by the gruesome images of the mayhem committed by free-lance
armed thugs, the people of Kismayu and their leaders finally
reacted to put an end to the horrible crisis once and for all.
people in that city, disappointed with past faction leaders’
abdication of responsibility, their current leaders with the
overwhelming support of the civic society, took unprecedented
drastic action to crack down hundreds of gunmen, who
previously hijacked whole convoys on the open roads, while in
camps in the Province malnourished children sit lifelessly
with the large eyes staring aimlessly into an empty space.
gangs tightened their hold around the sea and airports to
commandeer famine relief, and as nightfall, a familiar sound
that no longer raise an eyebrow in Somalia permeates the night
sky. As in Mogadishu, these gangs coolly shoot aid workers to
get at the food.
gangs knew that the death of a single relief worker will
trigger off an uproar in the world and will force
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to withdraw their
workers, citing insecurity.
Kismayu Mooryaan has even rivaled the Mogadishu-style of
carjacking vehicles, pillaging food aid, kidnapping and rape.
Mooryaan tradition is hard to die in Somalia. The country
became a cake with all the warlords claiming a piece. Armoured
vehicles with self-propelled guns compete with each to grab
the last availably booty in the ruined cities and towns.
Because they have already been stripped of everything during
the last twelve years or so, only few pieces of scrap lay
scattered across the barren landscape. But the thugs are
hell-bent to strip every last vestige of the country’s
existence as a nation. You might call it a Wasteland.
warlords are armchair “generals” who are quick to send
young men in the spring of their lives toward the mouth of the
BIRTH OF THE MOORYAAN
did the Mooryaan come to the scene? In the process of the
fight against Siyad Barre’s regime and his final overthrow,
many of our able-bodied youngsters have been drawn away from
productive sectors and into the big cities and towns. Now
these people have not only abandoned economic sectors in which
they have been useful, but their presence in the cities and
towns is causing a lot of social and security troubles .
the present condition of the country, it will be impossible to
absorb these young boys in a National Army and sectors of the
economy, as the majority have no skills of their own and are
numerically too many to accommodate. (See also TALKING POINT
is a problem of great proportions and one cannot simply brush
it aside. What makes tackling this problem so important is the
fact that the huge arsenals in the hands of these youngsters.
The delegates at the Talks in Nairobi are aware that it is
paramount importance to disarm in order to affect any security
in the country. But what many of the “Talkers” fail to
realize is that the question of arms collection is closely
linked to the issue of safety for any future government and
for the general population.
cleansing process to weed out the gunmen will only be feasible
if the leaders enjoy wide support from the people as borne by
the most recent surveys by human rights organizations, which
indicates that the general population is weary of the
catalogue of crimes committed by these thugs daily with
question is: Would the good citizens of Mogadishu summon up
their courage to dismantle the armed thugs in their midst as
did by the people of Kismayu? Yes, it takes a lot of guts and
determination to put an end to this long infuriating menace.
alternative is for the majority of the law-biding inhabitants
to throw dignity to the wind and go arming themselves in order
to defend their families, spending their last few shillings on
weapons instead of on milk for the babies—no milk for the
babies, no clothes for themselves and the children and no food
to keep soul and flesh together.
possession of a gun gives people a sense of confidence,
because for one thing there’s no affective government to
guarantee their security. They feel that now they can defend
their loved ones from the freelancers, even if in the process
they violate the rights of other peace-loving citizens.
of them will never relinquish arms so easily. A number of
sincere and responsible people I talked to over the phone said
they will think twice before they hand over their weapons.
“Without an affective and responsible government at the helm
we will mount stiff resistance. Giving up our weapons at
present will put our future in the dark,” a prominent
merchant at the Bakaaraha open-air market said.
thugs can run but they cannot hide. The dead would not leave them alone, not
just those they fought with, but those innocent people they had murdered in
course there’s an area of contention, such as which group of
the militia should be disarmed first and who is going to
disarm them. The people of Mogadishu should take a leaf from
the Kismayu operation.
By M. M. Afrah©2003,