Today from Hiiraan Online:  _
Mogadishu fire station land dispute escalates amid calls for government compromise

Saturday April 20, 2024

Residents gather at a disputed site where recent government evictions have taken place, sparking community concerns over fairness and transparency in public land management. The area has been the center of controversy following allegations of preferential treatment towards political figures in past land sales. CREDIT / Shabelle MN

MOGADISHU (HOL) — A longstanding dispute over the land occupied by Mogadishu's fire station, currently home to civilians for over 30 years, has intensified, with residents resisting eviction despite repeated orders from the Somali Police Force. The conflict has prompted widespread debate and sporadic violence, with casualties reported during protests against eviction.

On February 1, the Somali Police reiterated their eviction order, facing strong resistance and alternative proposals from some residents. These residents suggested a compromise by relocating the fire station instead. The authorities, however, maintained the urgent need to rebuild and operate a fire station to manage Mogadishu's frequent and deadly fires.

Former Galmudug President Ahmed Duale Geelle (Haaf) and Gen. Yusuf Mohamed Siyad (Indhacadde) are among the high-profile figures opposing the eviction. At a press conference in February, Geelle criticized the government's approach, highlighting the potential human cost: "It is neither right nor wise to evict people who have lived here for at least 30 years. There is no justification for uprooting people who have established their lives over decades," he argued.

In response to the ongoing crisis, former Mogadishu Mayor Tabit Abdi stated on Facebook that the government is considering resettlement and compensation plans for the displaced residents to prevent them from becoming homeless.

MP Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame has raised significant concerns over the transparency of the government's handling of public properties. He emphasized the need for public assurances that the land would not be privatized.

Warsame's concerns are amplified by the community's deep-seated distrust, stemming from past evictions near the airport. These lands were sold below market value to those with ties to senior Somali officials, under the guise of public interest. These evictions and land sales have significantly eroded trust in the government's fairness and adherence to policy in managing public lands, highlighting the urgent need for transparency in such matters.

As the debate continues, some community representatives are defending the police's order, citing legal and procedural necessities. A final decision on extending the eviction deadline, enforcing the order, or reaching a compromise was expected on Saturday but has been delayed to a future date to allow for discussions.


Click here