MINNEAPOLIS — Like many Somalis displaced by decades of civil war, Mohamoud Elmi felt he had a duty to use what he learned in America to help rebuild his homeland. After getting a business administration degree in Ohio, he fulfilled that calling and returned to Somalia in 2008 to work in government.
Elmi, a dual Somali-U.S. citizen, was among at least 358 people killed in the Oct. 14 truck bombing in Mogadishu. He was one of countless members of the Somali diaspora who have returned to the Horn of Africa country in recent years to work as contractors, entrepreneurs, humanitarian workers, government leaders and more, despite the threat of violence.
Many say they won’t be deterred by the recent bombing, which was the deadliest attack in Somalia’s history and one of the world’s worst attacks in years. Some say the bombing, which also left 228 people injured and dozens missing, will actually energize rebuilding efforts.
“We don’t want this country to go down the tubes,” said Jibril Afyare, a Minnesota software engineer who is visiting Mogadishu. He went on to add: “I’m an American citizen, but this is my homeland and I won’t let my fellow Somali citizens suffer like this.”
Afyare was among a group of diaspora members invited to Somalia by the government to assist in the country’s progress. He was on his way to meet three relatives when he heard the blast from a couple of blocks away. His relatives died, as did friend and fellow Minnesota resident Ahmed Eyow, who had arrived in Mogadishu just hours earlier.
Afyare stayed in Somalia to help the hurt and needy. He spoke to The Associated Press last week by phone while volunteering at a hospital where many of the injured were being treated.
“Somali-Americans, or Somalis everywhere, should … contribute their skill sets to help this country come out of the ashes,” Afyare said.
Somalia began to fall apart in 1991, with warlords ousting dictator Siad Barre before turning on each other. Years of conflict and attacks by the extremist group al-Shabab, along with famine, shattered the country of some 12 million people. Somalia now has its first fully functioning government in 26 years, including a new generation of leaders who hail from the diaspora of about 2 million people.
Among those who have returned to their country to help is President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, a dual Somali-U.S. citizen from New York.
Roughly one-third of Somalia’s Parliament — …read more
Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News