Wednesday, February 08, 2006
MAYOR JICIIR BLAMED FOR VIOLENT CLASHES IN HARGEISA
HARGEISA (Somaliland Today)- The Mayor of Hargeisa, Hussein Mohamed Jiciir, is under fire following revelations that he had given the go-ahead to the construction of a hotly disputed piece of land In Dumbuluq in the south bank of the capital of Somaliland, Hargeisa, where four people were killed on Saturday and at least thirty others wounded in clashes between members of Arab clan and Eidagale.
The violent clashes erupted when a man called Af-diinle, the leading Qat baron in Somaliland, began to erect a building in the fiercely disputed piece of land right in front of the warehouses of the former defunct Agency of Commerce of the ousted Somali regime.
Witnesses confirm that t Af-diinle brought with him armed men before he began constructing the plot of land. His snipers took positions surreptitiously on top of Ugbaad Hotel, which is owned by Af-diinle himself, and had pre-orders to fire upon anyone who tried to interfere with the construction.
What began as a minor squabble between those who wanted to construct the land and those against it suddenly flared into a raging war when Af-diinle’s snipers used force of arms by opening fire on their opponents. The locals, in turn, scurried off and reached for their AK-klashnikov assault rifles to foil on what they saw as apparent attack on their turf. As a result, four people were killed including two women, shops were looted, hotels and stores were torched and 32 people were wounded by stones and bullets.
Both the police and the national army had been sent in to restore order but only after so much damage and destruction was caused.
Af-diinle was illegally allocated to the plot of land by the Mayor of Hargeisa, Jiciir, who is as same sub-clan as the millionaire after allegedly paying bribes estimated at thousands of US dollars. However, the millionaire could not build the land sooner because he knew it was a potential flash point that could spark civil unrest in the local area.
It emerged now that the Mayor had issued the permission for the millionaire to start his construction with the collusion of the Interior Minister, Ismail Adan, who is believed to have signed the permission letter along with the Mayor. The Mayor did so without the knowledge of, and consultation with, his colleagues in Hargeisa City Council.
At least 16 councillors put their signatures to a letter calling for the immediate resignation of the Mayor, following Saturday’s violent clashes that left behind a trail of death and destruction in the Dumbuluq neighbourhood.
According to the HAATUF daily, the Mayor had also illegally allocated a publicly owned land to his brother.
The Mayor was nowhere to be found in Hargeisa since Saturday’s violent clashes. However, sources told Somaliland Today that he sneaked into the city town hall this morning; and ordered the councillors that no more meetings would be held.
Two years ago, the Mayor was reportedly implicated with “a mob of criminally inclined land-grabbers who murdered two men having Qat in their tin shack in Masallhaha, outskirts of Hargeisa”. The murderers were closely related to the Mayor and were smuggled out of the country in an apparent attempt to evade justice.
Land disputes, typically created by venal Municipal authorities simultaneously issuing title to several different owners in exchange for bribes, became an endemic source of rancour and violence in major townships and cities of Somaliland.