DENVER -- At least 276 people are dead and hundreds more are injured and missing in Mogadishu, Somalia, after one of the deadliest terror attacks in years.
The capitol city is nearly 9,000 miles from Denver, but thousands of Coloradans are closely connected to the tragedy.
“That has affected our family. I don’t know if my brothers are a part [of this] or [his] kids,” Mohamad Nur said.
Nur is one of more than 5,000 Somalis living in Colorado and also is the president of the Somali American Culture Center of Colorado.
He came to the United States 27 years ago to escape the violence in Mogadishu.
“Oh, yes, when civil war started we had to run away,” he said. “The civil war started and the civil war never ended. We are still in war.”
Saturday’s truck bomb is the largest single attack in Somalia to date.
Suicide bombers filled two vehicles with explosives and positioned them at the country’s busiest intersection, outside the Safari Hotel and a shopping mall.
“I feel sad because that’s where I come from. That’s where I grew up. That is where I’m indigenous. So, I have a lot of family there,” he said.
Nur’s family described the grisly scene to him on the phone Saturday night.
“He said you could find a stomach somewhere, you can find a head somewhere,” Nur said.
It is unclear if any of Nur’s family has been injured in the blasts. But other Colorado families involved in the Somali American Cultural Center have loved ones who are victims of the attack.
“There’s a young lady who has a brother-in-law who is in critical condition,” he said.
While no groups have claimed responsibility, Somalia’s government believes a terror group called al-Shabab is to blame. The group has ties to al-Qaida.
“They are called Shabab but Shabab means youth in Arabic. But they don’t deserve to be called Shabab. They’re hooligans,” Nur said. “They’re a bunch of terrorists.”
Hospitals in Mogadishu are struggling to treat the unprecedented number of patients. Now Nur is hoping Colorado can help his hometown.
“I’m appealing to Mr. Hickenlooper, our governor, if possible if he can help. Even some medicine would be helpful,” Nur said.AlertMe