Millions of dollars are being spent to fight terrorism in Somalia. For years, Al Shabaab has been terrorising Somalis but the ultimate price to end this is paid by the hundreds of people dying.
It is no wonder that young minds in the country are being inspired by this war.
One man in the capital, Mogadishu, is designing military-style vehicles out of scrap metal.
The handy work is done at his workshop, where he is originally a mechanic. 27-year-old Abdullahi Mohamed Ali is helped by equally brilliant and talented youth who spend hours putting together pieces of what could be a game-changer in the war against terror.
Mohammed Ali and his team use the same tools like those in a normal car garage to build a tank prototype.
The parts can be easily found in Mogadishu scrap yards. A motorcycle engine to power the vehicles, Mohammed Ali also collected a drum, an improvised pipe, and car tyres, but he needs more accessories before his ingenuity can translate into a fully fledged fighting vehicle.
“I tell the young Somalis we can build factories and manufacturing companies with your hands. If we stand united, we can really do extraordinary developments in our beloved homeland”, Mohamed Ali said.
The global arms industry is worth billions of dollars. Countries such as United States, Germany, Israel, China lead in the manufacture and selling of war material.
Experts are working day and night to come up with new and more sophisticated inventions.
Maybe Mohamed Ali’s innovation could be the start of Somalia’s home-grown arms industry.
“It is true that Somalia was as strong a country in Africa as the United States is in the World now. I want to show the world that our consciousness is still alive”, he says.
The Federal government still needs permission from the United Nations to buy weapons but that is an issue far from minds here. The young men are focused on getting the vehicle to move!
They are using even a bath tab to make that happen.
The team is also inspired by Russia, which has the biggest number of military battle tanks (15,398) in the world.
Mohammed Ali has himself become a source of inspiration for youth. He is seen as courageous, innovative and even a star who is capable of changing the horn of Africa country dubbed as a failed state.
His first sample of a military tank in Mogadishu is produced with limited resources but if successful, it can be used to carry troops and work as a powerful infantry vehicle on Somalia’s front lines, where peacekeepers and the national army have decried shortage of fighting equipment
“He is a person that should be encouraged and he is also someone that should be given big support”, an enthusiast, Bashir Ali Adam speaks of his works
Mohamed Sahal Adam, a 20-year-old Mogadishu resident praises him saying, “we see that he managed to make a sample tank mounted with our national blue flag of Somalia and sea bicycle though he is alone with no financial support”.
27 years of civil war tore Somalia apart… and not all is back to normal given the rise of the Al Shabaab. But in Mogadishu, which has seen worst attacks, there is gradual political stability and businesses are slowly picking up even allowing innovations like this.
Abdullahi Mohamed Ali was born just outside the capital. He first worked as an operator at a ship that operated between Somalia and the United Arab Emirates before quitting in 2015. Being an apprentice for two years earned the father of three car repair skills which he is now using to invent war machinery.
His next project is designing a sea bicycle.
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