1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. East Africa
  4. Somalia

Government military takes control of Marka

In their ongoing operation to clear roadblocks from the Mogadishu-Kismayo road, and to restore law and order, the armed forces of the Transitional National Government (TNG) have reportedly taken control of the coastal town of Marka, 100 km south of Mogadishu, local sources told IRIN. The TNG forces had arrived on Monday and set up a base camp at the old police headquarters in the town, Sharif Dagaweyn, a local elder, said.

The chief-of-staff of the TNG armed forces, Gen Isma'il Qasim Naji, confirmed to IRIN that the armed forces had occupied Marka. "We have taken control as far as security is concerned. We will not set up any administration. We will leave that to the civilian authorities," he said. Naji said the army would replicate this process in every town on the way to Kismayo. "It is part of our programme to have a presence in all towns to make sure that no one takes advantage once we leave."

Security in Marka, the regional capital of Lower Shabelle Region, had been deteriorating ever since the Islamic court withdrew from the town months ago, humanitarian sources told IRIN. "It got to the point where it was getting dangerous to go to the market," said one. Most affected by the increase in insecurity were the indigenous people commonly known as the Gibil Ad, meaning light-skinned. Dagaweyn, one of their elders, said his community welcomed the arrival of the army.

"There has been a dramatic improvement since the arrival of the army on Monday," said Dagaweyn. "The cost of transport has dropped dramatically. On Sunday, a trip to Qoryoley, 36 km from Marka, cost 15,000 Somali shillings. Today it is 6,000 shillings," he said on Wednesday. The reason for this drop, according to Dagaweyn, is the army's removal of over a dozen roadblocks between Marka and Qoryoley. "Even vegetable prices have come down," he added.

"We are all breathing easier, but we are not sure how long the soldiers will stay," he said, adding that the possibility of their departure was causing some worry in the town. "If they leave those criminals will come back, and then we shall have to lock ourselves up in our homes again."

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

We uncovered the sex abuse scandal that rocked the WHO, but there’s more to do

We just covered a report that says the World Health Organization failed to prevent and tackle widespread sexual abuse during the Ebola response in Congo.

Our investigation with the Thomson Reuters Foundation triggered this probe, demonstrating the impact our journalism can have. 

But this won’t be the last case of aid worker sex abuse. This also won’t be the last time the aid sector has to ask itself difficult questions about why justice for victims of sexual abuse and exploitation has been sorely lacking. 

We’re already working on our next investigation, but reporting like this takes months, sometimes years, and can’t be done alone. 

The support of our readers and donors helps keep our journalism free and accessible for all. Donations mean we can keep holding power in the aid sector accountable, and do more of this. 

Become a member today and support independent journalism

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.