Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Agony in Somalia

I received this email today from the Chairperson of the Center for Peace and Democracy in Somalia. The TFG he refers to is the nominal government of Somalia.

The ongoing agony of Somalia numbs the brain. What can we do? I have no idea, apart from starve the area of ammunition ... get control of the sea back from the pirates...get aid in by land...freeze the assets of the warlords...force the Ethiopians to withdraw...I have no idea.

I am once again writing to you but only reporting another shocking and negative incident from Mogadishu . I am afraid my colleagues and friends around the world would read me as a pessimist who always reports only the bad parts of things; I am not really that kind of a person, but there is no good news to report from Mogadishu nowadays.
The humanitarian situation in the southern and central Somalia only deteriorated for the past few weeks. Many more thousands of innocent civilians have been displaced and hundreds more killed with thousands wounded and huge properties lost in the war. Still corps of innocent civilian’s caught under fire were lying in the streets and in houses in southern Mogadishu .
People in Mogadishu witnessed the past couple of days the fiercest fighting in months in this year. This month together with April and March of the same year will be recognized as the worst months in human rights violations in Somalia as a whole. Together these months more than half a million persons have been displaced from their residents and estimated two thousand or more killed with an uncountable wounded. Always the worst affected are the civilians who were already so desperate with hunger and diseases.
Once again the TFG forces broke into CPD office in Mogadishu and this time they have taken out two of CPD staff members (Ali Farah Mohammed and Amir Hashi Ibrahim) at the office. This shocking incident happened three days ago and so far no we do not knows the whereabouts of the kidnapped staff. I have tried to reach members of the government, particularly the interior ministry but no signs of our staff have been found yet. The main gate of our office in Mogadishu was broken, some equipments taken by the TFG forces and the rest looted by freelance militias and other opportunists around. The same happened to a number of business and non profit organizations in Mogadishu .
Now then we are trying to move the remainder of CPD office equipment and documents to a safe place probably somewhere in Lower Shabelle - Merka is our main target for relocation at the moment. Shabelle radio which is also close to CPD office has been broken into and been shut down by the TFG forces and even though some staff members were taken primarily they were later released. We are running in the worst dilemmas of our time and it is not yet comprehensible to us how to handle this mysterious event. However, we will be using all possible mechanisms available to enable the release of our staff in a timely. Any suggestions and recommendations on what to do next would be a good asset for us at this critical moment.
Every body is suffering in Mogadishu and no one is left immune from the ongoing crises and violence. However, as of humanitarian and human rights organization we will not be abstracted from helping the needy and helpless suffering communities in southern and central Somalia . We are all being made IDPs by the current awful situation in Mogadishu but we will not give up helping the vulnerable communities and at least become their voices to the outer world.
On the other hand, thousands more displaced families arrived at Galgadud region with huge number of them in Adado town for the past couple of days. Thousands more are reported on the way from Mogadishu . This is only making the situation of the already desperate communities in Adado worse and needier. The influx of IDPs to Lower Shabelle region has also become uncountable.
I am once again asking the international community particularly the US, UK, EU and other governments involved as well as the humanitarian and human rights organizations to do all they can to help protect the civilians under fire. The civilians in Mogadishu are now asking themselves whether they are inferior and second degree humans. We are shocked by the muteness of the world powers from the genocide in the making in Mogadishu . What is the hidden agenda behind this muteness? Doesn't the world have a responsibility to stop such atrocities?
Even those who have been displaced and made homeless by the fighting in Mogadishu cannot be reached by humanitarian assistance? I hope time will come when all perpetrators will be held accountable for their actions and deeds. Why the world is only crying against the violence’s in Darfur and Burma where the worst is happening in Somalia ? Are the Somalis - particularly civilians in Mogadishu second degree to those other communities around the world or no one cares what is happening? The answer of all these questions lies with YOU?
I, however, have a responsibility as a civil society activist to call for international assistance. Please for those of you who have the power and the responsibility; try to act as fast as possible and stop the killings of Mogadishu civilians. The TFG, the Ethiopians and the insurgent/resistance militias have a responsibility to protect the civilians and restrain them and preserve the international humanitarian laws and regulations but it is all clear to us that none of these actors cares the consequences of their deadly actions. Both the TFG and the Ethiopian forces in Mogadishu tried all they could to silence the free media and the civil society organizations in Mogadishu .
I think time has come to advocate for the dying innocent civilians in Somalia and we all have a responsibility to take prompt and meaningful action against that?
Best Regards

Ali Said Omar Ibrahim, Chairperson
Center for Peace and Democracy (CPD)

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