NAIROBI (AFP) – Chefs from Denmark's world famous Noma restaurant have launched an appeal to support a colleague in war-torn Somalia after his establishment was targeted again by Al-Qaeda inspired insurgents.
The Village, set up in 2008 by restaurateur Ahmed Jama in Somalia's dangerous capital Mogadishu, was last week attacked for the third time by Islamist Shebab insurgents, with a suicide attacker and then a car bomb killing at least 18 people.
Copenhagen-based Noma, three times ranked top of the World's 50 Best Restaurant list, helped launch the appeal on Monday to support Jama, kick starting donations on an Internet crowd sourcing site.
"Guys, lets help out chef Ahmed in Somalia rebuild," Noma founder Rene Redzepi wrote in a message on Twitter.
The opening of Jama's restaurant challenged perceptions of a city infamous as a byword for anarchy, and fought over by multiple warlords since the collapse of government in 1991.
Jama's restaurant provided the tiniest taste of the elegant seaside capital that Mogadishu once was.
In two days, more than half the 12,000 euro (16,000 dollars) goal has been raised.
"As a community of chefs, we just wanted to show our support for what he (Jama) has been doing," said Mark Emil Tholstrup Hermansen, one of organisers of the appeal.
Jama had spoken in August in Copenhagen at the MAD Symposium, a community of chefs, cooks and farmers Redzepi helped set up.
He spoke of how after fleeing the war in Somalia, finally training as a chef in London, he returned home to Mogadishu to open his restaurant to create jobs and bring communities together over food.
Several of Jama's employees have been killed by Shebab suicide bombers in previous attacks.
"I promote peace and they promote violence," Jama said, speaking in August.
Somalia's Shebab extremists are battling to overthrow the internationally-backed government, launching attacks in the heart of the capital despite losing a series of towns to African Union and government forces.
UN Monitoring Group reports in July estimated the Shebab are still some 5,000 strong, and remain the "principal threat to peace and security to Somalia".
"Ahmed Jama, because the sound of a falling tree is always larger than that of a thousand growing trees, may your tree start to grow again, in silence, to provide shade and comfort and prove there are other ways in which to prove a point besides violence," one person wrote as they submitted their donation.