Reliving a Deadly Day at a U.N. Compound in Mogadishu

A former United Nations security officer reflects on the courage his Somali colleagues showed after the attack that killed their co-workers in Mogadishu five years ago.

Comments: 4

  1. As an international staff serving in the UN HQ, I am in total awe of the dedication of my colleagues serving in dangerous missions. I will appreciate the bashers of the UN read this article and realize that working for the Organization in the missions is not a bed of roses that can be weighed in terms of R&Rs and mission related allowances.

    Finally, thanks to Dewaine whose lucid account is gut wrenching. I am glad you are all right and thank you for your service!

  2. That's depressing it's like Somalia cannot move forward without falling to despair quickly. I hope they find common ground someday and this never ending war finally ends.

  3. Excellent writing Dewaine, thank you!

  4. Good article sir.

    The total fatality count was never known but in the compound it was a total of 15 people killed, which consisted of 3 foreigners, 1 local Denel staff, 4 local security staff and the 7 Al Shabaab militants. Also a number of civilians were killed in the street outside, which was reported as 3 fatalities but is likely to have been higher due to the extensive carnage and damage that had occurred from the bomb blast. The killed internationals consisted of two Denel Mechem security staff from South Africa and one female UNDP staff member from Kenya. I had flown in with her on the UN flight that week.

    Colleagues that examined the dead bodies of the Al Shabaab militants reported that they were just adolescents, some looking as young as 14 and 15 years old. This is exactly how the Al Shabaab Martyrdom Brigade works by exploiting young impressionable youth and subjecting them to a combination of psychological indoctrination coupled with aggressively staged-peer pressure techniques bringing them to frenzies in the build up.

    I watched and filmed the attack from the roof of the nearby Jazeera Hotel, along with a member of Al Shabaab. I only knew that once the militants released a propaganda film sometime after the attack that had video footage from the same viewing point that I had been stood at. Only their footage was of much better quality which indicated how well they had prepared for the attack and even the filming of it all. We had just been 5 people on the roof.