This morning something exploded. In any other city, that would be the ass-kickingest lede ever, but around here it’s downright quotidian. My fixer told me someone had targeted a vehicle belonging to the Red Cross as it passed near Ugandan positions at the strategic Four Kilometer roundabout. I grabbed my camera and we hopped in the truck to go check it out. Idling at the supposed site of the blast, we counted potholes – some bigger than kiddie swimming pools – and wondered which was a bomb crater and which were just the result of 17 years of neglect. We asked a passing Somali soldier, and he pointed to the tiniest hole of them all, a mere scoop amid the gaping maws that make driving through Mogadishu a feat for the only truly brave or truly skilled.
As it turned out, it wasn’t a Red Cross vehicle that got bombed, but some other “important person,” according to the soldier. Which made me wonder: in a capital city with no government (they’re all further north in Baidoa), no major businesses and few functioning public institutions, who qualifies as a VIP? A warlord? A visiting clan elder? An American journalist?