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THE CRUEL AND DIRTY WAR IN THE SOUTH, ( War Diary - Part Four ) By M.M.Afarh

THE CRUEL AND DIRTY WAR IN THE SOUTH,

WAR DIARY By M. M. Afrah (Unedited)

 

                        PART FOUR

 

MOGADISHU SEPTEMBER 10, 1991

 

Elders and religious leaders are unable to curb the endemic violence in the capital, because everyone is armed to the teeth and no one listens to their words of wisdom. There is talk of organizing a huge security operation but skeptics say that the various armed groups would never bend to any attempt to disarm them. They cite several attempts in the past, which were doomed to failure. Apparently an intense struggle for power is going on between Ali Mahdi and Aideed on the method of disarming the militia, which could spark off another round of bloody factional fighting, but for now there is an easy lull.

The two men mistrust each other and the question of which clan should be disarmed first and who would disarm them has become the stumbling block.

 

The situation is very tense, however. Observers predict another round of fighting, more serious and brutal than the one we have just witnessed. The hospitals, which like every other institutions, were looted and reduced to ruins, are overcrowded with patients, mostly women, children and the elderly who have lost limbs.

 

Tents are set up at all hospital compounds, in the corridors, and under trees. Doctors told me that many of their colleagues have fled the country because of their tribal affiliations. Others have lost their lives. Trucks carrying desperately needed drugs are commandeered by armed gangs to the black market and are sold back to the patients at exorbitant prices. One of the hospitals, the De Martini, is a no-go area, occupied by hardcore convicts who escaped from Mogadishu’s Central Prison at the height of the civil war.

 

More than 2000 hardcore convicts, many of them waited in Death Row, escaped from the prison, after massacring the warders and their families, and breaking the armory to join into the fray with vengeance. They claim that they have been wrongly convicted by the Revolution’s Kangaroo courts for treason because of their clan affiliations. Their hearts are intoxicated with revenge against society. They pay no heed to the cholera, which decimates the city with ferocity.

 

The majority of the male patients at Digfer, the general hospital, keep their assault rifles and hand grenades under their hospital beds. A doctor told me that there are patients who arrived at the beginning of the civil war and now refuse to leave the relative safety of the hospital. The doctor is worried about the “silent killer” – a cholera outbreak. His prophesy fits in too well with my own forecast.

 

MOGADISHU SEPTEMBER 11, 1991.

 

Today a neutral Hawiye subclan, the Xawaadleh, is sponsoring a fragile ceasefire and is trying to coax the Habar-gedir and the Abgal to the table. But the warring factions are using the fragile ceasefire to reinforce and re-equip their militia. It happened before.

 

There was an ominous and unconcerned silence in the international media about the extremely volatile situation in Somalia, except a brief and ghastly commentary last night by the BBC’s “Focus on Africa” that concluded: “…. that it takes very little to start a civil war and mayhem for a people who have been systematically worked up in a state to settle old scores as the Somalis have been.”

 

Apparently, the world is focusing on Iraqi’s occupation of oil rich Kuwait!

 

I wish Somalia had oil wells. The whole world would have come to rescue it from Dante’s Purgatory and self-destruction. Today oil is a political commodity. It makes the world go round, overshadowing the anarchy in Somalia.

 

1. 30 P.M. The tumult in the city died down for several hours, and the stench of death rose from the streets like a tangible cloud to foul the air.

 

5.30 P.M. Once again the familiar rattle of machinegun fire, punctuated more frequently now by the boom of artillery shells sounded from General Aideed’s stronghold in the south of the city. His forces are now using Villa Somalia as a staging point. Not to be outdone, supporters of Ali Mahdi are responding in kind. We are laying, face down in our makeshift bomb shelter waiting for a direct hit.

 “It is not if but when?” my son Abdullahi whispered softly.

Food is still scarce and water is scarcer – and news is still scarcest of all, and what there was of it is not reassuring. Those few who survived the gun are now dying of hunger, thirsty and disease.

Our neighbour, who joined us in the makeshift shelter, repeated his usual aphorism: “It was written. For none may die before their allotted time.” And continued to read more verses from Holy Quran. Those words inspire confidence for people who lost their loved ones.

                                 ---------

THE GUNS HAVE BEEN SILENT DURING THE MONTHS OF OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER, BUT IT WAS REPORTED THAT DAACUUN (CHOLERA) HAVE WIPED OUT HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE AT HODAN AND K4 AREAS. HOWEVER FREE LANCE PREDATORS CONTINUE TO LOOT AND KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE. THESE ARE MONSTERS IN HUMAN SHAPE. HENCE, THE NAME MOORYAAN; THEY ARE MORE PERFIDIOUS THAN VICTOR HUGO’S 1883 MISERABLES IN PARIS. THEY EVEN HAVE THEIR OWN VENOMOUS ARGOT, THE LANGUAGE OF MISERY, CONVICTS, AND BANDITS.

                                ----------

 

MOGADISHU DECEMBER 2, 1991

 

7.45 P. M.

 

Abdullahi was killed this afternoon as he tried to help a frail old lady cross the road in front of our house. A mortar shell hit both of them before they crossed the road.

He had spoke only once.

“Take care of yourself, Dad,” he whispered. And then he died. I had wept, and wept for the first time in my life. And as I washed his body this evening, I tried to wipe out the picture of him cruelly dying before my eyes.

 

It had taken me the best part of the night to dig a shallow grave in front of our door, deep enough to protect his body from marauding animals. I have buried him single-handedly with the help of the moonlight and the tracer bullets that criss-crossed the night sky as new round of fighting started this afternoon.

 

MOGADISHU, DECEMBER 3, 1991

 

This morning the Muezzin, whose name is Sheikh Ahmed Ganey, Ibrahim and Xaajiya Xabiiba arrived to offer me their condolence with the familiar words: “It was written.” Then the Muezzin read the service for the burial of the dead over my son’s shallow grave. This service is read with depressing frequency in Somalia, but only for those lucky enough to get a decent burial these days. We also gave a decent burial to the old lady.

 I cried myself to sleep, oblivious of the infinite bombardment. It seems the fighting is being conducted by bird-brained monsters, as evidenced by the senseless destruction and the slaughter of innocent civilians.

 

I hold nightly vigil at the grave of my son, the son who lost his life in his prime while trying to help a frail old lady cross the street during intensive bombardment. The son who insisted to stay with me at this perilous moment in our lives, “come what may.” Here lies the son inaccessible to fear for his life, no matter however the crisis, however inevitable the catastrophe.

 

MOGADISHU, DECEMBER 4, 1991

 

No mention was made of the carnage in Somalia at the Islamic Conference Organization (ICO) currently in session in Dakar (Senegal). The same thing goes to the UN Security Council and the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU). It seems there’s a conspiracy of silence among the world community of which Somalia is a full member.

 

They are now resorting to night fighting, because the scoundrels sleep by day after all night Qaad session and nonstop shootings. Ironically, Qaad and cigarettes are plentiful, but no food is available. To make matters worse, the escaped convicts made their debut in earnestly. They began to ransack homes whose owners took refuge in the countryside. As mentioned above most of these convicts have been condemned to death by the regime’s kangaroo courts. They are branded as Dil-sugayaal.

 

MOGADISHU, DECEMBER 5, 1991

 

This morning we had an emergency meeting, all four of us wretches to discuss whether to stay put or leave for the countryside, away from artillery range.

 

The garbled stories that Sheikh Ahmed Ganey, the muezzin brought are always gloomy and defeatism and it is difficult to gain any clear picture of what actually is happening in the rest of the country. All we know is that the fighting is intensifying in every part of the capital.

“All the news is bad. It is the end of the world,” he said. “It’s no good. We can’t leave here,” he added.

“We may have bad time of it if we stay here and we will certainly die if we are mad enough to attempt a cross-country trip,” Xaajiya Xabiiba said brusquely.

“At the moment there would appear to be nowhere to go to,” Ibrahim observed.

And with that consensus we decided to stay put, come what may.

 

 

To be continue….

By M. M. Afrah © 2002

Email afrah95@hotmail.com

 


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