Friend of FlyerTalk Member Killed in Christmas Day Attack in Mogadishu

“T his highlights the unfortunate dangers of life in Mogadishu, despite any level of security that you might surround yourself with”, posted FlyerTalk member B747-437B pertaining to the news that three peacekeepers of the African Union force in Somalia — as well as a civilian contractor and five of the attackers — were killed on December 25, 2014 in an attack at its headquarters. “The civilian contractor you refer to that was killed in the Christmas Day attack was my friend and colleague Abaho A” whose photographs both in life and in death were posted on FlyerTalk.

“In 2014 alone in Mogadishu,” continued B747-437B, “I had 2 friends killed, 4 others injured and another 3 escape uninjured in various attacks either targeted at them or for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Meanwhile — as the attack occurred — FlyerTalk member DanielW was in Mogadishu during Christmas on a leisure trip and posted this trip report with plenty of photographs. Commenting on the aircraft operated by Jubba Airways landing in Mogadishu, DanielW wrote that “The 05 approach over the sea is always used, even in a tailwind, to avoid possible anti-aircraft fire from flying overland on the 23 approach.”

He hired a team of five men who were heavily armed to protect him and keep him safe during his trip; but that might not have helped him if he was unfortunate enough to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Only yesterday, “a suicide car bomber blew himself up near a moving convoy of Somalia’s U.S.-trained elite forces in Mogadishu, killing at least four people”, according to this article written by Abdi Guled for the Associated Press.

That latest news only highlights the cautionary information and offer posted by B747-437B:

“You were lucky that you worked with someone like Jibril who is well known to use excellent intel to avoid potential hotspots. There are plenty of other so-called security operators who are less capable (and significantly cheaper). The danger is that a naive or cost-conscious tourist signs up with them and winds up in a situation that escalates out of their control. Despite having lived there and the city having a special place in my life, I would not recommend travel to Mogadishu for tourists at this time – especially not for Westerners who will always be considered targets both by Shabaab and other groups who are simply in it for ransom.

“If anyone is traveling to Mogadishu though, I would request you to please contact me via PM and I can put you in touch with my colleagues on the ground there who will be able to provide up-to-date intel that could make a big difference in keeping you safe.”

Thank you for that information and offer, B747-437B — and I am sorry to learn of the unfortunate fate of two of your friends. May they rest in peace.

In general, it is sad that so much violence and conflict still exists in the world today; and how even the mere act of simply crossing a border can be difficult to impossible for travelers who are interested in learning more about a particular country, its people and its customs.

In the meantime, would you consider traveling to Mogadishu in the near future even though it is not advised?

Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics. Map data ©2014 courtesy of Google Maps.

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