To Some, Somalia's Deadliest Attack is Call to Action for Minnesotans

October 23, 2017 09:28 PM

The recent deadly bombing in Mogadishu could represent a call to action for some Minnesotans, one Somali Minnesotan said recently.

Minnesotan Jirbil Afyare was in Mogadishu last Saturday when he said the driver of a truck drove erratically through the streets, hit pedestrians, shops and buildings and then blew the truck up.

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Somalia's President, Mohamed Farmaajo, is blaming Al-Shabab terrorists for the attack that killed at least 358 and marks the deadliest in the country's history.

RELATED: Somalia Truck Bombing Toll over 300 as Scores Missing

“I heard the explosion. It was something that no human can experience. It was a blast that was huge and deafening,” Afyare said.

He said it happened on the busiest street in a busy city, full of shops and vendors and traffic. The area can best be compared to New York City’s Times Square.

“A lot of young people were killed that day,” he said.

RELATED: KSTP's Hell to Heartland Series

Afyare lost three family members. His uncle was a government official in the Commerce Department. He moved back to Mogadishu years ago after making a life in Virginia.

His aunt had come to see his uncle from nearby Hargeisa. They were both at the Safari Hotel.

Afyare said his 30-year-old niece just graduated from Kenyatta University and had a bright future ahead of her.

Afyare said there is still sadness and shock on the streets of Mogadishu, even as resilient Somalis rebuild and try to recover from the worst terror attack in Somalia’s history.

RELATED: Minnesota Somali Community Reacts after Mogadishu Bombing

“Somalia was just trying to turn the corner, there was hope,” he said.

Al-Shabab’s reign of terror left Somalia in shambles for several years.

The President has promised to rebuild, but bomb blasts had become routine as government forces tried to force Al-Shabab out of the city. Afyare said last Saturday’s bomb blast was anything but routine.

“This was Somalia's 9/11 or maybe worse,” he said.

Afyare believes the president's declaration of war on the terror of Al-Shabab is a call to action for his Somali brothers and sisters around the world and in Minnesota.

RELATED: Bloomington Man Killed in Mogadishu Blast

“One cannot abandon the homeland. Somalia needs us right now. This is a calling, your country needs you. Doctors are needed, engineers are needed, nurses are needed, law enforcement is needed,” he said.

Afyare is an American Citizen and a member of former U.S. Attorney Andy Luger’s Somali American Task Force on anti-terrorism. Task force members are trying to stop terrorists who rained chaos and violence in Mogadishu from recruiting American children.

Luger and the FBI said Al Shabaab successfully recruited children from Minnesota.

“Stability is in the international interest and our country –USA,” he said.

America needs a stable Somalia, he said.

KSTP's Special Series: Teen to Terrorist

To date in 2017, there have been at least fifteen other deadly attacks in Somalia so far, many linked to Al-Shabaab.

The U.S. began deploying troops in April to help Somalia fight the terrorists.

President Donald Trump’s administration told reporters last week, there are 400 troops in Somalia right now.

There are also covert forces and special commandos working to take down Al-Shabaab.

A Navy Seal was killed in Somalia earlier this year in a gun battle with Al-Shabaab.

Credits

Farrah Fazal

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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