The deadliest destination, the deadliest city. Guns, terror, Road side bombs, Improvised Explosive Devices, refugees. A place of no luck. That is what they called it. Only the fittest, survived. Not a single building with-out a gun hole. This is Somalia. Could the world simply look on? Caught in the adult world, a world of war and anarchy, was Rahma Abdullahi Hussein. Born into it, lived with it, heard it every day – the sound of the gun.
The world could not look away forever. There was Uganda, whose response to Pan Africanism, is always part of her ideology. It took the intervention of Uganda, for the world to take notice. It took the intercession and involvement of this nation, for Africa to speak up. An African country standing up to tackle the challenges of another African Country.
On the 20th of February 2007, the UN authorized the African Union to deploy peacekeepers, under the security council resolution 1744 in war torn Mogadishu which was renewed later in 2012, under UN resolution number 2036. Hope was re-born. Uganda, joined by Burundi, Djibouti and later Kenya, made the difference. The world needed to put an end to terror.
Rahma at 14, knew that she had to run to safety every day. The first born in a family of 5, her father left them, leaving her mother Madina Ibrahim as the sole provider.
Rahma, in P.5 went to school at Alfulqan Primary School in Madina District, Somalia, with the sounds of the gun a normal routine, accompanying her to and from school – almost every day.
One day, on her way from school, Rahma was shot. At 14 years, Rahma became yet-another victim of gun rule. Her innocence shattered. One of her friends was not lucky. She lay dead.
For seven months Rahma lived with the bullet that hit her through the back to her neck. Where could she find help, in a place where nothing functioned, except guns and lawlessness? Rahma’s Somalia was in all, simply a geographical expression.
But lawlessness has no place in this century. And in Mogadishu, despair was replaced with hope. Hope for Rahma too. With the African Mission in Somalia, came an anticipation of law, order, and normalcy. With Uganda People’s Defence Forces serving under AMISOM, came a new lease of life. Rahma had found hope and faith that she could live, just another day.
In June 2012, seven months after Rahma’s shooting, UPDF doctors – Lt. Col Joseph Asea and Lt Col Dr. Ambrose Oiko, all serving under AMISOM undertook a two-hour operation to remove the foreign object from Rahma’s neck. The bullet is believed to have been shot from a PK gun.
Now, 15 years old, Rahma could finally smile again.
Has she forgiven these extremists, the Al Shabaab that inflicted so much pain on her?
With Uganda leading the way, Mogadishu is now peaceful. Little boys, who had been indoctrinated into throwing bombs, could now throw balls. Women could now sing-of their freedoms.
Mogadishu today, a city re-awakening. This is Rahma’s Mogadishu, where the sound of the hammer and grader has replaced the sound of the gun. This is a place where Rahma wants to grow, a place that she can freely call home, and a place where the sun sets, by the Indian Ocean. This is Rahma’s story.