Thursday, June 20, 2013
Today from Hiiraan Online:
SOMALIA: Hargeisa stall demolitions infuriate traders
Monday, March 26, 2012
Thousands of traders in Hargeisa, capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, are incensed at having their businesses demolished in a city beautification drive, and some fear the move could lead to a crime wave.
An estimated 5,000 traders have lost their only source of livelihood, Abdillahi Hassan, a human rights activist in Hargeisa, told IRIN.
“Every small business was a source of income for a family… The local government used force destroying the buildings, as well as the property inside. For this reason a lot of families have also lost their capital,” he said.
On 6 March, at least one person was shot dead and several others injured when traders confronted the police.
Zahra Hussein Ismail, 60, who had her stall bulldozed, said she now has virtually no income and fears the demolitions might lead to an increase in crime.
“I come from a family of 20. We used to get our livelihood from an eating house in down-town Hargeisa. After it was demolished we lost about 90 percent of our income… We are afraid our teenage youngsters who used to do business in the streets may become gangsters due to the closure of their businesses.”
Government officials say a growing population and an increasing number of vehicles have made movement within the city difficult, hence the need to demolish makeshift stalls along crowded city streets.
Hussein Mohamoud Ji'ir, mayor of Hargeisa, told IRIN part of the project to revamp the city required the removal of makeshift stalls: “We are not accepting in the street smaller vendor-businesses.”
The stallholders say they have received no compensation and that the government is not offering any alternative vendor sites, despite previous promises.
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