Hargeisa, Somalia: The new "City of God"?


Somalia may generally be thought of as a source of refugees, but fierce conflict in Ethiopia is sending more and more refugees into the country with predictably negative effects. There's recently been a large increase in street children and a rise in gang conflict in the city of Hargeisa, which is often an initial stopping point for immigrants seeking to travel further into Somalia or Yemen.

Children flocking to Hargeisa join Somali kids in searching for the most basic necessities, using any means necessary to find their next meal off the streets.  Current estimates claim there to be about 3,000 children, most of them boys between five and 18, living on Hargeisa's streets. Lacking families and home environments many of these children cling to gangs as a source of fraternity and stability. In the past two years, approximately 5,000 knives and weapons, commonly used in robberies, have been recovered from street children. Mohamed Ismail Hirsi, Hargeisa's Central Police Station commander recently stated:

"In the last 72 hours, we have arrested more than 30 street children who have committed crimes such as stealing mobile phones in different parts of the town."  

Increased crime by these young boys is complicated further by the fact that a 2008 juvenile justice law has yet to be implemented, forcing these children to be charged and processed as adult perpetrators.

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Pervez Musharraf tries the quiet life

Today, FP's front page has an excellent article from Amjad Shuaib on the crimes and fall of former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf. As Shuaib notes,  the Pakistani Supreme Court's decision this past July to declare Musharraf's state of emergency proclamation unconstitutional means "he may be tried for treason -- and possibly executed." 

With that threat hanging over his head, one might expect Musharraf to escape to a remote island hideaway, or at least somewhere where he couldn't easily be found. Not so: instead, according to the Guardian, he's holed up in "an unassuming three-bedroom flat behind the shisha bars and kebab joints of London's Arabic quarter." Unconstitutional seizure of power aside, the only controversy Musharraf is attracting in Britain is his taxpayer/Scotland Yard-provided security detail. And while he lives decently well, the apartment is a far cry from the "Park Lane penthouses" his rival Nawaz Sharif used to own. 

Still, Londoners who don't want the dictator hanging around will get their wish after this week: "he starts a 40-day lecture tour of the US next Tuesday." 

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