Junction, which is a central area for hotels, government offices and restaurants. According to Al Jazeera, after the explosion, four gunmen ran into the Safari Hotel and opened fire on patrons and security guards. The hotel may not have been the main target of the attack, as many government buildings, including the foreign ministry, are located nearby.
In response to the attack, thousands of people marched in the streets of Mogadishu to mourn the loss of the victims and to protest the terrorist organization responsible. The President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has declared three days of mourning and for people to donate blood and funds to help the victims and their families.
Many news outlets, including Al Jazeera and the Huffington Post, have criticized the lack of knowledge and media attention that this terrorist attack has been receiving. They argue that because this is one of the largest terrorist attacks since the Al Shabaab began in 2007, this event has not received enough media attention. However, this attack made front page news for outlets such as the Guardian.
Well done to the Guardian for leading with Somalia this morning. Clear it should be the biggest story in the world. pic.twitter.com/UjikjAFiDp
— Barry Malone (@malonebarry) October 16, 2017
There has also been a strong outcry on Twitter about how little attention this event has received. People are angry that the West does not show enough attention to events in Africa.
— michael (@mdiab9) October 15, 2017
Nevertheless, many world leaders and governments have voiced support for Somalia and the victims of the bombings. On Oct. 15, the U.S. Department of State released a statement saying that the U.S. “will continue to stand with the Somali government, its people, and our international allies to combat terrorism.” The terrorist attack was also condemned by French President Emmanuel Macron, U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. All of these leaders pledge their support for Somalia, the victims of the attack, and for world peace. The attack has also been condemned by the United Nations and the African Union.
Several cities have shown support for the victims in Mogadishu through symbolic gestures. The Eiffel Tower was dark on Oct. 16 to show solidarity with Somalia and the victims of the attack in Mogadishu.
— La tour Eiffel (@LaTourEiffel) October 16, 2017
In Canada, the city of Toronto showed support by lighting the city’s Toronto Sign in blue and white, the colors of Somalia’s flag.
Toronto Sign shines blue & white today in the colours of Somalia's flag, to honour the victims of Saturday's attack in Mogadishu pic.twitter.com/lCreotwq1K
— City of Toronto (@TorontoComms) October 16, 2017