of armed men have set up roadblocks in and around Somalia's coastal
city of Kismayo, 500km south of Mogadishu, causing serious insecurity.
livelihoods are at stake and aid agencies have abandoned Kismayo
because of the security problem," said Dahir Ali, an official with the
human rights group SEDHURO. "This needs a resolution now."
said: "There is a roadblock on every corner and street, making it very
difficult for people to conduct their day-to-day activities."
international aid agencies have left Kismayo due to the insecurity. In
January, services at the only hospital were halted after four people -
including two foreign aid workers - were killed in a blast.
two aid workers, a Kenyan surgeon, Dr Victor Okumu, 51, and French
logistician Damien Lehalle, 27, were working for Médecins Sans
Frontières (MSF-Holland), which was running the hospital.
Ali said the insecurity posed by the many roadblocks was due to a lack of "a proper and effective local administration".
Bile Abdi, a city elder, said local leaders were working hard to
contain the situation and solve the problem "once and for all".
Abdi said the main problem was a mutiny by local security personnel over non-payment of salaries.
are going to resolve the salary issue today or tomorrow," he said.
"Once that is solved, all security personnel will be encamped, thus
allowing for the identification and arrest of the freelance gunmen who
have been the major cause of insecurity in the town.
is a meeting of all clans going on right now to bring every clan on
board to fight the criminals as a unified community," Abdi said.
a Kismayo businessman, who requested anonymity, told IRIN that city
residents had little faith that local leaders would deal with the
"This is something that keeps coming back and only an effective administration can deal with it," he said.
added that the clans needed to come together to set up a unified and
strong administration: "I don’t know what they are afraid of."
said local leaders were caught up in the fight between the Transitional
Federal Government (TFG) and insurgents, mostly loyal to the Union of
Islamic Courts (UIC). The UIC, which was in control of much of
south-central Somalia, was ousted by combined Ethiopian and TFG forces
in December 2006.
He said if an administration was set up and
one side or the other saw it as "pro-UIC or TFG, then it is doomed
before it even begins work. That is why it is taking so long to come up
with one. They want to make sure that neither side is offended."
He, however, warned that the city could not be kept "in no man's land for long".