Remembering Soobe

Good evening!

Welcome to my blog series. Today I’m sharing you with another emotion-triggering story and incident that happened in a city where I never set foot but feel 100% home (Mogadishu), Somalia. This story will go through your teeth quickly and I hope you will enjoy it as you read but first my usual throwback times.

No matter what age group you are, if your mind is cooperating well, you may recall an incident that happened in the world or a mystery that unfolded on the planet sometime in the past. If you are a golden oldie and your mind and memory are cooperating, you may even recall incidents as bad as Harishima or Nagasaki, Tsunami in Japan or recently Beirut Port explosions. no matter when, Throughout history, we came across moments of unforgettable tragedies and incalculable human losses.

On this day exactly 3 years ago, the Somali capital, Mogadishu had witnessed one of the world’s deadliest blasts in recent times. The explosions went off in a busy junction called Soobe in the heart of City’s largest Market and a crowded place for local vendors, street sellers, restaurants and all types of regular business people. The blast took off in a rushy afternoon at around 2 o’clock in Mogadishu, The biggest capital city of the Somali people. Explosions and scuide bombs aren’t new to Somalia and I only think it’s one of the few things that pops up to your mind once you hear of the big country of Somalia but that one was as big as you might not have seen or heard it.

What was I doing when the bad news came out?

Soobe explosion is one of the most memorable incidents that has ever happened to our country and it is by far one of the moments I remember the most—not because it claimed more people but the lasting impact it left on our minds. On October 14, 2017, I woke up to my usual routine and it was like any normal morning that I expected. My plan for that afternoon was big. I was expecting to spend the rest of that afternoon watching and cheering for my long-time fan club, Liverpool Fc. For nearly 14 years, I was a big fan of the famous English big club, Liverpool. As a young boy, I watched Liverpool lose to Milan in the champions league final in 2007, lost to chelsea in the champions league semis and Liverpool ended the league title race by 86 points and 4 points behind the winner Manchester United in 2008-9. Liverpool was and still is my all time favorite club and I spent so much of my time watching the team lose and win behind the millions of fans around the world without a regret. Talking about Liverpool in the past one and half decades will bring up countless moments of tragedy and triumphs but I need to carry on my story (barden me) I’m often overwhelmed by my own stories and don’t stop unless I find out why.

Liverpool was playing against Manchester United which was a huge opponent ever since the sir. Alex Furguson coached the Red Devils. I had moments when United defeated Liverpool in numbers and that day, I was looking for revenge. I began to secure a spot in the DSTV so as to not lose my front seat as people were flooding into the dstv. English premier league is typical football and most watched by the people in Ethiopia, especially Somalis and unless I appeared in the dstv before all seats were to be occupied, I wouldn’t be able to watch that big Match so I came in the dstv early and watched players warm up and fans shout their team songs, something that makes football interesting to watch. as the match edged to the beginning, I unlocked my iPhone and opened my Facebook with a shocker, the headline said: “an explosion happened in Mogadishu” but this wasn’t quite a surprising news from Somalia, explosions and roadside bombs were happening in Somalia ever since the civil war started so I only hoped it wouldn’t be as bad as it sounded. However the news that came out later that night was extremely terrible.

After the match ended goalless, I watched videos of people dying everywhere in the streets, I could see and hear emergency paramedics speeding up with their crazy loud Horns in the streets, people running up to the wounds for help, the streets of Mogadishu’s biggest market was filled by blood and streets turned into a red. It felt like a horror movie and I couldn’t easily believe everything before my eyes but soon came to understand that once again the terrorists hit us hard. The death toll was rising steadily time after time. The videos that emerged later were even horrifying and made us believe that the explosions were so bigger than everyone’s imaginations. The Soobe explosions had claimed the lives of 500+ people and over thousands were injured. The trauma and pain of the people who lost their beloved ones shook the foundation of the Somali people everywhere in the world. A moment of grief and sorrow started in the city of love and patience again. 

The stories

Maryam Cabdullaahi was a 25 years old graduate nurse from the university of Somalia. A day after the Soobe explosions, her father called her from England and told her that he would no longer wait to see her and attend in her graduation day which was due on Sunday Oct 15, 2017 so he booked a plane ticket to Mogadishu in order not to miss out her graduation day which was a day after the Soobe blasts but the explosions on next Saturday Oct 14 killed her. Her father landed in Mogadishu only to take part in her burial ceremony. Such a pain a loving father has to bear. This is by no doubt one of the rare sad stories that broke my heart and the heart of every kind-hearted human into pieces.

Late Maryam Cabdulahi — photo by the BBC Somali

Faa’iso Xasan Cali was 24 years old who ran a local restaurant near Soobe market. She lost her life to the blast that destroyed the entire market near her old restaurant. She had a long dream of transforming her life to a better one by expanding her business to greater heights but sadly she became one of the victims of the Soobe explosion. 

Cumar Xaaji Axmed, a physically diabled father pictured waiting for the news of his two missing kids. I’m not sure enough where his children ended up later on, but I only hope he found them safe and well. Who knows? Fingers crossed for this struggling father but these are the frustrating photos of people who rushed to the scene looking for information of their children and loved ones soon after the explosions happened.

A disabled father waiting for his two kids at an emergency support center in Mogadishu—by the BBC Somali pictures Oct 2017

How did the world react to the Soobe explosions?

The world watched Somalia suffer but not so many countries reached out for help except Turkey which became the only true ally and friend of Somalia in both happy and hard times ever since Somalia went into endless war. As usual the turkey government stepped up to deliver emergency aid services to the injured individuals, sent the serious injuries to Turkey for further medical diagnosis and stood by us firmly in that particular moment of grief. The rest of the world sent a pool of condolences and condemnations. Soobe is a day to remember all the beautiful lives that have been mercilessly taken by the terrorists Al-shabaab and a day to look back at the horror we once witnessed. Our nation will never fall in the hands of enemies and we the people of Somalia will continue to struggle to defeat our enemies. We have been in wars for so long but our path to a prosperous future lies ahead. Soobe will remain in our hearts forever! 

Thank you and have a great evening from along way from Jigjiga.

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