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close this bookThe Somali Conflict (Oxfam)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPreface
Open this folder and view contentsPart I: Introduction
Open this folder and view contentsPart II: Background to the Somali war
Open this folder and view contentsPart III: Mogadishu: peace-enforcement
Open this folder and view contentsPart IV: Kismayo: peace-making
Open this folder and view contentsPart V: Somaliland: peace-building
View the documentPostscript
View the documentNotes
View the documentReferences
Open this folder and view contentsAppendices


1 Unless otherwise stated, 'Somalia' refers to the territories of the Republic of Somalia, which include the (as yet) unrecognised 'Somaliland Republic'.

2 Some people have tried to apply a neo-Marxist analysis to explain the conflict, which makes a distinction between 'clanism' as ideological construct, and kinship, which represents 'basic values of society'. (Comment by A.I. Samatar at the European Somali Studies Association, September 1993.)

3 Oxfam Strategic Intent, 1993, statement of belief on poverty and avoidable suffering.

4 The precise make-up of these alliances has changed throughout the war.

5 Behind this move were Hassan Dhimbil Warsame (Hater Gedir/Ayr), Musse Nur Amin (Galjaal), and Mohamed Goodah Barre (Xawadle) (Horn of Africa Bulletin, April 1993.)

6 It is suggested that due to the preference shown to General Abshir by the UN, he has lost much credibility among the Somalis.

7 SWB = Survey of World Broadcasting.

8 Unconfirmed reports say that four American soldiers killed by a land mine on 8 August 1993, seven Nigerian troops killed on 5 September, and a helicopter crew killed in September were also mutilated.

9 Horn of Africa Bulletin, March-April 1993.

10 I did not meet anyone from the Justice Division, or anyone who was able to provide information on their work. This in itself indicates a lack of informationsharing in UNOSOM.

11 From UNOSOM Staffing Concept paper, June 1993.

12 It has been suggested that recent US policy in Somalia is to enable the Darod (primarily the Majeerteen) to regain power. If true, this may lie behind the dispute between UNOSOM and the Somaliland administration of Egal.

13 Reported by US lawyer Professor Tom Farer, The Independent, September 1993.

14 Africa Confidential, 30 July 1993.

15 Comment passed to me by Life and Peace Institute.

16 Comment by Dr Ahmed Yusuf Farah (see Part V).

17 Ecumenical Liaison Committee for Assistance to Somalia.

18 Jan Eliasson: Report to the UN ECOSOC, 21 July 1993.

19 This is a very rough division, especially as many groups practice both agriculture and transhumant pastoralism.

20 'Hart)' is commonly used in the south to refer to the Warsengeli Dolbahunte and Majeerteen; in Kismayo it is the Majeerteen who are most significant.

21 I cannot confirm either of these historiographies, but it is interesting that people refer back to agreements of nearly 70 years ago, indicating the depth and protracted nature of the conflict.

22 The information in this section is largely based on interviews with the Zone Director.

23 Omar Moalim, an Ogadeni, was deputy PM in Ali Mahadi's administration of 1991. He was MP for Jamaama in the 1960s.

24 It is understood that the accord was signed between representatives of the following: SNF (Marehan), SPM (Awlihan, Bartiri, Jidwak), SSDF (Majeerteen), SNDU (Lelkasse, Awr Tabley), and Tuni and Banjuni, USC/SNA (Mohamed Zubeir, Sheikal, Galgaal, Habr Gedir), and SSNM (Biyamal).

25 General Abshir, a consistent critic of Barre, and moderate politician, has lost credibility among many Somalis for the preferential treatment shown to him by UNOSOM.

26 Alliances change quickly. Since the outbreak of fighting between UNOSOM and Aideed, Abdillahi Yusuf has sought to distance himself from Aideed, and play down their agreement. General Abshir has also commented that he and Abdillahi Yusuf have resolved their differences.

27 He is said to own UNICEF and ICRC offices in Kismayo, to have built Kismayo hospital and Afgoi hospital, and a number of mosques in Mogadishu.

28 The Zone Director also had fundamental doubts about the 'colonial' model of administration proposed by UNOSOM.

29 North-east Somalia, home to the Majeerteen, has also been largely free of conflict since 1990.

30 This idea is not supported by some historians and social scientists.

31 Comment by Garaad Abdulgani of the Dolbahunte.

32 It has been observed that these values have been destroyed in the south, where women, children, and prisoners have died in the carnage. While the rights of women, children, and prisoners were abused by the Somali army, the belief is that these standards of behaviour were adhered to by the northern clans.

33 A classic example of this happened in Jidalle, in Sanaag region, in 1992, when the Warsengeli and Habr Yunis (Issaq) held a peace meeting. The representatives of the Habr Yunis included a former SNM Commander and member of the SNM Central Committee, who attended the meeting as a representative of the SNM. The response of the Warsengeli was to argue that if they were to meet a political party (i.e. the SNM), then they would represent the 'Warsengeli Government'. The only way in which they were able to proceed with negotiation was to meet as two clans. As political parties they did not have the means to solve their problems.

34 Legends of warrior women, as in Islam, exist in Somali folklore.

35 Zeinab Jama has collected a number of war poems by women.

36 Interviews with SOMRA and Somaliland Women's Organisation.

37 Women are now more vulnerable to the religious movements than during Barre's regime. Under Scientific Socialism, women were given rights of inheritance, which goes against Islamic Law. Some eight Sheiks who opposed this law were executed by Barre when it was introduced. He revoked these laws in 1990. Therefore, while women's responsibilities have increased as a result of the war, they have also lost certain rights.

38 Reported by Zeinab Jama.

39 Article 10 of the National Charter.

40 Interestingly, the term Khussusi, from the Arabic khas ('special') was the name given by Sayid Mohamed Abdulla Hassan (the 'Mad Mullah') to his top council of advisers.

41 Musa Bihi is particularly unpopular with the Habr Yunis. As Minister for Interior, and head of the technical committee for disarmament, his personal dispute with the Habr Yunis could be a source of problems in the disarmament process.

42 Some serious questions need to be asked about why the UN is prepared to sanction the division of former eastern European countries, such as Yugoslavia, but not Somalia.

43 Interview with Hargeisa UNOSOM Zone Director, Keith Beavan.

44 Among the Majeerteen in the north-east, the bandits are known as jiri, the name of a bird. In the south they are known as the morihan, i.e. those who smoke marijuana.

45 Reported by UNDP-OPS demobilisation consultants.

46 Reported by Omar Halim, UNOSOM Director of Policy Planning Group, July 1993.

47 The Somali anthropologist Dr Ahmed Musa Farah, working with I.M. Lewis, has undertaken a comprehensive study of the peace process in Sanaag and the role of the elders. The study, commissioned by ActionAid, will add extremely important information for our understanding of peace and peace-making in Somaliland and Somalia.

48 The study of Dr Ahmed Musa Farah has identified that it is in fact at the level of the diya-paying groups that the reconciliation process has been most effective. Reconciliation between the diya-paying groups has therefore provided the basic building blocks for a wider peace process.

49 The Garaad is said to have appointed his son to replace his brother.

50 The Manifesto Group were a group of politicians, elders, and businessmen, who petitioned Barre to step down peacefully in 1990.

51 See 1.3 above for characteristics of elders.

52 He was offered the post of Minister of Justice by Egal, but was asked by his clan to turn it down.

53 I was reminded of this when I learned that after my visit to the Sanaag peace conference, some questions were raised over the purpose of my visit there. There was some suspicion that I was 'spying' for the Hargeisa government. My mistake was not in visiting, asking questions, or showing an interest, but in not following the correct protocol in contacting people. Clearly there is a need to be sensitive.