WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
By Feisal Omar
At 11:30 on Sunday morning I was sipping a cup of coffee at the Village restaurant near the palace when I heard a blast followed by gunshots.
I walked out onto the street and could see pickup trucks with anti-aircraft guns mounted on them, rushing toward the Mogadishu court. I started my vehicle and drove speedily in the direction of the court. I arrived moments later at the court building where there was an intense exchange of gunfire.
I could not believe armed fighters had broken into the court, killed the soldiers that guarded it, the lawyers and others. “How did al-Shabaab take over such a well-guarded building in the heart of the town!’ I whispered to myself as I got closer to the building.
Reuters and my family knew I was at the scene, calling me every second to confirm I was safe. Soldiers angrily glanced at me whenever my mobile phone rang. I had to silence them lest I should be mistaken for manning the explosions.
After a while, I followed soldiers battling at the gate with the fighters firing from the roof top. After about half an hour of fighting, a deafening blast shook the ground. It was a suicide bomber with his car bomb just outside the gate. I could not see the soldiers due to dust and thick clouds of smoke. I stepped backwards. The soldiers suspected one another – one seemed to be al-Shabaab to the others because the fighters were also in government uniforms. I was using my two cameras interchangeably, as if I had machine guns. Different questions popped into my mind. “When will a man in uniform blow up?” The whole place was a mess. I saw police beating a military man, mistaking him for al-Shabaab.