A beautiful, calm, and peaceful oasis lay West of the Indian Ocean, with plenty of scenery adorned with lovely beaches and Islands. A stable economy with good governance and people living together in harmony was the order of the day.
In this haven, I enjoyed a blissful childhood, but this was to be short-lived. Born an Ogden, a pastoral community that bordered Kismayu, I was fond of my three friends Barre, Noor, and Farah with whom we would ride on camels as we took our cattle herds to graze in green fields as well as attend Madrassas.
Stories of losing our loved ones to a people ascribing to the same God due to clan based wrangles revives sad memories in our spirits
Hell broke loose at some point and the peace we enjoyed vanished into thin air. Watching three of the boys I grew up with die in an explosion while on their way home from an evening Madrassa session broke my heart the most. Farah, Noor, and Ali had run after one rogue camel we called Dida. Minutes into the chase, we heard a loud explosion that had the whole village scared. My friends stepped on a bomb allegedly planted by a new group of armed youth that would later be known as Al-Shabaab; a violent group that would perpetrate heinous acts within and outside Somalia. Within a blink of an eye, all serenity, good things, and developments were reduced to ashes and this was the beginning of a long sad journey for us. My homeland had been transformed into a battlefield owing to the militia group’s deadly operations forcing us to flee to Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp.
In their false fighting of non- believers, Al Shabab had used their go -to tool of destruction, the IED. This type of bomb has claimed thousands of lives over years and continues to be used to date.
When writing this story, I looked at the last seven days and saw half of the AS attacks were using IEDs, the same weapon that killed my friends Farah, Noor, and Ali.
Al-Shabaab has remained a potent security threat in Somalia and beyond and continues to employ the use of IED’S, firearms, conducting suicide bombings and grenades in its operations.
Our dream to have a stable nation has continued to be shattered as our youth are becoming vulnerable to being recruited into the extremist group through false promises of jobs and fake religious narratives such one attaining Jannah through shedding the blood of kaffirs.
Stories of losing our loved ones to a people ascribing to the same God due to clan based wrangles revives sad memories in our spirits but seeing children at the refugee camps coming together in preaching peace through art has kept our hopes of going back to a restored peaceful country alive.
As much as I am a refugee in another country owing to the situation back home, I long for the day that I will wake up, board an aircraft en-route to my home country. This will only be achieved when peace and tranquillity is restored. It is my prayer that the youth and citizens of Somalia join the government and AMISOM peace- keepers in the fight against terrorism that has made our country a war torn. The price of war is more expensive than peace, hence I urge all that have been recruited to Al Shabab to surrender and together let us build our nation to restore our dignity.