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5 Dead And 11 Seriously Wounded In Hargeysa City Urban Unrest
By somalilandtimes network
Hargeysa, Somaliland, February 11, 2006 – Serious unrest and rioting last Saturday (04/02/06), by Dumbuluq residence in Ahmed Dhagah district of Hargeysa city left five people dead and eleven people hospitalized for serious gun shot wounds and scores of people suffering minor injuries were admitted to the out-patient department of Hargeysa Group Hospital.
The unrest started when a local private businessman in Dumbuluq area, begun to construct an additional warehouse store room space on a piece of land adjoining the warehouse leased to him by the local municipality. The trouble started when the businessman’s construction workers were confronted by residents living nearby. The construction workers fled the site after they were pelted with stones only to return later with a large group of people carrying an assortment of sticks, clubs, knifes and fire arms. Fighting unsued between those supporting construction workers and those who had opposed the construction workers. Soon after, the fighting escalated to other residential areas in Dumbuluq.
Small contingents of the local Dumbuluq police force tried their best to bring the fighting to an end but were overwhelmed by fighting sides who hurled stones, rocks and bullets at them and as a result many of the policemen sustained serious and minor injurious.
The security forces eventually disrupted the fighting around in the afternoon and took control, imposing a mini curfew in much of Dumbuluq and began to arrest and detain residents involved in the unrest and confiscating weapons found on any person in or around Dumbuluq area. The number of persons arrested, detained or charged for the unrest is not known. Three of the five people who died in Saturday’s unrest were women (one was a mother of eight children) and two youths, a boy and a girl in their early teens. All died in the cross fire trying to flee to safety.
A number of shop properties were set alight on fire, all completely gutted and destroyed by fire. Their owners could be seen screaming in despair and anger. A few residential homes were also vandalised in the unrest by marauding youths.
Much of Saturday night and Sunday Dumbuluq was a no go area with a heavy presence of the security forces and all roads leading in and out of Dumbuluq were closed and the residents in Dumbuluq were ordered to stay indoors by the security forces.
President Dahir Rayale Kahin made a live radio and Television broadcast on Saturday evening and said every one should keep calm and that his government will be harsh with those involved in the unrest. The president said that he will setup a committee to investigate the cause of the day’s unrest and those implicated in the investigation will be punished accordingly by the law courts of the country.
During, the Saturday unrest a number of high ranking government ministers and officials could be seen in Dumbuluq coordinating security measures and pleading with the fighting sides to stop all hostilities. At one time the Minister of Interior, Mr Ismail Aden Osman received a minor head injury when he tried to stop youths hurling missiles at local police, a stone was hurled hitting him on the back of the neck, causing a minor bruise.
Another, notable person who was amidst the chaos on that day was the Sultan of one of the fighting clans, Sultan Mohamed Sult-Abdi-qadir Sult-Abdillahi. Sultan Mohamed is regarded as the person who eventually got the two opposing clans to accept his mediation and halt the fighting. He could be seen on that day jetting to and from the opposing sides fighting in Dumbuluq, a neighbourhood of Ahmed Dhagah district of Hargeysa..
Many of the residents opposing the construction building work could be heard at the height of the unrest shouting slogans which were anti or against the local city authority or municipality. Many residents in Dumbuluq and the city as a whole blame the local city authority for the unrest and claim corruption inside the municipality is the chief cause of all land disputes and conflicts in Hargeysa.
A good example is the Saturday unrest which took place in Dumbuluq. Somaliland Times interviewed Hargeysa city Mayor, Mr Mohamud Jiir to comment on the cause of the unrest and said “Back in the year 2000 the former mayor of Hargeysa city, Mr Awl awarded a small piece of public land adjacent to the Dumbuluq Inji warehouse stores which belonged to the city local municipality to a local woman resident in Dumbuluq.
Mr Jiir, the Hargeysa mayor said “two years later (in 2004) the local woman had sold this piece of land to Mr Ina-af Diinleh a local businessman who at same time had a long term lease on one of the Dumbuluq Inji warehouse stores next to the piece of land ”.
The mayor of Hargeysa said “not so long ago the local woman who sold this piece of land to Mr Ina-af Diinleh charged that she did not sell this land to him and that the piece of land belonged to her”. “We at the municipality” Mr Jiir said, “investigated this charge and Mr Ina-af Diinleh produced legal notary documents and sale of land receipts signed by the woman.
Mr Jiir said “we at the municipality therefore gave a verdict of ownership to Mr Ina-af Diinleh because of these documents which were legally signed by the woman and were witnessed by a registered notary.”
The mayor of Hargeysa municipality, Mr Jiir continued, “therefore, when Mr Ina-af Diinleh started to build on the piece of land on Saturday, the woman who originally sold this land to him rallied her relatives and neighbours to stop the construction of the land claiming that her land has been forfeited by Mr Ina-af Diinleh and the local municipality who supports him. And this led to the unrest on Saturday” said the mayor of Hargeysa, Mr Jiir.
This comment by the mayor of Hargeysa sheds much light on the corruption of municipal officials purging public lands to private individuals. An allegation, held much by the citizens of Hargeysa to be true.
Source: Somaliland Times