Adan Malin Omar: “I wish I had not lived this long”

Adan Malin Omar

Halkaan ka akhri

Adan Malin Omar: “I wish I had not lived this long”

MOGADISHU (IRIN) – Adan Malin Omar, 78, who fought for Somalia’s independence from Italy in the 1950s, survived the 16-year civil war and did not leave his home in the Abdiaziz district of north Mogadishu, even at the height of the violence.

However, he is now displaced, being one of 450 families whose homes were demolished [] by the local government in Mogadishu. His house was partially destroyed in June and he and his wife are sheltering in what is left of his home of 50 years. He spoke to IRIN on 10 July:

“I have lived in the same place since before independence [1960]. My children were born here and so were my grandchildren. We have survived the artillery attacks of Ali Mahdi and Aidid [two 1990s warlords]. All that and the lootings did not dislodge us.

“Our house was looted many times by different militias.

“Through it all we remained here and endured for one reason only, not to be homeless. After all we have been through, now they have put us on the street.

“For the first time in my life, I know what it feels like not have a home and to sleep under makeshift shelter.

“We are being told that this [the demolition] is being done for security reasons but we know it is not true. It is being done for money.

“My wife and I are very old and we are reduced to sitting in the rubble of our home. We have no strength to go anywhere, so we just sit here and they are circling us like vultures.

“At night we sleep in what used to be our compound. We will never leave this place alive. We will die first.

“How can you tell me that the house I owned and lived in for 50 years is no longer mine? Every government recognised my right until now.

“I fought for this country’s independence and this is how they repay me. I sometimes I wish I had not lived this long, then I would not have to see this.”

Source: IRIN, July 10, 2008

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