Hawa Aden, Executive Director of the Galkyo Education Center and a Donor Direct Action partner, reports from the front lines.
There were twin blasts in Galkayo on Sunday 21st August, which left at least 25 people dead and over 100 injured, 53 of them seriously, Hawa reported. “There is panic in town especially given that this was the deadliest attack to ever happen and the fact that the attackers targeted a public area,” she said. The blasts targeted the Municipal Headquarters and Main market.
“We are glad that none of the staff were caught in the blast except one, whose brother is among the seriously injured. He is however responding well to treatment and is in a stable condition.”
Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attack, she said, and they have warned of more attacks of a similar nature.
Besides the death and injuries, the attack has seriously affected key social amenities. This includes the only main regional referral hospital whose building structures, including wards and examination rooms, have been seriously damaged.
The business stalls in the Main market which were just built recently through contributions from the small-scale business people themselves, are totally shattered, she reported. “This will have a serious impact on the livelihoods of many families for many months to come since most are female headed and they have been relying on their small businesses for survival.”
Yesterday, Tuesday 24th August, the team and myself managed to visit some of the injured in hospital where we also distributed some blankets, she reported.
But none-the-less we continue with our program activities and hope that nothing more will happen. We continue to focus in the pastoral nomadic areas with our anti-FGM (female genital mutilation) campaign. And, in fact, when the incident happened, she said, we were in the middle of a training for community stakeholders, including religious leaders, elders and women leaders in the pastoral nomadic district of Harfo, some 70 kilometres from Galkayo.
Progress towards change is slow but we remain hopeful that one day FGM will be a thing of the past in our society.