To Whom It May Concern
Dear Sir/ Madam,
Mogadishu Somalia- This urgent appeal intends to bring your attention to the plight of the over 360,000 families in the IDP camps of Mogadishu. These camps have become a place where famine entrepreneurs, clan militias coupled with the non-existence of Rule of Law and gross human rights violations occur on daily basis. We, as the traditional elders of the Digil and Mirifle Clan, would like appeal to you to help these families repatriate back to their communities.
Today there are over 360,000 families populating the IDP camps in Mogadishu. Over whelming majority of these families come from the southern farming communities of the Lower Shebelle, Bay, Bakool, Gedo and Middle Juba regions. Historically these regions have always been the breadbasket of the country and as these once productive families languish in these camps a great opportunity in food security and therefore peace for Somalia is being lost. These camps have become poverty, rape and crime infested areas and worse yet it is the prime recruitment center for Al-shabab resulting from the abundance of disparate idle youth. Unfortunately, Since 2010, the IDPs lacked access to power and decision making, income generating opportunities and do not enjoy protection provided by the dominant sub clans of the host clans. Additionally, gender based discrimination and violence, particularly rape of young girls and women is widespread.
Unfortunately, these displaced people have not met with the humanity they deserved when they arrive the camps. The IDPs have been put into camps whereby the famine entrepreneurs in the form of local NGOs use them through an enriching schema. After some investigation the elders found that the food donation from the international community have mostly been squandered in the following way;
First, the food is being received on behalf of the IDPs by the local NGOs, while some of these do deliver the food in an honest way, however, majority of the NGOs are in the business for lining up their pockets. For example, a camp has been assigned to receive 100 ton of food immediately the IDPs will be summoned to sit on the food and their picture taken. After the picture is taken the food would be taken back with force by the gatekeepers and their militias, then the NGOs sells 95% of the food to businessmen.
Second, in some cases IDPs receive a resettlement grant from INGOs e.g. UNHCR and various Islamic relief organizations. The first action is to shut down that particular camp and load the families on trucks in order to satisfy the charity organization. Then IDPs are taken only to the outskirts of Mogadishu and sold to another NGO and his/her gatekeepers as new IDP for a nominal fee. Often each family is allocated US$ 3000 towards their resettlement, unfortunately only 10% (or US $300) goes to the family and the rest will be divided between the NGO, gatekeepers and middle men.
Third, the beneficiaries of this schema are currently campaigning for relocation of these IDP camps into the outskirts of the Mogadishu rather than repatriation to their original locations. The traditional elders of the Digil and Mirifle have in the past advocated that this is a wrong- headed policy that only recycles the current squalid existence of the IDPs in Mogadishu. Moreover, Somalia’s peace and prosperity will be hindered by this policy and we believe that it will create ghettoized shanty towns that only produce crime, poverty and human rights violation.
Therefore, the traditional elders of the Digil and Mirifle would like to take this opportunity to thank those that donated to help the IDPs. Unfortunately, however, their kind donations have created underground and illegal mafias who benefitted and continue to benefit the misery of the IDPs. In order to curb this continuous problem the following remedial strategies need to be adopted so that donations are spent in an effective way;
The donors and INGOs to involve the traditional elders and the intellectuals of the clans populating the IDPs, in this case the Digil and Mirifle clan. Currently, the donors come and meet with an exclusive people in places like the Mogadishu Airport and receive a beautifully drafted report and without any attempt for verification they accept it. By engaging the elders it will increase transparency and accountability and they will ensure that IDPs benefit the donated food and cash.
We recommend that the government take dual track process in dealing with IDPs in Mogadishu;
a) IDPs who are not willing to go back to be given plot of land and assisted with essentials instead of being relocated to government controlled camp.
b) Those want to go back to their communities they should be assist and not subjected to the relocation exercise.
Digil and Mirifle Council of Elders
Thank you in advance for your generous support.