Protest letter concerning the future political order of Federal States of Somalia and the position of the Banaadiri and the Banaadir [Archives:2004/779/Opinion]

October 7 2004

Mr. Mohamed Abbas Sufi
President of the Banaadiri Community in Italy
Abokar M. Sadiq
President of the Banaadiri Community in Switzerland

Further to the conference of the reconciliation of Somalia in Kenya, we Banaadiri protest that the power of decision making has been given to armed groups and to those who take orders from them. We firmly oppose any type of federal government whereby power is given to armed tribes, groups, and non-Banaadiris, who occupy our territory, to decide about the destiny of the Banaadiri people.
The region of Banaadir includes the coastal region from Warshiikh to north of Mogadishu to Raskyamboni to the border of Kenya, including the city of Kisimayo.
The people of Banaadir are multi-ethnic and multi-cultural people, who have inherited different customs and history. They are a population composed of Arab origin, Bantu and other Cusciti groups.
The main point of our protest is that we do not wish others, who today occupy our territory, to decide about the destiny and fate of hundreds of thousands of Banaadiri families, who were exposed to murder, kidnappings, economic destruction and
ethnic cleansing.
Today, our homeland has been occupied by armed militia groups from Somalia interior. Further, thousands of Banaadiris, the original inhabitants of Banaadir, have been forced to leave their country from the cities of Warshiikh, Mogadishu, Marka, Barawwa, Kisimayo and the islands close to the border with Kenya, populated by Baajuuni – one of the groups of Banaadirs. The Banaadiri population has been virtually hunted from their territories, their properties confiscated, and those who remained blackmailed or kidnapped by armed gangs.
The two groups such as the SNU and SANU, cannot speak of representing the people of Banaadiris, as they are only tribal organizations. Furthermore, there are individuals who claim to speak on behalf of Banaadiris, but who have not been chosen by anybody, nor do they represent anybody. Those who represent SNU and SANU work only in the name of their organization which creates confusion, and prevents outsiders from knowing the problem of Banaadir and Banaadiris. As Banadiris do not have any political parties to represent them, those who claim to represent them do not represent the Banaadiri people. We do not wish to see the Banaadiris disintegrate as did Somlia. Our tradition is one of the oldest traditions of respect, tolerance and dignity in the Horn of Africa. The problem of Banaadir cannot be solved by force.
We request from the international community protection, consideration of our unique position, and that the Banaadiris be enabled to choose their own representatives without having armed groups or others imposed upon them. All this would help to bring about justice for a people who have suffered tremendously during the 14 years of civil war. It may also help to avoid a future blood bath if peace and stability is brought to Somalia.

Editors note: Yemen Times has in issue 728 dated 11th April 2004 published a full report on Banaadir under the title “Banaadir: The country of Harbors”