Hargeisa, 13 July 2009-Evidently, Somaliland faces both internal and external diabolical traps—insidious booby traps. Both powerful and treacherous, terrorism and tribalism will not only derail the upcoming presidential election but will also evaporate the hope of winning recognition after the September 2009 successful election. As terrorism takes its toll on innocent civilians and tribal feuds rage unabated in Gibbilley region, fear and apprehension creep into the minds of many citizens. Fearful and uncertain about the future, many citizens question the authority’s response to simmering conflicts on the verge of erupting like volcanoes but rarely receive answers.
First, always give credit where credit is due. That is, the Somaliland government deserves a pat on the back when it comes to defending the country from invaders. Time and time again, our armed forces cripple the invading Puntland militias. For instance, Somaliland forces round up hundreds of Puntland militias like wild horses.
More important, Somaliland intelligent agencies repeatedly snatch terrorists from their dens and foil sophisticated terrorist attacks. In the end, many of them face justice and go to trials.
Second, the government’s iron-fist rule—far from condoned—resembles an autocratic system. For example, Somaliland police forces do an astounding job to arrest, harass, and disperse opposition party supporters who venomously protest against election scandals.
Similarly, the authority knows what every single journalist in the country is up to, and barely before the public reads his/her provocative article that expose corruptions and mismanagements the author is already having a picnic inside the notorious Mandheera prison near Berbera city, in Somaliland.
Third, the authority has a powerful eavesdropping program that will transmit to its Criminal Investigation Department’s CID headquarters the slightest whispers from phone conversations between local citizens. Additionally, the government knows before Somaliland Diasporas arrive to the country and when they depart.
Sophisticate system, isn’t? So sophisticated that in fact the system fails miserably to stamp out local land disputes in the farming Gibbilley region in which a handful of gangs are now terrorizing the communities in that area at will. Land disputes are part of the norm in Africa. But why the government of Somaliland could not crush these tribal gangs hacking innocent civilians to death right under its nose is the question that every Somaliland citizen is asking.
Somaliland government could round up hundreds of heavily-armed Puntland militias with very little bloodshed, and so could Hargeisa (Somaliland capital) crush these tribal thugs spurring mayhem in the country. Or is there is more to the conflict than we know?
Conspiracy theory 101 indicates that the government of Somaliland may be ignoring the tribal feuds and hoping they will brew up into a full-scale ware. And once the Hutus and Tutsis of Gibbilley region go on wild rampage and slaughter one another, the government will have no choice but postpone the upcoming presidential election for the fifth time.
Equally dangerous: terrorism—a curse as well as a blessing in disguise for brutal regimes in the world—may play its roll in the possible upcoming election fiasco. In the last election delays, as predicted Somaliland used the terrorist attacks in October 2008 as one of the reasons for the delays.
Now, in the recent terrorist attacks against four well-respected business men from Awdal regions bordering Gibbilley, Alshabaab terrorists could be the culprits or at least they may have encouraged some revengeful locals to carry out the shocking murder. The heartless killings rightly infuriated the Somaliland population in general and in particularly those in Awdal region. Again, the government may drag its feet to capture the murderers, and such a lack of quick action could provoke revenges from the victims’ tribes which could lead to a full-scale tribal skirmishing. So, again the government will have a choice to delay the election.
As shown in the following link, outraged Awdal people, some even waving Somali flag, not Somaliland’s, because they lost faith in Somaliland government took to the streets of Boorame city, Awdal provincial capital. Such Somali flag-waving protesters in the heart of Somaliland territory may give Alshabaab the boost that it needs and more terror attacks may be impending. http://hiiraan.com/news/2009/July/wararka_maanta12-6965.htm (Also read about Somali MPs flocking to Somaliland freely: http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/109651)
Surely, the government signed a treaty with the local elders to diffuse the conflict, but what about putting a leash on the thugs that have been terrorizing the farming communities of Gibbilley and its environs. The government must crush these murderers from both warring tribes, and those found guilt should face justice immediately.
Whether Somaliland perceives the dangerous mixture of tribalism and terrorism or not, one thing is indisputable: if land disputes are not resolved and murderers aren’t brought to justices before September 2009—in two months time—election will be postponed.
Similarly, the opposition parties will—understandably—scream their lungs out. Their supporters could take to the streets with massive protests. Hence, normally peaceful streets of Somaliland cities could turn into a battle ground.
And even if the election is not delayed, terrorists could exploit the tragedy—the tribal feuds—in Gibbilley and send voters’ limbs flying over rooftops, and of course blame local tribes.
To top it up, the long-waited Somaliland recognition which many people hope that after fair and transparent election, the nation will be on the verge of receiving a full diplomatic recognition faces uncertainty.
Therefore, the government of Somaliland unless its part of the conspiracy—raging tribal feuds—to derail the election, must crush the local machete-wielding thugs mercilessly and maintain law and order through Gibbilley region.