Somalia: The Blurred Perspectives of Peace

The menacing sound of rockets whistled past my window and exploded, a few seconds later, with a thunderous noise. It is a common occurrence here in Mogadishu. Every day dozens of rockets and mortars claim the lives of innocent civilians living in areas often far away from the battle fronts. Despite living in a hotel protected by large slabs of concrete, the power of the explosion threw me to the ground. Soon the pervasive smell of gunpowder filled the corridors of the hotel. It was a harrowing experience, and though I had expected my journey to be very dangerous, the moment of explosion completely dismantled my determination. For a while the whistling sound continued, as I lay flat on the ground, followed shortly by large explosions. Once the hailstorm had subsided and things appeared normal again, I went out in response to the neighbour’s loud bellows of rage.

Outside the shattered tin-roofed house, Amina Hussein, a nurse at the local clinic, screamed her lungs out. Rummaging through the debris and gesticulating wildly, Amina had to be restrained by a group of women standing nearby. And as the crowd consoled the grief-stricken nurse, I peered into the destroyed house. Through the ruins, and illuminated by the sun’s rays seeping through the small openings, I was confronted by a horrific scene. Digging through the rubble along with some helpers, we quickly uncovered the four bodies. The nurse’s husband and three children, lying peacefully next to each other, were all covered in blood. Dressed in what seemed like a colourfully embroidered frock, the state of the youngest daughter, no more than five years of age, was perhaps the most shocking. Shrapnel had completely punctured her delicate body while blood slowly trickled out of her beautiful face.

These gruesome scenes are a part of the daily life here in Mogadishu. Every day a mortar lands and every day a neighbour mourns the death of a loved one. With the growing anger, AMISOM mortars have been blamed for the increasing number of civilian casualties in the capital. And while the African leaders grapple with the idea of sending more troops to save the embattled Somali government, the sounds of rockets and gunfire continue to resonate throughout the streets of Mogadishu.

In the Ugandan capital, Kampala, Al-Shabaab have made their debut with a devastating force. While they look towards the Horn for answers, however, the Ugandan public is blithely unaware of what is going on in Mogadishu and is oblivious to the human rights abuses embarked on by their soldiers.

Now, as Uganda reels from the recent attacks that rocked the capital city and seeks retribution for the innocent lives killed, with calls by the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, to sweep Al-Shabaab out of Africa, the Somali public also remains resentful about the hundreds of people killed by the shelling carried out by AMISOM forces in Mogadishu. It is thought that despite the confidence he exuded with his exuberant performance at the meeting in Kampala, Museveni has little to offer Somalia and his call for more troops has been submerged by a flood of resistance here in the capital city.

The Ugandan troops in Mogadishu have been criticized for indiscriminately shelling residential areas and now with a highly politicised public, burning with indignation and harbouring deep resentments towards the presence of the 6,000 strong AU troops in Somalia, there is talk of severe repercussions and a country-wide call to arms. The recent developments in Uganda, particularly Museveni’s threat of a full invasion of Somalia, have kindled a new nationalistic wave of emotion similar to the days of the Ethiopian invasion.

Al-Shabaab, the most dominant Islamist force in the country, has rallied thousands of people in the capital and vowed to intensify the attack on the AU forces. The Islamist group already govern the ten regions under their control according to Shariah law are now looking to topple the weak US-backed Transitional Federal Government. On its part, the TFG, whose tenuous existence is further exacerbated by claims of incompetency surrounding its leaders and corruption,(yes, Somalia is still at the bottom of the Corruption Index) still cling on to small patch of land in Mogadishu.

It is a political tug of war. The notion of peace embraced by Al-Shabab lies in its application of Shariah law throughout the country; a notion that has produced some results as they have been credited for bringing stability to the areas under their control. The Somali government, on the other hand, is calling for democracy, thought still in its premature years. The two cannot reconcile.

With the mounting civilian deaths raising the anger of the population, however, an impetuous decision may plunge the troubled Horn deeper into an endless abyss of destruction. Whatever practical outcome the meeting of the African leaders yields, Mogadishu will continue to mourn. And without a regulatory body in place to fairly monitor the activities of the African forces in Mogadishu, the unassailable truth remains that the pledge of more troops serves only as a portentous sign of the gruesome times ahead.

About Mogadishu Man
Blogging from Mogadishu seems somewhat inconceivable doesn't it?

3 Responses to Somalia: The Blurred Perspectives of Peace

  1. Presidence malanou says:

    I love your pieces Mr Mogadishu man. You are always there although of course you are not the victime, it is always the old, the women and the kids. Did you see these pictures of the slain collaborators by the Shabs on the streets on Mogadishu? Anyway from the time i have observed developments inMog i find you biased to yourself because the stories you release make you beleive in the imposibilities.

    There is no way the Shabs even in there thousands, go against the AU troops. They have always been collected from all regions with promises of sharing the loot on the defeat of the AU but they have turned out to be civillians when their bodies are supposed to be used to show civillian casualities as victims of AU bomberdment. From the time you have not been seedig up dates i have been to Soamlia twice including visiting Baidoa and Kismayu. Please take a ride out of Mogadishu and you will know what true siffering looks like.

  2. Welcome back Mr RM, please do enlighten us on your trips to Kismayo and Baidoa. You should have sent me a message, by the way, I would have been glad to show you around. How was your trip and what did you encounter?

    In fact I have travelled to quite a few places outside Mogadishu, and will post some accounts soon…but it seems you still have no idea what living and working in Mogadishu entails.

  3. Presidence malanou says:

    Thanks for your gesture of hospitality Mr MM. Indeed when i got to Somalia some how you were not sending your updates and i imagined something would be wrong with you. But even then i needed assuarence because in Somalia you can never know who to trust. Any way i managed all the same because i saw the reality without be infuenced by any biased mind.

    For instance i really understand the insight and dynamics of the conflict from all dimentions, the actors and their interests, what they are afraid of and what they protect. I know the manuplations , lies and smeer campaigns and their magnitudes.

    Brother i dont know if you are Somali or not but even if you are not if it is true you live in that place, i see no reason of sounding war drums and supporting one side against another. In that conflict it is the somalies who lose and not the Americans, Ethiopians, Ugandans AU or even UN. None of these pipo is being rushed on a strecher to a none existent hospital, none of them is suffering from hunger poverty and lack of provisions. If these people have a hidden agenda against Somalia then they are winning because they will have kept Somalai in perpetual state of conflict without getting directly involved or being in the line of fire.

    What i discovered when i was in Somalia and what probably you have not noticed for reasons known to your self , is a repeatation and viciouse circle of innocent populations being manuplated by warlords on either side of the conflict for their personal gain. I saw the fortification of the TFG positions and the mobile militia maraundering on the opposite sides. War loads in positions of authority mobilse resources including money and personnel in the name of Jihad or Freedom for Somalia, while they organise some sort of administrative organs in there organizations meant to benefit the people, the interest behind it all is selfishness. They run all the imoral and indecent and illegal entity which they have to defend at all cost including putting the lives of unsuspecting especially underage somalis in harms for their own interests.

    Have you ever wondered why the big fish dont normally fall victims of the AMISOM defensive fire or why they do not volonteer for suecide missions. Of course i dont mean they always get away with it because many of them have been casualities after their hide outs have been targeted but is is always the manuplated youth who are mowed all the time.

    Wait during this month of Ramathan and you will prove what i mean because i know you are there and you are watching the bee hive activities live. Hundreds of youths have been told how it is relgiousely rewarding to be hurt or even die during this month for the cause of Islam. But in the end after they have been killed, first they will be displayed as civillian casualities of AMISOM bombardment and that will be the end of them but the chiefs will remain to go back and fetch more to be used in the same way.

    So Mr MM please let all of us implore the Somali brothers whenever we are in position, to stop this senceless egoisme and develop a desire to talk to each other into a win win situation in order to avoid the suffering of the innocent people. Religion should not be missinterprited for selfish gains.
    God Bless you and i wish you a safe RAMATHAN.

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