The Sool regional administration in northern Somalia has issued a decree telling certain young southern Somalis who work in Las Anod to leave by September 12th because of their alleged links with al-Shabaab.
Thursday, September 06, 2012
Some tribal elders and traders affected by the decree say the move is unjustified and illegal.
Sool Administrator Mohamed Mohamud Jeniyare described the targeted individuals as being between the ages of 17 and 30, originally from Bay, Bakol and Benadir regions, and affiliated with the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab organisation.
"They are misled youth engaged in destabilising actions," he said.
Suspected individuals have been given 20 days, starting on August 23rd, to leave. The ejection affects about 400 individuals employed in trade and manual labour in the city, Jeniyare said.
"The individuals we are expelling are those employed in the markets, who came at various times," he said. "They use their work to mask the destabilising actions they are secretly engaged in -- for which we believe they partner with al-Shabaab to carry out -- such as shooting soldiers in the head and causing explosions, to which some have confessed after we arrested them."
Jeniyare said these individuals were behind the killings of more than 30 government officials in Las Anod over the past two years, including police, soldiers and judges.
He said up to 18 of these youth have been arrested in connection with these deaths and other anti-peace activities. "We have arrested some who worked as educators by day and conducted assassinations at night," he said.
Jeniyare told Sabahi the expulsion orders were not motivated by a political agenda but were a necessary step for the administration to ensure the safety of civilians. "We tried to avoid taking this step but found it necessary," he said.
The administrator said the orders target specific people and will not affect the 2,000 refugee families from southern Somalia currently living in Las Anod.
Expulsion order dismissed as politically motivated
But Mohamud Warsame Sablale, a tribal elder in Las Anod, says the expulsions are neither legal nor effective.
He said the Somaliland administration previously tried to expel southern Somalis in 2010 and 2011, settling them just 30 to 40 kilometres outside the city.
Southern Somalis who work in the city are being mistreated by the government, Sablale told Sabahi.
"They should not be threatened," he said. "They are subjected to constant arrests, night-time raids in their houses and are denied due process in court."
At the beginning of the week, 12 individuals were arrested and released after spending three days in jail without a court appearance, Sablale said.
He said residents of the city are unhappy with these actions.
Some traders in Las Anod have already begun packing their things in order to comply with the ruling.
"Since we have been ordered to leave, we cannot refuse," said Nur Barow, one of these traders. "If we do not comply, we are afraid of being arrested, and that would not be good for us."
"We are preparing to return to our homes and our regions in the south and we will do our best to take our belongings," Barow told Sabahi, adding that he has been forced to sell his clothing store with everything in it.
He said the Sool administration did not provide the traders with reasons for the expulsion, but merely ordered them to gather their belongings and leave within 20 days.