A truck bomb exploded in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Tuesday, killing at least 78 people, including many students, authorities said. A truck laden with explosives exploded in the city's central business district on Wednesday, killing and wounding dozens of people, according to local authorities.
The attack occurred at an intersection that connects the capital with the rest of southern Somalia. Saturday's bombing came after months of relative peace in Mogadishu, which gave rise to a sense that Somalia has turned the corner. Ethiopia's government is battling several rebel groups, including a powerful, ethnic Somali one. The new government has struggled to maintain control since the 2011 overthrow of former dictator Omar Hassan al-Shabab, who had seized control of much of Central and South Africa's second-largest country by population.
The group has carried out deadly attacks in Somalia over the past year, including the storming of a hotel in Mogadishu in early December by gunmen. In all, 18 Americans and hundreds of Somalis died in the 18-hour firefight, which later became known as the Battle of Mog Somaliu. The group is blamed for the Mog Somalia bombings in 2017 that killed 587 people. More than half of all al-Shabab attacks, 982 civilian casualties since October, have been reported, according to the U.S. State Department.
Security operations have been hampered by clashes between al-Shabab and the government in Mogadishu and other parts of the country, which have resulted in deaths, injuries and displacement of civilians.
Excessive isbaros (checkpoints) and violence continue to dominate Mogadishu and much of southern Somalia, including the city of D Dick, home to some of the country's most powerful military and security forces. War broke out in southern Somalia in 2008, when the Somali National Army (SNA), the country's main military force, began fighting the Islamist Al Shabaab militia. Violent clashes between insurgents and government troops intensified after Ethiopian troops who invaded Somalia to overthrow the short-lived Islamic government and prop up the TFG were withdrawn in January 2009.
Militias led by Somali warlords Mohamed Farrah Aidid began attacking and killing UN peacekeepers. The ICU strengthened its position and temporarily brought a rare degree of stability to southern and central Somalia, especially Mogadishu. More radical elements, including Al Shabaab, have regrouped to continue their insurgency against the TFG, unlike the Ethiopian military presence in Somalia.
Since then, ongoing conflicts, recurring floods and droughts have left Somalia as the world's least developed country. Somalia has landed in the bottom half of the World Bank's Global Competitiveness Index for the first time in its history.
Somalia's occupiers formed the core of the Somali National Army (SNA), the country's armed forces and its largest military force.
Although most of Somalia's coast is dry, the area around Mogadishu is more agriculturally suitable and caters for a larger population. Somaliland benefits from the port of Berbera, which does not suffer from the piracy that afflicts the Somali coast. With the support of FGS forces, AMISOM has made several attempts to retake areas from al-Shabab groups, starting with Mog Somalia and South Central Somalia. Somalia's government has far outperformed its military weight in the region, which includes its neighbors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Ethiopia.
On the other hand, Somalia's neighbors do not want Somalia to become too strong in the future, and they know that without a viable Somali state they cannot contain extremism in the region. A more radical idea is to let the United Nations take over, but, since Somalia is already an independent country, this option may be too much for Somalis. Abiy Isaias may also feel compelled to abandon Mohamed if the internal conflict escalates.
Madobe could invade Gedo and try to drive Somali federal troops out of Jubaland, potentially triggering a conflict with the remaining Ethiopian troops in the south of the country. A second round between Ethiopia and Eritrea could see the Eritrean-backed Shabab take over Somalia. So there is a need not only to stabilize Ethiopia, but also Somalia, and Somalia could easily overthrow a complex civil war involving the Somali National Army, the United Nations, the Ethiopian military, and the Ethiopian armed forces.
I want to tell you, wherever you are in the world, that this terrorist attack will not undermine the morale of the Somali people, "Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a Shabab leader, said in a speech to the nation on Saturday. On October 3, 1993, I was dropped from a helicopter into the crowded markets of a central Mogadishu, Somalia. I wrote about the 15 days I spent in this city of the heart, and on January 19, 1993, the dividing line between the warring clans was broken by a task.
Less than a decade later, a military group led by Major General Muhammad Siad Barre seized power and declared Somalia a socialist state. The creeping radicalization of the intensive care unit and the desire for a "Somali caliphate" begged for it, prompting Ethiopia, with US support, to invade Somalia, defeat it, and bring the interim government to power later in the year.