A few links for your Sunday:
In the Somalia of today, comedians are murdered for telling jokes and journalist butchered for telling the truth. Certainly this cannot be the time for developing a constitution. I cannot but conclude that the constitutional process is nothing more than an attempt by the international community to make legitimate their engagement and support to a government they have conceived and created. Somalia’s new elite has found in the current arrangement an environment conducive for their emergence and growth – and it is here that a marriage between the uninformed and the ambitious begins and the constitution becomes their marriage certificate.
I left Mogadishu feeling both hopeful and sad. Hopeful because of the colorful exhibition of humanity to survive extremes, dust itself off and launch a comeback. I was hopeful because in AMISOM, we see Africans attempting to solve their problems. Saddened, because I fear forces of primitive association are gaining strength. As for my own personal journey, I left feeling Somali and certainly more African than ever before. This journey laid some of my personal ghosts to rest. Yes, I am Somali and yes I am African with a billion fellow travellers.
That is Mo Yaxye in The Independent, “Coming home to Mogadishu“.
The city streets were largely deserted last night, most people seemed to take their own precautions and stay home. The Daily Monitor today published the photos of some of those whose lives came to a tragic end on Sunday night. My friend Michael Wilkerson yesterday wrote this analysis on the attacks for Foreign Policy.
Yesterday Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attacks, but it is not yet clear whether their claim is credible or if they are simply free-riding from the work of an as yet unknown/unidentified terrorist group. Ugandan authorities today say they found an unexploded suicide bomber vest, and have arrested a number of suspects, according to the latest BBC coverage. President Museveni has also declared a week-long period of national mourning, this just one week ahead of the AU Summit to be held in Kampala.
Great thanks to all my friends and colleagues in the local and international media who have been hard at work, day and night, since this tragedy befell the country. You are doing great work and your service is greatly appreciated across the globe.
My heart goes out to all those who have lost friends and family, may they rest in eternal peace.
Bomb blasts at the Kyadondo Rugby Club at Lugogo and Ethiopian Village last night killed dozens of people during the World Cup Finals. I was at a popular bar in town watching the match, and only heard about the blasts in the final moments of the game. Fat Boyz bar in Kisementi closed immediately upon receiving information about the blasts, and other bars in the area emptied at an extraordinary pace.
Local TV footage from the scene at the rugby club showed chairs, bodies and body parts strewn about. One image showed a decapitated head. Those injured at Ethiopian Village in Kabalagala were taken to International Hospital Kampala (IHK). The latest reports say 37 were admitted to IHK and 5 have already died. Injured persons from the rugby club were taken to Mulago Hospital, which reports say was overwhelmed by the sudden influx of patients.
No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, though some speculate that Al Shabaab, a militant Somali group, could be behind the attacks, possibly with on-the-ground support from the Allied Defence Forces (ADF), a Ugandan rebel group. Al Shabaab has warned that there would be consequences for Uganda’s role in AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia). If Al Shabaab is in fact behind the attacks, it is likely they will claim responsibility soon.
These are the worst terrorist attacks the country has faced. See the BBC coverage here, Independent blog coverage here, Monitor Coverage here, and Al Jazeera here.
More updates to come.