|Zooming into the Past|
M O G A D I S H U C I V I L W A R S
Zooming into the 1990s interviews and statements, given by the spokespersons and leaders of Somali factions, enables us to prove that clan-animosity account of the Somali civil war has not been given the scholarly attention that its magnitude warrants, even after sixteen years of clan-warfare. This clan-animosity feeling can in fact be derived from faction joint communiqué and statements; and therefore, posting selections of these public relation statements should be a matter of concern to all Somalis – particularly, to those who are in the field of Somali Studies.
After all, clan factionalism disguised in English acronyms (formed from three or four initial letters which include the sacrosanct letter “S”) are now facts of life for Somalis. The words and deeds of the turbulent faction followers have ordained to presuppose that faction spokespersons assumed a monumental role in fuelling clan-hatred. As a result of that, the Forum rushes in to investigate and share with you excerpts of faction communiqués, hoping to find solutions to the current tragic political situation in Somalia. From our perspective, these selections are indeed those that Western scholars/(Somalists) most neglected, or could offer hints to the causes of the civil war.
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Somali gunmen drive through the streets of Mogadishu
OLD MAN BEGS FOR HELP FROM SOMALI GUNMAN IN CITY OF BAIDOA, SOMALIA
A young Somali smokes and holds a weapon as he and his friends sit on a car
Children pulling a donkey cart watch a carload full of armed militiamen pass through the streets of Mogadishu
Faction Leader Denies Using Congress to Secede
London BBC World Service in English
1705 GMT, December 30, 1991
[From the "Focus on Africa" program]
[Text] The infighting within the United Somali Congress [USC] and the devastation that it has caused in Mogadishu has made some of the USC allies think again. The Somali Salvation Democratic Front, SSDF, which was a signatory to the Djibouti agreement envisaging a national government, has been holding its congress in Boosaaso [Bender Cassim] in the Northeast of the country, which it controls. There had been speculation that the SSDF might use the congress to declare an independent republic, as the SNM [Somali National Movement] has done in the Northeast. On the line to Djibouti, Josephine Hazely asked Mohamed Abshir Moussa, one of the SSDF leaders, whether the congress had opted for secession.
[Begin recording] [Moussa] Quite the contrary, quite the contrary, we are committed to the Djibouti agreement, the Djibouti national reconciliation conference. There is also that conference which, sort of, preserves Somali national integrity. We are committed to that, and we believe in Somali national integrity, Somali national unity. All we are interested in, since the central government is practically not working now, we must take care of ourselves, a temporal regional authority.
[Hazely] It seems to me that what you have really done is to form your own state, your own mini-state within Somalia, and you are refusing to admit that.
[Moussa] It is not a mini-state, it is actually a regional authority; it is a local government to take care of our local interest, mainly peace and stability, maintenance of law and order, protection of lives and property in our part of the country until such time that the government, Somali nationals, the central authority comes into (?effect).
[Hazely] But how can you do that? The SSDF is mainly in the Northeast of the country, when in Mogadishu, the capital, your countrymen are being killed left, right, and center. Should you in the SSDF not be trying to find ways and means of solving the problem in Mogadishu?
[Moussa] What we are really, actually ...[changes thought] after our conference we made an appeal to our brothers in Mogadishu to (?withdraw). We appealed to them to stop that sort of fighting. And we said we were ready to help find peaceful solution to existing problems. We were ready to make our contribution and asked our President Hassan Gouled of Djibouti and his government and SNM leaders and other Somali political and tribal organizations to give us a hand.
[Hazely] But in practical financial terms, how are you going to survive as a regional authority, as you keep saying?
[Moussa] Well, we have to do it on self-help basis as of now. We form, for example, a police network, comprising about 1,000 men headed by a well-known former police officer, professional officer, named Colonel (Abdul Sougouley) and his No.2, Col. (Abdul Rizak Farah Wirah). And now, of course, we look to our people to make contributions, financially and in kind, in order to provide uniform, ration, transport and communication means for the police service.
[Hazely] Why are you so particular about the police service? What about feeding your people?
[Moussa] The point is actually we want to ...[changes thought] we believe that peace and stability is the necessary premise for reconstruction and development. [end recording]
SOMALI GUNMEN DRIVE THROUGH THE STREETS OF THE CAPITAL MOGADISHU
Somalis loot U.N. barracks near the Mogadishu port