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What is Fuelling the Fire Burning in Shidan, Sanaag, Somalia?

By Hassan Haji Mohamed

For some time in the recent past the local citizens of Eastern Sanaag Region noticed the emergence of an armed clan-driven movement aimed at forceful occupation of other clans’ territories and villages. This is what led to the November 28 and 29, 2019 attack by an armed militia from a neighboring clan to occupy Warsangheli- GarabSare clan village of Shidan, which resulted in several deaths and injuries.   

Sanaag region

This baseless land claim, by this neighboring invading Habar Yonis sub-clan, started 30-years ago after the collapse of the Somali in 1991 and the subsequent occupation of the Northern regions of the country by the Isaq-clan-led SNM opposition movement. These developments encouraged these invading sub-clans, who are obsessed with land-grabbing and expansion, to engage in this unprovoked attack on Shidan.

It is unfortunate that the Warsangheli-GarabSare subclan, an organizer and promoter of Erigabo Regional Peace Conference of 1992-1993, would today be subjected to an on-going intimidation and naked-aggression from the same clans who were the co-signers of the historical Peace Agreement among the clans inhabiting the Sanaag Region.

No one can hide or dispute the historical reality of the eastern coastal areas of Sanaag Mountains. The village of Shidan has been a permanent residence with homes for the past 300 years. It is a location for properties that have been subject to inheritance from one generation of Garabsare to another. Shidan also hosts a variety of historical aromatic trees, such as Boswellia sacra (frankincense) and Commiphora myrrha (myrrh).

The land grabbing scheme of some neighboring Sanaag Region clans is part and parcel of the expansionists agenda of the North-west Hargeisa-based ‘Somaliland’ secessionist’ regime. This is what led to the recent death, injuries, displacement, and destruction, burning, and looting of private properties in hither forth peaceful Shidan.

The situation in Shidan is at a fluid where both parties are acquiring arms and fighters. Also, the secessionist Muuse Bixe Somaliland regime is exasperating the situation in Sanaag by sending armed soldiers, a tactical political maneuver aimed at distracting the eastern factions of the Habar Yonis clan from the acute political dispute between Muse Bixi Regime and the Habar Yonis clan.

On the other hand, the GarabSare community is open for face-to-face Peace dialogue with the neighboring Habar Yonis sub-clans; provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. The clan militia and Somaliland army withdraw without condition from Warsangheli-GarabSare territories and at same time withdraw their unlawful claim to a land that for centuries was known as a Warsangheli-Garabsare territory by the clans of Sanaag as well the British Colonial regime of the 19th and 20th century, as documented by the famous British Explorer, Richard Specke during a 1850s trip from Aden to the coastal mountainous areas of British Somaliland Makher Coast (today’s Sanaag Region);
  2. The complete unconditional withdrawal of Somaliland government militia from ALL Warsangheli-Garabsare territory;
  3. The Peace Dialogue should start and be confined to the neighboring sub-clans inhabiting this area of Sanaag; with intermittent intervention, if necessary, by a neutral Third Party, agreed upon in advance by the two Parties.

Hassan Haji Mohamed
Spokesperson, Garbsare Defense Committee
Email:[email protected]

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