Yesterday’s horrific bomb attack in Mogadishu has served as yet another reminder of Al Shabaab’s cruel and twisted ideology.
The day was meant to be one of celebration – marking the first anniversary of the launch of Somali National Television at the newly re-opened National Theatre. Yet it is to be remembered now for the tragic death of the President of the Somali Olympic Committee, Aden Yabarrow Wiish, the chief of the Somali Football Federation, Said Mohamed Nur, and several others. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those killed and injured.
As the British Prime Minister said in his statement yesterday, the action once again demonstrates Al Shabaab’s ‘complete disregard for the lives of the Somali people’. The sentiments in his statement have been echoed around the world – complete revulsion and utter condemnation for this cowardly and barbaric attack.
A month ago, world leaders came together at the London Conference to support the efforts of the Somali people and her leaders to forge a new path and build a new future for their country. What happened yesterday only strengthens our resolve to work together with our Somali partners to end over two decades of famine and bloodshed and the threats that the likes of Al Shabaab pose to Somali men, women and children.
I was in Mogadishu again yesterday – meeting with the Mayor of Mogadishu and officials from the TFG Prime Minister’s office – together with colleagues from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the UK Stabilisation Unit. We were discussing how we could continue to support the recovery of Mogadishu and its citizens and, in particular, the UK’s latest package of support – $2 million to support the rehabilitation of the city, announced last weekend during the visit of the UK Minister for Africa to Mogadishu.
What we heard yesterday was how Al Shabaab is continuing to lose the support of ordinary Somalis. What I’ve seen around the city is just how resolute the citizens of the city are to reclaim their capital from the extremists and warlords: to take part in Somalia’s rich culture of poetry and theatre and celebrate their sporting passions, such as football and basketball.
As David Cameron said yesterday, this is clearly a very difficult time for all those affected by yesterday’s attack, in particular the Somali Olympics team and the Somali Football Federation. We hope that in due course they will continue their work of uniting Somalia and once again show that, in the words of the Olympic Charter, sport can ‘contribute to building a peaceful and better world’. In London’s Olympic year, we stand with them.
Since the London Conference, we have been working hard on the agenda that the Conference set. We’re working with the Garowe Signatories to ensure that the selection of the Constituent Assembly is as representative of the Somali people as possible; we’re working with AMISOM and the TFG to ensure they get the resources they need to create greater safety and security; and we’re working with our international and Somali partners on supporting greater stabilisation across the country. I would like to know what you think about this agenda, a month on from London. Please either leave a comment below, or on our Facebook or Twitter pages.