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Over 300 people were killed and many more injured in a massive truck bomb attack in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu on Saturday 14 October. The truck bomb was detonated outside the Foreign Ministry building on a busy road, and ignited a nearby oil tanker.
The Federal Government of Somalia has said that the attack was almost certainly carried out by Al-Shabaab, a Salafist group which has been waging a war to overthrow the Federal Government since 2006, when US and Ethiopian troops drove the Union of Islamic Courts from Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab was the youth wing of the UIC, and became hegemonised by Salafi politics at variance with Somalia’s mainstream Sufi religious tradition.
Al-Shabaab has been driven into pockets in the countryside and expelled from most major cities, but rural poverty, a weak central state, and the current severe drought that Somalia is suffering have given it opportunities to build a power base.
The attack comes two weeks after Al-Shabaab captured a military base close to Mogadishu, in Barire. The Somali community in the UK is organising events and initiatives to alleviate the suffering of victims and their families. The labour movement and left should give their support and solidarity. A Bristol Support for Mogadishu meeting has been organised for 23 October at 6pm at Bristol City Hall.