When the road is not just a road – peacebuilding through dialogue in Somalia

A violent conflict destroys friendships, marriages, families and industries, all of which bind communities to one another. The chain of violence between the two clans was cut off, and reopening an important road meant an important moment of forgiveness.

Photo: Somaliland Standard

On September 24, 2018, Somaliland Standard reported on an important peace negotiation process between two clans, Marehan and Dir, in Galgadud, Somalia. There has been a violent conflict between the clans over the decades with regard to grazing land, boundaries and right to use water. Almost every family in the clans has lost their loved ones, and many are asking “how long does this take?”.

The conflict has also closed the road through an important area that has led to the breakdown of livelihoods and family ties due to the spiral of violence. The two organizations in the region decided to start difficult peace talks in 2013 between clans in order to open the vital road and put an end to the violence. Negotiations began first with the long-lasting negotiations in the clans, which eventually culminated in weeks-long negotiations between the two clans in 2017 and the common signing of a peace agreement in October 2017. Now the road that unites the regions is open again and the region’s development and peacebuilding can be well underway.