The Controversy over Clan Cleansing between Mohamed Haji Ingiriis and Lidwien Kapteijns

Recently, there has been a discordant debate about the notion of clan cleansing in Somali society upon the publication of Lidwien Kapteijn’s controversial book. The most penetrating review of the book was made by Mohamed Haji Ingiriis who has designated it a myth.
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The Controversy over Clan Cleansing between Mohamed Haji Ingiriis and Lidwien Kapteijns

Kapteijns, who is the partner of a mediocre Majeerteen politician by the name of Mursal Farah Afdhuub, the uncle of Abdiweli Ali Gaas, the clan president of Puntland clan mini-state, is committed to pro-particular clan lobbying. On the other hand, her friend Faisal Abdi Roble, the Wardheernews owner, is a sworn clan propagandist related by marriage to Ahmed Suleymaan Dafle, the notorious Comical Ali of Somalia, who committed crimes against humanity during the Siad Barre dictatorship, crimes Kapteijns attempted to conceal and defend in her unscholarly book.

Wardheernews, as usual, posted a copy and paste piece by a plagiarist paraphrasing Kapteijns’s words by the title of “Somalis need moral courage” last week. It is worth mentioning that Ingiriis and Kapteijns had debated very intensely during the Horn of Africa seminar held at the African Studies Centre of University of Oxford in April 2013 (the audio of the debate can be found on the Oxford podcasts). Meanwhile, considering such a serious plagiarism of Wardheernews by the plagiarist using pseudonym Liban Ahmed, we hereby reproduce Ingiriis’s and Kapteijns’s original debate about the clan cleansing argument, propagated by clan chauvinist websites such as Wardheernews and popularised in academia by paid authors such as Kapteijns.


CLAN CLEANSING IN SOMALIA: The Ruinous Legacy of 1991, by Lidwien Kapteijns, 2012, 308 pp., ISBN 9780812244670, hardback $69.95, Kindle Edition $52.96, University of Pennsylvania Press.

One of the most contentious and controversial issues of the contemporary conflict-ridden Somalia is the conflicting debate over what had exactly happened in Somalia during the ‘civil’ war that started with Siad Barre’s military régime. Lidwien Kapteijns’s book follows a previous paradigmatic pattern of aligning with one clan group at the expense of other groups. The factual errors of this study are so numerous that most of this article could be devoted to put those into accurate order.

Kapteijns’s story begins with fact – that a war started in January 1991 – but contaminates realities and distorts known facts all the way before it ends with fiction full of imaginary tales that are not out of line with what Donald Donham calls ‘only another narrative in the world of narratives’. Simply put, this means that it is not clear where Kapteijns’s fact ends and fiction begins; this not a criticism, but a factual reality, a reality that left her reporting both partial and biased, for the study is indistinguishable from the clanistic narratives of its informants, so much so it intermingles with them in such a way that the narrator occupies the position of the analyst.

The study is marred with a myriad of mistaken assertions, of muddling names and places, of editorial flaws and of inconsistent arguments. For example, it was not Ambassador Bridges, in Kapteijns’s words, who ‘negotiate[d] with an armed (and probably drunk) army officer during the evacuation of the [U.S.] embassy’ (262n5; for slightly contradictory note, see also 262n2). Rather, it was James Bishop, who was, at that particular moment, the US Ambassador to Somalia from 1990-1991 and the one who would oversee the evacuation of the US embassy staff, as Bridges’s tenure was from 1984-1986; the Hobyo invasion by the self-styled Sultan Yusuf Ali occurred, not in the 1870s, but in 1883 with Italian support, as earlier European travellers observed. The principle author of the Manifesto – which was sent to Siad Barre to relinquish power – was Dr Ismail Jimale Ossoble, not ‘Ibrahim Abyan’ (140); among the signatories of the Manifesto were many politicians and professionals, but not ‘a chief of staff of the Somali National Army’ (109); the recently deceased Ahmed Mohamed Darmaan, a Manifesto elder, never become an ‘ambassador to Iran’ (115 and 257n103), but to China (and he was once a consul in Aden, formerly South Yemen). The Manifesto letter does not include the name of ‘Cali Jaamac Cali’ (114), but Kapteijns clearly refers here to Jama Ali Jama, a former colonel in the army, who was a signatory; Farah Gololey was an outspoken member of the national parliament from 1964-1969, not a ‘comedian’ (248n52).

Nurta Haji Hassan, the wife of Ali Mahdi, is assumed twice to have been an advisor to (and ‘even with closest-family’ with) Siad Barre (17 and 152), when she was merely a member of the presidential palace’s legal counsel. Ali Mahdi’s political coalition was called the Somali Salvation Alliance (SSA), not ‘the SNA-Cali Mahdi’ (187); Abdi Muuse Mayow was an ally of Ali Mahdi, not the ‘USC-Aideed’ (170); Mohamed Dhere, the late former governor of Banaadir administration, hailed from the Abgaal sub-clan of the Hawiye, not the the Habar Gidir sub-clan of the Hawiye (62); Osman Hassan Ali ‘Aato’ was a businessman prior to the clan wars, not a military leader (200); Ibraahim Meygaag Samatar neverwas ‘the president of the SNM’ (114-115); the SNM was not ‘an offshoot of the SSDF’ (195), but the USC was an offshoot of the SNM; the USC stands for United Somali Congress, not ‘United Somali Front’ (96); the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) was formed, not in February 1978 (81), but in October 1978; Bashiir Salaad of the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM) was nicknamed Bililiqo (the nickname meaning ‘looter’, not ‘Liiqliiqato’ (96) – the latter belongs to General Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed, the former deputy commander of the Somali Army from 1962-1969, who had not been part of the clan wars.

General Jama Mohamed Ghalib was not the commander of the police ‘in 1970-1984’ (82), but held the post from 1970-74; Siad Barre commanded the Army, not the Police (103) and died not ‘in January 1993’ (182), but on 2 January 1995 as a refugee in Lagos, Nigeria; Maslah, Siad Barre’s son, did not become minister of defence (104 and 256n85), but he was chosen by his father as the commander of the Army; General Morgan, Siad Barre’s son-in-law, never was acommander-in-chief of the armed forces (108 and 256n85), but the defence minister; the General who was killed in Gedo in 1992 was Mohamed Jama Bihi, not ‘General Abdirizak Isaq Bihi’ (271n138), the latter being alive and never having become a General, nor is there a general called Nuur Cadde (284), but she probably means General Nuur Caddow; Muse Boqor was not ‘a minister of the interior in the era of the civilian administrations’ (126), but a minister in the Governo Somalo (Somali Government) during the decolonisation period under the UN trusteeship for two years (1956-58); the United States intervention in Somalia began on 8 December 1992, not ‘December 5, 1992’ (187); the year that several artists expressed outrage towards the military dictatorship was in January 1990, not in ‘1989’ (95); Aaden Yabaal is in the Middle Shabelle Region, not in Hiiraan (258n117); the banana plantations were located in Lower Shabelle, not in ‘Lower Jubba’ (93); the Italian Embassy was not situated in ‘Wardhiigley neighborhood’ (17), but in the Shibis district of Mogadishu. (Wardhigley is not even a neighbourhood, but one of the 16 districts of Mogadishu).

More misleading information abounds, such as the odd claim that the Bantu/Jareer community ‘had sided with the USC’ (170), when indeed the community suffered immensely from the clan wars in which they had not been part. Yet another confusing statement is the declaration that the Bantu ‘enjoyed considerable political and economic opportunity in post-independence Somalia’ (271n136), when the reality was increasingly to the contrary. The Bantu had expressed their grievances towards post-colonial Somalia in a poem: ‘Jugaa jirtee, ma jiro Janaraal Jareer eh’ (there is sticky situation, since there is no an army General who belonged to Jareer [Bantu]). Misinterpreting the objectives of some opposition groups, mainly the USC, the Somali National Movement (SNM) and the Somali Democratic Movement (SDM), against the military régime (101), Kapteijns assumes that the SNM provided troops with the USC (119), a false proposition, and that the SNM ‘established itself as a regional administration in the north’ (31). In fact, the SNM declared independence from the rest of the former Somali republic in May 1991.

Imagining the Isaaq clan-group as monolithic, she reports that the British favoured them (275n52), a claim grounded in synchronic narratives, contradicted by Langton Prendergast Welsh, who observed that the Isaaq suffered most of the British policy of collective punishment – a policy of retribution against any villain’s whole community. This is a fundamental point missed by Kapteijns. When levelling accusations against certain clans and communities, her given source is referenced thus: ‘This was a common SNM theme, which was sounded, for example, during the speech of an SNM spokesman held on 1 July 1989, in the Washington, D.C., area’ (276n39). This shows not only the fallacy of her sources, but the flimsiness of her references. Kapteijns refers to ‘Kapteijns 1999’ (247n38), but this reference is not included in the bibliography. One other note, she also makes a direct quotation from ‘Afrax (1994)’ (260n135), which also does not feature in her bibliography. That Daher Ali Omar, one of her writer-informants, was in Kismaayo during ‘the clan cleansing campaign in Kismaayo’ is written twice and given much emphasis (e.g., 174 and 212). Moreover, some names in the index direct readers to nowhere (297).

Kapteijns’s claim that the 17 military officers, who organised what I.M. Lewis has described as the  ‘abortive mini-coup’ against the régime in April 1978, were all Majeerteen except one (81, 250n15), is contradicted by the fact that three were from the Hawiye. It was not General Mohamed Nur Galaal, as Kapteijns oddly assumes (83), but Colonel Mohamud Sheikh Osman (Cirro), one of the leading organisers of the coup, who had ordered the execution of the most intrepid military officers on the warfronts in fear of sabotaging and suppressing the coup. Here, it is astonishing that she does not mention the assassination of the top SSDF leaders orchestrated by Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf, after they challenged his dictatorial authority – prominent among them was Iikar Haji Mohamed Hussein, the son of twice President of the Somali Youth League (SYL). Kapteijns also justifies the Ogaadeen refugees in Somaliland, when she argues they ‘were extremely vulnerable to pressures by the government to be recruited into its security forces and army’ (84). Again, she retracts an earlier claim when she reported, using Africa Watch Report, that most of the Ogaadeeni refugees in Somaliland were given guns and acted as auxiliaries in the Siad Barre régime’s attempts to resist the SNM attacks (251n24). She continues that the régime had also turned the refugees into militia and recruited ‘Ogaadeen men from the refugee camps’ (89). Yet, she goes on that the régime ‘aggravated the situation by using some refugees as pawns to intimidate, control, and undermine local people’ (90). However, she had strongly denied all these arguments a decade ago.

Some of the author’s terms are a completely new creation. For example, for the original title of caynaanka haay (a poem composed by Abdi Muhammad Amiin), she replaces with an invented title ‘Hoggaanka hay’ (29). Amiin composed the poem in 1970, not – as Kapteijns writes – in 1989 (30). When attempts are made to write Somali words, more mistakes are made on the way. For example, Kapteijns writes ‘Raggii USC daadahshoow’ (30), when it should be ‘Ragga USC daadahshoow’. Translating the Somali term dalgub as ‘wrecker of the country’ (33) contrasts with the etymology of the word, meaning ‘the burner of the land’. Similarly, two different dates are given on the USC and the SPM clash soon after Siad Barre’s expulsion, which are 6 February 1991 (e.g., 159) and 7 February 1991 (e.g., 266). So is the USC’s capture of Kismaayo: the two dates given are 23 April 1991 (e.g., 174) and 24 April 1991 on the next page (e.g., 175). There is also no such a thing as ‘the twenty-sixth military region’ (251n26); it appears that it is the twenty-sixth military division based in Hargeisa.

Ahmed Naaji Sacad’s title of his elegy ‘Xamar waa lagu xumeeyey’ is translated as ‘Mogadishu, You Have Been Violated’ (28, 29, 42 and 50), when it is ‘Hamar [another name for Mogadishu], You Have Been Wronged’. Furthermore, most Somali words laced with the text – perhaps to demonstrate language proficiency – are littered with typos and misspellings. Guubaabo, for instance, is incorrectly written as gubaabo (e.g., 53 and 210); just a few examples of correct spellings are xumeeyey, not ‘xumeeyeyeey’ (28), kaagama imaanin, not ‘kaama imaanin’ (30), Mustaxiil, not ‘Mustaaxiil’ (98), Burde, not ‘Barde’ (120), Xawaadle, not ‘Hawaadleh’ (121), and Addis Ababa, not ‘Addid Abbaba’ (297), and so on. By using the name ‘Cabdille’ (the middle name of the Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan), she attests to the crucial point that she has used a particular clan dialect and language (215). Nevertheless, Kapteijns insists that she has corrected Somali spellings of some names, when she has indeed misspelled them, such as ‘Maxmuud’, instead of Maxamuud or Mohamud (261n154).

Even though poems about civil and clan wars upon the fall of the military dictatorship are abundant, Kapteijns tells us that they ‘are not many’ (43). One may recall peace poems composed by poets and poetesses, such as Sugaal Omar Abdulle, the late Abshir Nur Farah ‘Ba’adle’, Abdullahi Hersi ‘Baarleeh’, and even more than the many I listed on page 55 of Journal Issue 53. This is not to mention many female poetesses such as Saado Abdi Amarre, Faduma Elmi Dalakey, Hawa Hassan Elmi Fanah, Maryan Mohamud Jimale ‘Ja’eyl’, Ibaado Hassan Kheyre, Shamso Abdi Mo’alim, Amina Ulusow Shadoor, Habiba Ulusow Shadoor, Dhoofo Khalif Siad and Shiino Waranle. All these poets and poetesses held a special place during the height of the civil war by composing poems denouncing violence and promoting peace. Poems such as ‘Ha la Isdilo Xaq Maaha’ (It’s Not Right to Kill One Another), ‘Maxaa loo Dagaalamay? / Maxaa lagu dagaalamay? / Maxaa lala dagaalamay?’ (Why did we fight [one another]? / What did we fight for? / Whom/What did we fight against?) are missing in Kapteijns’s selective analysis of poetry.

All in all, I hesitate to recommend this work.

Mohamed Haji Ingiriis


A response to the above review by the author, Lidwien Kapteijns, Wellesley College, Massachusetts

My recent book, reviewed above argues that the politically motivated, large-scale clan-based atrocities against civilians that reached and intensified in Mogadishu after the expulsion of the military dictator M.S. Barre on 26 January 1991 was a campaign of clan cleansing that marked a key shift in the Somali civil war and became the immediate cause of the collapse of the state. Unfortunately, the reviewer avoids engaging with the substance of my book, instead making an unsubstantiated claim of bias and raising small secondary issues that have no bearing on the book’s major arguments.

I will respond to each of these two approaches to the book in turn. I will conclude with putting the reviewer’s avoidance and dismissal of the subject of my book in the context of the general pattern of concealment of the clan cleansing by the perpetrators and their dupes and allies, then and now.  

First, the reviewer is correct in noting a number of typographical errors, slips of the pen, and failures on my part to get a person’s name, nickname, or exact title right. Even when these slip-ups are not mine but part of direct citations quoted in support of a wider argument, I agree that these should be corrected in a second edition with thanks to the reviewer. However, none of these slip-ups have any bearing on the major arguments of the book. Moreover, the reviewer mixes into this list – and disguises as matters of fact – his own (unsupported) interpretations of issues, including some for which I cite critical primary sources such as transcripts of contemporary broadcasts of Radio Mogadishu. When he adds on a whole paragraph listing his preferred spellings of Somali words and names, his critique becomes petty and its tone frantic.  The reviewer also gives a long list of poets I could have included in my book but gives no indication what this would have added to my arguments, which remain un-discussed.     

Second, the reviewer accuses my book of “aligning with one clan group at the expense of other groups”, of being biased and “indistinguishable from the clanistic narratives of its informants.”  This is a serious accusation but one for which the reviewer gives no evidence whatsoever. He does not recognize that the book is explicitly not a memory project and that it largely draws on evidence that is independent from Somali narratives of the civil war. He makes no reference to Chapter Two, devoted to an analysis of the military regime’s vicious clan divide-and-rule policies, its use of large-scale clan-based violence against civilians as a political tool, and its culpability in making the clan cleansing possible. What is “clanistic” or biased in that approach? 

The reviewer makes no mention of my documentation of the campaign of clan cleansing of 1991-1992 and the reasons why I have made it my book’s focus. He finds neither my consistent refusal to attribute single agency to whole clans before or after 1991 nor my analysis of the role mythical clan hate-narratives played in mobilising people for violence in the name of clan worthy of acknowledgement.  

In addition, Mr. Ingiriis mistakes impartiality for bias. I take the position that scholars cannot be neutral about large-scale atrocities such as clan cleansing but should strive towards being impartial, that is to say, towards keeping all parties in a conflict to the same standard. My book holds the military regime, the perpetrators of the clan cleansing campaign, and the clan-based militias and factional warlords of the “War of the Militias” to the same standard: it regards large-scale clan-based violence against civilians as war crimes and/or crimes against humanity irrespective of who commits it. When the reviewer dismisses my documentation of the campaign of clan cleansing that marked both the shift from state-sponsored to communal violence and the reversal of the axis of political opposition prevailing until then (Chapter 3) as biased clanist drivel, he perhaps reveals more about himself than about my book.

In the book I document how (and suggest why) the clan cleansing of 1991-1992 has been purposefully concealed, misrepresented and denied from the time it happened until today. Drawing on Stanley Cohen’s States of Denial:Knowing About Atrocities and Suffering (2001), I argue that such denials so commonly accompany genocides, ethnic cleansing, and other comparable forms of violence that they become part of the diagnostic of such violence, that is to say, in the case of the book, that the unspeakability of the communal violence between ordinary people who often knew each other well speaks volumes about the special horrors of clan cleansing.

It is disappointing that the reviewer, twenty-two years after the fact and in spite of the evidence presented in my book, still perpetuates such denial. Where is his moral and political courage to face what happened? The distortions of history that result from such a mind-set are evident from a recent article he wrote about the Manifesto initiative of May 1990, in which a number of middle-class Somali elders tried to intervene with the military dictator and prevent further bloodshed (Northeast African Studies 12, 2, 2012: 63-94; see also my book, Chapter 2). In this article the reviewer attributes this initiative’s failure to “the Barre legacy”.  In reality, however, the Manifesto initiative foundered in the blood of the clan cleansing campaign. The leadership of the armed front that expelled the dictator sorted the Manifesto elders out by clan background.

Those it considered of its own clan, it spared and welcomed into its own top ranks, even selecting one of them as president of a new interim government. Most of the other elders were hunted down, had some of their womenfolk raped in front of them, and were killed, expelled, or forced to flee, as documented in my book (pp. 139-141). That is what put an end to the Manifesto initiative. The persistent denial of the clan cleansing campaign that is evident from both the article and this review, I argue, only serves to confirm 1991 as a crucial aspect of Somalia’s unbewältigt (undigested) past.

Lidwien Kapteijns

The Genealogies of Kapteijns’s Dialectics: A Rejoinder

In response to my review of her book, Lidwien Kapteijns chose to reply with an aggressive and antagonistic language. It is ironic that only when I had exposed her impartiality and lobbying for a particular clan did she resort to employ ludicrous tactics by questioning my morality. Even the novice reader of the complex issues of things Somali can discover that this is not a moral issue. A Somali proverb has it that, ‘been fakatay run ma gaarto’ (a runway rumour will never catch up with the truth).

Drawing selectively from certain clan politicians and clan-conscious informants to bolster their attempts to regain state spoils and beneficiary power they had enjoyed under post-colonial (and, most of Siad Barre’s) Somalia, Kapteijns should have declared an interest at the outset. She rationalises the brutality of the Somali Salvation Democratic Front’s (SSDF) while normalising Siad Barre’s butchery, accusing the resistance movements – the United Somali Congress (USC), the Somali National Movement (SNM) and the Somali Democratic Movement (SDM) – of uniting to cleanse a particular clan, a sheer rhetoric than reality. One of her informants (and narrators) in the book is Abdiweli Gaas who was a taxi driver in Virginia in 1991/1992 (e.g., 246n16, 262n157, 264-265n40, 267n78, 267-268n81 and 269n100). How can someone, who had not been in Somalia during the 1991-1992 clan wars, could act as a witness and informant to an issue he lacks personal factual experience?

Thus no wonder that almost all her informants and narrators in the book came from the clan who directed and dictated her conclusions by fuelling her with false accusations of particular personalities. How she trusts the sources of partial narrators is quite surprising. She refuses to accommodate the views of opposing scholars to feature in her analysis. For example, she dismisses and discards other clans’ arguments and narratives, such as works by Hussein Bulhan, Hussein Ali Duale, Jama Mohamed Ghalib, Mariam Arif Ghasem and many others. Needless to say, no single Hawiye or Isaaq was included in the study as an informant, narrator or interviewee. Specifically, the USC’s, the SNM’s and SDM’s side(s) of the stories are absent. She frenziedly and feverishly accuses the resistance movements, particularly the USC and the SNM – those members who defied Siad Barre’s rule and did not surrender to him like the SSDF – of complicity of ‘clan cleansing’, when there is no reliable and real prove for this.

In The Savage Mind, the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss astutely argues that ‘history is never history, but history-for’. Of course, the ‘for’ is obvious in this case. Kapteijns’s Clan Cleansing is apparently written for one particular clan with which she affiliated herself, an affiliation that remains concealed issue on her part, though unconcealed to the Somali masses. It seems strange that she could not conceal her impartiality on Somali clan wars, when she is expected to treat all Somali clans and communities equally. In the book, she admits thus: ‘I also received direction. Given that the violence of the civil war has so divided Somalis, I allowed myself to be gently guided toward what my friends and colleagues [...] considered legitimate’ (p. 22; emphasis mine).

In her book, Kapteijns unleashes serious allegations against certain well-respected Somali women in which she does not possess a proof.  What is the difference between the late singer Halima Magool and the poet Halima Sofe? Kapteijns maximises the role of the former, while concealing the bigger role of the latter in igniting the clan wars. Even Aden Abdulle Osman, the putative founder of Somali Republic, was not exempt from Kapteijns’s odd allegation that he was content with the ‘clan cleansing’. While attacking him, she glorifies his premiers, especially Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke. This is not to entrap her intro contradicting herself, but to show this is, overall, a work of fiction.

As she states, hers is a work of interpretation, but with her own distortion of events, only to prove her project of ‘clan cleansing’. She even tries to put words in the mouths of such acclaimed journalists as Peter Biles, Aidan Hartley, Jane Perlez, Robert Press, Todd Shileds and others. Hartley seemed flabbergasted by Kapteijns’s polemic against his reporting from Somalia in the early 1991 (I met Hartley in a central London hotel where he was seeing the current Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud on 5 February 2013). When she found nothing in their reportage, she turned to two Italian diplomats – Mario Sicca and Claudio Pacifico – who had been increasingly biased towards Siad Barre whom they sought keeping him in power even during the January 1991 popular uprising that drove him and his coterie out.

As for the Manifesto elders, who signed a letter advising Siad Barre to relinquish power in order to save what was left from the ailing state-society relations, she disregards that some of them – most notably her informants – sided with the dictator by pursuing clan agenda, as shown by recent WikiLeaks cables of the then US Embassy in Mogadishu. Look for the leaks. This is when the late poet Abdi Muhammad Amiin, added in his poem ‘nin baa yiri noo daaya odayga wey i geli weyday’, meaning ‘someone said let the elder statesman [Siad Barre] stay for us is what I cannot stomach’. Unfortunately, Kapteijns distorts the deceased poet’s poem to suit her unsubstantiated claims.

To rephrase Abraham Lincoln’s words, Kapteijns can fool some Somalis all of the time, but cannot fool all Somalis even some of the time. She needs to be reminded of the verity that the era of what I call the containment in Somali studies is over – which is, the era of freewheeling myths in purporting as a clan history (when she used to equate Muuse Boqor family with the Kennedy family). This was the epoch she labelled one notable Somali scholar ‘irresponsible’ because, she erroneously assumed, he omitted Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan (nicknamed ‘Mad Mullah’) in one of his books; in fact the scholar had the Mullah on board, which rendered Kapteijns to later apologise. Last, but not least, the irresponsibility is now rests with her.

It seems that Kapteijns does not confine to offer her view of the clan conflict, but she unleashes herself to try to pepper rumour with a myth. The flow of Kapteijns’s account seems to have been devoted, for whatever reason, to the restoration of power to the particular clan for which she writes in an essentialist terms, not to mention that the concept of particularity plays a decisive role in the study. She offers several justifications, as she seems to share emotional attachment with those she regards as ‘victims’. Many Somali readers might infer that the intention of the book is to encourage particular Somali clan to avenge particular Somali clan as though the retaliation by former interim Government of Somalia, the late Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, backed by Ethiopia in 2007-2009, was not adequate redress. Here, she seems to feign objectivity for where the latter is left as undesirable goal.  In a nutshell, it is my understanding that Anita Adam, who had lived Somalia for two decades prior to 1991, is better placed to write a book on the Somali civil war than Kapteijns, who based her sources on gossip and hearsay.

Mohamed Haji Ingiriis

Article 21 May 2021 10:14

I read your article on Foreign Policy with keen eyes and interest. While whining from public officials does not deserve response from any sensible citizen of the Republic of Somalia, I felt compelled to counter false narrative with more objective analysis.