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Clan conflict destroys Mudug family homes and businesses

Wednesday April 19, 2023

Kaydka Ergo

The lives of 800 families living in Huldoyale village in Mudug region have been thrown into chaos by clan conflict over a land dispute that erupted in the area on 26 March.

Around 20 structures including houses, businesses, and water catchment areas were destroyed after being set on fire by clansmen.

Nurto Mohamed Ali lost her shop and house. She and her nine children fled to the rural outskirts on 27 March. Nothing was left of her shop and its contents except ashes.

She is sharing food with others displaced from the village, who are sleeping rough under trees.

“We don’t have a life out here. Our property was all burned down. We’re getting food from other Muslim people and that is how we break our fast,” she said.

She estimates her property was worth $5,000 and was making a daily income of $7-10 from the shop that covered her family’s needs.

Nurto started her business last year as an alternative source of living when livestock husbandry became precarious. Her husband once owned 140 goats. He sold off 30 goats recently for $1,000 and now has only 20 feeble goats left.

“We’ve lost our homes and we don’t even have plastic sheeting to protect our children. We just used sticks and created a fence, but we don’t have any shelter against the rain,” she said.

Some of the families displaced from Huldoyale got together to set up a plastic bag water storage on the ground. Businessmen bring water from Marsamagge village and sell it at $5 a barrel although some cannot afford it.

Nuro has been buying water on credit and already owes $25. She is worried they might stop her getting more water on credit until she pays.

Another villager, Ali Osman Adan, also lost his shop selling food and clothing worth $4,000. He was making enough from it to support his wife and five children. Nothing could be salvaged after clan militia set it on fire.

He started the business in January 2022 after losing his 200 goats to drought. He had a $1,500 investment from his relatives and managed to pay it off in six months, as business was good.

The shop brought him $10-15 a day and he also set up a restaurant for his wife in Huldoyale, where she made $4-5 a day.

Sleeping out under a tree now, he is stressed by the downturn their lives have suddenly taken. They received 36 kgs of food including sugar, rice and flour from their relatives in Bahdo that will last them a while.

“This village was far from any town, but it was a transit area for goods and travellers, and it was good for business. Now it has been hit by conflict and it’s hard to even survive there – we owned two businesses and nothing survived,” he said bitterly.

Ali is also worried about his elderly parents sleeping outside. He is thinking of moving the family to Bahdo, 50 kilometres from the village, although he is struggling to raise the $60 fare.

The commissioner of Huldoyale village, Adan Mohamed Abdi, said that they have spoken with the Galmudug government about the clan conflict. He said the government needed to respond swiftly so that they can deal with the dire situation of the displaced families.


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