Josh Meribole—Staff Writer
1 terrorist attack, 1 African nation, 512 dead.
The death count from an attack in Mogadishu, Somalia in October has reached 512. The attack is believed to have been carried out by Al Shabaab, a terrorist organization that has links to Al Qaeda. It is the worst attack in Somalian history, leading some to call it their own version of 9/11.
Somalia is a nation in the Horn of Africa that, once continuously plagued by warlord’s rivalry, now suffers from terrorism. With a population of 10 million, the majority religion in the country is Islam.
But where did this nation get its start, and what’s happening now?
Somalia got its independence in 1960, with Aden Abdulle Osman Daar as the nation’s first president. In 1967, after a border dispute between Kenya and Ethiopia, Daar lost the election to Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke. Shermarke was assassinated two years later, and Muhammad Siad Barre took power. From 1970 to 1991, Somalia underwent famine as disputes with Ethiopia escalated. In 1988, the two nations signed a peace accord, ending the conflict.
Barre was removed from power in 1991, and clan warlords began fighting amongst themselves; resulting in the death of thousands of Somalian people. In 2000, a new government was announced by Ali Khalif Gelayadh. However, Somali warlords refused to give the new government support. In 2004, Abdullahi Yusuf was elected as president and helped establish the Transitional Federal Government, which remained until 2012 when it was replaced by the Federal Government of Somalia.
In 2006, the rise of extremism increased violence in the region and Al-Shabaab—meaning “the youth”—formed and became a terrorizing force in Somalia that still holds power today. The further violence caused another famine lasting until 2012 that claimed the lives of over 260,000 people.
The question now is, what is being done in Somalia today to prevent such a massacre—and such disastrous consequences of the prior violence—from ever happening again?
The African Union is currently running peacekeeping missions in Somalia, and the United Nation has sent aid to the country. The UN’s new Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, claims that “Conditions are now in place in Somalia for it to become a success story.”