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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Somalia: Recent Documents

Somalia: Recent Documents
Date distributed (ymd): 990319
Document reposted by APIC

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: East Africa
Issue Areas: +security/peace+ +gender/women+ Summary Contents:
This posting contains two recent documents on Somalia, the first an update from the UN'S Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) and the second a press release concerning a monthly women's vigil for peace held in Nairobi, Kenya.

For more current news, see
Africa News (, and IRIN's country pages ( For additional data and links on Somalia, see the APIC country tables for East Africa

For more information on the women's vigil for peace, see the contact information in the posting below.

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SOMALIA: Humanitarian crisis "very worrying"

[Contact: UN IRIN-CEA Tel: +254 2 622123 Fax: +254 2 622129 e-mail: for more information or free subscriptions. If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Quotations or extracts should include attribution to the original sources. Mailing list: irin-cea-updates]

NAIROBI, 9 March (IRIN) - The humanitarian crisis in central and southern Somalia remains serious after more crop failures and a severe water shortage, according to the latest update from the UN country team.

The UNCT 'Somalia Monitor', covering the period 23 February-5 March, said the situation in southern Somalia was "very worrying" following the failure of the February secondary Deyr harvest and a widespread lack of water for human consumption.

WFP distributed some 2,572 mt of food aid to affected people in Somalia during the month of February, according to the latest WFP weekly emergency report. It said that close to 70 percent of the food was distributed in the worst-hit Bay and Bakool regions. WFP planned to distribute a total of 3,200 mt of food in southern Somalia in March, it added.

In a statement last week, US-based Refugees International urged donors to immediately make funds available for the purchase and distribution of seed to vulnerable populations. Some 1,600 mt of seed, including 50 mt to help displaced persons to go home, is needed before the onset of the planting season at the end of March. Some 34,000 people, most from Bay and Bakool, had been displaced while another 12,000 people had crossed into Ethiopia, the statement said.

Refugees International said although the response to the November 1998 appeal from the Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) was good for food aid, "the appeal for money to buy seed has gone begging." It said a large emergency food assistance programme would be needed to prevent a widespread starvation if seed were not provided. "The cost-benefit analysis is self evident," the statement said.

Meanwhile, a total of 4,678 cholera cases were reported in central and southern Somalia between November and 25 February, with 157 deaths attributed to the disease. According to WHO figures cited in the UNCT 'Somalia Monitor', the most affected regions were Benadir, Bay, Gedo, Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle. Available cholera treatment supplies had covered needs so far, but more supplies may be required if the epidemic continues to spread, the 'Monitor' said.

A Mogadishu hospital had reported 257 cases of whooping cough since December, it added.


[This item is delivered in the "irin-english" service of the UN's IRIN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations. For further information or free subscriptions, or to change your keywords, contact e-mail: or fax: +254 2 622129 or Web: . If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer.]

Women's Vigil for Peace

Media Conference
International Press Centre
Chester House, Nairobi, Kenya
11 a.m. Monday 8 March 1999

Media contact: Pamela Collett
Home: <<>>, fax and tel +254 2 763893 office: fax +254 2 444718 Direct mailing address: P. O. Box 39341, Nairobi, Kenya. Australian Address, Nairobi Bag, Locked Bag 40, Kingston ACT 2604

International Women's Day

Topic: Stories of the Effects of War on everyday peoples' lives Organization: Women's Vigil for Peace

A vigil is the act of keeping awake when sleep is customary. We are a group of women who are staying awake, watching for peace. We are sharing stories of how war in Somalia, in Sudan, in Sierra Leone has effected the lives of everyday people and their families. On the 16th of every month, peace loving people of all countries and backgrounds, gather in a vigil for peace here in Nairobi.

On the last International Women's Day of the 20th century, women around the world are working for peace and human rights for everyone in the 21st century.

During the Media Conference, we will share with the media the stories of the effects of war and what women are doing for peace.

Plan to attend. We hope to see you there. Contact person: Pamela Collett tel/fax 763893 email

Women's Vigil for Peace

Join us in a monthly Vigil for Peace

Tuesday 16 MARCH 1999 5:30 p.m.
Pan Afric Hotel, Kenyatta Avenue
Nairobi, Kenya

* Prayer
* Appeal for Peace in Sudan, Somalia
* Plan for next vigil

All peace loving people are welcome. Please join our monthly vigil.

Women's Vigil for Peace

Women's Vigil for Peace
16 February, 1999
Nairobi, Kenya

Cry for Peace in Somalia: A personal appeal

On 16th January 1999, a couple of days before the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan, nine unarmed people were brutally murdered in Goobweyn village. The nine people included intellectuals, elders, traders and a young boy of eleven years. The group was part of twelve people abducted two weeks earlier from Kismayo town, a coastal town in southern Somalia by militias and taken as prisoners of war (POWs) to Goobweyn, a village that lies 15 km north of Kismayo town.

The twelve people were kept imprisoned inside a hut. On the morning of 16th January, the militias attempted to kill all twelve people in the most savage and brutal way. A truck was driven several times over the hut where the POWs were kept. A barrage of artillery was fired on top of the crushed hut to finish the twelve people off. Nine people died immediately and three survived this ordeal with injuries. The survivors are now in Kismayo after they have been released by some militia who were displeased with the act.

This savagery may have gone unreported beyond the close relatives and family members who mourn the continuous bleeding of their communities in the senseless civil war of Southern Somalia. But I will not let it pass unnoticed and unreported this time as yet another faceless death. My uncle Abdirizak Hirsi Dheere, the younger brother of my mother, was among those who were brutally murdered.

What were the sins of my uncle to face such a horrible death? The only crime my uncle has committed is that he was an inhabitant of Kismayo. No one deserves this senseless and cruel death. My uncle as a student was a political activist, before Somalia's independence. Later, he worked at the Somali National Bank and was an active trade unionist. He opposed the dictatorship of Siyad Barre as early as 1974, among the first Somalis who understood the savagery of the regime. From that time, he disassociated himself from the government, but remained a strong opposition to the regime. While working at the bank he was never promoted because of his views against the military regime of Barre. He was so honest and strict that he did not own a car, because he could not afford one. I remember him walking almost all the time to his office, some three km from the residence of the banking staff.

His children were resentful at times because they saw some of his counterparts abusing their power and owning the latest cars as well enjoying other perks. In 1989, I asked him one day, "Uncle, why don't you buy a car and a new furniture to change the old one in your house". His response was, "walking is good for the health and as for buying these material things I can not afford them and I do not want to obtain them through corruption". I was impressed by his honesty. He believed that when a genuine and democratic government comes to Somalia there would be justice for all. Unfortunately, Somalia has not yet seen the democracy my uncle was hoping for and no checks and balances have yet been made. Worse than that, my uncle had to flee Mogadishu in 1991 because he was suddenly lumped with the regime he had fought against for all his life. He then settled in Kismayo, in Southern Somalia. Until the day he was captured, my uncle fought against the corrupt and the criminal.

His wife and children did not have the consolation of giving him a decent burial, as his body was never recovered, only his clothes were brought back to his family as another form of torture. Like many other Somali families, most of my uncle's children are out of Somalia, and therefore the family could not even mourn the death together.

I have very vivid memories of the good times I spent with my uncle. As a teenager, he introduced me to my first serious reading and he made me aware of famous freedom fighters, writers of the time and philosophers. His love for books was strong up to the end of his days. In the course of the civil war, he made a small library in his home in Kismayo. He always asked me to bring or send books and old magazines to keep him informed. He hardly asked for money that he surely needed more. He shaped my upbringing and moral value and ethics.

I never felt I have learned enough from the wisdom of my uncle. I was hoping that one day I will sit with him under the shade of a tree somewhere in Somalia where I will listen with earnest, as I always did, to his enormous knowledge about Somalia and the rest of the world. But now this is not going to happen because brutal killers have crushed him to his death in Goobweyn, outside Kismayo town.

In Kismayo there are more than fifty POWs belonging to the same groups who committed the atrocities of 16 January, that are being kept by the police and the community elders. Some people in Kismayo want revenge, but the elders and the community in general have so far opposed this stance as being unethical.

I am very angry about this atrocious and inhuman killing of my uncle and his fellow townsmen. My emotional side calls for revenge similar to those of the angry crowds in Kismayo, but my rational side knows that violence breeds only violence. I like to have faith in humanity that one day the killers will be brought to justice. In honour of my uncle, I thus want to turn my anger into a constructive action to promote peace, respect for human dignity and life.

I urge all of those who receive this appeal to condemn whoever committed unnecessary crimes towards Somali civilians wherever and whoever they are through your radios, electronic media, prayers, vigils and other gatherings. My uncle will not be resurrected, but I want other uncles, brothers, sons, husbands, wives, sisters, daughters, fathers and mothers never to face such horrendous death. The perpetrators of such crimes should not find refuge in our homes, tribal lands, or anywhere in the world. We need your support to promote peace and end the war in Somalia.

Today we are launching a monthly vigil for peace here in Nairobi on the 16th of each month to remember all of those who died in the senseless war of Somalia. The Women's Vigil for Peace would like all peace loving men, women, of all ages, all backgrounds, all nationalities to join us in our vigil. We are contacting women all over Somalia and around the world to organize peace vigils. On the 16th of each month we will share one or two stories of the atrocities committed against Somali civilians and will support each other by condemning these inhuman acts and making a vigil for peace.

Here are the names of the nine people brutally killed in Goobweyn:

  1. Abdirizak Hersi Dheere 58 years
  2. Abdirahman Mohamed Isse 43 years
  3. Nabadoon Yusuf Hassan Baadari 80 years
  4. Abdinuur Musse 33 years
  5. Ahmed Xiirey Kulan 20 years
  6. Sanweyne Salah Gamuure 30 years
  7. Abdirizak Jiis Jumbur 11 years
  8. Mohamud Moallin 45 years
  9. Jaama Mahdi 40 years

You can contact the Women's Vigil for Peace at: OR at tel: 254-2-712885, OR at tel: 254-2-724193

Horn Relief
P.O. Box 70331
Nairobi, Kenya

Thank you for your support.

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC). APIC's primary objective is to widen the policy debate in the United States around African issues and the U.S. role in Africa, by concentrating on providing accessible policy-relevant information and analysis usable by a wide range of groups and individuals.

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