(ERGO) – More than 100 displaced families have been left homeless after their camp in the Hamar-bille neighbourhood in Mogadishu’s Wardigley district was destroyed by Somali government soldiers.
The residents of Falah camp, most of whom are women, children, and elderly people, have dispersed to other parts of Mogadishu in search of shelter and food.
Somali government forces moved in to demolish the camp on 14 January 2021. The camp had been there for the last decade.
Fadumo Hassan Haji, a mother of six, is now living with a family in Hamar-Jajab, who are helping her with food and water although they cannot house her. She told Radio Ergo that she has been sleeping rough with her children in the compound.
“I didn’t manage to take out anything from my home – my belongings, even our clothes and utensils were all destroyed in the demolition,” Fadumo said. “I lost one of my children as the demolition was going on. I was busy looking for the child and when I came back, my house and everything inside had been destroyed.”
Some of the IDPs said they had been receiving notices ordering them to vacate the land from members of the Warta Nabadda district administration since mid-2020.
Fadumo had lived in Falah camp for six years, after she left Maage-Osman settlement in Middle Shabelle region, where their farm was affected by drought. She used to earn a living doing casual laundry and cleaning jobs, earning $2 to $4 a day.
“We don’t have a place to live and if we go back to our region, there are no farms to cultivate,” she said.
Another former resident of Falah camp, Hamdi Omar Mohamed, who is seven months pregnant, is living with a relative on the outskirts of Deynile district where she gets shelter and food from the hosts.
The mother of six used to earn her living as a cleaner at Hamar-bille market, earning between one to five dollars a day, but she has no income now. “I was happy in the camp, it was close to the market,” Hamdi said.
Banadir regional administration chairman, Abdikadir Mohamed Mohamud, confirmed that the demolition of the camp was illegal. He said the matter was under investigation, as they sought to establish the people who were behind the action.
“As an administration, we haven’t been notified by the state. We just found out after the demolition that camp residents were not moved out in accordance with the law,” Abdikadir told Radio Ergo.
Land disputes are prevalent during political transitions. Banadir regional administration issued an order freezing the issuance of title deeds and land cases on 26 January 2021.
Falah camp was located between Sinai and Hamar-bille neighbourhoods. The area used to be a market but following the collapse of the central government in the 1990s it became home to some of the poorest residents, who could not afford to pay rent elsewhere or buy land.