SO­MA­LIA

CityPress - - News -

In Abu­ure vil­lage, Hi­ran, Zakariye Ji­now (35) wakes up ev­ery day ‘ready to fight’. ‘I have a knife and a sword.

The herders can’t just di­rect their cows to eat my crops. My place is beau­ti­ful,’ he says gaz­ing at his five small chil­dren. ‘I work hard to grow my maize, mil­let, wheat and peas.

When the cat­tle de­stroy all the green saplings – they are in the wrong, not I.

My land doesn’t move. They are the in­vaders.’ But herders in dry So­ma­lia suf­fer too. Muse Mu­min (29), who lives in Hi­ran’s Bu­u­loburde dis­trict with his wife and three chil­dren, had eight heads of cat­tle die re­cently. ‘There was no rain for a long time so they went to graze in the agri­cul­tural ar­eas. What else could we do?’ Mu­min’s hand was se­verely dam­aged in a fight with a farmer in 2013. ‘My cat­tle was graz­ing on some­one’s field and four farm­ers came and at­tacked me. They wanted to cut my head – luck­ily my hand was pro­tect­ing it.’ Three of his friends were killed in such clashes. ‘I also saw two farm­ers killed. It turned that farm­ing com­mu­nity into vig­i­lantes.

They have been at­tack­ing herders ever since.’

As droughts worsen, the fights in­ten­sify. Clashes be­tween Habargidir farm­ers and Biya­mal herders have drawn in the So­mali army and Al Shabaab with their mod­ern weapons.

Mu­min says: ‘This con­flict is just part of the civil war in our coun­try.’

In So­ma­lia, 24 out or 30 peo­ple in­ter­viewed in ru­ral Hi­ran said they knew of some­one who died in a farmer-herder con­flict.

Ji­now agrees the cat­tle also need food. ‘I don’t know how to solve this prob­lem. Even our el­ders don’t know.’ If there is no solution, he will ‘sim­ply die’. ‘I am wait­ing for that.’

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