Conflict & Justice

Somalia evicts squatters from government buildings

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The threat from groups linked to Al Qaeda in Africa and the Middle East is growing. In this picture taken on Oct. 5, 2011, an officer of the African Union's peacekeeping force in Somalia mans a frontline position near the Mogadishu stadium, captured from Al Shabaab hardline extremists.

Credit:

Tony Karumba

Somalia is evicting thousands of squatters who live in government buildings, BBC News reported today.

Aid agencies in Somalia estimate that more than 50,000 people live in abandoned official buildings in Mogadishu, the nation's capital. An abandoned school in the area shelters more than 17,000 residents. 

The evictions come at a time when there is an unprecedented build-up of military force in Somalia, according to The Africa Report. African Union peacekeepers hope that the extra troops in Somalia will prevent terrorist attacks from Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab, which lost control of Mogadishu in August.

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Mogadishu mayor Mayor Mohamud Nur told the BBC that the local government now has the money to renovate the government buildings in Mogadishu and make them functional again. He said that squatters have been leaving voluntarily.

Some of the buildings are even operated by illegal landlords. Because the squatters can afford to pay the landlords rent, Nur said, they will not be offered alternative housing when they are asked to leave. 

But BBC reported that some squatters say they won't leave because they have nowhere else to go. Nur said that force will be used on people who refuse to vacate the buildings.