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Emergency response to explosion in Somalia

In 2017, Mogadishu was rocked by the largest explosion in the city’s history. SafeLane Global's Somalia team immediately responded.

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On Saturday 14 October 2017, Mogadishu was rocked by the largest explosion in the city’s history.

A flat-bed lorry packed with explosives, a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED), detonated outside the Safari Hotel on a junction known as KM5.

The VBIED was believed to be packed with circa of 300kg of explosives.  A significant blast wave was felt in the SafeLane Global camp Banadir over 2km away.

Safari Hotel blast Somalia

All buildings within 300m of the blast site were damaged beyond repair, thousands of people injured and more than 300 killed.

Emergency response

SafeLane Global Somalia responded to the blast in two phases.  Firstly, using own initiative immediately after the blast, all available assets were deployed to the RMSI, AU Hospital and Ambulance Pick Up points within Mogadishu International Airport (MIA).

SafeLane Global mentors, predominantly medics, were positioned to support RMSI, the African Union (AU) Hospital in MIA, and to provide ambulance services from MIA Gates to MIA hospitals.

Secondly after having received tasking by UNMAS from UNSOS, SafeLane Global was to send IED Mentor Units, Plant Mentors, Combat Engineers, Medics and Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) Teams to the blast site to aid the recovery effort in whatever way they could.

On Sunday 15 October 2017 AMISOM cordoned the blast site whilst a Warning Order was received by SafeLane Global from UNMAS to provide IED, EOD, Plant, EDD and Medial support to aid the recovery effort.  Formal direction was received at 1430hrs and SafeLane Global deployed a Recovery Team within the hour.

Safari Hotel blast Somalia

On Monday 16th and Tuesday 17th October 2017 a Recovery Team was redeployed. This consisted of the EOD Project Manager, Mentor Unit 1.1, Medical Coordinator, 4 Plant Operator Mechanic Mentors and 1 Explosive Detection Dog Team. The team worked on organising the plant equipment, conducting structural assessments on damaged buildings, leading the Post Blast Investigation (PBI), checking for explosive remnants, searching for survivors and providing advice to Somali National Army (SNA) commanders.

The structural assessments allowed search efforts to be mounted. The danger of collapsing buildings causing more casualties was a possibility and the SafeLane Global mentors provided solutions to allow safe recovery searches to happen.

SafeLane Global Plant mentors were also deployed and assisted civilian plant operators with clearing rubble.

For a number of reasonsSafeLane Global mentors operated some of the plant equipment themselves.

SafeLane Global IED Mentors also conducted a Post Blast Investigation (PBI). PBI information will allow the authorities to gauge how the device was built, and this in turn will generate information for how this kind of event can be better prevented in the future

.Safari Hotel blast Somalia

Exploitation of this information will allow the authorities to determine where the explosives came from and then formulate a plan to stop the explosives being created, mined or harvested.  This will reduce Al Shabaab’s access to explosives and reduce their IED capacity.

SafeLane Global personnel are not trained to search for survivors or cadavers in a recovery situation - however the Mentors applied their C-IED knowledge and principles to conduct searches in a controlled and methodical manner.  The adaptability of the Mentors typifies SafeLane Global core values.

The two SafeLane Global Somalia projects conducted the first joint humanitarian operation under extreme time pressure, outside the normal scope of work and in an unknown, devastated environment.  The outcome was an expedited return to normality for the people of Somalia and closure for those who had lost loved ones.

Everyone at SafeLane Global remains extremely proud of their project personnel’s contribution to this operation and they have showed flexibility and determination under the most trying of circumstances to successfully complete the mission.


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