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ITUC Condemns Somalia Atrocity

ITUC Condemns Somalia Atrocity

Brussels, 16 October 2017 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC has condemned yesterday’s truck bomb attack, believed to be the responsibility of fundamentalist terror group Al Shabaab, which killed over 300 people and injured hundreds more. The truck carrying the bomb broke through a check point near the country’s Foreign Ministry in Mogadishu and detonated near to a fuel truck which increased the impact of the blast.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said “We extend our deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones or been injured in this atrocity, and call for the perpetrators of the crime to be brought to justice.”

Sunday’s bombing is by far the worst of many attacks by Al Shabaab this year. While there has been some success in cutting off the group’s funding lines, the terrorist group is still able to finance itself through extortion and funding from abroad. Rampant corruption and poverty are significant factors in Al Shabaab’s ability to recruit fighters and get income from protection rackets. A quarter of Somalia’s 14 million population is reliant on food aid, and the country is ranked as amongst the most corrupt in the world. Somalia’s foreign debt, stemming from loans to the dictatorship of Said Barre decades ago, is a major constraint on the economy. The level of debt relief needed is at least two years away with the IMF and World Bank maintaining that further benchmarks must be first met by the government.

“Like in many other places, unemployment and poverty provide fertile ground for terrorist recruiters, and in Somalia that will continue to be the case while the economy is in such disarray. The IMF and the World Bank need to move away from stop-gap measures and lift the stranglehold of debt from the country,” said Burrow.

The offices of the ITUC Somalia affiliate FESTU, a few hundred metres from the blast, were badly damaged, and the ITUC is in contact with FESTU and ITUC Africa to assess the immediate needs.

FESTU issued the following statement following the attack:

“The Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) is deeply shocked by the horrific massacre of innocent people in a massive explosion after a truck full of bombs and landmines exploded yesterday, Saturday afternoon, 14 October 2017, at KM5 junction in southern Mogadishu - one of the busiest areas in the Capital city. This is the most powerful bomb ever to hit Mogadishu.

We have today visited KM5 junction as well as Mogadishu’s two main hospitals, Madina Hospital and Digfeer hospital. We were informed by the medics that bodies of 230 people who were killed in this horrific attack were brought to these two hospitals - 130 of these dead people are still to be identified by their families and relatives because many of the bodies were burned beyond recognition. Unfortunately, the death toll is likely to rise.

More than 250 people were wounded in this explosion. Serious burn victims, several in critical condition, are to be airlifted to Istanbul, Turkey, for urgent and appropriate medication. Turkish Airlines is expected to bring 5 planes tomorrow to carry the wounded. Turkish visa requirements for wounded people are suspended.

The majority of massacred and wounded people are workers. They are hotel and petroleum workers as KM5 is the base for several petroleum companies. The victims include informal economy workers selling fresh vegetables, milk, Khad, stationers and consumer electronics. Transport workers of drivers and conductors are among the dead people. All these victims provide main source of income for their households, bringing food to their families.

FESTU headquarters is 400 metres away from where the incident happened, the entire office was shaken, windows/mirrors crumpled, and electricity and internet were cut off. Leaders of FESTU today donated blood to victims. We appealed to our members to donate blood to their fellow workers who are in dire need for lifesaving blood.

We express our sympathies with the bereaved families and pray for the departed souls. We send our condolences to working people who have lost their loved ones and to all the Somali people who are trying to come to terms with this massive tragedy.

It is particularly tragic that most of the victims were workers and young people whose lives have been cruelly cut short by these ruthless assassins. There can never be any conceivable justification for the murder of innocent people.

President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, declared last night three days of mourning and the Somali flag is flying half-mast.”

The ITUC and its Global Unions partners submitted this statement to the heads and executive directors of the IMF and World Bank:

The ITUC represents 181 million workers in 163 countries and territories and has 340 national affiliates.

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