Search This Blog

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

People Who Feed Off Anarchy in Somalia Are Quick to Fuel It

GALKAYO, Somalia — Beyond clan rivalry and Islamic fervor, an entirely different motive is helping fuel the chaos in Somalia: profit.

Skip to next paragraph

The New York Times
Profiteers in cities like Galkayo see the government as a threat.
A whole class of opportunists — from squatter landlords to teenage gunmen for hire to vendors of out-of-date baby formula — have been feeding off the anarchy in Somalia for so long that they refuse to let go.

They do not pay taxes, their businesses are totally unregulated, and they have skills that are not necessarily geared toward a peaceful society.

In the past few weeks, some Western security officials say, these profiteers have been teaming up with clan fighters and radical Islamists to bring down Somalia’s transitional government, which is the country’s 14th attempt at organizing a central authority and ending the free-for-all of the past 16 years.

They are attacking government troops, smuggling in arms and using their business savvy to raise money for the insurgency. And they are surprisingly open about it.

Omar Hussein Ahmed, an olive oil exporter in Mogadishu, the capital, said he and a group of fellow traders recently bought missiles to shoot at government soldiers.

“Taxes are annoying,” he explained.

Maxamuud Nuur Muradeeste, a squatter landlord who makes a few hundred dollars a year renting out rooms in the former Ministry of Minerals and Water, said he recently invited insurgents to stash weapons on “his” property. He will do whatever it takes, he said, to thwart the government’s plan to reclaim thousands of pieces of public property.

Click here for full article

From Ian Bach 4-25-2007