Hundreds of families in Mogadishu have been displaced after the government demolished their homes, residents told IRIN on 9 July.
"They [Mogadishu officials] have destroyed our homes by force and we have no place to go," Fadumo Omar said. She said the affected area, Loyado in Abdiaziz district of north Mogadishu, was home to 450 families.
Omar, who is more than 60 years old, said she had lived in Loyado for over 40 years. "I had 13 children and the children have had their children here. Now all of a sudden they destroyed my home and displaced me."
She said officials from the Benadir region [Mogadishu and environs] began destroying the houses in June and the demolition was ongoing.
"They were here this morning, but we are not going away," Omar said. "Mogadishu officials came with a bulldozer and destroyed more homes today; they had technicals [battlewagons] and we had nothing. They told us if we did not get out of the way we would get hurt.”
Omar said the order came from the mayor's office. "We have nowhere to go. I don’t know what we will do," she added.
Mariam Ahmed, another resident, said: "Every morning we gather and sit on the rubble of our homes."
A local journalist, who requested anonymity, said there were reports that some rich businessmen were interested in the land at Loyado. He said Mogadishu officials had said the area had become a hideout for criminals and that is why they were demolishing buildings.
|Mogadishu officials came with a bulldozer and destroyed more homes today; they had technicals [battlewagons] and we had nothing|
"They [Mogadishu officials] are using security as an excuse, but it is really about money and these residents are poor, with no major clan affiliation to protect them, so they are an easy target."
Ahmed said the residents had written an appeal to senior Transitional Federal Government (TFG) officials but had received no response.
Muse Nur Amin, the minister of interior and national security, told IRIN he had given instructions for the demolitions to stop. "If the Mogadishu municipality has restarted them I will investigate."
He said the rights of "all these people will be protected", adding that those who were legally moved for whatever reason would be provided with alternative sites.
IRIN's attempts to obtain a comment from the mayor's office were unsuccessful.
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