Col. Hassan Mohamed Nuur (Shaargaduud ) and the Humanitarian impact in Somalia 1996-2006 By: Abdulkadir Abukar Sheikh (Dhaalib) (pictures)

07 April, 2013 in English News by Baidoanews Webmaster
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    Col. Hassan Mohamed Nuur (Shaargaduud ) and the Humanitarian impact in Somalia 1996-2006 By: Abdulkadir Abukar Sheikh (Dhaalib) (pictures)

    It was in the middle of 1997, when I first met Col. Mohamed Nuur Shatigaduud, in the outskirts of Baidoa town, where he was leading Rahanweyn Resistant Army (RRA) fighters against General Aidid occupation in Bay and Bakool.

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It was in the middle of 1997, when I first met Col. Mohamed Nuur Shatigaduud, in the outskirts of Baidoa town, where he was leading Rahanweyn Resistant Army (RRA) fighters against General Aidid occupation in Bay and Bakool.

I was one of the few Local UN humanitarian staff working these areas at that time and trying to reach thousands of displaced people suffering in Bay and Bakool area for the result of the conflict.

At that time we have received reports of thousands of people dying for lack of food and disease for the result of wide spread conflict between RRA and General Aidid militiaman.

Situation was extremely very bad and the fighting between General Aidid militia and RRA intensified day after day. Thousands of people were forced to flee from their houses and cough in the fighting’s. 

People had nothing to eat, some of the people forced to dig underground and eat grass nuts for their daily meal and water availability was difficult. One of the trips I have made to the region I have seen my eyes very discouraging situations in Wajid areas, people were scattered all around the areas, some of them very slim and could not able to walk, many died in the roads, malnutrition was its highest peak among children. Some of the people I met said to me very scaring stories, but all these situations encouraged me to continue what job.

My trip started from Bardere town of Gedo region (where we had sub-office) to Goofgaduud Buurey of Baidoa areas via road (170) Km rough road, with me a truck of 10 tons of nutrition supplies to distribute malnutrition children that were suffering in the areas of Baidoa town. There were also reports of watery diarrhoea among children in these areas and I had as well some chlorine and ORS supplies with me. Access was very difficult and vulnerable people were scattered different places. Most of the places where we used to travel were no man land, no proper local authorities and there were free militiamen moving.

There was really very risk to perform this kind of trip and it needed to be very carefully during the trip and all movements. There was no proper telephone, but used HF radios only. But for the sake of the suffering my people, I had nothing to worry and my target was to reach these people.
On my way to Baidoa, I have passed many villages including Eesow, Ufurow, Qansaxdhere, until I came Foolfeyle of Bardale area. When I came Foolfelye village, we were told that there are mines buried in this road and we cannot continue our journey to Goofgaduud Buurey. 

I have seen as well two military vehicles burned in the road by mine, just 200 meters where we were stopped. But with the help of a very young boy 15-17 years from Foolfyle village, we were guided and managed to continue out trip, this was terrible experience for my life. Thanks as well the driver of the vehicle I was using Madey Boorow that was very experienced man and intelligent and had good knowledge of the area.

We were informed that there were two main IDP (Internal displaced persons) camps Eldon and Dhanqooq areas in just few miles from Baidoa town, where the other side Jen Aidid militiamen based. People in these areas were under alert everyday and expecting attack from Gen Aid militiamen. The displace people and the RRA fighters were mixed and it was very difficult for humanitarian workers to separate of them and to reach the displaced people, that was our target.

In order to do this task and the local leaders, I have managed my first time in 1997 to met the leader of RRA Col. Mohammed Hassan Nuur (Shaargaduud) Eldon - Goofgaduud Buurey areas around 30 KM from Baidoa, in a small bush like IDPs shelter, no sort of beds, no mattress, no house decorations and he was sitting an old sacks and grass with his two RRA deputies, Sheikh Aden Madoobe and Mohamed Ibrahim Habsade and many other young RRA militia leaders.

My first impression Col. Shargaduud seemed very simple, kind and calm person. After the greetings, I have informed the purpose of my trip and the mission. In fact, immediately after the briefing I have got the green light to continue my trip to do the necessary assessment to understand the real humanitarian situations in the nearby villages. He encouraged me to perform my work without condition and Shaargaduud mentioned to me the first priory in the areas despite the serious food shortages was chlorination of water points (water treatment), particular the villages where there was cases of diarrhoea among children and almost no medical supplies, no proper health personal in these communities.

Despite the security constraints, my trip ended successful and I could say that mass of humanitarian interventions managed to focus the vulnerable people in Bay, Bakool and Gedo after this trip. The other important influential colleagues for humanitarian interventions at this period and those I still remember in my mind were: Late Dr. Ayub Sheikh Yerow, Mohamed Ahmed Alasow, Dr. Salad Ducaale and Nuurto Abdulkadir Sheikh, all EX- UNICEF Somalia staff.

After three weeks of RRA recaptured in Baido 6 June 2009, I and with late colleague Dr. Ayuub Sheikh Yerow, who was the Officer in charge for the office (UNICEF/Baioda) at the time have met again Shaargaadud and his administration in Baidoa. Shaaraduud played key role for humanitarian organizations to return Baidoa safely. Almost Baidoa become one of the quietest places in Somalia and Humanitarian Hub for Cenral and Southern zone, ten regions in Somalia. Local and International staff used to play football at Dr. Ayub football stadium in Baidoa, it was fantastic time.
Truly Shaargaduud was not a man with personnel demands, but mostly the demands of his people in large. He liked to listen to the people and give short response always; he used always to avoid conflict with him and the humanitarian organization.

Many life saving activities that Humanitarian organizations conducted in the areas during 1998-2002 that saved millions of people in this region would not be possible without the open and the honest characters of Shaarguud and his administration at the time in Baidoa. Many times he used to ask and encourage the humanitarian organizations to undertake projects that are benefit for the people and are sustainable.

When RRA administration changed in to as the Federal regional Administration system (Somali South West Administration with sex regions) that was announced in Baidoa, 2 April 2002, I was also in Baidoa and attended the inauguration ceremony. Unfortunately, with few months only the administration could not continue to survive in Baidoa and RRA started to split and fight with in them. In July 2002, another humanitarian disaster started and these fighting caused Shatigaduud led militiamen to flee from Baidoa to Wajid and surrounding areas.

Sarmaandheer – Peace Initiative in Wajid district of Bakool region

I was the beginning of August 2005 when late Mr. Moallim Isaak, knew as (Moallin Jiis) former Wajid district commissioner (DC) approached to me and one of my humanitarian colleague Isaak Ali Subag in Wajid district of Bakool region, where we were temporary working as humanitarian staff, and the DC requested us to help him for peace attempt to solve the conflict between RRA sides.

In fact for me, as humanitarian worker, It was very difficult to involve this task , but for the sake of my people that was suffering conflict and I belong to the community , I have accepted to take part in this important work with very low profile. One other hand, I felt as well was the necessary and the obligations that is missing for someone to do it this important work.

Our role, Isaaq Subag and myself was to give the District Commissioner Moallim Jiis the necessary ideas, our experience for conflict handling, and technical guidance to this peace process. We were not experts of conflict resolution handling, but with our experience of working in conflict environment in Somalia for many years and our job required to undertake humanitarian access negations with the community leaders and the good relationship we had with the community leaders showed great positive chance to this process. One other think I read from my mind was that peace and humanitarian interventions are friends and cannot be separated. The children those are suffering under this conflict they want only to reach someone by any means, but in a peacefully way.

our first day the low profile peace initiative was curried by late Moallim Isaak, Wajid District commissioner, Isaak Ali subag and myself in Wajid and come up with a plan to start the peace reconciliation between RRA leaders in the region. One of the main tasks was to empower the community leaders in the area, mobilize and to understand them to take active leadership for this peace process. The other important issue was to undertake fundraising within the community resources available in Wajid and Baidoa. Do not relay what you do not have in your pocket. This philosophy worked really.

I would like to mention as well one of the best contributors to this Sarmaandheer peace meeting was, Sheikh Ibrahim Abdullahi, Abdirahmaan Elay and his wife Mariam Dhakalow for their facilitating necessary financial aspect to the peace meeting. Thanks some funds received from UK at the time, from Amina Mohamed Mursal, at later date she become TFG minster in Somalia 2006 and I met her many times in Baidoa.

Shatigaduud was the first person we have approached and we met him in Wajid and the first day of the meeting he gave us the go ahead the peace initiative without any condition and he showed us that he had much confidence to the peace initiative team and this was important for us.

At the time 2005, Shatigaduud and some of his supporters were staying in Wajid, despite he was as well TFG Minister of Agriculture, and he was not satisfied to this post. Shaargaduud was living in the collapsed former Wajid hospital with some of his bodyguards. The condition of the building was extremely very poor and dirty, no windows, no door, no hygiene aspect at all, but Shaargaduud preferred to stay there for the sake of his people. He did not wanted to sleep in a hotel or proper house, but all the time he was happy and at least his dream was one day his people would unite and life better condition and peace.

Shaargaduud was suffering diabetes, Type 1 and other disease, he was having difficult to get insulin injection, and always he used to ask help someone travelling to Kenya and buy insulin. His stay in Wajid was full of risky but, he did for the sake of the people.

The voluntary reconciliation team in Wajid late Moallim Isaak ( Moallim Jiis), former Wajid DC, Isaak Ali Subag, and myself used to meet every night at around (09:00 till 12:00) pm, because this issue was very sensitive and we did not want information to go out before everything were settle well.
After five days of the peace initiative, we have managed to communicate Mohamed Ibrahim Habsade and his team while they were in Baidoa and we had shared our objectives and the peace we wanted to undertake in our community.

Two days after first contact with Habsade, what we have encountered Habsade was very encouraging but cautious. Habsade told us the initiative is good but he is very worrying the security and the location of the meeting. He was also suspecting if any other hand could involve this reconciliation meeting. But after three other round nights of talking with telephone, we have convinced Habsade and his team and accepted to meet Shaatigaduud and start dialogue. This was one of the best thing that I have managed for my life. The team were also very happy, and really relieved. We had as well other parrellel communications with Sheikh Aden Madoobe and he was very helpful and welcomed the initiative.

Since Shatigaduud was staying in Wajid and the other group in Baidoa (90 Km distance), we came up with en plan the meeting to be held in Sarmaandheeer village which is located Berdale district of Bay region and it was almost the centre of the two sides. Both of the sides accepted this proposal. It was other step forward to the peace in the region.

Now , it become easy to involve elders in Wajid and take the leadership and one of the respected community elders, Malaaq Ali Bare took the leadership with many other elders in Wajid areas. Thanks as well the community in Wajdi in large that gave good morale support to this process and the only story that people used to talk was the peace meeting between the RRA sides.

The first one day peace meeting was held in Sarmaandheer village on 05 September 2005, where Shargaduud and Mohamed Ibrahim Habasde met and it was one of the such first meeting to happen after RRA conflict in the Baidoa July 2002. Logistic support were organized both Baidoa and Wajid and this was unbelievable. The outcome of this meeting was very positive, although no concrete points agreed, but at least the communities living in the areas of Baidoa started to travel peacefully, many checkpoints were disappeared automatic and the road between Baidoa and Wajid now improved access. Thousands of cheering communities in the area started to greet each other and congratulate.

After one year of the Sarmaandher meeting another big meeting were followed and held in Wajid February 2006 where many elders, TFG parliamentarians from Digil and Mirelfe attended the meeting. The action points agreed this meeting was almost the ending of the conflict of RRA in the region. ( The action points of this meeting I Somali version sharing with you below)

During my humanitarian car in Somalia from 1991-2009, I have got the change to meet many different kinds of local authorities in Bay, Bakool, Gedo, Midd Jubba, and as well middle Shebelle and Mohamed Nuur (Sharargaduud) was one of the kindest, easy going, understandable, strong commitment, liked Somalia in large, treated all people equal, good hearth, wide vision and peace maker that I ever met.

Despite he had a big vision to undertake Somali Southwest regional administration for sex regions, but he was only one person and as Somali proverb says, one finger can not wash a face. I Hope someone will take over and continue this kind of style of peace in the community and in Somalia at large.

NB: (1) In the report includes names or pictures for some of community leader those died and I pray almighty Allah rest their soul in peace and Janatul fardowsa.
(2) The pictures in this report was taken 2006 in Wajid with the help of col. Ahmed Nur Mayow, former chairperson Community Care Centre (CCC) in Baidoa and now as Member of Somali parliament in Mogadishu.
(3) Somali version of this report would come in later date.

By: Abdulkadir Abukar Sheikh (Dhaalib)
Ex-Humanitarian worker in Somalia
Now: Chairman of Somali Arlaadi Relief Förening I Örebro 
Örebro, Sweden
 07 April 2013.

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