There are emerging reports suggesting that three civilians have been wounded in mortar shelling on Kismayo airport, Somalia, carried out by Al-Shabaab militants on Sunday evening. Several heavy artillery shells were reported to have hit the airport, temporarily disrupting all airport services.
In Somalia, over 3.5 million people have been affected by war and famine in in the past 20 years. Fighting by rival warlords has destroyed local infrastructure and forced over 1 million people to flee their homes for the safety of neighbouring Kenya. Islamic militant organisation, Al-Shabaab, complicate this even further.
We are in contact with our local partners on the ground who have described the unfolding situation:
The news of this attack comes just after Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for a bombing that blasted a hole in a flight mid-air on 2nd February 2016. Since their withdrawal from the capital, Mogadishu, in 2011, they have been involved in intermittent attacks within the country.
News such as this make our work in Somalia all the more urgent. With a newly elected president in 2012 there is renewed hope and opportunity to restore much of the infrastructure that has been destroyed during more than two decades of conflict. It is crucial that this young population has economic opportunities and the chance to build livelihoods in order to continue along the slow and difficult journey of recovery.
Our three year project trains young men in leadership and conflict transformation It provides vocational training and apprenticeships so those young people have the skills to earn a living, rather than turning to violent extremism. In the current atmosphere of anxiety, the importance of this project becomes all too evident.