NEWS 2002



NAIROBI / KENYA, 16th October 2002

In an open letter to the United Nations, the heads of states and the international community, the Madhibaan - a genuine people of Somalia, spoke out against the continuous persecution and neglect, from which they still have to suffer:

The Madhibaan, traditionally also called Midgaan and belonging to the Sa'ab group of people, are an outcast minority of non-Somali origin and ancient hunter-gatherer culture. Having survived, scattered all over Somalia and often as true slaves among the patron sub-clans of the major Somali clans, it was only after the downfall of the former Somali Government, that their plight could be made known to the outside world.

Though described by earlier scholars, the struggle of the Madhibaan / Midgaan was first brought to the attention of the international community in 1993 and in a specific session with the then special envoy of the UN Secretary General, Ambassador M. Sahanoun in 1994. Since then the genuine case of the Madhibaan has been proven over and over again. Therefore the Madhibaan/Midgaan are today considered not only prima facie refugees ex Somalia, but also as a minority with specific protection needs by all states as well as the UNHCR.

Unfortunately this important recognition of the Madhibaan/Midgaan is nowadays misused in various ways, and pretenders are placed by the majority Somali clans to represent the Madhibaan people. A clear case happened now again, when the Madhibaan applied for the participation in the Somalia peace conference, organized by the Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD) in Kenya.

Referring to their letters Msc/001-2002 dated July 14th 2002 and Msc/002-Nbi/02 dated Sept 1st 2002, the Madhibaan had been assured of their participation and had even submitted the names of their official representatives to the offices of the IGAD Technical Committee.

"But we were excluded at the last minute. Individual representatives, who are not the choice of our council, serve as pretenders. On October 11th 2002, we therefore intervened at the Offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya, which hosts the IGAD Technical

Committee, to seek redress and an explanation for the exclusion. But we did not get any satisfying answer nor a solution", states Ahmed Hersi Jama Djangoan, of the Madhibaan Supreme Council.

In their call to the international community, the Madhibaan state:

We are still left out, wondering whether the organizer of the conference has any deeper knowledge of Somalia and its peoples, or who allows IGAD to be so biased.

We believe that, having been suffering in the hands of the big Somali tribes for close to 700 years now, we deserve a sufficient and right representation at this conference; so as to put our case on the table. It is unfair and a clear violation of the human rights, manifested in the UN Charter, that for years without end our interests have been neglected in every respect and continuously.

The Madhibaan were and are not the ones, who started or continued the armed conflict in Somalia - we always have been peaceful. But we know about the powerful forces within the Somali `Patrons`, who are only interested to keep our people as their slaves and our daughters as their concubines. If therefore now also the african-led IGAD as well as the international community continues to neglect our natural and human rights, we will have to resort to self-defence in every respect.

We demand an immediate response from the international community, which is financing this so called peace conference - the 14th of that kind. We like to know, if the states want to let the money of their taxpayers go to waste again and if the peoples of these countries want to allow their govern- ments to close their eyes in front of a clear violation of all their own human rights conventions to which they are signatory.

We hereby declare that no person or pretender has the right to represent our people at this conference without the consent of the elected leaders and elders of our people, and we demand that the official delegates of the Madhibaan people have unhindered access to the conference as well as the full support by the organizers of this venue. IGAD is mandated and financed by the international community to do so.

In solidarity with the other peoples from Somalia, who are considered minorities and who are also not allowed to represent themselves openly, freely and fairly, we demand an independent investigation into the scandal, which is given by the fact that the Somali Minorities are either not allowed to participate or fake representatives are presented.

Neither embezzlement nor misappropriation of funds, bias or corruption can so far not be ruled out to have played a role, but fact is this conference for peace in Somalia is a farce as long as not even the
real people can represent themselves.

"We don't want to resort to armed struggle ourselves and only can hope that you hear our voices through all the noice of guns and explosions, which has become lauder inside Somalia since this so
called peace process by IGAD is underway.

(signed by Yassin Hersi and 4 members)

P.O BOX 337 * Degmada * Bondheere * Muqdisho * Somaliya

TEL/FAX: +254-2-796906
Cellphone: +254-(0) 733-423715


Somali talks rocked by row on delegates
Nairobi / Kenya - Thursday, October 17, 2002


There was discontent yesterday among some Somali delegates attending a peace conference in Eldoret over representation.

Leaders of some factions complained that they were under-represented and pointed out that the talks may not be healthy without more members being brought on board.

In an interview, the chairman of the Saransor community, Mr Haji Mohamed Muse said he was the only one representing members of his community who include the Geeljecel, Degoodiye, Magare and Isse.

"Some factions have up to 30 representatives while others like ours is only represented by one person'', he said.

Most of the delegates complained that some factions like Hawiye, Dieir, Darod and Digit had the majority representatives and were perceived to be favoured in representation by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

"This is clear discrimination because some groups have more representatives than others. We should have equal numbers,'' he said.

Another delegate, Mr Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail told the meeting that if those still in Somalia, near Mogadishu awaiting transportation were not brought to the conference then the talks should not proceed.

In his speech on Tuesday, President Moi noted that some of the delegates were complaining about representation. He told them that the talks would not reach a state where voting will be required.

Those who attended the first meeting after it's official opening were Foreign Affairs Minister Marsden Madoka, Permanent Secretary Rebecca Nabutola , President Moi's Special envoy Elijah Mwangale who also chaired the session and several other observers.

Among the leading figurers who have already arrived in Eldoret are Mr Hussein Aideed of the Somalia National Allies and Mr Muse Sudi of SSA. Another key person expected at the conference today is the Chairman of the Juba Valley Alliance[JVA] Mr Barra Aaden Shire .

The JVA Secretary Mr Abdirizak Ashkir told journalists that they had no problems with representation. He however the American Representative Mr Glenn Warren and the Egyptian government to give their views about the conference.

Mr Ashkir reminded his countrymen that heads of states who attended the opening session had indicated that this would be the last time they will commit themselves into the peace talks.

He particularly singled out the Ethiopian Prime Minister Mr Melres Zenawi as reinforcing the views of the leaders that this conference was their last chance to channel peace to Somalia.


Somali talks must not fail
Editorial / DAILY NATION
Nairobi / Kenya - Thursday, October 17, 2002

Kenya should be proud to host yet another round of talks among the armed factions in Somalia. But a nagging doubt lingers over whether these talks will yield anything more than 13 previous efforts since 1991 when President Siad Barre was overthrown.

However, this time round, the outcome might be different. The previous talks were scuttled by various warlords who routinely boycotted them. However, it is understood that the majority of the delegations are already in Eldoret, and it is to be fervently hoped they will come up with a peace formula, and a
method for forming an effective government.

The major theme of this conference, which is supported financially and materially by the European Union and the United States, was captured well by President Moi and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who said that regardless of the number of such talks, unless the Somalis themselves got down to business and agreed on how to salvage their own country, no outsider will ever do it for them.

Said President Moi during the opening ceremony on Tuesday: "More than 13 peace initiatives have been held, yet Somalia still bleeds". He should know, having hosted two previous attempts with nothing to show for it.

This is the hub of the matter. There must be reasons why these warlords carved up their country into fiefdoms and ensured there would be no central government or any peace for the past 11 years. They and their clans must benefit personally, which is probably why in the past they have opposed
the creation of a unitary state.

Unfortunately, this instability in Somalia has long destabilised neighbouring countries, especially Kenya and Ethiopia, which is why the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has been sponsoring peace talks.

In the case of Kenya, most of the small arms which have made the country insecure are said to originate from Somalia. So do the majority of refugees in Kenya. Even on the basis of self-interest, there is every good reason why Kenyans should be interested in the outcome of the talks.

The only such talks that yielded any tangible benefit were held in Djibouti in 2000. The result was a cobbled-up transitional government, which, unfortunately, was rejected by most of the warlords, and which has, therefore, never controlled anything beyond the capital city, Mogadishu.

Something better than this is expected of this latest round.