Somalia

Somalia: Hawa Siyaad, "They killed my hope"

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News and Press Release
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MOGADISHU, 28 December 2009 (IRIN) - Twenty-three people were killed in Mogadishu on 3 December 2009 when a blast ripped through a graduation ceremony. Among the dead was a 24-year-old final year medical student whose mother, Hawa Siyaad, spoke to IRIN about that fateful day.

"My son asked me not to be late so I was one of the first to arrive. I closed my business [selling fuel] to be there. I was happy because I knew that my boy, Mohamed, would be going through the same ceremony next year. As the ceremony was in progress a huge explosion ripped through the hotel.

"All of a sudden, everything was in darkness. For what seemed like a long time I could not see or hear anything. I was dazed but everyone around me was scrambling to get away. I followed the crowd and then realized that my son was at the front. I started looking for him. There were dead and injured people everywhere. I finally found my son underneath an injured person. At first I thought he was also injured but quickly realized that he was dead.

"I tried to pick him up but could not. I just sat there next to him until someone helped me carry his body. You cannot imagine the pain of holding your oldest child, dead. That day they broke my heart and took away my hope and dreams.

"I worked so hard to put him through university. Every day, no matter how difficult - even with bullets flying around - I sat and sold fuel to make sure he got an education. He was our future and our hope. That day they killed my hope and the future of our family. He and his friends did not deserve to die like that before they had even begun their lives.

"I know of no religion - not mine or anyone else's - that condones what they [the perpetrators] did. I will never forget or forgive what they have done to us."

ah/cb