Somalis volunteer to bury the dead

Hundreds of Somalis volunteer to bury the dead still lying on the battlefields.

    Aliyow Ibrahim buried his brother and
    the fighters who killed him

    Most of the bodies here are from the Union of Islamic Courts which lost the recent battle against Ethiopian troops allied to the weak interim Somali government.

    The heat has caused the bodies to decompose quickly. The task is overwhelming, so the volunteers dig shallow graves and simply cover the bodies to conceal them, but it may become a health hazard, reports Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow, in Baidoa.


    Ibrahim is not from Idaale. He came in search of his brother, a Somali government soldier. He found him dead and buried him in a simple grave. Just metres away, he is burying the men his brother fought.

    Ibrahim told Al Jazeera: "I am doing this with a heavy heart. These are the people who killed my brother. I am doing this for Allah's sake. They slaughtered my brother and dealt with him in an inhuman way. They deserve no kindness."

    The dead here are a stark reality of the mostly unseen war that continued for just 10 days.

    Adow said: "Reported as a swift and clinical defeat for the Union of Islamic Courts, the many hundreds killed on both sides portray a more brutal and bitter fight."


    Not far from where the battles took place the area is covered with weapons, possibly left by Islamic Courts fighters.

    Adow also reported that the area is littered with unexploded ordnance. 

    Ordnance is scattered across the battlefields

    Nomads graze their herds oblivious of the dangers the arsenal poses.

    Greater concern to them are the corpses threatening to spoil their watering holes. Abdullahi Derow, a 45-year-old farmer, is one of those worried.

    Derow told Al Jazeera: "

    Bodies are lying on all sides of the dam. Even those buried have been put in very shallow holes. If it rains now, all the bodies will end up in the dam. We need help in taking care of the bodies and the explosives lying around. We fear for our lives."

    The explosives and their remains have also become an attraction to the locals.

    Some have taken to collecting the weapons to sell them as scrap metal in town. For others, the shells are perfect utensils to be used at home.

    Even though the battle for Idaale has ended, the people continue to suffer from its effects.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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