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.



J A N U A R Y 28, 1 9 9 1



Aydid has not been part of USC structure

London BBC World Service in English

1830 GMT 28 Jan 1991

[From the "Focus on Africa" program]


Well the USC [United Somali Congress] rebels say they are preparing to set up an interim government composed of representatives from the various rebel groups in Somalia. However, given that those rebel groups are largely based on clans which have been bitterly opposed to each other in the past, Robin White asked the USC's London spokesman, (Mohamed Roble), whether he thought that there was a risk that fighting would break out between the different groups.


[(Roble)] I do not accept that proposi­tion simply because after 21 years it is really futile to go on fighting, and after all, there is nothing to fight against. The end that we were all struggling for has come; Siyaad Barre is gone and we can begin a new page and every­body can take part. So why? I simply do not see any point in it.


[White] Presumably, some movements want a bigger slice of the pie than others – for instance the SNM [Somali National Movement] which has been fighting longest in the north battle. They might, perhaps, want the biggest slice of the pie.


[(Roble)] I do not think you can divide a pie based on who fought the most. That is not an equitable way of dividing something. We have to find a better way of dividing or sharing rather than dividing.


[White] Perhaps the USC has the most to give away to other parties in that it controls the capital, and will you be prepared to surrender power to other people?


[(Roble)] We will share the running of the country with other groups and other Somalis who are not part of groups in an equitable way. Nobody should expect more than their fair share and nobody should get less than their fair share.


[White] You claim that the rebel movements will not start fighting each other, but there are signs already that; your movement is split within itself between the people who have been fighting in Mogadishu and a group, led by General Aydid, that has come from outside Mogadishu and is claiming part of the [words indistinct] himself, I think. Now just what is the position?


[(Roble)] Gen. Aydid has not been part of the structure of the USC in the sense of the word. He never really attended the conferences of the USC which were held in Rome twice, the inauguration congress and the second congress, and he claims to be USC but I mean you have to be part of the structure of the USC in order to claim to be USC.


[White] So you say he has got nothing to do with your, organization at all?


[(Roble)] Theoretically, yes.


[White] But he seems to have arrived in Mogadishu claiming to have run the show.


[(Roble)] But he is a free man; he can come to Mogadishu. Mogadishu is a free place for all Somalis.


[White] Are you saying he does not have a following?


[(Roble)] I am sure he has got some following, but that does not concern the USC.


[White] That sounds like a bit of a headache for you.


[(Roble)] Not a headache. If other people make it headache, it is up to them.


[White] But you have one leader, can you name one leader of your organization?


[(Roble)] Yes, now (Hussein Bood) is the USC leader.


[White] Who is he? What is his background?


[(Roble)] (Hussein) is one of the most experienced Somali politicians. He was a director general in the government before Siyaad Barre took power and he had (?been) director general in the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. He was later director general at the Ministry of Planning.


[White] So he is a civilian?


[(Roble)] He is civilian, he is economist, and now he is a businessman for the last few years.


[White] But he has been in Mogadishu, underground, likely.


[(Roble)] That is right.


[White] And who is the military leader?


[(Roble)] The military leader that was chosen by the USC officers when the fighting started in Mogadsishu four weeks ago is General (Mohamoud Nur Galal), who is one of the most experienced Somali officers and who has been working with the USC for a long time, underground with us, under the nose of Siyaad Barre without him ever knowing it.


[White] What about Siyaad Barre? Do you think he finally has gone or do you think he might make a last stance somewhere?


[(Roble)] There is no question of him making a last stance. When something really eventually catches up with somebody, there is no way they can get out of it. I think we would have prepared to capture him so that he should have gone through the due process of law. It is really sad that he got away with 21 years of criminality.


[White] What about his supporters and people from his clan? Will you exact vengeance against them?


[(Roble)] Yesterday, when we heard that Siyaad Barre fled from Mogadishu, we issued straight away a press release in which we stated and asked all the Somali people not to take the law into their own hands.


[White] So you will not be hunting down his supporters?


[(Roble)] No, I am sure those who have committed crimes, if this can be proved beyond any reasonable doubt in front of a court of law, then of course we will have. [sentence as heard] That is part of the law and order.


[White] It is all very well to tell your supporters: Do not take vengeance, but there are feelings that [words indis­tinct].


[(Roble)] They will not because this is part of our political program.





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