Topic: Regions
Feature
Galkayo Governed by Both Galmudug and Puntland Regional States
By MJ , MOHAMED BEERDHIGE 08/13/2012
As part of our on-going series, "What Is...", Somalia Report examines Galkayo (Galka'ayo), a violence-ridden city in central Somalia. In today's Part One, we review the background, security, and infrastructure. In Part Two, we will investigate the effects of piracy and al-Shabaab in the city.

Overview

Galkayo, one of the largest and oldest towns in southern and central Somalia, is the capital of Mudug region, connecting the northern and southern halves of the east African country. The strategically located city is divided in half with the semi-autonomous region of Puntland controlling the north, and the state of Galmudug controlling the south.

It was formally established in 1900 by Sultan Ali Yusuf Kenandid, a traditional leader born in Somalia’s seaside city of Hobyo. A few years after the traditional Sultanate's rule, a fierce battle ensued between the Italian colonial authorities and the local rebel groups led by the Sultan. As a result, the Italians took over the town and continued to rule it for 14 years before British Somaliland took it over until Somalia’s independence.

Galkayo
©Somalia Report
Galkayo

Galkayo has been devastated by the longstanding civil war in Somalia and ongoing clan hostility between Darood and Hawiye tribes that erupted after the overthrow of the military regime in 1991.

Immediately after the ouster of Siad Bare, Mogadishu fell under control of the United Somali Congress (USC) led by General Farah Aideed. Forces loyal to USC extended their control and attacked Galkayo capturing the town after deadly infighting between rival Hawiye and Darood clans.

The endless inter-clans wars led to a massive loss of life and property forcing the leaders of each respective clan to call for peace after which each clan formed a regional authority paving way for the inception of both Puntland and Galmudug regions.

In late 1993, the former president of Somalia Abdullahi Yusuf (Majerteen Clan) then the leader of the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) and General Mohamed Farah Aided (Habar Gedir Clan) then the leader of USC singed a ceasefire and to allow rival clans to embrace unity. This led to over a decade of stability until last year when clan fighting and violence skyrocketed.

Today at least six different clans are living together in Galkayo including Darood and Hawiye, 51.5% and 20.7 respectively, Dir 11.3%, Arab 4.5%, Sheikhal 3.2% and others clans 9.8%, according to a local government records. The minority tribes are vulnerable and victim to conflicts between majority clans; they claim they are marginalized because they are not strong enough to fight or defense themselves from others.

The population of the town has been steadily picking up over the years. Currently there are 380,000 people living in Galkayo, according to local officials who spoke to Somalia Report, making the town one of the most populous in southern Somalia athough other sources report half a million residents, which may include tens of thousands internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Puntland And Galmudug

Galmudug Map
©Wiki Map
Galmudug Map
Galmudug and Puntland both wield power and have each established some form of governance in the city. Galkayo is made up of three villages; the southern village of Barahley (Wadajir) is controlled by Galmudug while the north villages of Garsoor and Israac are controlled by Puntland.

At an historical agreement signed in Garowe in 2011, Puntland and Galmudug administrations formally agreed to cooperate in the field of security, economic and social issues in order to forge a stronger relationships and share taxes collected throughout the city. A line of control marks the border between Puntland and Galmudug's control, with each side in control of their own police forces.

Local officials in Galkayo are:

Puntland, Northern Galkayo
Mudug Regional Chairman, Mohamed Yusuf Jama Tigey
Mayor of Galkayo, Col. Saed Abdi Farah
Mudug Chief of Police, Jama Mohamed Ahmed

Galmudug, Southern Galkayo
Mudug Region Chairman, Mohamud Gure Guled
Mayor of Galkayo, Saynab Osman Hassan Cato
Mudug Chief of Police, Col. Abdi Jama Habeb

Infrastructure

Abdullahi Yusuf International Airport is the only airport in Galkayo and is under the control of the Puntland Airport Authority, not Galmudug. It was formerly named 'Galkayo Airport' but Somalia’s current president, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, renamed the facility in honor of the former president. The airport provides flights to Mogadishu and Bosasso within the Somali territory and further to the neighboring countries of Djibouti and Kenya.

Dhega Ade Health Center, is one of Somalia's top hospitals and is located on the northern corner of Galkayo, providing high quality and low-cost health care attracting patience from neighboring regions.

Galkayo boasts a significant number of school going children, although official records were unknown due to the influx of IDPs, unlike the southern regions of the country. Local officials told Somalia Report there are more than 24 official primary and intermediate schools and five secondary schools. Galkayo University was launched in 2010 to enhance higher education among the local residents. The university teaches topical subjects such as computer science, information technology, medicine and health sciences and education.

Galkayo is home to a number of media outlets Hikma TV and Puntland TV including Radio Galkayo, Radio Daljir, Voice of Peace Radio, and Radio Hikma.

For the last two months, the local governments has been planning to build a new, large market and has closed down or moved at least 400 small businesses, according to Ahmed a local government official.

Security

Suicide Bomb Attack Against Abdi Hassan Awale (Qeybdiid) in Galkayo
©Somalia Report
Suicide Bomb Attack Against Abdi Hassan Awale (Qeybdiid) in Galkayo

Galkayo has long been a mecca for violence with insecurity on the rise in recent months due to longstanding and relentless clan animosity, the arrival of pirates, and al-Shabaab militants who are fleeing allied advances in the south.

As a result, the local population lives in constant and fear of sporadic and unpredictable violence. To remedy this, officials told Somalia Report that most people are armed.

“The local police are not enough to enhance the security of the town. They are overwhelmed with issues and understaffed with only a few officers manning police stations,” said a local security official Ali Ahmed.

Over the last few years, assassinations and bombings have increased in the city since al-Shabaab militants started fleeing large parts of southern Somalia due to the allied advance. The rising insecurity sparked the ire of local residents who staged a massive demonstration on January 6th against pirates and other criminals.

“Being in Galkayo means to live at risk on a daily basis. All the people are armed among them pirates and al-Shabaab. In Galkayo killings are easy and lives are meaningless," Ahmed Said, a Galkayo, resident told Somalia Report

2011 was a deadly year for Galkayo with a number its key leaders killed in a well coordinated assassinations that still continue to rock parts of the city. Hassan Waloore, a well known traditional elder, Ahmed Elmi Osman Gatax, a local district commissioner, Abdiqadir Yasin of Puntland Development and Research Center (PDRC), Abdirahman Hassa Haji (Koodha), a Puntland lawmaker, and Mohamed Muse Hussein, a Puntland senior military commander were all assassinated. In August of the same year, a grenade was throw into Radio Daljir on the same day gunmen killed six people dining in a restauarnt.

2012 didn't prove to be any safer in Galkayo as journalists have been killed and kidnapped in the city. Two journalists Farhan Abdalle and Ali Ahmed Abdi were also killed in early 2012. Although the general security situation in Somalia is worse, Galkayo is considered to be the second most dangerous city in Somalia after Mogadishu.

Michael Scott Moore
©Somalia Report
Michael Scott Moore

In January, an American journalist Michael Scott Moore was kidnapped while on the way to the airport in Galkayo only three months after two Danish Demining Group aid workers, Jessica Buchanan and Poul Thiested were kidnapped in the same area. Mr. Moore is still being held with the DDG workers were rescued in a dramatic American military operation in January of this year. In July, two Kenyan aid workers were kidnapped in Galkayo and are still being held.

The same month, a suicide bomber blew himself up in the home of former warlord and newly elected president of Galmudug Abdi Hassan Awale (Qeybdiid).

To combat insecurity, Puntland launched a massive security operation in late January through the restive city, but the killings continued. Officials were equally targeted by gunmen in 2012 with well-known elder Colonel Abdulahi Mohamed Hassan (Faray) and his brother gunned down in the city on July 30th.

IDPs

IDP Child Preparing Food
©Somalia Report
IDP Child Preparing Food

Adding to Galkayo's problems are the approximately 59,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) are living in Galkayo's 21 inhospitable IDP camps. Most of these people have fled from southern parts of Somalia to escape famine or the recent battles between al-Shabaab and allied forces.

After the kidnapping of foreign aid workers, several NGOs left the area, exacerbating the IPD dilemma with limited assistance and rising insecurity. The absence of proper sanitation, shelter and food is taking its toll on residents and has created a massive population of street children. Officials told Somalia Report that at least 6,000 street children live in Galkayo, many of whom are forced into labor as domestic servants.

Map of Galkayo credit ©BBC

Editor's Note:

In Part Two, Somalia Report will explore the rise of piracy and al-Shabaab in Galkayo. For more in our "What is...?" series, please see:
What is Alpha Group?
What is Galmudug?
What is the Galgala Conflict?
What is Bandar Beyla?
What is AMISOM?
What is Khatumo?
Part One: What is Lasquoray?
Part Two: What is Lasqoray?

Exclusive
Contested Galmudug Presidential Election to be Held on August 1st
By MOHAMED BEERDHIGE 07/31/2012

After the autonomous state of Galmudug's new parliament was sworn in and selected a new speaker and two deputies on Monday, the electoral commission announced that the state's presidential election would be held on Wednesday, August 1st despite heated conflict over the date.

Only four of the eight declared candidates announced that they would run tomorrow including Col. Abdi Qaybdiid and Abdi Shukri, both former Mogadishu warlords. Meanwhile Galmudug's current president, President Mohamed Ahmed Calin, who at the moment is recovering from surgery in Nairobi, Kenya, warned against holding elections this week. He said he would not recognize the new parliament, in an exclusive interview with Somalia Report.

Mr. President, how are you feeling? We heard you had surgery here in Nairobi.

Thankfully I am feeling better. I just came out of the hospital at this moment.

We, Somalia Report, published a report that Galmudug's new parliament was sworn into office while you were away. What is your view on this?

I heard it, but I am not supporting them, and I don't think it is the right thing to support. Only spoilers are managing this. I am the current president of Galmudug and have been in Nairobi since July 15. I was not aware of what they were orchestrating.

As president, if you are not here who takes on your responsibilities?

It is clear that Col. Abdi Qaydiin, a notorious and dangerous Somali warlord, is responsible for the political tension in the region. Col. Qaydiid and his comrades wants to collapse our state.

Elders in Galmudug selected 25 members of parliament who then elected a new speaker and two deputies while the electoral commission announced elections would be held on August 1st. What is your view on this?

What I am condemning is the how things transpired in Galmudug. I am the only person that can legally appoint the commission. After I heard about this turmoil, I told Galmudug officials and traditional elders to wait for me to return, but they did this anyway.

Who appointed the electoral commission?

The people who managing this anarchy, including the vice president, Col. Qaydiin, and so-called new parliament speaker, are the ones that appointed this so-called commission.

How was Col. Qaydiin able to do this if he is not in your cabinet ?

No, Col. Qaydiin is not in my cabinet nor an MP nor is he an official of Galmudug. He is just a warlord. After he lost a position in Somalia's government, he came to Galmudug to create disputes among us. He has armed clan militias and clan power in the region, which is why he has been able to impact politics even though he doesn't hold office. All these armed militias take orders him, not me.

Although you disagree with what is going on in Galmudug, some of your cabinet members, including Interior Minister Ahmed Baasto, talked to media and voiced their support for the new MPs and electoral commission. Does this mean you are the only person who is against it?

No, I am talking about the needs of the people as a whole and not particular people you mentioned such as the interior minister, the vice president and the so-called elected speaker. They all are fake and are not suitable to represent the people.

Are you running for re-election?

No, this election is not right. Galmudug doesn't need a warlord.

(Editor's Note: Somalia Report will follow the Galmudug presidential election and publish the results once they are confirmed.)

Feature
Public Support in Lower Juba, Gedo Enables Militants to Continue
By MJD 06/28/2012
©Somalia Report

The al-Shabaab militia, a hardline Islamic group batting for control of Somalia, have withdrawn from several regions to secure bases in Gedo and Lower Juba due to the favorable public support and favorable geography.

Public Support

The Lower Juba and Gedo regions are dominated by the Marehan clan, along with the Ogaden, Shiqal, Gal-jecel, Digil and Mirifle clans. All these clans are major contributors to the al-Shabaab militia in terms of leaders, soldiers and logistics. The residents value al-Shabaab for their administration of justice as well as the security they offer, according to residents who spoke to Somalia Report.

Previous to the rise of al-Shabaab, there was a group called al-Itihad which had similar dogma and were fighting for the complete implementation of Sharia (Islamic) law in Somalia, and whose headquarters was in Kismayo, a port city in Lower Juba region. They sought the establishment of an Islamic state, but were mainly defeated in 1998 by the Somali National Front (SNF), with support from Ethiopian troops. Al-Itihad, similar to al-Shabaab, found these two regions suitable since most of the residents of the two regions supported them.

Somalia Report investigated the continuity between the al-Shabaab and former Itihad group by speaking to local residents.

Awil Gabow, a successful businessman and resident, witnessed the capabilities and missions of both groups and shared his recollections.

“In 1996, al-Itihad invaded many towns in Gedo and Lower Juba region," Awil said. "Al-Itihad at that time was led by Hassan Dahir Aweys and Hassan Turkey, who are now senior officials respectively of the insurgent group al-Shabaab. The Islamists of al-Itihad occupied almost all of the six district of Gedo: Balethawo, Garbaharey (headquarters of Gedo), Elwaq, Bardera, Luuq and Dolow," he explained.

"The group claimed they were the only group in the area with the right religious methodology, and they compelled the people to follow in their footsteps. They destroyed the old Sufi practices in the area of Gedo, introduced their own religious methodology and opened many (madrassas) schools and dugsi (Quranic schools) which would offer free tuition as well as provide food, in particular dates, wheat, flour and sweets from Arab countries. They also opened boarding schools for poor and needy children, and in a short time both girls and boys fell under their sway and received prestige for belonging to al-Itihad," said Mr. Gabow.

The group implemented sharia law and dictated what people should wear.

"The al-Itihad militia quickly became popular in the region and most youth dressed up the way they were being told to. Ladies were told to cover all their body with heavy clothes, while men were told to shorten their trousers up to the ankle. They attracted many young men and women in the region, mostly supporters came from families who could not afford their daily livelihood. Al-Itihad came and provided food, which allowed many families to recover from the long famine they had endured since the collapse of the central government of ousted president Said Barre in 1991,” he explained.

“Two years later the old Sufi religious leaders, and the elderly who had fled from the region, went to organise in Ethiopia to eliminate the Islamists who they saw as misleading the youth into the unfamiliar religious ideology of Wahabism (an ideology based out of Saudi Arabia and Egypt). Although al-Itihad was totally eliminated by the SNF and Ethiopian troops, the region still had many youth who remained sympathetic to al-Itihad and al-Shabaab. Those youth provided refuge when al-Shabaab returned to Gedo and the Lower Juba," Mr. Gabow told Somalia Report.

"The residents of both the Gedo and Lower Juba regions support the al-Shabaab militia and generally admire their operations since they only see the good side of the militia. When they took power in the regions, they introduced law and order, eliminated robbery and banditry, senseless slaughter, as well as the rape of women by armed bandits who used to harm people without any repercussions," he claimed.

“Al-Shabaab are good. They made all the people equal before the law, and anybody who wronged another could be punished. Our property is safer now. Al-Shabaab resolved the clan wars in the region of Gedo and Lower Juba by disarming the clan militia and equalising the rights of minority and majority tribes in the region. It is true that no one is perfect and everyone commits mistakes, but the mistakes they commit are much less than the benefits they bring to society and we should admit not only their bad sides, but also their many good qualities," Gardaro emphasized.

Geography of Gedo Ideal for al-Shabaab

The Gedo and Lower Juba are amongst the most fertile regions in Somalia. The Dawa River, one of the two largest rivers in Gedo, flows along the border with Ethiopia. The river separates Somalia and Ethiopia, just a few kilometres north of Baledhawo. The Juba River, one of the largest in the country, flows in the middle of the Luuq district in the Gedo region, then through Burdhuubo and Baardhera, to Bu’ale and Jilib in the Middle Juba region, where the rivers empty into the Indian Ocean at Gobweyn.

The residents of those towns near the rivers enjoy excellent farming and are able to produce fruit, vegetables and grain. The al-Shabaab militia group took full advantage of their location and acquired food easily, which allowed them to live in the forest during the day and attack the towns controlled by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and her allies during the night.

Abdirahman, a farmer living on the outskirt of Burdhuubo, a town in Gedo controlled by al-Shabaab, told Somalia Report about the tactics which the al-Shabaab militia uses in his area.

“I see it’s difficult to eradicate the militia in Gedo and Lower Juba region because the areas have plenty of food which enables the insurgents to live the region for a long period of time. Although there are many forces against them, the TFG, the ASWJ, KDF, AMISOM, Ethiopian troops and also pro-government militia of Ras Kamboni and yet they are still surviving. The areas have many farmers who produce a lot of food that the militia uses. They either buy cheaply or seize whole farms from their owners and feed their soldiers who are engaged in guerilla attacks during the night. Gedo is the second largest province in Somalia, and it’s the only province which has two rivers pass through it. The region is the home of many al-Shabaab militia, and whenever al-Shabaab are defeated by the TFG and her allies elsewhere, the group shifts their power towards the Gedo region where they can easily acquire water and food. The Gedo and Lower Juba have not had any government since the Somali central government collapsed in 1991,” Abdirahman said.

He added that the groups usually hide in the forests during the day in groups of around 50 - 60 young men, well equipped with guns, landmines, bombs and grenades. They often come to the farms and ask for fruits and fetch water from the rivers for cooking. In the evening, they move towards Garbaharey and other towns which are controlled by the TFG and her allies.

Somalia Report also spoke to nomads and herders in Gedo and Lower Juba.

Artan, a shepherd who moves between these two provinces described how al-Shabab survives in these two regions, and how the livestock contributed their existence.

“Every day, I see a group of al-Shabaab fighters coming to the shepherds and telling us they want us to contribute to the war against the infidels, demanding at least one camel, a cow, a bull or a group of goats or sheep. Those who keep horses also should provide a horse for the war. No family will refuse their orders because they will take by force all the family’s property if someone resists paying what was demanded from them."

The al-Shabaab sell some of these animals to finance many of their needs, and slaughter others to feed their soldiers. Some of the camels, donkeys and horses are used to transport goods like weapons and foods in areas where vehicles are not accessible, and also through sensitive areas for the TFG and her allies because they pretend to be nomads. Most recently al-Shabaab fighters were seen riding horseback in southern Somalia two weeks ago.

Farmers in Somalia
©FNASU
Farmers in Somalia

The Gedo and Juba are rich in natural physical features including mountains, forest and valleys. About 42km northwest of Garbaharay, there is Humballe Mountain, which is the highest mountain in the Gedo region. The mountain is between the towns of Beladhawo and Garbaharey, and are fully covered of forest. There are also many small hills in the Gedo region, including the Waamoyarey hills, the Durwayale and Sengali hills, all surrounding Garbaharay. There are large portions of land from the southeast of Bardere up to the town of Jamame in the Lower Juba region which are heavy forested, where a traveller cannot see beyond 50 meters.

Somalia Report spoke with Adan Yabarow, a resident of Tulobarwaqo who has witnessed the activities of al-Shabaab and spoke about how those hills and mountains shelter both militants and wild animals.

“I have travelled several times the road between Baledhawo and Bardere, via Humbale mountains and Garbaharey. Many times when we passed the mountains, there were a group of al-Shabaab who stopped our vehicle. They usually check what the vehicle is carrying and ask people where they came from and where there are heading to, and if someone on board is suspect, they order him or her to come down," he said.

"They take them to the mountains for further investigation. The militia are staying in the mountain areas where no-one else could live, because the areas have many wild animals including hyenas, lions, warthogs and foxes. The nomads have fled from the mountains and hills areas along with their livestock, fearing the wild animals might kill them. The Damase area of the El-Wak region has a lot mountains and hills with thick forests that provide safe home for the militia. They hide themselves in the forest and hills during the day where strangers of the areas cannot dare to go, and at night they ambush the towns, such as Baledhawo and El-Wak," Adan said.

Another resident named Yalohow told Somalia Report about his impressions of al-Shabaab in the region.

“The Somali ethnic community which dominates the northeastern province of Kenya, and the Ogaden community in Ethiopia have provided many soldiers to al-Shabab via the Gedo region. That also encouraged the al-Shabaab to remain in power in the region for a long time. Any youth who drops out of school from those provinces can easily join al-Shabaab," he said.

The Gedo region borders Ethiopia and Kenya, as well as the Bay, Bokool, Lower Juba and Middle Juba regions of Somalia.

Feature
Somalia Report Visits Fishing Village and Former Pirate Haven
By MJ 06/05/2012
Bandar Beyla
©Somalia Report
Bandar Beyla

To learn more about the Somali coastal fishing village of Bandar Beyla*, known as a popular pirate hub, Somalia Report sent our correspondent there to speak to the locals, listen to their concerns, and understand their culture. This is his Part One of his story. Part Two will cover the pirate phenomenon and a sit down interview with the mayor of Bandar Beyla.

Report on the Beyla District of Puntland

The road between the port city of Bosaso and the district of Bandar Beyla, both located in the Bari region of Puntland, stretches 450 kilometers through areas notorious for pirates and clan violence. Somalia Report set out with the mayor of Bandar Beyla to meet the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community members seeking to turn around a community which has previously been dependent on piracy. Despite encountering checkpoints set up by armed militias along the route from Gardo district, we arrived safely in Beyla on the first of May.

Beyla District

Beyla is an old town along the Indian Ocean coast, known as Beyla or Bander Beyla. In 1962, the districts of Bandar Beyla and Garowe were designated by then-President Abdi Rashid Sharmarke, who was born in Beyla, and the last estimate of the local population in 1974 was 54,000. There are more than nine Somali villages around the district, mostly along the coast. Beyla is mountainous with old buildings, although international NGOs have built two education centers, one health center and a Beyla fishing company has been created. The Beyla region is largely dependent on fishing, while a small number have rural farms. The district of Beyla regularly trades with Yemen, and Somalia Report counted six Yemeni fishing boats on Beyla’s seashore.

Driving into Bandar Beyla
©Somalia Report
Driving into Bandar Beyla

The local residents were very welcoming of me and my cameraman. There are several local NGOs that function without funding from the Somali government, UN agencies or international NGOs in Puntland. The district doesn’t have electricity and is dark at night. Some businesses get electricity from two small private companies with their own generators, but this is only available from 6 to 9pm. UNICEF donated an electric generator to the district last year, but it has been damaged.

Local residents told Somalia Report that Beyla is peaceful, and I never saw any disturbances requiring police during my visit. There are no police station or even a jail, but there is a local government compound with four offices, including the mayor’s office, a meeting hall for the local council, and offices for clubs for local youth and womens’ associations.

Elder Abdulahi Hassan said most of the families in Beyla are poor, and facing such difficulties such as decrease in the fish stocks, the effects of piracy and a lack of government support. Nonetheless, he told Somalia Report that Beyla district has a good administration and community co-operation has improved since 1998, and asked the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to establish police and funds to establish security throughout Beyla.

Keeping Traditions and Culture Alive

While most Somali people in the interior of the country are losing much of their traditional arts, culture and literature, the community in Beyla have managed to preserve some of the traditions and culture of Somalia, and this is believed to be part of why the district is peaceful without police.

Johra Sa'id, Chairwoman of Beyla Women's Organization
©Somalia Report
Johra Sa'id, Chairwoman of Beyla Women's Organization

They are excellent hosts, generous towards their guests in every manner, and regularly arrange ceremonies about Somali tradition to welcome every delegation who visit them. The women in Beyla play an important role in establishing peace, small developments on protecting the environment and motivating the community against piracy. They perform a Somali traditional comedy dance called ‘Jaan Dheer'. Men and women play together and also there are songs which talk about current situations.

All people in the district, men and women, young and old, come together on the beach of Beyla each Friday night where talented groups compete to create new songs about local developments or problems. As some of them told Somalia Report, many songs have been written about the effects of piracy, which have resulted in kicking the pirates out of the district and convincing a number of the local youth to stop piracy and returned to fishing.

Johra Sa'id, the chairwoman of the Bandar Beyla Womens Organization, said women are often victimized, because dozens of mothers and wives are missing their sons and husbands, of whom all that is known is that they went fishing. Johra Sa’id told Somalia Report that the mothers and wives of those lost have created traditional songs which demonstrate how piracy has impacted the community, especially women.

“The aim of performing such traditional dances with songs is to keep our young generation within our traditional Somali culture, and it all that we can do now, so we are very happy to continue awareness each week without any support from the government and other institutions. However, we are looking forward to continuing our program so as to save our future and generation,” said Johra.

Women of Beyla
©Somalia Report
Women of Beyla

The main objective of this weekly traditional program:

1. To inform the community of damages of piracy and to isolate the pirates

2. To forget clan violence and co-operate towards peace-building

3. To keep young ladies from the pirates, to not allow the pirates any friends in the community

4. Entertainment

5. Provide messages against the pirates and encourage fishing

The lyrics to one of the traditional songs says:

Piracy is not good
And it isn’t suitable for you
So don’t destroy my dream
Don’t lose the time I have been teaching you
What I need for you is to become president, not to be a pirate
Don’t make me cry and don’t put yourself in a dark place!

That traditional song was written by a mother, Hamdiya, warning her son after she felt his passion towards piracy.

Women developing projects

The Bandar Beyla Womens Organization Center was funded by local NGO DIAKONIA and implemented by WAWA in 2004. 258 female students are learning different subjects in that center and another 60 pupils, including men and women, are receiving basic education from the Womens’ center in Beyla.

Women's Skills Center in Beyla
©Somalia Report
Women's Skills Center in Beyla

Mahado Adam Yousof, Manager of the Beyla Womens Center, told Somalia Report that the organization had been founded by Mama Fatma in 1993, but she had died one year later. In 2004, the center was re-opened by WAWA and DIAKONIA. Mahado pointed out that over the last five years, they have not received any kind of support from UN agencies, the TFG government or international NGOs. Local women in Beyla decided on a new plan of activity for that organization and the center, and survive on contributions by local women until they can find external support.

Mahado said that nine teachers are working for the center now as volunteers, adding that the center is very important for local women, young and old, because they are trained in different skills to help their poor families, and other women are benefiting from basic courses such as in the writing and reading of the Somali language as well as math. Mahado asked the Puntland government and other agencies and NGOs to help these women. Somalia Report visited some classes during the skill training period. One trainee told me that they don’t pay any fees to the center, but that they make some contributions each month as to maintain the center.

Asha Farah is one of the students, and she told me that it is the only womens’ place in the district, and it is also one of the most important educational sources in the district. She said that they don’t have a market to sell what they produce in their skill-training, and that they would like to have some business opportunity. They are trained to make traditional clothes, housing elements and other useful things. When they produce such things they take mostly to their houses and some others bring to business shops in Beyla and Isku-shuban Districts.

IDPs and Infrastructure

Children of Bandar Beyla
©Somalia Report
Children of Bandar Beyla

At least 250 families who were displaced from other regions in Somalia are living now in old buildings in the Beyla District. 57 of those IDP families fled from the Somalia capital of Mogadishu between 2004-2008, and another 150 families were evacuated from far villages in the Bari Region affected by droughts by the local youth organization Il-Barwaaqo.

Il-Barwaaqo is one of the most active organizations in Bandar-Beyla and founded by the local youth in 2006. Members of Il-Barwaqo say it is leading the community towards co-operation. Il-Barwaqo doesn’t have any international NGOs as partners or funding from other agencies. Abdi Kader, the vice-chairman of Il-Barwaaqo, told Somalia Report that they have campaigned to get help for the IDPs, saying “we began our mission of community contribution towards helping the IDPs in the Mosques inside of the villages, amongst the owners of fishing boats and the small business places in the district.”

Local residents told Somalia Report that Save the Children is the only international NGO that has an office and officials operating in Beyla. The World Food Programme has been coordinating a feeding project through a local Puntland NGO, HADO.

The administration and community of Beyla have worked on rebuilding of the local road and acquired funded by IOM on earlier this year. A member of the district council, Hussein Abdulahi, told Somalia Report that the mayor has spent much effort to acquire support for the road-building project.

Dr. Alluula
©Somalia Report
Dr. Alluula

Bandar Beyla has good water sources, and a number of local houses use water pipes, while other locals get water from nine water wells inside the town. The district has one medical centre (MCH), which connects to another seven health centers in the far villages and rural areas such as: Durdura, Bihin, Qoton, Carris, Dhuudo and other villages which surround the Beyla area.

Beyla MCH Director Dr. Osman Omar Ahmed, nicknamed ‘Dr. Alluula,’ Somalia Report that UNICEF opened the MCH in 2006, and that MCH has support from both UNICEF and Save the Children, which enables MCH to operate for free. Dr. Alluula is the only doctor operating in the MCH and hospital of Bandar Beyla district. There are a number of health nurses are inside the district and other villages, each nurse gets a monthly salary of $90 from Save The Children. He added that women and children have been affected by malnutrition and starvation resulting from recent droughts, but are now receiving health care and feeding in the MCH, although serious cases are transferred to the hospital in Gardo.

The MCH is used to hold health meetings and training of the local health. While there are those wounded from piracy, there are also women and children suffering from malaria and other ailments, mostly from rural areas such as the small village of Caris, which is at least 25km along the Indian Ocean coast from Beyla.

Education in Beyla

School Kids in Beyla
©Somalia Report
School Kids in Beyla

Bandar Beyla has two schools. The first is Al-Rashid Primary School, which consists of six classrooms and one office. It is an old school which was built in 1975 by the former Somali central government of Said Barre. Second, Beyla intermediate school was established and built only recently.

The manager of al-Rashid primary school, Morsal Ahmed Mohamod, told Somalia Report that Save the Children pays the salaries of the teachers at a rate of $50 each month, which isn’t enough; the total number of teachers is eight, with six of those being men and two being women.

WFP supplies the students in both schools with food, providing breakfast to nearly 300 students everyday.

(*Editor's Note: Bender Beyla is spelled a variety of ways: Bandarbeyla, Bandar Baila, or just Beyla. For more in our "What is...?" series, please see What is Galmudug? What is the Galgala Conflict?)

Exclusive
Interview with New Jubbaland President Dr. Ahmed Farah Dualeh
By MHD 05/16/2012

Somalia Report recently interviewed Somali-Danish citizen Dr. Ahmed Farah Dualeh, the president of Jubbaland (Jubaland) state of Somalia, which was recently established in the United States amid reports of a six-region plan endorsed by the Ethiopian government. Azania, which is backed by Kenya, already claimed their administration as as the only legitimate and legal entity which can represent the people in the same regions.

Thank you, Dr Ahmed Farah, for this exclusive interview. As the president of Jubbaland State of Somalia, what has caused to you to establish this administration at this time?

Firstly, thank you very much. I appreciate your effort acknowledge Somalia Report’s effort an ensuring that truthful information reaches the people. Secondly, I started to think of it in 2006 when I was in Denmark, where I lived for 30 years, when I saw the prolonged problems which the people in these regions are facing including civil insecurity. This has caused to me to ask myself what has caused this problem. Is there a solution for it? Who is behind these problems? I reached two conclusions:

1) The absence of viable functioning administration triggered by poor leadership
2) 'Brain drain' because the educated people in these region fled the area, which leads to the drawback and lack of development in this region.

Everyone who has declared a regional administration says the same thing so what distinction do you have?

The moment you think of making an administration, there are basic elements that needs to noted like those I said. Other key points to be mentioned are that the administration should be inclusive of all the community who are the residents of these regions in order to achieve political power sharing balance among the various clans. So our distinction from the others is that our administration is inclusive of all the clans in the region and that why while we are only two months old we enjoyed massive support from the people in these regions.

Most of the regional administration in Somalia have been established outside Somalia so what is restricting you from leaving Kenya, consulting with elders and other key decision makers in order to establish viable and workable administration?

For security purpose we were not able to access these regions, hold meeting there, and finally form our administration so we opted to declare this regional administration outside the country. Our difference from the other regions declared outside Somalia is that I have not appointed my cabinet so far and this because I know, without having consulting the local people, it will be a unilateral decision if I appoint them.

There are many people from Jubbaland in Kenya, some of them are key figures who can influence your decisions. Have you met with them, and if so what have you agreed upon?

I met with elders from the region initially when I arrived here and I am still meeting with other people in the region individually and in groups and this is still ongoing. I am willing to see, meet and discuss with any one from these regions.

Your administration is new. Did you seek recognition or explain its existence to Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG)?

The elders I met here in Nairobi will take the agenda of this administration to Mogadishu and ask the TFG to recognize this administration since they are the true representative of community. We are planning to establish contact with TFG and ask recognition. We will assure our full cooperation with the TFG our administration will work to bring peace to the whole of Somalia.

Several administrations (and mini-states) have been declared in Somalia over the past years. How optimistic are you that the TFG will grant recognition to your administration?

I think the TFG have a responsibility to bring back law and order in Somalia, so if set up an administration which is committed to create peace and stability in these regions, I think the TFG will accept and I do not see why the government should have any negative attitude towards this agenda. The elders are the true representative of the community and I do not think their appeal will be boycotted by the government.

You now appear on the Somali political stage, which side are you allied with?

Politics is a chain and alliances changes on regular basis so our policy will be based on cooperation in order to maintain the overall security of the Horn of Africa regions. Jubbaland is situated in a very strategic place and shares common borders with both Kenya and Ethiopia, so it is the interest of the governments and the populations of these countries to develop mutual understanding on issues of security and other key aspects affecting them.

Every regional administration has its own armed forces. Are you planning to have forces loyal to Jubaland?

Those who are now operating in the Juba regions are the forces of the Jubbaland administration, whether they belong to certain clan or belong to the TFG they will be under our command because they are from the people of Jubbaland. It may sound very strange to you but everything will become clear when we reach the country.

The Kenyan government is supporting Azania in Juba region while Ethiopia has plan of establishing a South West state administration. How is it possible that you can influence the ongoing politics?

Personally I do not believe that Kenya is now supporting Azania because it failed to become a state at country level and international level. I have relations with the Kenyan government and also received invitation from the Ethiopian officials and I believe we will have good start of relationship with both countries.

Thank you.

You are welcome.