Somalia: Thousands Protest Against Truck Bombings

People chant slogans as they protest against the deadly bomb attack in Mogadishu on October 15, 2017, after a truck bomb exploded outside of the Safari Hotel on a busy road junction, levelling buildings and leaving many vehicles in flames. The death toll from a massive weekend truck bomb in a busy shopping district of Mogadishu surged to at least 137, police said today, warning it could rise further after one of the worst-ever attacks to hit war-torn Somalia. / AFP PHOTO / Mohamed ABDIWAHAB

Thousands of Somalis took the streets on Wednesday to protest against the group behind the truck bombings. The large crowd defied police, who initially opened fire to stop the crowd from entering the area where the truck bombings happened.

On Saturday, two bombings left hundreds dead and hundreds more injured. It was initially revealed by authorities that the bombings, which happened in a busy area of Mogadishu, had left at least 20 people dead. The death toll ended up being hundreds more after emergency teams entered the scene.

The large crowd chanted slogans and demonstrated against the attacks but police started opening fire to stop the protesters from entering the area. Emergency teams said two people were injured when police opened fire. A pregnant protester was evacuated from the protest, according to an official. He also said that the two people injured were also protesting and that they were hit by bullets that the police fired to disperse the crowd that was attempting to enter the area by force.

Security forces eventually allowed the crowd to enter because the protest was too big to control. A mother who lost six of her relatives in the attack said that they are demonstrating against the terrorists that massacred their people and that they entered the road by force. The protesters were allowed to enter but security forces sat nearby and watched closely to prevent any situation from getting out of control.

Just a few days after the attack, the government buried over 150 victims that could not be identified. A police captain told Reuters that for some who could not see their friends or family, the only chance they have is to at least get to the place where they were killed.

The protest was mainly against al Shabaab, the group that authorities believe was behind the attack. The group has not claimed responsibility but authorities believe it was them because they have done similar attacks in the past. The group has been losing territory in recent years but they have continued their attacks on security forces and civilians. Somali officials recently told The Guardian that the man who set off the bomb was a former soldier in the country’s army who left to join the group.

The large protest is the second against the truck bombings. In the city of Dhusamareb, residents also took the streets to protest against the two bombings in the capital.