May 28, 2007

dark humor from the days of the warlords

Militiamen ruled much of southern Somalia for a decade and half, every street in Mogadishu belonged to a warlord and had check points at every few kilometers. A friend of mine was sharing with me the other day some of the dark humor of those days.

He told me that once a checkpoint was sold for about 70,000,000 shillings, that's about $70. Because checkpoint were seen as a source of income, like having a truck, and was valued highly.

Another warlord came up with a novel idea to make more money of checkpoints, anyone who came through one of his checkpoints would weighed and if more than 50kg, the victim or the relatives are charged per extra kilo (so if 100 kg, it might cost $100 per extra kilo = $5000).

A newspaper run an advert for a "Gandhari", a technical operator, the requirements included like; must be experience in clan warfare and must taking part in at least 15 tribal battles and have killed at least 15 innocent people ... etc. Luckily the ad was just for fun.

Most of the warlords were in Mogadishu and when the Islamic Courts came they removed almost all of them. Though most of warlords are part of the government

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