SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: October 29, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Ministry of Education, Culture, and Higher Education

Region & Country:Eastern Africa | Somalia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 29, 2022, members of Al-Shabaab, an Islamist insurgent group, carried out deadly car bombings that apparently targeted Somalia’s Ministry Of Education, Culture and Higher Education. At least 121 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded.

The two bombings took place within minutes of each other at a crowded intersection in Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack and reportedly stated that the Ministry is corrupting the minds of Somali children by using a Christian-based syllabus.

Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned about a targeted, violent attack on an educational institution, and sends condolences to the victims’ families. In addition to the terrible loss of life and injuries, such attacks target academic freedom, the right to education, equitable access, and the free exchange of ideas. State authorities have a responsibility to safeguard these values by taking all reasonable steps to deter future attacks by investigating incidents and making every effort to hold perpetrators accountable, consistent with internationally recognized standards. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, violent attacks on educational institutions severely undermine academic freedom, and harm democratic society generally.