If the al-Shabaab militants who launched a deadly assault at the popular Lido beach of Mogadishu last month hoped to inspire fear, they seem to have failed. Instead, life at the beach is returning to normal, with many residents going back to enjoy the ocean breeze, some playing football or swimming.
On 21st January, a group of 6 to 8 heavily armed gunmen opened fire at people seated at restaurants besides the beach. At least 25 people died while dozens were rescued by the Security forces. The killings shocked Somalis of all strata of society that usually greet such atrocities with a shrug and a yawn.
On Friday, the beach was full; business around the area was humming as usual. For anyone visiting the beach for the first time, it would have been hard to guess that a horror had been perpetrated at the beach few weeks ago.
Security at the entrances and exists of the beach has been beefed up, with dozens of security forces seen patrolling.
Fuad Nor Ahmed, a 19-year-old regular beachgoer says that such attack will not deter him and his friends from enjoying beach life.
‘’Liido beach is my most favourite place in this city and how can I be stopped from coming and enjoy life in this place?
‘’We have to prove to those murderers that we won’t be afraid of them because this is our land and they can’t restrict our rights,’’ he said.
‘Mogadishu has been through it before’
As one Mogadishu resident, Abdi Aden Qoslaye, said, it’s not the first time the locals are living through this kind of drama.
‘’The only positive sides is this solidarity that emerged after the massacre, it has united many people both inside and abroad the country.
‘’The good thing is that we are not cowards who will give up on life and choose to live in a state of fear. Mogadishu has been through it before.’’
Following the widespread public outrage, people hope that this attack may signal a decisive turn in Somalia’s reluctance in taking the menace of extremism head on.
More than three weeks after the attack, Somalia’s Federal government has failed to bring to justice the perpetrators of the massacre, though the mastermind was captured, according to officials.
Given the history of the government responses to equally deadly attacks in the past, such a hope may be a little too optimistic.