|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 U N E - J U L Y 1 9 9 1
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
Ghalib Cited on Unity Efforts, African Tour
London AL-HA YAH in Arabic
June 10, 1991, pp1, 3
[Interview with Prime Minister Omar Arteh Ghalib by Yusuf Khazim in Abuja, Nigeria; date not given]
[Khazim] The 27th African summit in Abuja has passed a resolution supporting Somalia's unity. Do you believe that the resolution will prompt your government to fight for the country's unity?
[Ghalib] The African summit's resolution supporting Somalia's unity is seen as significant moral support for us, but we have promised not to use force in this connection. We will use the family approach to resolve our problems because they (the people of the North) are our brothers, and we want to help them. They suffered considerably under the previous regime and their towns were destroyed, especially Hargeysa, the north's capital. Secession, however, is not the solution. We are prepared to respond to everything they want for the sake of the country's unity.
[Khazim] Are there any current Arab efforts in that connection?
[Ghalib] Djibouti President Gouled Aptidon Hassan is undertaking some endeavors. He had called for a Somali conference on national reconciliation, and indeed such a conference recently began in Djibouti with the participation of all Somali fronts.
[Khazim] Is the Somali Patriotic Movement taking part in the conference?
[Ghalib] So far we have not heard that it has agreed to attend, but the conference will continue even if it does not attend. Some prominent figures who have made significant contributions to the national struggle are attending, such as Somalia's first prime minister, Mohamed Ibrahim Egal. I am optimistic that this conference will produce good results.
[Khazim] Is the government in full control of Mogadishu? Does security now prevail there?
[Ghalib] We have prepared a force of 1,000 men to stop the assaults and anarchy. I can honestly say now that we have the situation in Mogadishu under control, but some gunfire is heard at night. That is because some arms have fallen into the hands of irresponsible people. Children 12 and 13 years old managed to secure weapons during the past period of anarchy. They fire their guns into the air at night, but, generally speaking, we are in control of the situation in the capital and other areas.
[Khazim] Forces of the United Somali Congress, under the command of General Mohamed Farah Aydeed, are still in control of some important areas of the country. Are these forces an obstacle to the country's unity?
[Ghalib] The differences within the United Somali Congress are ordinary differences. Internal differences occur even within parties in the advanced countries. I am confident that the dispute within the "Congress" will not impede Somalia's unity.
[Khazim] Have the Arab countries that you recently visited recognized your government? What were the results of that tour?
[Ghalib] The world these days is witnessing many swift changes and fluctuations. States now do not say: We recognize, or do not recognize, a particular a state. Recognition comes through dealings. If there is response and cooperation between two states then there is recognition between them.
Regarding my tour, I can say that it was useful, fruitful, and effective. Most of the countries that I visited provided some aid to Somalia. Others promised aid and support. We are still waiting for that promised aid.
[Khazim] How do you assess your relations with the new Ethiopian regime? Did you meet with any representatives of the regime during the African summit?
[Ghalib] I met with Dawud Yohans [as transliterated], head of the Ethiopian delegation. We discussed relations between our two countries, which are based on mutual respect. I hope that the recent developments throughout the region will be a lesson to the new Ethiopian regime, for the sake of the stability and security of the entire region of East Africa.
Djibouti Conference I
Djibouti Accord, Composition of Government Viewed
London BBC World Service in English
1515 GMT, July 29, 1991
The different groups in Somalia are now busy trying to make the Djibouti peace agreement signed just over a week ago work in practice. Six organizations were in Djibouti to unravel Somali politics in the wake of ex-President Siyaad Barre's departure. Among them, the USC [United Somali Congress], which set up an interim government in Mogadishu after Siyaad Barre's fall, and the SPM [Somali Patriotic Movement], and the SDSF [Somali Democratic Salvation Front], which fought against that takeover until the Djibouti agreement was signed. But the SNM [Somali National Movement] stayed away from the talks, insisting that its declaration of independence for northern Somalia still stood. Hassan Ali Mireh, a leading member of the SDSF, is in London. Robin White asked him who got what under the Djibouti agreement:
[Mireh] Well, in the formation of the government, really, the post of the president was given to the USC, United Somali Congress, while the post of two vice presidents--one was given to the Somali Democratic Movement and the other was given to SPM/SFAS [expansion unknown]. The prime ministership was given to the north. No specific individual or specific organization was named in the resolution. But it was given to the north...
[White, interrupting] Did you have it in mind that the SNM should take up that post, then?
[Mireh] Well, I think any member of the north who qualifies for that post and who the president chooses will hold that post, and nowhere does it say SNM or any other organization; it just says people of the north.
[White] Since the conference in Djibouti, have people been going to the north to talk to the SNM to try and persuade them to take the job of prime minister?
[Mireh] Well, in this conference there was no delegation, but we hope reason will prevail and they will accept the post.
[White] But has somebody gone off to the north to try and persuade them?
[Mireh] Not as far as I know-this time, no.
[White] Will they be there?
[Mireh] It is possible.
[White] So you will just leave this job of prime minister vacant, or will you try and get somebody to fill it?
[Mireh] I assume... [changes thought] Of course, it depends. The conference is over, and now it depends on the elected president. So I assume that is why the wording is vague. It does not say
[White] Do you have a particular person in mind, a prominent northerner who doesn't like secession, who might accept the job?
[Mireh] Well, there are several of them that fit that description.
[White] Would you like to suggest a name, who might be a good (?person)?
[Mireh] Well, they are many. They are many. I assume Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim Egal was there in the conference. He fills the [word indistinct]
[White] Who is he?
[Mireh] He is the former prime minister. He is from the north. He is a well-known political personality. But (? still) there are others, you know, from the north who are qualified for the post. [end recording]
SOMALI GUNMEN DRIVE THROUGH THE STREETS OF THE CAPITAL MOGADISHU
Somalis loot U.N. barracks near the Mogadishu port