Inter-clan conflict leaves over 60 people dead in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia - At least 70 people have been killed in fierce battles involving rival clans in Somalia since December 2019, reports indicate, in yet another puzzle that could derail concerted effort to restore peace in Somalia.
Some clan militia has been unleashing against civilians in Lower Shebelle, Lower Juba and in the vicinity of Dinsor town within the Bay region, reports indicate. But the commercial town of Wanlawayn is the worst hit.
There has been a collective effort by government bureaucrats to quell tensions, which are occasioned by traditional political grudges, economic marginalization, and the vicious land use, officials said.
According to reports, over 30 people have been killed in Lower Jubba, particularly in West of Kismayo. In Wanlawayn town of Lower Shebelle, 24 people have also lost their lives, reports indicate.
The same scenario was witnessed in Dinsor, Bay region, where at least seven people have also lost their lives. Data collected by observers and official indicate that over 90 percent of victims are innocent civilians.
Traditionally, inter-clan conflicts in Somalia have been the source of instability, where proponents fight for control of geopolitics, resources and at times land use. The fighting triggered the ouster of dictator Siad Barre in 1991.
For over three decades now, Somalia has struggled to eradicate ghosts of extreme clannish politics. To date, certain clans claim to have absolute rights to lead the country, a move that has caused rifts even among the elites.
The recent number of casualties is the worst in the history of modern Somalia, which is keen to establish a functional state with the aid of international partners. Elections are scheduled for December.
In a typical setup, most political parties in Somalia are ethnic-based, and such avenues are used for a competition to grab power and amass wealth, thus drawing the parallel lines among the heterogeneous composition of the Somali ethnic group.
Clashes in Wanlawayn are however synonymous ever since the exit of Al-Shabaab militants. Clan militia, for instance, killed seven people last year over the fight to control an illegal checkpoint.
Both Lower Shebelle and Juba have traditionally faced both Al-Shabaab threat and clan conflicts, with the latter predicament seemingly taking roots after the Al-Shabaab militants lost a battle in strategic to SNA troops and AMISOM forces.
Political analyst Rashid Abdi, while commenting on the recent clan skirmishes in southern Somalia, said "clan identity politics is based on myth-making, the idea of purity" adding that "There is no such thing as a pure clan. The day we realize that a day we truly move to a cosmopolitan view of the world".
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has been struggling to unite the country, which has also witnessed high tectonic politics in recent months, in which the opposition is working hard to topple him in December polls.
But despite the Al-Shabaab threat and clan conflicts, the FGS has managed to instill law and order. Last week, the country also managed to get debt relief of $1.4 billion from Paris Club Creditors, another milestone to stability.
"Certainly, the notion that Somalis are a homogenous society that intrinsically shares similar blood and historical kin are unfounded myths," adds Abdullahi Abdi, another researcher in the Horn of Africa.
"The only way to decouple these primitive practices are establishing inclusive institutions and a unified state that binds people collectively."
Since 1991, the country has lost thousands of people to inter-clan conflicts, with millions also displaced due to political turmoil. To date, there are a lot of Somalis in Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya.