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An appeal to Madmac from a Somali

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    This morning I spoke to a very disrtaught Somali guy who has been stuck in Cambodia as a refugee for 10 years.He's getting old now and he wants to go home to his family to spend the last days of his life.He says he has U.N. refugee status here but despite going to the U.N. and the American Embassy they won't help him.I know you spent some time in Somalia and have a certain affection for the peole so you are the only one I could think of to try and make sense of what is happening.Do you have any idea why he can't go home because as he says himself the war is over.He's from the Djibouti area.Who can he talk to? Can you make sense of the fact they won't let him go home?I got the impression today that he is totally at the end of his tether.I'm sorry to throw this one at you but maybe you have some idea of what's going on.
    Anyway, much apreciation from me and him.Thanks a lot for listening..

    #1 Posted: 17/3/2012 - 02:57

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6270
    Total reviews: 10

    Well, I have never heard of a refugee not be allowed to return home. Being forced to return yeah. Not allowed? I find it hard to believe the UN would not allow him to return home. On the other hand, perhaps he's from the Ogaden and was a member of AIAI or the ONLF in which case the Ethiopian government won't let him return. Since you mention the "Djibouti area" I presume we are talking about either the Ogaden or Somaliland, in which case perhaps the Somaliland government won't let him return because he fought with government forces against the SNM. Without talking to him myself, it's difficult to peel back the onion here. Does he have an email address or a way I could contact him? I am also very surprised that Cambodia was taking in Somali refugees ten or more years ago...

    #2 Posted: 17/3/2012 - 03:25

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Much appreciate the quick reply Madmac.The guy's too poor to have a telephone so he's going to phone in around 24 hours.The fact Cambodia was taking in Somali refugees-I don't know about that but he's been here for as long as I can remember, maybe 7 years.
    There's no doubt his demeanor was one of hoplessness when I talked to him.I've often met him in the past and usually we just swop pleasantries but this time he looked pretty down. I'll let you know when he contacts me.

    #3 Posted: 17/3/2012 - 05:43

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6270
    Total reviews: 10

    OK, tell him you need the real story - the no bullshit story. Tell him if he lies, there's no chance once that lie is uncovered, which it will be.

    I have a friend who works in the Somali government and maybe, just maybe, he can help the guy out. But we'd need a lot of details and they got to check out.

    #4 Posted: 17/3/2012 - 07:20

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    I spoke to him this morning.Basically I gave him a brief run down of what you said, I have a bit of experience of body language and this guy started giving off very evasive signals. Suddenly he became very interested in you and I could see the dawning in his eyes that he was up against someone who knew wnat they were talking about.Don't worry I've been very discreet he doesn't know anything about Travelfish or even your nom de plume.I just told him you live in Thailand and you had had experience with the U.N. and U.S. forces.
    He really started wriggling.First up he doesn't have an e-mail address and he can't understand English (I know this is BS) Then he suggested we phone you with my phone (sorry partner no can do no number etc)
    So the conversation ends with him drifting back to his buddies at the table were they sit, he couldn't wait to get away. Anyway I've told him how easy it is to open an e-mail address and said I'l come see him tomorrow.
    I know zilch about Somali politics but I'd say he was frightened by what I relayed to him. All of a sudden he was more interested in knowing about you than getting out.
    Is it possible some Western agency; U.N., NATO are looking for him and Cambodia being the last frontier...??
    Anyway, thanks for your time.I'll let you know what happens and I'll tell him what you said about no BS. I'll be interested to see his reaction.

    #5 Posted: 17/3/2012 - 22:56

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6270
    Total reviews: 10

    During the wars in the Ogaden and Somalia, a lot of war crimes took place perpetrated on all sides. The poulations in this region are not dense, so people who committed attrocities are known, and payback is part of the culture. Maybe this guy was up to no good, but more probably he is up to no good - probably just trying to bilk you out of money for a loan to help him out in his desperate circumstances. Tell him you need his full name, place of birth, any historical military affiliation and clan affiliation. If he won't give you that info... cut him loose.

    #6 Posted: 18/3/2012 - 00:40

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    OK, I've just spoken with him Apparently he was evasive because he had the impression you have something to do with the American Embassy in Bangkok and he's had no help from the Americans here
    .I've seen his UNHCR card which looks legit.He says he ended up in Cambodia because he got out on a Chinese fishing boat.Don't ask me how he ended up here his English is a little odd.
    I'll put down what I got off the card and him, maybe you can make more sense of it than me as I have no idea about Somali politics.
    His name is Abdulkadir Dahir Musa and his UNHCR reg number is 1C561.
    He now says I made a mistake about the Djibouti connection-possible as his English isn't the best.
    He's from KISMAYU and I think his tribe is M'dgan.
    Yes, he has military affiliations (his description not mine) to a General Morgan (sounds very British but maybe I've just anglizised the name.
    I asked him why he can't get home and he replied he has no passport or money-fair enough.
    So I'd be very interested and grateful for your take on this.
    He made a big point of stating he has no connection with General Adeed.

    #7 Posted: 18/3/2012 - 04:44

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6270
    Total reviews: 10

    He's Midgan - he's fucked. It's a minority group that's usually associated with a lack of real clan identity - hence security in that place. I haven't heard the word in a long time and I personally know no Midgan.

    As an affiliate of SNM Morgan, I would not doubt that he had no connection to Aideed or the SNA. Assuming he's telling the truth, and based on coming from Kismayu and a Midgan identity, there's no reason not to believe him. It wouldn't matter now anyway, though, since Aideed is long since 6 feet under and his SNA is now defunct.

    Morgan (and yeah, you got the name right. It's a nom de Guerre, and I don't know how he got it. His real name is Mohammed Said Hersi, and he's a bad actor (although he was the enemy of my enemy at one time). Morgan was involved in more attrocities than you can shake a stick at. Your man here is doubtless on the low end of the totem pole though. I never heard of any Midgan having any positions of any kind of authority in Somalia.

    This area (Kismayu - Juba River) is currently in conflict, with heavy Al Shabbab presence and the Kenyan Army is operating in the vicinity as well. It's not a safe area.

    Getting back is a problem for him because there are no direct flights to Somalia, and he would likely have to transit through Kenya to get to Kismayu. Getting into Kenya by air would, in all probability, be very difficult as I doubt he has a valid passport and no money to plane ticket if he did. I doubt the UN "won't let him back" - it's a question of mechanics and money. Why he was querring the US embassy is a mystery to me, since the US embassy has nothing to say about any of this really. The geograghy of his refugee status is a major stumbling block, as there is no easy way to get from Cambodia to Kenya. Ask him if he has tried to querry the Kenyan embassy about arranging for a visa to transit Kenya - at least that would be a start to clearing the way to go back. Doesn't solve his monetary problem, but it does help him in the event he can scrape up the money. Wish I could give him better advice, but he needs assistance from his extended family, if he knows where any of them are. Perhaps I can querry the UNHCR and see what they say about UN assistance in repatriation.

    #8 Posted: 18/3/2012 - 09:49

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Thanks Madmac.
    I'll probably catch him this morning as he sits drinking coffee in a Muslim cafe near here.
    It doesn't sound like I've got much good news for him but at least with the info you've given me he'll know he can take you seriously (I've seen a bit of doubt in his eyes up until now) If this Morgan was such a SOB won't he be fucked by association?
    and how the hell is he going to get into a combat area anyway? Seems from what you say the Kenyans hold the key.
    What are his chances of being acepted as a refugee by the Kenyans? At least he'll be getting closer to home?
    Anyway I'll kep you informed of what he says.
    BTW When I mentioned you'd been in the U.S. Army he rolled his eyes as if he knew he was fucked.What's the significance of that?
    Yes, he seems to think the Americans can help him.He's been to the U.S. embassy here and mistakenly thought you had something to do with the Embassy in Bangkok.
    I know he wants to talk to you,so I'm going to help him open an e-mail address since a long conversation with Thailand isn't cheap here unless he can do it from an internet cafe.would you talk to him if it came to it? Is it worth it?

    #9 Posted: 18/3/2012 - 21:05

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6270
    Total reviews: 10

    He probably thinks that because we fought the SNA we are anti-Somali. That couldn't be further from the truth. A lot of Somalis helped us in that campaign a great deal, and I developed life long friendships out of it as well. The Abgal were great to us. I have a lot of Darood friends as well. I almost married a Somali woman. I'll admit were he Haber Gedir that would be a little tougher for me, but Midgan? I've got a lot of sympathy for the Midgan. Tell him not to worry.

    And sure, give him my email and have him drop me a line: madmac572@yahoo.com

    If I can do anything to help, I will.

    #10 Posted: 18/3/2012 - 21:54

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  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Just spoke to. The Somali basically he backed off fast when I mentioned transitting thru Kenya.got very nervous wouldn.t even take t your e-mail.wamts ro call it all off I saw aletter of appeal to UNHCR.You obviously make him nervous.Says he doen't trust tou.So that's that.no more can be done
    anyway again thanks for your efforts.
    I think he's in big trouble or is after money

    #11 Posted: 21/3/2012 - 06:24

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Just spoke to. The Somali basically he backed off fast when I mentioned transitting thru Kenya.got very nervous wouldn.t even take t your e-mail.wamts ro call it all off I saw aletter of appeal to UNHCR.You obviously make him nervous.Says he doen't trust tou.So that's that.no more can be done
    anyway again thanks for your efforts.
    I think he's in big trouble or is after money

    #12 Posted: 21/3/2012 - 06:25

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6270
    Total reviews: 10

    Oh well, nothing I can do then. If I make him nervous, he must be hiding something, because otherwise that shouldn't be the case.

    #13 Posted: 21/3/2012 - 10:16

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    I. completly agree with yor assessment.He's got somthing to hide.I'm more than a little annoyed that he didn't have a word of thanks to offer.I feel embarresed at the shabby way he's treated your offer of help.All I can do is apologise for wasting your time and thank you for your kind help

    #14 Posted: 22/3/2012 - 00:25

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6270
    Total reviews: 10

    No worries Sayadian. It was just a casual conversation for me. I didn't spend any effort in doing any research or anything, because we never got that far.

    #15 Posted: 22/3/2012 - 08:38

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2087
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    I was looking forward to this story progressing further.. it was making for an intriguing read over my morning coffee!

    #16 Posted: 22/3/2012 - 14:25

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6270
    Total reviews: 10

    Me too Liz. What are you going to do? He didn't want to play. A lot of very ugly things have gone down in Somalia over the last 20 years, and people involved in them don't always want that to come into the light of day.

    #17 Posted: 23/3/2012 - 05:06

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    The very fact he was more interested in you than in any help you could offer spoke volumes to me.When I offered your e-mail address he became very agitated and far from looking at me with gratitude I could see in his eyes not only fear but some hatred as if I was setting him up.He couldn't get away fast enough.I have no doubt this guy has done something pretty awful and maybe he's on some sort of wanted list.I think because your American he thinks you belong to some agency hunting these people down.I doubt I'll see him again and that he'll avoid me like the plague.I just wonder what he expected,someone to send him home, no questions asked? He's the only Somali I know among the Muslim foreign community here, though we have refugees from all the other conflicts and bad regimes.Last year a Syrian guy who ran a small cafe made a decision to go home.No one has heard of him since.sometimes I'm so glad I was born with a decent passport in a democracy (far from perfect but better than some of the hell holes these people come from.)

    #18 Posted: 24/3/2012 - 00:28

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6270
    Total reviews: 10

    "sometimes I'm so glad I was born with a decent passport in a democracy (far from perfect but better than some of the hell holes these people come from.)"

    Man, you got that right.

    #19 Posted: 24/3/2012 - 00:39

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    I met the Somali this morning, in fact he wanted to talk to me.He says now that he wants to go to another part of Somalia because he knows there is too much trouble in his home area.I suggested again he e-mail you but for some reason he refuses any contact other than face to face with you.I explained you live in Thailand so it's impossible.So he refuses to use e-mail.I'm intrigued that he only wants a personal meeting.If I wanted to go home desperately I'd sure as hell grab at anything but he's adamant.He laughed nervously when I mentioned that Morgan was no angel.What the hell is it with this guy? He seems geniune enough, nice guy.
    Anyway, I have written this just to kep you updated.I wonder if he'll relent and use e-mail.He's really frustrating me.It's as if he's trying to make up his mind to tell me something but each time he loses his nerve.

    #20 Posted: 28/3/2012 - 23:56

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2087
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Maybe you guys can organise a Skype call with video instead of emailing?

    #21 Posted: 29/3/2012 - 03:48

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6270
    Total reviews: 10

    Liz, this guy doesn't want to see or talk to me. He's up to something, and via Sayadian he has figured out that he won't be able to lie to me. He wants guys he can BS, for purposes only he knows. Most people don't know anything about Somalia, but it just happens to be one of the places I know really well. I am sure he wants nothing to do with me - but can't flat out admit that.

    #22 Posted: 29/3/2012 - 04:31

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Mac
    He's definitely scared of you and the fact you know so much,that's for sure but why is it he wants a personal meeting with you?
    I don't suppose it'll do any good confronting him and pushing him into telling me why he won't talk other than face to face.Sorry to go on about it but he actually seeked me out this morning and then seem to lose his nerve.I'm getting intrigued by his attitude.I feel sure he wants to tell me something.Something is bothering him I'm sure.I don't like BS and he got me running around for nothing.I think he owes me an explanation.
    The fact he wants to go back to a different part of Somalia suggests he has a lot of trouble waiting for him in his home town.Damned hard to leave this bone alone.I hate all these unanswered questions.

    #23 Posted: 29/3/2012 - 04:57

  • sayadian

    Joined Travelfish
    15th January, 2008
    Posts: 1557

    Just an update:
    Abdulkadir telephoned me yesterday morning. Apparently he must have the impression you work for some NGO or something because he asked that you phone to talk to him.
    A bit cheeky I think since he's asking you to make an international call. He says he 'must' talk to you personally and he is happy to relocate to any part of Somalia.
    Please don't shoot the messenger but his number is (855)89664323.
    Anyway I've done what I promised I'd do for him.

    #24 Posted: 6/4/2012 - 20:55

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