As a part of the outcomes of Benadir elders monthly forum that was held in Mogadishu on 18th July 2012, Somali Peace Line organized two days forum on roadblocks in Benadir region at IIDA conference hall on 25th July 2012 and in Beder conference hall on 26th July 2012. More than 110 people from 16 districts, Benadir administration and elders targeted by the action have attended the meeting. The purpose of the meetings was to strengthen the relationship between clan elders and Benadir districts and share ideas on removing painful roadblocks in the city.
The districts representatives presented their peace and security situation to the participants. After presentation, each district was asked questions about their district and they reply. Almost all districts expressed concern over the roadblocks in their own district but also indicated that roadblocks cannot be removed all in the present time.
Those who have spoken on behalf of districts made known the existence of peace committees in districts that work together with the district administration and security forces. This they said contributed some progress in crime prevention and civilian protection. Some acknowledged the existence of checkpoints in their districts but they argued that it is did so to promote peace and confine militia at roads so that they do not harm people in their residences.
The district representatives blamed all insecurities and increasing roadblocks on the central government because they train thousands of clan militia, give weapons and release them in the town. “They (militia) are not educated, they don’t have job and have a weapon, what do they do? They rob people and establish roadblocks in the town”, said by one participant.
The district representatives declared that they were named by the government and they work under their directives. If the government has police forces that can maintain security and can create job for the militia, we will hand them over and remove checkpoints.
In order to remove or reduce the harm of roadblocks, the participants recommended the following points:
2. The government should gather militiamen, employ the educated and create vocational training for the uneducated ones
3. The government should restrict the military in their camps
4. The clan elders, peace committees, police and district administrations should have close working relationships.
5. The local NGOs, clan elders and other social groups should take awareness raising campaign on roadblocks.
6. Benadir local authority and Benadir Police department should reshuffle district commissioners and district police commanders as they are now structured on clan basis.
7. Government and Bendir local authority should come up with systematic, and transparent tax collection in which motorists can pay tax dues to stop tax collection on the streets.
8. Benadir local authority should use collected taxes for the improvement of the security and other public services for the population.
Amiin Yuusuf Khasaaro