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The painful Passing of People’s Engineer.

By Abdulkadir Mohamed
Friday, November 28, 2014

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On November 17th 2014, after the Maghrib prayers, we have lost one of the most hardworking Somali engineers in the capital city of Mogadishu, Engineer Abdullahi Ali Anshuur. He was senselessly killed near his home in Hodan Dsitrict. Nobody knows who killed him and why. His killing shocked and devastated his family, relatives, friends and the whole city and country. Why would anyone kill such humble, honest and hardworking man? A question many who knew him are asking. He was just a dedicated civil servant who came back to rebuild Mogadishu’s infrastructure. This is huge loss to the people of Mogadishu and Somalia. We pray to god to bless his soul with mercy and to give him a peaceful abode in the hereafter. The engineer 64 years old was married to Halima Ismail (Yareey), a prominent women rights advocate and one of the leaders of the Somali Civil Society. They had two daughters and a son, all of them college graduates living and working in America.

Below is a professional picture and snapshot of what Engineer Anshuur did for Mogadishu and its people.  Basically this is what he did.

Engineer Anshuur graduated the Somali National University in 1980 and started working for Mogadishu Municipality. In 1984, he went to California where he studied urban planning beyond graduate school. He then came back to Somalia to work on many urban planning projects in Mogadishu. He left Mogadishu in mid-90's to move his family from the senseless violence in the city and settled in Seattle, then in Minnesota where he worked in Urban Housing Management.

Many who knew his expertise and knowledge in Mogadishu beseeched him to come back. Despite that, the engineer voluntarily left the comfort of Minnesota and well-paying job in America to resume his work in his beloved Mogadishu. Before his recent return to Mogadishu, he was the main civil engineer and urban planner at Waaxda Dhul Bixinta. He is known to have redesigned Wardhiigleey's urban plan as well as working on and advising the urban plan of some of Mogadishu's outskirts communities like Fagax, Huriwaa and Booli Qaran which was first intended to house expatriates and diplomatic missions. His main expertize and achievement was the design of the city's sewarage and drainage system. After the collapse of the Somali Government in early 1990’s, Engineer Anshuur worked for UNDP to restore the city's water supply. He advised on the procurement of the generators that pumped the wells on Ceelasha Biyaha. This was instrumental to saving the lives of many residents and IDPs during these early civil war days. He designed and developed one of Mogadishu’s main drainage systems at Jazeera drainage. These two projects at Jazeera and Ceelasha helped improve the city’s water supply and sanitation. When the American troops came in 1993, he was the first engineer they contacted on how to restore electricity and water to Mogadishu.

After his recent return, Mr. Anshuur worked with the Benadir Regional Administration as an Engineer and Urban Planner Expert. His technical Expertise on the rehabilitation of the city’s infrastructure such as roads, water supply systems, sewerage and drainage system and the restoration/construction public buildings was much needed. Engineer Anshuur carried out the technical assessment on many rehabilitation projects conducting field surveys and work. He coordinated many projects with the city’s partners and provided training on construction quality as well building the capacity of the city’s employees. Mr. Anshuur worked hard to rehabilitate Mogadishu infrastructure that is integral to the city’s recovery and pacification. He tirelessly worked on plans to rehabilitate the main arterial roads of Mogadishu like Jidka Soddanka and Wadnaha.  He advocated for the rehabilitation of Mogadishu roads, slaughterhouses to restore peace and improve public sanitation.

He closely worked with the Mayor and Mogadishu municipality providing technical advice on many projects. He accompanied the mayor and his delegation on several trips abroad (Kenya, Italy, Sweden, Turkey etc). In these trips, Mr. Anshuur was instrumental in presenting the cities infrastructural needs. He prepared and presented concept papers, assessments, surveys and feasibility studies on how to effectively and strategically improve the cities infrastructures and services.

Engineer Anshuur believed working for the municipality of Mogadishu and took a pride in serving the city’s residents. He lived in the community as simple public servant. He shunned politics and was never affiliated with any political group. His mission was to merely provide service and alleviate suffering. His motto was “waxaad qaban kartid ka qabo magaaladan” literal translation: “ do whatever you can do for the good of the city.” He was a mentor and a man to look up for many upcoming and new engineers, architects and planners. Many of these young professionals will come to sit with him to learn from his experiences and seek advice. He wore that guidance counsellor shirt with pride. Anytime it rains in the city, he will conduct a thorough tour to check the water ponds and how the rain affects the decrepit system. When he is out of the country, he will ask someone to go rounds and take pictures of the sewers and street conditions.

He was laid to rest in a simple unmarked grave at Medina Hospital. Many of the city’s professionals, intellectuals and Diaspora returnees came to pay tribute to the humble civil servant. Inshallah, the killers will be brought to justice and god will give us more hardworking engineers to continue the legacy and work of Engineer Anshuur.

Abdulkadir Mohamed
[email protected]

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