|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.
F E B E R U A R Y 1 9 9 1
USC's Aydid Not to Recognize Interim Government
London BBC World Service
[From the "Focus on Africa" program]
The USC [United Somali Congress] interim government in Mogadishu is still struggling to get itself established. A lot is left to be done to secure and reconstruct the battle-torn city, and it is having problems getting other groups to join it in setting out a future for Somalia post-Siyaad Barre. A national conference has been postponed until late next month, at the earliest. But, perhaps, the biggest threat to the administration is the claim of General Aydiid, who led USC rebel forces during the fight against Siyaad Barre. He says interim President Ali Mahdi Mohamed and Prime Minister Omar Arteh Ghalib had hijacked the leadership and that he, Gen. Aydiid, is the real USC leader. Journalist Hamish Wilson met up with Gen. Aydid in northern Somalia and asked him on what grounds he claimed the leadership of the USC.
[Aydiid] During last 10 months, I was leading the struggle of USC and I have succeeded, together with my people, mujahidiin, and other political other political members of my organization to catch nearly all central regions-that is Mudug Region, Galguduud Region, Hiiraan Region, and Middle Shabeelle Region. During this struggle, we have held a congress inside the country. The congress has chosen me as the chairman of USC. The participants of the congress were 191. Up till now, I am the chairman of USC.
[Wilson] How is it that they have been able to arrive in Mogadishu, although you yourself, as you say, liberated Mogadishu and all the other areas-how were these people then able to step in and form a government in front of you, without you opposing them or stopping them?
[Aydiid] During that fighting in Mogadishu, I made with them an agreement. After the liberation, immediately, on 27 January 1991 they [word indistinct] immediately in the morning, went to the Radio Mogadishu, and they announced that they are Executive Committee of USC and the next day they suddenly, without consulting with me, they formed this government, this – you know – is government with the President also, which I am not absolutely recognizing and everybody, also the people, the mujahidiin, the members of the USC were disappointed of this step they have done, this wrong step.
[Wilson] So, as you controlled all the armed forces of the USC, why did you not take action to prevent these people from going to the radio and making these announcements?
[Aydiid] Well, I avoided any clash with them because, you know, I preferred to solve the problem peacefully and politically. And, really, now I am in very good position to win this policy which preferred instead to assist them.
[Wilson] What do you think that Omar Arteh and his people are trying to achieve? What is the object behind them forming this government?
[Aydiid] Well, they wanted absolutely to hijack the power. This is their (?main) objective, and they wanted to continue the policy of Siyaad Barre. And, we have seen what they are doing recently after they formed this government.