Relief SCENE:Security
Bosaso Moves 4800 Families From Nine IDP Camps
32 IDP Camps to be Moved for Security Reasons
By MJ 01/16/2012
IDP Camp in Bosaso
Somalia Report
IDP Camp in Bosaso

At least 4,800 families from nine internally displaced people (IDP) camps have been moved from inside Bosaso, a port city in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, to a new camp 5km from town in a bid to improve security in the city.

After failing to establish security bases in several IDP camps per a 2009 agreement, the government notified the families that they were planning to move them from 32 IDP camps to ensure that al-Shabaab terrorists were not hiding in the camps and to save money for landowners.

Ali Bare, a member of the IDPs Committee in Puntland, told Somalia Report that while some of the families have been paying at least 300 Somali Shillings ($10) in rent each month, may others have paid nothing which has been a burden to the landowners. He further explained that many of the IDPs have been living in Bosaso for nearly twenty years, making their removal even more difficult.

"Many of the IDPs have come from the southern regions of Somalia and the Ogden region in Ethiopia. They have been displaced for two main reasons which are the long term conflict in Somalia and the drought that effected badly in Somalia and Ethiopia. The majority of the displaced people came here between 1993 to 2009," he explained.

Halima Hassan, vice-chairwoman of Shabelle Camp and a midwife, told Somalia Report that IDPs from other camps are being relocated to the new camp, but logistics are impeding the move. "In the next few weeks, each family is supposed to move themselves and their belongings to the new camps, but nobody is helping them. They don't have cars or money so how are they supposed to move? We are asking for help," said Halima.

Halima Hassan
Somalia Report
Halima Hassan

Halima said it is the third time that the IDPs have been moved and expressed her concern with the new location. "The new camp is located in the east of the city and it is so close to the mountains. The IDPs are afraid because there is no police in the camp."

Cases of looting and rape have been increasing Bosaso's IDP camps despite increased police patrols and arrests. Some IDPs claimed that drunken men usually attack them after midnight, and sometimes the attackers are wearing police uniforms.

Abdilahi Ahmed, a member of the IDPs elders, told Somalia Report that the IDPs do not have access to medical centers or even basic first aid services. "My wife and six children fled to Puntland to find peace and safety. Although we do get support from several agencies, none provide medical aid.”

Despite the lack of medical care, he praised the work of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and COPY, international NGOs supporting IDP families in Bosaso. "They help us everyday," said Mr. Ahmed.

The DRC provides vocational training to IDPs and created numbers of small business in Bosaso, according to Mursal Osman, the chairman of Camp Shurkow. "The DRC has brought three water tanks for the new IDP camp and on January 14, 2012, the DRC gave $1,850 to the camp. COPY has built three big water drums and number of houses for the camp," he added.

Mursal said they are still suffering from a shortage of water due to the increasing number of the people who are arriving at the camp daily. He also pointed out that at least 100 families lack shelter or toilets.

As families arrive, others are returning to their homes. Fadumo Abdirahman Saed, a member of a local NGO dealing with the IDPs affairs, told Somalia Report that they have registered scores of IDPs families who have returned to the capital of Mogadishu since al-Shabaab fled the city six months ago.

Other IDPs that hail from regions under the control of al-Shabaab, including Bay, Bakol, Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle and Juba regions, said they will return once the TFG secures their towns. Many of the IDPs from southern Somalia are fishermen and farmers who fled the areas when al-Shabaab refused to allow aid agencies to help them.

Last October, Puntland officials ordered families living in shacks ner the port to vacate.