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SOMALIA: Sakhaudin Ahmed, "My happiest day turned into a nightmare"

MOGADISHU, 8 December 2009 (IRIN) - When a deadly blast tore through a graduation ceremony in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on 3 December, 23 people died, dozens were injured and the day suddenly turned dark for hundreds of people who had turned up for what should have been a celebration. The government has since set up a team to investigate the bombing. An unprecedented number of students - 23 medicine, 16 education, and 13 computer science and IT - were to graduate that day, among them Sakhaudin Ahmed, 23, a doctor, who spoke to IRIN about his experience:

“I was extremely happy that after six years I was finally getting my degree; it was the happiest day of my life. I was one of the first graduates to get to the venue for the ceremony. I was there at 8am.

"You have no idea how hard we worked to get our degrees. There were days we could not go to class because of the security situation. I had to cross roadblocks to get to the university and brave gunfire many times; therefore graduation day was an emotional day for all of us.

“But then, just as we were about to receive our diplomas, a huge explosion ripped through the place. For a minute I was so dazed I could not understand what was happening. Then I realized my leg was bleeding and when I looked at where my colleagues had been sitting, there was nothing but death and destruction.

"Six students who were to receive their degrees [in computer science] were killed instantly. One of my favourite professors was also killed.

"What was supposed to have been the happiest day of my life turned into a nightmare; it is a day I will not forget for the rest of my life. I guess I am one of the lucky ones, I survived.

"We were there to celebrate our accomplishments and someone turned it into a dreadful thing. We are not into politics, we simply want to help our people and ourselves.

"Thursday's [3 December] bombing was meant to kill any hope for a better future for us but those behind it will not succeed. I am reporting to work at a hospital [in Mogadishu] today [7 December].

"I will not be deterred by anyone in fulfilling my ambition of being a doctor and helping others. Every day I go to the hospital my friends and professor will be in my thoughts."

ah/mw

Theme (s): Conflict, Education,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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