Progress in Somalia Depends on Addressing Issues of Land

In many countries affected by conflict, households and entire communities have often been displaced multiple times, forcing them to leave behind land and property. One household’s loss becomes another one’s gain as internally displaced people are shuffled around and squat in any available space that provides a temporary reprieve from the insecurity and lawlessness. This creates opportunities for land grabbing as well. The problem can become more acute at the end of violence once security improves and prior owners attempt to return after years of dislocation to find others occupying their property. This leads to new rounds of post-conflict violence that can be destabilizing in fragile environments. In Mogadishu, the situation is no different and land disputes are becoming a more common occurrence occupying much of the mayor’s time and resources.

For more information see this Los Angeles Times article. One possible solution to this problem would be the development of a land claims registry to address competing land claims – a similar program has been effective in Timor-Leste as the country emerged from internal conflict.


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