Clan-heavy Religious Clerics in Nairobi Stoke Sool Conflagration Afresh

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Muslim clerics living in the Kenyan city of Nairobi, who happen to belong to the same clan as that which converged in Las Anod to militarily oust the Somaliland government of the Sool region, have again issues a controversial communique on Sunday calling for a renewal of the flagging collection of donations to keep the ongoing strife alive and on the wrong track.

The clerics, this time around, disguised their call as a plea for humanity and succor.

As was the case in an earlier meeting almost the same membership of participants attended in February this year, Shekh Shibili read out the communique, spelling out clearly how the rest of the statement would go in the very first point in both instances. In both cases, the statements unequivocally sided with the militias and traditional leaders who called for ‘Jihad’ against Somaliland not once calling for moderation or placing the blame for starting the war and continuing it to new heights where it rightly belonged.

A gross exaggeration of the number of civilians who fled the conflict headed the Sunday statement.

” Nearly 200, 000 civilians fled the troubling situation that developed in Las Anod,” the fist point stated, when the last tally UNFPA took placed the population of the whole region at 120,000. Las Anod is only the regional capital and is much smaller than most towns in the Republic of Somaliland.

The communique picked from among the participants three leading Sheikhs all of whom hail from the same clan as that which started the Las Anod war and kept it stoked. The statement called on businessmen and well philanthropists to address their donations to the sheikhs using their numbers to send donations to electronically, namely:

1. Sheikh Mohamud Shibili  + 254 722852977

2. Sheikh Abdirizak Abdullahi  +254 722765241, and

3. Sheikh Abdulkadir Boobe   +254 722404947

Alternatively, donators could use pay bill No. 919700, A/C No. 0999299301 of Ansaary Sunnah Trust.

The Sheikhs, the statement were to coordinate the donations to. the displaced population.

The cleric’s call coincided with another call made by the leaders of the Sool conflict calling on regional Diasporans and members of the dominant clan of the region to start sending donations to the leading Council members.

An earlier statement from the same clan-heavy gathering of the clerics in the same city ion 12 February 2023 – just six days after Garaad Jama gave the order to militarily engage the Somaliland army to militias and residents of the region, the sheikhs failed to admonish the call or criticize it as was to be expected of Islamic leaders. Instead, they put the whole blame on Somaliland.

“We deplore the indiscriminate shelling of the city targeting civilians, businesses, hospitals and residential areas,’ their statement said on its first point at the time.

The timing of the calls confirms a contentions that the unnecessarily lamentable call to arms so playfully started in the region has hit strong political and economic doldrums since the violent demonstrations of late December 2022 and the call to war in early February 2023. Understandably, the meager savings of Sool Diaspora communities who encouraged the strife from afar exhausted, and the Somalia and international community support the instigators counted on did not materialize for absence of plausible reasons to continue a costly but meaningless war. This led many to believe that that the latest call of the clerics only served the insurgents since whatever that was raised would end up in the hands of the trouble leaders and their council to keep the cross-regional tribal war against Somaliland alive.

Heavily armed, motorized militias came from as far as Gedo bordering Kenya to reinforce regional militias disregarding international boundaries and citizenship. Somalians, Kenyans and Ethiopians by nationality, including prominent politicians and Sheikhs such as those who twice gathered in Nairobi held press conferences and clan meetings in other cities such as Jijiga, all blindly supporting a war whose only aim was to form a clan state in parts of the Sool region.

Among the militias fighting against the Somaliland army were known members of extremist groups such as Al Shabaab and Daesh (IS).

Four months on, it became clear to many of the combatants that they were fighting an unfair, uncalled for war that was intentionally planned by elements who had ulterior motives of their own. Splits emerged not only among the armed belligerents but also from among the traditional and political leaders who were either politically and tribally motivated to overturn a regional governance that supervised al all-around development in business, education, health, socioeconomic infrastructure and living standards that was on the uptick.

Since the end of last week, combatants who since February fought against the Somaliland army started laying down arms surrendering to the army with their technicals.

The last such batch came in today as below.

True to its word, the government of Somaliland ordered its army not to enter the city or shell insurgents’ positions unless it was absolutely unavoidable in order to safe their positions.

Given the great numbers, training and firepower of the army, it wouldn’t have taken it not more than two to three days to capture the city and drive off militias, observers believe, if not for the restraint it was ordered to maintain.

In the absence of proper governance and law and order, Las Anod became host to marauding looters, killer, rapists and extremist elements whose plans to turn it to a base for terrorism was not running well.

The Garaads (traditional leaders) drove an estimated 40 000 pupils from primary to secondary from their schools and homes. The kids, along with their distressed families, are presently barely keeping bone and flesh together at makeshift camps with neither enough food nor adequate shelter living with an uncertain prospect to the future.

The Council of Ministers of the government of Somaliland waived final year exams from them promising them to continue to the next levels on merits of scores they achieved the previous year. The government also offered free education to any of them wishing to continue learning at schools in any of the other cities of Somaliland.

University buildings, schools, government offices and abandoned houses are now being used as hospitals in Las Anod. Others are used as training centers for explosives technicians and for trainings hit and run sniper squads.

It has been reported that the latest victim who was gunned down on Sunday was the 72nd since February making a joke of the 40 people extremists killed in the city since 2010 incongruously blaming them on Somaliland although all were working for the government or were supportive of it. Ismail Ali, a brother of the father of Abdi Madoobe – the leader of extremist units of the insurgency –  was a member of the 33-member war council.

He was put to rest in a cemetery on the southern suburb of the troubled town Monday.

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