UNBOWED: I will not flee but will rebuild-hotel owner

Gurei Haji the owner of Maka al Mukarama hotel says he will not bow to any terrorist attacks and will rebuild his hotel

Maka al Mukarama hotel which was within the epicentre of a deadly bombing that left in its wake death and destruction lost property valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars and had two of its staff killed but the owner remains defiant and determined to bounce back.

Last Thursday’s was the fifth attack on his premise located in the busy Maka al Mukarama Street which has seen it all as far as matters Al-Shabaab bombings are concerned. The Thursday attacks, Gurei Haji the proprietor of Maka al Mukarama hotel was the deadliest and most destructive.

“Above everything, your life is the most important and we thank Allah for life and health,” Haji told Goobjoog TV. “We estimate the damages could run into hundreds of thousands but I hope we will recover one day.”

According to Haji, two of his staff perished during the deadly attack which took security forces up to 22 hours to bring down the last of the Al-Shabaab elements which were holed up in a nearby building.

“Two of my staff were killed; one was a waiter and the other a security guard manning the main gate.”

A section of Maka al Mukarama hotel seen in this night picture was damaged during the Thursday bombing. Photo: Reuters

Located in the busy Maka al Mukarama Street, Haji’s business has borne the brunt of Al-Shabaab over the years. The fairly fortified building sheltered by heavy concrete barriers saw one wing adversely damaged by the impact of the bomb which went off at about 8.30 PM Thursday outside the hotel. Al-Shabaab said it was targeting the hotel but its fighters ended up in a building nearby as security forces moved in.

“This is the fifth time they have attacked us and no one has helped me to rebuild but I depend on Allah and I will rebuild,” defiant Haji told Goobjoog TV at the site of the destroyed building.

Haji says he will not be cowed by whatever attacks and insists, “I will not run away from my country because of terrorists, I will stay, rebuild and carry on with my work.”

“If we run away from our country that will be a bigger problem for the country so I will not run but will remain here and encourage other people like me,” said Haji. “This is our country, terrorists do not own it. I will stay till I die and Allah will reward. So I advise that we all join hands and fight the terrorists but not run away.”

A section of Maka al Mukarama hotel seen in this night picture was damaged during the Thursday bombing. Photo: Reuters

According to police reports, 25 people were killed and 131 others injured in the attack. The report also indicates that 20 hotels shops, restaurants and homes were destroyed in addition to 15 vehicles; eight of them auto-rickshaws.

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