(ERGO) – Leyla Ali Hassan and her family of nine have returned home to Bahdo-Gabo after spending 16 days under a tree sheltering from a clan dispute over land in central Somalia’s Galgadud region.
They were among around 2,000 families displaced by the conflict that erupted on 3 June in Bahdo-Gabo. She was able to return following a ceasefire enforced by Somalia’s federal troops deployed in the area.
“When I heard there was a ceasefire and the brothers who were fighting were being reconciled, I felt happy. I came back and now we are waiting for a lasting peace agreement,” said Leyla, a pastoralist.
The conflict was sparked by the digging of a water pool on land demarcated for grazing under a 2015 agreement by the area elders from two clans. The land was not supposed to be settled on or developed.
Leyla said she took some food and utensils on her camel and fled with some other families, who walked 25 kilometres to Abesaale.
Ubtan Ahmed Afrah fled to Duduma-Adde village, 18 kilometres east of Bahdo-Gabo, where she and her four children were hosted by a relative for 18 days. She left behind her herd of 100 goats that were grazing on the disputed land on the day the conflict erupted.
“It was midday when the gunfire erupted and both sides started shooting at each other. I didn’t think of searching for my goats,” she said. “We fled the gunfire and now that there is a truce, we thought there was no reason to live as IDPs. We returned to our homes with hopes of a lasting peace,” she said.
She returned on 21 June and has been searching for her lost goats. So far she has found only 50 of them.
The commissioners of Bahdo-Gabo and Docolay, aided by federal troops, have destroyed the four water pools that had been excavated on the disputed land by the warring sides. It is hoped in this way to put an end to the conflict.
Docolay commissioner, Elmi Ahmed Adan, told Radio Ergo that efforts to solve the conflict were proceeding. A sign has been erected warning people that the demarcated land is for grazing only and that no water pools can be constructed on it.
Elmi said they had managed to separate the two militia groups in Bahdo-Gabo and Amadi and that troops were deployed between them, whilst negotiations to end the hostility were going on.