Somalia’s first post-civil war memorial could be erected to the victims of its deadliest ever attack

It’s been two months since a deadly blast ripped through a busy intersection in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, killing more than 500 people and injuring over 300. The Oct. 14 truck bombing, the deadliest attack in Somalia’s history, turned buildings into heaps of debris and death, and left Somalis across the world stunned and frustrated.

The country is now considering dedicating its first memorial since the start of the Somali civil war in 1991 to the victims of the bombing. Italian-born Somali architect Omar Degan’s proposed design imagines an open, gravel-filled space marked with large rectangular shapes representing each victim. Surrounded by plants and blocks of concrete, the central feature of the landmark would be two walls inscribed with the names of the 512 people who died. A third wall in the middle would detail what transpired on the day of the attack.

Degan, 27, specializes in emergency architecture, which deals with rebuilding communities affected by disasters, conflict, and poverty. He thought about designing a memorial immediately after the attack. At the time, he was in Nairobi and about to embark on his first trip back to Somalia since his parents left the country.

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