Abdihakim Shire a father of six was gunned down after trying to build a
mosque on property belonging to his father
MOGADISHU, Somalia Aug 5 2012 (Garowe Online) – A Somali
British citizen was gunned down in Mogadishu after he traveled to the city to
build a mosque on his fathers’ property, which had been taken over by squatters after his
family fled the civil war in 1991, Garowe Online reports.
Abdihakim Mohamud Khalif Shire, a father of two sons and
four stepchildren, was killed in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, mid-July after
he traveled from London to Mogadishu to return property which was confiscated
by squatters who stayed behind in Mogadishu during the civil war.
According to Mr. Shire’s family, he had gone to the city and
was in the process of returning his family’s property when he had been gunned
down in the capital Monday evening July 16.
According to the family of Mr. Shire, the family gathered in
Mogadishu and decided to regain their property and build a mosque on the land.
However a member of the squatters’ family had refused to return the property.
The squatter threatened the Shire family, who in turn decided
to give up pursuing the property. According to the Shire family, the squatter
fatally shot Abdihakim Shire even after the family had decided to disregard the
The family of the gunman, who shot Abdihakim, returned the
property to the family after the cold blooded murder. Astonishingly the shooter
was forgiven by Abdihakim’s father Mohamud Khalif, a religious man who lost his
son a few days before the holy month of Ramadan.
Mogadishu house owners who escaped the civil war and
returned to war-ravaged Mogadishu, have said that the process of returning or
being compensated for land or housing that has been taken from them in the
civil war is a long and sometimes hopeless process.
Fatima Ali, a resident of Toronto Canada who spoke to Garowe
Online, said that she had to spend close to 10,000 US dollars in bribes and
incentives to return her home that her deceased husband owned.
“We had to pay clan elders and neighborhood leaders around $
10,000 just to get back what was rightfully ours,” said Fatima.
According to home owners, the incentives are given to
negotiators who won’t guarantee that your home will be returned.
“Sometimes the home had been sold several times so you
cannot hold the current resident responsible for returning your home. He feels
like you are also taking what’s rightfully his,” said Fatima.
The risk of upsetting or clashing with squatters’ of the
property is always present, according to Mohamed Abdi a resident of Bossaso, who
gave up trying to return his property in Mogadishu.
“I was receiving random phone
calls and people threatening me, I couldn’t cope with that, so I quit trying to
get it back,” said Mr. Abdi.
In a report by IRIN which
referred to Mogadishu local authorities who claimed that “80 percent of the
homes squatted during the war had been restored to their rightful owners.”
However former residents of
Mogadishu beg to differ with that record, despite IRIN’s count of one million
people returning to Mogadishu.
“I can speak for five families in
my neighborhood alone, that till this day have not been returned their
property,” said Amina Osman a resident of Leicester’s St. Mathews neighborhood.
Somalis, who lost their property
during the extended civil war, are still skeptic of the weak UN backed Somali
government, despite their initiative to return squatted property to rightful
“I think the Somali government’s capability
of returning property to rightful owners is very weak, they have returned
government property but have been uninspiring in returning property of former
residents. Maybe when I see people like me getting their property back, I’ll believe
their initiative” explained Amina.
Some have stopped thinking about
returning their lost property after seeing the cold blooded murder of Abdihakim,
GO asked Mohamed Abdi if he would in the near future try to regain his property
“After the murder of Abdihakim, I
have decided to not pursue any of my property in Mogadishu. It’s not worth my
life. I believe that his killing was a message from other squatters as well, the message was to
stay away from property lost in the war” said Mr. Abdi.