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Somali government orders eviction as police relocate families from Mogadishu's Dab Damiska neighbourhood

Tuesday July 9, 2024

Destruction in Dab Damiska: A demolished home in the Wadajir district of Mogadishu, highlighting the heavy-handed tactics used by Somali Federal Government forces to evict residents early Monday morning.

Mogadishu (HOL) —  Somali Federal Government forces stormed the Dab Damiska  (Fire Brigade)  neighbourhood in the Wadajir district of Mogadishu on Monday morning, initiating the demolition of houses and displacing many families in the area. 

Reports indicate that the forces are using demolition vehicles to tear down houses. The major roads near the Dab Damiska neighbourhood have been closed, and people have been prevented from passing through or approaching on foot in some areas.

Some residents have condemned the operation, expressing dismay and vowing not to leave the land. "There are vulnerable people in my house who cannot move; I have no idea where to go. They invaded our homes at night. I pray to God to displace those displacing us and to make them feel what we are going through," said one of the mothers living in Dab Damiska. Residents were seen rescuing and moving out of their homes with whatever items or assets they could carry.

The Somali Police Force has revealed details about the operation in Mogadishu's Dab Damiska neighbourhood, where most families have vacated. The operation, aimed at relocating residents, is part of the government's plan to construct the National Headquarters in the neighbourhood.

Police spokesman Abdifatah Aden Hassan stated this morning that those remaining in Dab Damiska are being assisted with their relocation. "The residents of Dab Damiska have moved out, and the police are assisting the remaining ones. According to a census conducted by the police, 147 sites, including small and large areas, were burned, destroying Somali-owned properties," he said.

Monday marked the deadline for residents to leave Dab Damiska. Abdifatah emphasized the need for media to support the welfare and development of the country. "To the media, we say that the cooperation between the former residents of Dab Damiska and the police has ended; construction will begin soon, so work for the good," he added.

The Dab Damiska area has been inhabited by civilians for over 30 years. Previous government attempts to evacuate the area have faced strong resistance and led to clashes. The government argues that the area is crucial for firefighting operations due to frequent fire incidents in Mogadishu.

Residents have protested against the eviction, resulting in clashes that have caused casualties. Former Galmudug President Ahmed Ducaale Geelle (Xaaf) criticized the evictions as unjust, saying, "It is not fair or rational to evict people who have lived there for 30 years."

The government has reiterated evacuation orders multiple times, emphasizing the need for residents to relocate to facilitate the construction of vital infrastructure. Former Mogadishu Mayor Thaabit Abdi and other officials have called for the government to provide compensation or alternative housing for the displaced residents.

Despite the operation, some former residents of Dab Damiska have voiced complaints, stating they do not know where else to go and are requesting the government to allow them to stay.

FILE - Residents of Dab Damiska in Mogadishu protest on April 20 against the government's eviction order. The Somali government plans to relocate families to construct theFire Brigade National Headquarters in the area, but many residents are resisting, citing long-term habitation and lack of alternative housing.


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