Somalia: the most likely peaceful town

Posted: August 26, 2014 in World News

Dollow is the smallest town in the Gedo region of South Western Somalia. The town has seen dramatic developments in terms of security and peace in recent years.

-Somalia has been a country in conflict since a central government led by general Mohammed siad Barre collapsed in 1991.

Almost every city and town in Somalia were damaged by two decades old civil war that saw hundreds of thousands of people
dead and millions displaced in and out of the country.

Mostly, Somali cities and towns lacked the peace that would have led development and many positive things to the country.

However, one town located in Somalia’s most unstable regions, the southwest has been enjoying a prolong peace something untypical of a city or town in most parts of the country now.

Dollow is a small town in Somalia’s southwest region of Gedo. The town
located near the border with Ethiopia, has an estimated population of about 30000 according to the last concensus conducted in 2012.

The town has been a stronghold for Somali forces since 2009 and has a
functioning local administration that gets support from the federal
government in Mogadishu.

Many people believe dollow is the most peaceful town in south and central somalia.

Dollow has an established police and defense forces of about 50 in number combined.

There are 15 police force who operate inside thevtown and 35 defense forces are deployed in entrance areas of the town.

The defense force makes sure that anyone entering town is screened and is not in anyway threat to security.

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                 Abdirashid Hassan has been the district commissioner of Dollow since 2009

According to district commissioner, Abdirashid Hassan, there was no imminent external security threat to the town in the last 3 years.

” Our security forces are always alert to any threat that could potentially hurt the security of the town,” the DC said.

While Somalis in other parts of the country are always concerned about their security and when the sounds of gunfire and explosions will burst out, Residents in dollow have less worry about threats and security to the town and everyone gets on with their daily lives without fears.

Ibrahim Hassan who fled from Mogadishu in 2009 has been a resident of dollow for the last 4 years. He said, he has lived in four other towns in somalia as a refuge seeker before coming to dollow.

” Of all the four places I have lived, none were more peaceful than dollow, I never thought I would find a peaceful place like here in Somalia,” Ibrahim said.

In the streets of Dollow, you could see hundreds of people walking freely and peacefully. Large number of men sit around restaurant and open areas to converse mainly about politics and the situation of
their country. boys play football, women and men do mix freely and
chat in public places somethings banned in Alshabaab-controlled areas in Somalia.

“There is real sense of freedom in this part of the country,” said 19-year old footballer, abdikani Hassan

In 2010, Abdikani fled from luuq town, a former alshabaab stronghold up until 2011. He said, during his stay in luuq, Al- Shabaab restricted him from doing many things he loved as a young boy
like going to the cinema , playing football and watching soccer matchs.

” Thanks to Allah, I have done many things I have loved here in Dollow and I am satisfied with the current freedom I have than the former one under Shabaab”,

less threat to my business”

Abdi Dakane is an owner of a big restaurant in the centre of town.

Dakane’s business does grow everyday thanks to the enhanced security and the many customers willing to come over his restaurant. Dakane is impressed by the rapid growth of his business.

“due to the peaceful environment and the nice security, there is less
threat to my business and thanks to god it is only thriving. I am very
impressed with the work of the local administration who made sure we the citizens get peace and security here,” Dakane, 40,  said.

Abdi Dalkane and many other business people in Dollow believe that without better security and peace , there would have been no
business but the small town has offered them an opportunity to run what seems to be  successful businesses.

In one of the dozen refugees camp in the town, there’s Fatima mohamud, a mother of 6 who fled from the regional capital, Garbaharey after days of intense fighting between Al-Shabaab and Somali forces in 2012. The mother
says she is, though the difficult life in refugee camp, happy with what she describes as the ” peaceful life” she is experiencing.

Almost all the other refugees also expressed their satisfaction of their
peaceful lives as they no longer hear the gunshots and the explosions they have had experienced before.

” one of the most peaceful towns”

The District commissioner, Abdirashid Hassan Abdinoor, is a man in his late 30s. For his life, the DC has only one bodyguard in his office and more suprisingly goes to town everyday without a bodyguard.

I met him in his office guarded by a unarmed young man. After i was screened of weapons possession or any harmful things for five minutes, I was eventually allowed me in.

The DC is a medium sized man with an average body which has seemingly gone through lots of exercise.

I asked abdirashid Hassan, the DC how they Managed to keep off Al-Shabaab threats and their violent activities.

” Al-Shabaab doesn’t have the capability to fight with us directly, ourBforces are always alert to deal with any potentialbthreat to the town from outside, we have soldiers from all entrance points of the town and our men always make sure that anyone entering the town is througly screened of any threat to our security before they are allowed in”,
the DC answered

The police force is tasked to make sure that Anyone who entered the town is traced where they come from, what they want to do in town in case they dont have relatives in the area.to make sure this category of people are not a threat, they are briefly detained and questioned.
They are released after they are recognized to be doing certain things that wouldn’t potentially harm the security of the town.

Abdirashid, the DC meanwhile believes dollow is much secure and peaceful than any city or town in south and central somalia
and possibly the greater country.

“we as an administration, we have done our duties of working for our
people so they get a peaceful live and the truth is dollow is currently the most peaceful place in somalia.
Unlike other parts of the country, corruption is not rampant in the small town and soldiers are given their monthly salaries.

The DC also praised the local community whom he said they have played their parts in encouraging peace and inspiring a number of International UN organization like FAO, UNDP, UNICEF and WFP to
have offices in the Town and operate freely .

Michael is the program manager for FAOs office in Dollow.

Michael and a number of his western colleagues say they have never been to a place in Somalia more peaceful than dollow.

“I feel more than home here, the amazing community and peaceful
environment is something unique for this town and does differentiate itBfrom most other places in Somalia,” Michael said

For DC Abdirashid, his administration has a plan to use the peace to encourage more international organizations, NGOs
and investors to come and build the town.

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