I had a phone call to Mogadishu set up in the early afternoon, getting in touch with a Somali friend. “Call me when I get back from work and we can talk,” she had said. But she was late.
“I couldn’t go out,” she explained when we finally spoke. “There was a bomb threat. They said there were two car bombs ready to explode.” Did they explode? “Only one, on the outskirts of Mogadishu, 10 dead. It’s not even news. There are bombings every day.”
Oct. 14 was the deadliest terrorist attack in Somalia’s tormented history. According to official data, 358 died, 228 were wounded and 56 are missing. “There’s no more life in the city,” my friend said. “There are many roadblocks that make the situation even more dangerous, because if you stop many cars in the same place you create better conditions for attacks — the terrorists want more and more victims. There was a mass funeral for the victims of Oct. 14, because after the double explosion it was impossible to tell which body parts belonged to which bodies. And they’re still searching for those missing.”
How are the people reacting? “Unfortunately, right now people are paralyzed by fear. They cannot speak out because they fear reprisals. If you report your neighbor, then at night, when you’re alone, he might come to kill you. Many were complicit in what happened: The cars for the terrorist attacks came from far away, so how did they get past the roadblocks?”