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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Somalia: The Mugging of Lower Shabelle

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By Nur H Bahal
 
The predicament continues. The status quo has not changed. The winds of hope, expressed by many during what was called the “democratic election” of a president, may have been the biggest hoax and, in any event, has waned. The usual culprits are at it again. The demagogues of war and oppression of peaceful communities still hold Somalia hostage. And the new government of “hope” looks on with tacit approval.
 
As you may very well know, there was a war in Marka, Lower Shabelle last week. You may not know that it was a war that began as soon as the Somali State ceased to exist in 1991. Last week’s war highlighted a tragedy that is more complex and underpinned by a wider net of tribal affiliates and accomplices than one might imagine.
 
The war began as a result of a demonstration by the staff of an Italian NGO called COSV at its office in Marka. The staff was not paid for eight months. The Regional Chairman of Aid Operations for Lower Shabelle, a certain Yusuf Mohamed Abdi of the Habar Gidir subclan, gathered 50 of his militia in Shalamboot under the banner of the Somali National Army to subdue the demonstrators. The local police and military from the Biimaal clan, also wearing the uniform of the Somali National Army and Police uniforms intervened. The HG militia brought AMISOM for back up; luckily they were stopped in time on the behest of local elders who pointed out it is a fighting between two parties that are both members of the National Army. Apart from the death of young men on both sides, the militia from Shalambot was surrounded. Subsequent to this, another Habar Gidir subclan militia from Jannaale district under the command of Ina Dhuxullow, who claims to be the Vice-District Commissioner of Jannaale, joined the fighting. Reports contend that, in addition to loosing four men with five others wounded, including the Vice-District Commissioner, the invading militia lost a car which overturned during the fighting.
 
The ensuing event is more shocking not for its own sake but that it has happened at a time when Somalia’s arms embargo has been lifted. The Commander of the 5th Division stationed around Marka, a Habra Gidir of the Faqshini subclan, sent a message to the front lines that he and the Commissioner of Marka, Yariisow of Biimaal clan, are coming to help stop the fighting and that both sides must cease their fire. Both sides obliged and waited for the arrival of the Commander and District Commissioner. To the surprise of the Biimaal guys, before they knew it, they were receiving bullets from behind them, exactly were the Commander of the army base said he was coming from. It was not the commander of the 5th Division, rather it was a Habar Gidir militia leader named Cirro at the head of a group with technicals. There is more than one report claiming that Cirro has been severely wounded. As the local fighters stood their ground and inflicted heavy damages on the Habar Gidir militia, the Ministry of Internal Affairs intervened.
 
A high level delegation was dispatched to Marka. The delegation made matters even worse. They sacked the Commissioner of Marka, who in the eyes of the community was one of the few people contributing to betterment of their lives and appointed a pawn. They appointed a khat dealer who was also an owner of a local brothel from the Habar Gidir subclan as the Vice-Commissioner of the city. Isn’t that the most appropriate method to build an aimless, confused management for the city?
 
The most damaging stipulation by the delegation was to send all of the Bimaal youngsters involved in the war for further training. The reader should know that whereas the local youngsters completed their army training in Uganda, the invading clan army were recruited into the National Army without any training. They were the army of warlord Indhacade et al, who like Idi Amin lays claim to the opposing titles of General and Sheikh with no qualifications to show for any of them. With the dispersal of the armed local men, the city of Marka and the Lower Shabelle has no defence against the “Mongol Hoards” from Mudug. To say that this fits a pattern of activities by Hawiye militia to take over Lower Shabelle is not at all an exaggeration.
 
The oppression of indigenous population will not succeed without the backing of power in two forms: a) the usurpation of all positions in the Federal Government that are supposed to dispense justice to society and b) to subdue the whimpers and wails of these communities first by strategically placing Habar Gidir militia around the region and secondly by giving the positions of power in the region to the same Habar Gidir. From the breakdown of the Somali State, Habar Gidir militia has been pouring into Lower Shabelle.
 
For the past 20 years, the predatory “Mongols” from Mudug bent on annexing Lower Shabelle by any means used various techniques. At the expiry of Shariff government’s mandate, the then Minister of Internal affairs appointed a ton of Hawiye individuals to important positions in Lower Shabelle. All hail from Hawiye clan family:
 
Name Position Clan/subclan
 
Ahmed Omar Mohamed Madane Chairman of Security Hawiye – Habar Gidir
Vice Chair of Social Affairs Omar Mohamed Elmi (Carrabeey) Hawiye – Murusade
General Secretary of Lower Shabelle Abdulahi Abdi Omar Hawiye – Wacdan
Chairman of Regional Humanitarian Aid Yusuf Mohamed Abdi Hawiye – Habar Gidir
Director of Land Planning Abdullahi Abdi Farah Hawiye – Habar Gidir
Coordinator of Finances Abdinasir Diini Rage Hawiye – Habar Gidir
General Accountant of Lower Shabelle Mohamed Ali Mumin Hawiye – Habar Gidir
Chair of Women’s Association Ikran Ahmed Ga’al Hawiye – Murusade
Vice-Chair of Humanitarian Aid Osman Mohamed Hawiye – Abgal
 
These nominations continue to serve in the above capacities under the current “government of hope” led by Hassan Ulusow. Out of the 12 most important positions of the Lower Shabelle, only two are allocated for the indigenous communities: the Governor of the region is held Abdulkari Mohamed Nur from the Garre clan and his deputy held by Abdulahi Muse Abukar from the Biimaal clan. Borrowing a page from the colonial masters, puppets from the indigenous communities are nominated to implement the sinister plans of Habar Gidir, and generally Hawiye, in Lower Shabelle.
 
A careful examination of the above table reveals that the circle of economic and land expropriation of Lower Shabelle is complete. Everything is in the hands of Hawiye and none of these individuals are indigenous to Lower Shabelle.
 
This complicit understanding between Hawiye to seize Lower Shabelle by any means necessary is tied to the explicit appropriation of the highest positions of the Somali government to avoid scrutiny. The people of Lower Shabelle have and will always remain excluded from any position that can make a difference to the justice system in Somalia. The will always be looking from the outside. The only time this communities saw a semblance of justice was during the reign of Alshabab. That is why they are always accused of Shabab sympathy every time they try to stand up for their rights. Just look at the majority of the Hawiye websites and you will see how the complaints of these communities are sidelined and how links to Shabab are manufactured to cover up for the aggression and injustice meted out to these communities.
 
The new government has not changed the situation. It has perpetuated it. In fact, the communities of Lower Shabelle are in the most difficult time now. The new government has entrenched the stranglehold that the Habar Gidir militias had on these communities. Again, they appointed another Habar Gidir to lead the Ministry of Interior. From Ali Mahdi’s time until now, the Minister of Interior is always allocated for Habar Gidir. And that is where the rotten apple resides.
 
To add insult to injury, Habar Gidir elders have complained to their fraternal caretakers of the Somali government. They wrote to the government complaining of Biimal aggression against the communities of Lower Shabelle. What a folly! Somalis say that Arabs commit injustice against you but then cover their folly in the name of the Prophet before you can (Carabta inta ku nabto ayay Nabiga kaaga hormartaa). Only in this case, Hawiye are covering their injustice under the rug of someone they know will take their side. The letter is just a show off for those of us who do not have a clue.
 
Hassan Ulusow’s government depends on Habar Gidir militia. It is an NGO run by Indhacadde and company. Like all great poets, my friend, The Great Poet, Togane, described the new government as “Dulmi Jadiid” – The New Injustice. He had a premonition and it has come true!
 
A nation without justice will not exist as a nation. One cannot cherry-pick justice either. You cannot choose your own definition of justice. Justice has a universal definition, universal parameters and therefore should be implemented universally. Without the universal application of justice in Somalia, the social chaos will not be over and Hassan Ulusow’s government is limping towards it coffin. That coffin, like all the coffins of governments before it, is on the shoulders of Habar Gidir.
 
Source: Somaliland Press

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