From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Thu Nov 05 2009 - 15:10:39 EST
Foreign Helicopters Sky Hunting Somali Life is ostriches, gazelles and
Somalia -Has Somalian wildlife been defined as terrorists? Are the
ostriches, gazelles and warthogs harbouring terrorists?
"From late 2008 up to the present foreign helicopters patroling warships in
Somali waters have been poaching and stealing wildlife from the coastal
villages in North Eastern, Somalia" Farah Ahmed an elder in Eyl district
told Islamonline.net, IOL.
Elders and nomadic families of the coastal villages in Puntland, a
self-declared state in northeastern Somalia, are suffering from foreign
helicopters that are hunting and stealing wildlife on the outskirts of the
villages in coastal areas. The most targeted areas by the flying poachers
are Nugal, Karkar and Mudug regions.
"Foreign helicopters are poaching and stealing wildlife from the coastal
villages. They are terrorizing the nomadic families, and this is affecting
their livestock. Many children have been lost after being terrified by the
planes," said Mohammed Yusuf, another elder in Gar'ad Village in Mudug
Mohammed Yusuf added in a phone interview with IOL that the helicopters have
been targeting the gazelles, ostrich's and
"The areas they are hunting and stealing the wild life from is rich with
gazelles and ostrich's. Now there are no more wildlife there, foreign
helicopters hunted thousands, and they are still illegally hunting"
"Before the foreign helicopters began to steal the wildlife from the coastal
ostrich's and the warthogs were walking around in groups. We, the elders of
the coastal villages, were keeping them and barred residents from hunting
them, but now you can see only a small number of the wildlife are still
walking around and this is evidence of foreigners poaching our wildlife," he
Jama 'Abdi, another elder from the same region told IOL that the helicopters
have been spraying the wildlife with chemicals which effect the environment.
"The pastures dry immediately, whenever the helicopters spray the wildlife,"
he said, adding that they don't know exactly who is stealing the wild life.
"The planes are of great concern to animals whenever they hover around the
water holes. Animals get scared from the planes and start to stampede,
causing great harm," he added.
A Somali livestock herder called Hassan 'Abdiwali 'Ali who lives in Mudug
region's Godobjiran district told IOL that he witnessed foreign military
helicopters hunting and stealing wildlife.
"I saw helicopters flying overhead spraying the wildlife, and collecting
them in nets, then fly away" he said. He claimed that some of his livestock
actually died from the spraying.
"The pastoralists and nomadic families didn't think that foreign helicopters
who came for peace making would steal our wildlife."
Families in Despair
The noise of the helicopters hovering and poaching wildlife is appalling,
and is worsening the condition of nomadic families and the coastal
"The amount of noise coming from the helicopters shocks the elders, children
and women. It can cause harm to their brain. We are in despair, if the
situation continues in the following months. We will flee from our homes,
because we can't stay under these difficult circumstances," Nasra
'Abdullahi, a mother of three based in Eyl told IOL. Thousands like Nasra in
the coastal villages in North Eastern Somalia are facing similar problems.
Governance in Somalia
Somalia has not had a central authority for years now, but parts of the
country such as in the north which comes under shaky semi-autonomous
regions, enjoy relative peace. Now the noise of the flying poachers stealing
wild life has become a problem which has forced thousands of people who were
living peacefully, to flee from their homes.
"The pastoralists have rifles; the only solution I think we can do as elders
is to order the pastoralists and the nomadic families to fire on the
helicopters, because we don't have any other form of power," another elder
"We want the flying poachers to stop displacing our people, to stop
annihilating us, Let them return what they have poached or compensate. We
are alarmed in the way in which this problem is affecting the people,
animals and the residence," 'Abdiaziz Aw Yusuf, the district commissioner of
Jariban in Mudug region told IRIN radio on 22 October, 2009
Elders Appeal to Stop the Poaching!
Usually the helicopters operate within the coastal area, where international
warships which have been deployed to fight with Somali pirates, are
stationed. However, the locals are appealing to the international community,
AU, EU, Somali government and Puntland authority to stop the foreigners
poaching their wildlife.
The warships are also a serious nightmare for Somali fishermen on the north
east coast. The fishermen are unable to sail on the high seas because of the
fear of being attacked by the forces. The multinational warships, which are
under a UN-mandate, patrol to deter possible piracy on commercial ships, and
UN-charted vessels carrying humanitarian aid to the Horn of Africa.
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