The Galgaduud carnage might be the consequence of arming clans in Somalia. Up to ten gunmen murdered five boys, all under 13 years old, Monday night between the Dhabad and Qorof villages. The atrocity was reportedly a result of clan-based animosity along the Somalia–Ethiopia border. However, experts point out that the tragedy is also a direct consequence of the extensive arming of clan militias that the President of Somalia has pushed forward.
Vicinity of Qorof and Dhabad villages, Somalia-Ethiopia border. By Yahya:
Yesterday, the Somali Digest was among the first media outlets to report on the gruesome incident bordering the Galgaduud region. A group of ten gunmen murdered the five boys while they were sleeping in a religious Quranic school, also known as a madrasa. The gunmen kidnapped a sixth boy but released him later. The boy said the men drove a Toyota pickup truck with a mounted machine gun.
Without making rushed conclusions, it is worth noting that the Toyota pickup with a mounted machine gun was precisely the same type as the one used by NISA agents. NISA reportedly dispatched at least two dozen of these vehicles to the region prior to Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s recent visit to Dhuusamareeb. They were part of the President’s advanced security. Further investigation should clarify whether the perpetrators used NISA’s car or if it was just a coincidence.
Subclans “not interested” in fighting al-Shabaab
What is undoubtedly not a coincidence, however, is that Reer Muuse, a subclan whose members are allegedly behind the slaughter, has recently received plenty of ammunition from the central Somali government. The clan militia will likely join the fight against al-Shabaab, as President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud confirmed during his Duusamareb visit.
Experts have previously warned that arming clan militias, which then turn the weapons against each other, is not a good idea. Recent clashes among Abgal subclans in Middle Shabelle were just another confirmation of that malicious practice. Clan militias are often not interested in fighting al-Shabaab. Decades-old animosities between them and other sub or sub-sub clans motivate them. This has been sadly the case of Saleebaan and Marehan, who have been in conflict for about 40 years.
The blame should always be put on individuals rather than clan affiliation. However, with more inter-clan violence occurring almost daily, the President’s strategy of arming clans against al-Shabaab proves flawed. When clans and subclans who have hated each other for decades receive means to “solve” their problems, it will continue ending up like the Galgaduud carnage.