SOMALIS CALL FOR UNITY AS THEY MOURN VICTIMS OF OCTOBER BOMBINGS

The international community joined Somalis in mourning the deaths of 587 people who were killed and 316 others injured during the October 14, 2017 bombing attack in Mogadishu.

The Somalis including lawmakers and government officials used the occasion to call for unity, peace and reconciliation that will help bring lasting stability in the country.

Thousands of Somalis gathered at the Zoope Junction, the scene of the deadly truck bombing to mourn the deaths of their colleagues and relatives amid tight security in and around the restive city of Mogadishu.

A memorial monument was also unveiled at K-5 junction as hundreds of people visited the scene of the massacre on October 14 last year.

Speaking during the event, Prime Minister Hassan Khaire described the October 2017 terrorist attack as the deadliest in the history of the country.

Khaire said hundreds of survivors are still coping with the physical and emotional consequences of the incident and cautioned Somalis against allowing their sons to joint the terror group.

The bomb blast, one of the deadliest in the country's history, attracted mass condemnation from the international community who rallied behind the people of Somalia.

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), in coordination with the Somali security forces acted swiftly after the attack, to secure the area and help in recovery efforts.

Francisco Madeira, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia said the mission remains committed to finding a lasting solution to the wholesale use of explosive devices by militants in Somalia.

Madeira said the mission is working with the Somali government and partners to put a check on the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) menace.

To date, a lot of progress has been made, with several IEDs recovered and safely detonated, said the AU mission.

"As we commemorate 12 months since the people of Somalia fell victim of the most senseless mass murder perpetrated by al-Shabab against innocent Somali men, women and children, I wish, on behalf of the AU Commission, the entire AMISOM family and on my own behalf, to reiterate our rejection and strong condemnation of this heinous crime," said Madeira.

He paid tribute to the resilient people of Somalia, who endured the pain but did not succumb to the whims of a blood thirsty group, which rejects peace and continues to maim and destroy lives.

"We salute the Somali National Security Forces who were not deterred by this barbaric act and are, today, dislodging the terrorist group from its strong holds in Balcad and Marka, in lower and Middle Shabelle regions," he said.

Madeira reiterated the AU and AMISOM continued commitment, and engagement with the people and the government of Somalia, in their joint endeavor to restore peace and stability in the country.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK