Wednesday June 29, 2016
By Sherouk Zakaria
Fouad Amin Abubaker was do-gooder who had recently given up his job with a bank to move to Somalia and work on a solar project aimed to help the people
“Don’t worry, these people think they can scare us but we are strong, and our faith is in God.”These were Fouad Amin Abubaker’s last words, on the phone to his mother, amidst the sounds of gunshots outside his hotel room in Somalia. A few hours later, the 27-year-old UAE expat was among the 15 people killed when Al Shabab militants stormed Mogadishu’s Naso Hablod hotel and opened fire, in an attack that lasted hours on Saturday, June 25.
The terror attack reportedly began with a suicide bomber detonating an explosives-laden vehicle, followed by gunfights.
Seven hours after he went missing, Fouad was found dead in a chair, killed when his room collapsed from the powerful car bomb’s blast impact.
‘He wanted to help people’
Eager to talk, his mother still broke down in tears at the mention of her son’s name. All she could say was, “I will always remember how good a man he was to me. He never disobeyed me.”
The American University of Sharjah’s business school alumnus was the third among five brothers and a sister. Despite having had a job with Standard Chartered bank in the UAE, he suddenly chose to leave for Somalia a few weeks ago to develop a solar project that would help create a better life for its people. “He was so ambitious, and eager to contribute to his homeland and people,” his sister Sara Abubaker told Khaleej Times.
While the family mourns his death, Fouad is remembered by everyone, from old family friends to young children. “I could not have been more proud,” Sara said.
Fouad’s last moments
Amin, Fouad’s father, flew to Somalia a week after his son had arrived, to support him on the project. Little did he know that days later, he would be searching for his son’s body.
On the fateful day, Amin asked his son to join him to finish some errands. But unusually, Fouad chose to stay put at the hotel. “My brother always listened to my father no matter how busy he was, but this time, he opted to stay and work on his project,” said Sara.
At 6pm, he went missing, and amidst the news of the attack, the family prayed to find him. At 1am, Sara received a call from her father with the terrible news. “I could not believe it. I asked my father repeatedly ‘Are you sure? Can you see him?’
“I have heard of death, but never felt the pain and grief of losing someone until that day. But we need to accept what God has written,” said Sara.
The family chose to bury Fouad in Somalia, the land he loved until his last breath. Amin is expected to return to the UAE this weekend.
Despite the ordeal, Sara said she encourages Somalis to work towards making their homeland a better place. She observed that Fouad’s death was destiny, saying, “When your time is up, death will reach you wherever you are.”
‘We don’t say goodbye’
The last time Sara heard her brother’s voice was over the phone. They never said goodbye as a rule, she said. “I am glad we ended it on a ‘see you soon’, note because Fouad is never gone. He will always be with us.”
Sara remembers the last chat they had, hours before the incident. “He loved my little son. The last thing Fouad requested from my mother was a video of my son learning to clap. I told him I’d forward it later… I wish I had sent it to him.
“All I can do is pray for Foaud now, because I know he is in a better place.”