Topic: IDPs
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?

Feature
IDPs Create Dilemma: Too Risky to Assist?
Mogadishu IDP Camp
©Somalia Report
Mogadishu IDP Camp

The children sit in a makeshift tent made from twigs, tattered sacks and worn out polythene bags, that lets in rays of the scorching sun, and water when it rains. Their mother left early in the morning to beg for food. Al-Shabaab militants killed their father at a food distribution centre when the militiamen thought the rations would get finished before they got their share.

“Move. You have stayed here for too long,” an armed African Union peacekeeper says. It’s an order to stop offering the few remaining biscuits to hungry children and move away from them, for the sake of our security.

“This is a danger zone. You can’t go near the tents alone. You can’t get close to the displaced person. You have to be near an armed soldier if on foot. And always be close to the armoured vehicles and the rest of the group,” the soldier further warned, with his gun ready for any eventuality.

Like other Somalis, they suffer and live in danger because of the war on al-Shabaab by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces and allied fighters. A number of attacks have occasionally killed women and children and a number of youth who never dreamt of taking up arms. Satellite images have captured more than 500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) settlements in areas surrounding Somalia’s capital city Mogadishu alone. Two decades of war have seen children born and become adults in makeshift camps in this insecure country, which celebrated its 52nd independence day on July 1.

Rarely do humanitarian workers stay at an IDP settlement camp for more than 45 minutes. Not even when speaking to young children who appear harmless.

“Even spending the 45 minutes can be too risky,” Kilian Kleinschmidt, the UN’s deputy humanitarian co-ordinator in Somalia, and a veteran of crisis who helped set up the world’s largest refugee camp Daadab in Kenya, says.

For over two decades, Somalia has suffered state collapse, violent lawlessness and warlordism, internal displacement and refugee flows, that has resulted in what the UN describes as one of the ultimate “hardship spots” in the world.

It’s a case of a human tragedy. Nobody knows the actual figures.

Since the United Nations came back to Somalia last year, UN officials have been struggling to give hope to Somalia’s displaced people.

During the World Refugee Day on June 20, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it was difficult to put exact figures to the number of internally displaced people inside Somalia. The UN relief agency estimates there are about 1.35 million displaced people inside Somalia.

“The displaced persons move frequently and satellite images pick up only temporary, makeshift shelters that remain empty most of the time, except when there is an aid distribution,” the UNHCR representative for Somalia, Bruno Geddo, told journalists in Nairobi.

Mr. Kleinschmidt describes Somalia as the “most complicated, logistically difficult and most dangerous place in the world to offer humanitarian assistance today,” while the UNHCR terms it as “the heart of one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world”.

Recently, the horn of Africa country, believed to have some of the most beautiful beaches in Africa, was ranked first in the Failed States Index which uses factors such as demographic pressures, presence of internally displaced persons and refugees, group grievance, uneven development and respect for human rights. It was the fifth consecutive year that Somalia was topping that list.

In its photo essay "Postcards From Hell 2012, What does living in a failed state look like?", Foreign Policy Magazine painted a grim picture of the country, “Last year, one of the deadliest droughts in decades resulted in a famine that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands in the country, where 16 per cent of the population was internally displaced in 2011 — the highest rate worldwide.”

“We want help. We have lost our livelihoods. People are sitting idle, there is no place for them to work and most of us have no skills,” Halima Mohammed, a mother of seven whose husband was killed by a mortar in Bakara market two years ago, pleads.

The camps, with their domed shelters made of rags and sticks, are now surrounded by stagnant water. There is a heavy stench of human waste and there are rising cases of sexual violence. Survivors sit among the clouds of flies.

IDP Children in Mogadishu
©Somalia Report
IDP Children in Mogadishu

“It’s not just here. All the 6,000 toilets constructed to assist the displaced people are now full. We are more afraid about what happens next since Mogadishu has no sewerage disposal system,” says Hibaaq Ahmed, the committee chairperson of Sonak IDP camp.

The water is contaminated, keeping Mogadishu and its environs permanently alert over cholera outbreaks.

Families scoop a few mouthfuls of water to drink from muddy pools. Everyone asks when the next food rations will arrive. And when they arrive, they wonder how long they will last.

Most of Somalia is a desert of rock, stone and sand, with some mountains. A scorching sun allows almost nothing to grow for most of the year, except vicious thorn scrub and cactus.

In addition, years of fighting in a country with masses of weapons supplied by the world’s superpowers have forced millions of Somalis to either flee to exile, or take their chances in its sprawling IDP camps.

The IDP camps are very similar. You come across thousands of people waiting for help from international aid workers and UN agencies.

Somalia is still extremely dangerous for foreigners, especially humanitarian workers. According to the Aid Worker Security Database accessed on February 19, 2012, between 2000 and 2011, 260 aid workers were killed. The worst year was in 2008, when 87 foreign workers were either gunned down or killed by explosives.

In January, US Navy SEALs rescued an American aid worker and her Danish colleague after three months of captivity in central Somalia. Last December, a disgruntled member of Médecins sans Frontières shot and killed two of his colleagues in Mogadishu.

Very few foreign aid workers spend significant time in Somalia’s capital city, Mogadishu. Areas in the south have remained inaccessible for several years.

On November 28, al-Shabaab banned 16 aid agencies, among then UNICEF and WHO, from its areas of control in southern and central Somalia, regions where drought and famine were most acute, accusing them of financing, aiding, and abetting subversive groups seeking to destroy the Islamic penal system.

In Xayo town, a family surrounded by fields of green watches the planting season pass them by. “We have nothing to plant. Even when we plant, the al-Shabaab will say that we have received planting material from groups (international aid organisations) that they have banned and destroy the food. We depend on handouts,” says Ahmed Yusuf.

We met Sofia Agane standing outside her makeshift hut on the outskirts of Afmadow town, waiting for help. “The locals have no power to defend themselves. You can plant and then the al-Shabaab will come and take away all the crops,” she said.

With the Kenyan Defence Forces’ (KDF) incursion into Somalia in October last year, only a few officers have been allowed into the area.

“These people needed any kind of help. We started by offering them food, water and medicine,” Colonel Cyrus Oguna, the KDF spokesperson, recalls.

Ahmed Ali, a clan elder from southern Somalia, says only places like Kismayo, Somalia’s most urbanised town in the south, is served by three international non-governmental organisations (NGOs). “But they all use local operators,” he clarifies.

In Afmadow, al-Shabaab militia destroyed books, chalk and other materials donated by UNICEF, before fleeing the town.

Athman Seif, an official of the Islamic Relief Organisation, says UN agencies face high risks. “We keep away from where they eat and visit so as to minimise the chances of being attacked,” Mr Seif says.

IDPs in Mogadishu
©Somalia Report
IDPs in Mogadishu

Although they remain high-value targets of elimination by al-Shabaab militants, the return of the UN to the country last year, after UN agencies and peacekeepers were kicked out in the early 1990s, is creating new hope.

At various IDP camps, the eyes of children are glowing with anticipation and joy, and those of the adults, often characterised by brutality, reflect a glimpse of a new future.

“It is still a complex problem, but this is a new chance for us to make a difference. Even when we get to save a single life, it’s very important for us in Somalia,” Kleinschmidt says as he points at a severely malnourished diabetic woman they rescued from an IDP camp, now recovering at the Egyptian-run Zam Zam hospital.

“The UN is now assisting in coordinating humanitarian assistance. This is something we thought would take several years, but through their help we are getting a more organised effort,” says Amina Hosi, the executive director of Save Somali Women and Children.

Some efforts are already bearing fruit. The Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) has allocated four-square kilometres of land just outside Mogadishu to build a camp for displaced persons, the first one in the country, which is expected to meet UN standards.

“The problem we have is that the site like many others is flooded with land mines and other unexploded ordinance. The UN mine action service is working with Amisom and TFG to clean up the place,” Mr Kleinschmidt explains.

He estimates that construction at the site will start in the next three or four months.

By NOOR ALI FARAH 04/03/2012
Overlooking IDP Camp Mogadishu
Venetia Archer
Overlooking IDP Camp Mogadishu
At least two Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) were killed in Badbado camp in southern Mogadishu when missiles hit this overpopulated camp late on Monday night.

According to witnesses, the dead and wounded are all civilians, most of whom are women and children.

“One of my sons died and my daughter is seriously injured. One rocket landed in front of our shelter a few minutes after we woke up on hearing the heavy sounds of the missiles. It’s a tragic day for me,” said a devastated mother in Badbaado camp.

Residents informed Somalia Report that at least five rockets landed within and near the camp. This occurred when al-Shabaab militants launched an attack on Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union Mission in Somalia(AMISOM) bases in the Hosh village of Dharkenley district in Mogadishu.

“We fear that what happened last night can occur again and no one can protect us,” said Mohamadow Hassan, a resident of the camp.

The injured could not be rushed to hospital at night due to restricted movement by security. “The wounded were not taken to hospital immediately and one of the injured victims who had a fragment of missile in his neck, died. Others were taken to Madina Hospital early in the morning,” said an elder residing near Badbaado camp.

Officials from al-Shabaab or TFG have made no comments as yet.

The long road that connects Mogadishu and Afgoye, which passes by the recent battle-affected area, was opened by troops in control of the area after a brief restriction.

Feature
Locals Worry About Piracy, Electricity, Militias, PMCs
By MOHAMED BEERDHIGE 03/01/2012
Bosaso
Bosaso
Bosaso is the largest city in Somalia’s semi-autonomous state of Puntland and is the regional capital of Somalia’s largest region, Bari. Previously known as Bender Qassim, which means 'Qassim’s country,' of late Bender Qassim they city was called Bosaso. After the central government broke down in 1991 and civil war displaced many Somalis within their country, many headed to Bosaso. Bosaso has since become Somalia's third largest city, after Mogadishu and Hargeisa. It is also the commercial city of Puntland, most of Puntland’s income comes through the port in Bosaso.

The weather is hot and dry throughout the year, average temperatures during the days of the summer months could rise to 37°C, with low of 28°C at night. The weather is warm the rest of the year.

The seaport was constructed by the administration of former president Siad Barre in the mid-1980s for yearly livestock shipments to Arab countries. The Italian government started a three-phase development of Bosaso into a new deepwater port, but only phase one was completed due to civil war. At the moment, only Berbera, Mogadishu and Kismayo have deepwater ports. The economy of Bosaso depends on exports of livestock, and annually exports ten of thousands of goats, sheep and camels to Arab world.  

During the civil war, Bosaso was a small town and had a population of fewer than 40,000 inhabitants with low incomes. Bosaso has long been home for the Majeerten, Warsangali and Dishishe clans, but after the Somali government collapsed, the sub-clan of Darood started moving back to their ancestral Puntland regions. Together with those Somalis who were fleeing the conflict in southern Somalia, Bosaso became is one of the most developed cities in the province with an estimated population of 650,000, at least 60,000 of whom are internally displaced people (IDPs) who fled the conflict of south and central Somalia.

Bosaso Businesses And Activity
Mohamed Beerdhige
Bosaso Businesses And Activity
It is difficult to accurately estimate the number of foreigners in the city, but the number has been increasing recently, due to oil exploration now underway, several hundred kilometers south of Bosaso. Along with the increase of foreigners have come attempted assassinations, bombings, and inter-clan conflicts, which have increased fear inside the city . “We are not afraid any particular person, but we have seen hundreds of businessmen, high level officials, scholars and other people were murdered in Bosaso. All these attacks were well calculated, and the intent of some of these murders are to humiliate our society. Now we are ready to work with police to protect our lives and those of others,” Ahmed Cagey, a traditional elder in Bosaso, told Somalia Report.

Bosaso has a number of institutions of higher education including East Africa University, Mogadishu University, and college like Bosaso Collage, PIDAM (Puntland Institute of Development and Administration of Management ). Bosaso has more than 30 primary and secondary schools, as well as madrassa Imam an-Nawawi, a Quranic school with 5,000 students.

Bosaso’s power supply was established in 1988 by funds donated by the Danish government. It consists of three engine generators, which provide electricity for 14,000 households in Bosaso. The company has a labor force about hundred employees and charge the customers $0.8-Kw/H. There are other private entrepreneurs such as Golis telecom and Dahabshil money transfer which provide electricity services to the customers, but demand remains higher than supply.

Street Children in Bosaso

Street Children in Bosaso
Mohamed Beerdhige
Street Children in Bosaso
There are thousands of street children, most who lost their parents due to the civil war in southern Somalia. Most work in menial jobs where they earn low wages such as shoe-shining or porters, and are extremely vulnerable. Many of them dropped out from early education, some of them use alcohol and are homeless. “I come to Bosaso in 2009, fleeing from Mogadishu. I live in Bosaso, I am happy as my life is not bad. Usually I can afford food,” said Abdallah, a 13-year-old orphan who lost both parents in fighting in Mogadishu.

The Puntland Agency for Social Welfare (PASWE) was created in 2009 to help vulnerable groups in Puntland including street children and orphans, and to promote the rights and welfare of the poor, helpless and destitute. They have been working to create a structure for socioeconomic growth for those marginalized in Puntland.

How Pirates Affect Bosaso Business

Pirates have negatively affected trade in Bosaso. Pirates hijacking trade ships carrying goods from Arab states to Bosaso port were particularly harmed since commercial vessels charged higher transport costs due to security expenses.

“We are worried about our goods and boats, because Somali pirates have accelerated their attacks on our commercial ships, and they are hijacking commercial boats near Bosaso port," said Liban Dheere, a well-known businessman in Bosaso.

“Pirate attacks may seriously harm Bosaso’s business sector if Puntland and international navies do not act seriously to prevent such attacks. Some businessmen have left Bosaso after they lost a great deal due to pirates activities in the region," Mohamed Artan, a businessman in Bosaso, told Somalia Report.

Recent Events in Bosaso

Three recent events remain marked in the minds and hearts of Bosaso residents:

On February 5, 2008, bombings struck the district of Bosaso where many Oromo lived, after fleeing to Puntland to escape persecution due to their national identity in Ethiopia. At least 20 people were killed and over 100 people injured, including women and children, when two explosions (suspected grenades) hit an area near Bosaso seaport.

On December 3, 2011, a massive fire broke out in Bosaso's biggest market, which caused severe damages to numerous people and businesses. One person was died and several others were seriously wounded.

On December 5, 2011, a well-known Somali Islamic cleric Dr. Ahmed Haji Abdirahman was assassinated in Bosaso by unknown gunmen. Ahmed was a well-known scholar in Somalia, since he returned to Somalia in 1999 and establish East Africa University in Bosaso. His funeral was thousands residents gathered to pray for him and condemn his murderers.

What Local People Think of Atom's Militias and Private Military Companies

Bosaso Airport
Somalia Report
Bosaso Airport
The Puntland government accuses the militias loyal to Mohamed Said Atom of links to al-Shabaab, accusing them of killings, assassination and bombings. Similarly, many people in Bosaso believe Atom's militia are criminals who need to be watched. “Since I was born in 1978, I lived in Bosaso peacefully without fear, but ever since Atom's militia started in the Galgala area, the security of Bosaso has gotten worse, with more killings, bombings and assassinations. Despite my love for Bosaso, I moved to a small village called Rako,” said Mohamed Warsame.

The Puntland government says that private military companies are making a significant contribution to the establishment and training of Puntland marine forces, according to the guidance and restrictions issued by Puntland government, and some locals agree. “We know that pirates and smugglers have established bases in the Puntland region. I believe the Puntland government have a right to call private companies to give training and equipment to fight against these gangs. We support the government’s efforts," Abdihakim Adde, a social worker and resident of Bosaso, told Somalia Report.

Other residents disagree with the presence of private military contractors. "Private companies have increased armed conflict in Puntland through payment of hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed tribal militia groups, mainly in the Bari region. As we know since they came to Puntland, inter-clan conflicts have increased. I believe Puntland is not able to control them or to make them leave," said Ali Hassan, a Bosaso resident.

Feature
Aid Agencies Say the Move is Only Temporary Due to Rising Insecurity
By SUCAAD MIRE 02/20/2012
IDP Camp
©Somalia Report, all rights reserved
IDP Camp

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in Buulo Kantarol camp in southern Galkayo of Somalia's Galmudug region are suffering from severe food shortages and lack of shelter now that aid workers have suspended operations due to rising security concerns, according to IDPs who spoke to Somalia Report.

Mohamed Askar, a father of five kids living in a makeshift house in the camp, explained how dire the situation has become.

"I have five kids and they need me to take care of them, but how? I can't get work that will generate enough money to take care of them. I have donkey cart and I get little money from it. We used to get some food from aid workers, but for a while we have not received food from them. They left us with no food, no water and if it becomes rainy, we don't have anywhere to go to stay dry,'' complained Mr. Askar.

To survive, Mohamed's elder son, Ali, now 14, and his mother, Khadijah, 36, work with a restaurant in South Galkayo.

"I go with mother every morning to clean in the restaurant. We get a little money and sometimes food,'' he told Somalia Report.

Khadijah is more concerned about what future holds for her little son and her other kids.

"He is 14 he doesn't have the chance to go to school. I am worried about his future. He and my other kids have the right like any other kid to get an education," she said.

Aid agencies say the move is only temporary until security is restored to the city, and are still based in the area, but not currently operational.

"No agencies have pulled out of Galkayo. We have stopped our work temporarily because of on going insecurity concerns,'' said Andreas Needhaam, the spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees(UNHCR) Media person for Somalia.

Mohamed Askar wondered what the aid workers were doing in the city if they weren't helping anyone.

''They said we did not withdraw. Ok, then what are you doing in Galkayo, because I sure haven't seen you. How can you claim to be an aid worker but at the same time let people die of hunger? Are you based in Galkayo just to sleep comfortably? You better go where you came from instead lying to the world by saying you are aid workers,'' he said.

At least 9,863 IDPs families (59,178 people) live in 21 IDP settlements throughout Galkayo, according to the UNHCR.

This comes as insecurity is rising in Galkayo, including a recent attack by a suicide bomber who blew himself up in the house of a former warlord and TFG police commissioner in the city. Aid workers American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Thisted were kidnapped in Galkayo in October of last year, and freed by US Navy SEALs, while American Michael Moore was kidnapped from the city in January of this year and is still being held.

Galkayo is divided in half with Galmudug controlling the southern section and Mudug controlling the northern section.