Bakaara Market

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The Bakaara Market (Somali: Suuqa Bakaaraha) is an open market in Mogadishu, Somalia. It is the largest in the nation. The name Bakaaraha is derived from the Somali word for grain silo or storage, baqaar.

Bakaara Market in the heart of Mogadishu. Due to the fragility of the government, Somali marketplaces have thrived.

The market was created in late 1972 during the reign of Mohamed Siad Barre. Proprietors sell daily essentials, including maize, sorghum, beans, peanuts, sesame, wheat and rice, petrol and medicine.

It is famous for illicit activities, such as forged Somali passports processed within minutes, Ethiopian and Kenyan passports, and other forged documents, including birth certificates and university diplomas. This illicit sub-market is known as Cabdalle Shideeye after one of its first proprietors.

Battle of Mogadishu[edit]

In October 1993, the market was the site of the Battle of Mogadishu or the Battle of the Black Sea. 3 of the 5 U.S. Black Hawk helicopters were downed in the area, which led to a fierce firefight that lasted all night.

Violence, fires, and counterfeit currency[edit]

In 1997, a dispute arose over the control of the collection of taxes in the market. As a result of the confrontation, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired into a fuel tank. Fuel tanks are above ground in the market, not stored underground. Several civilians were injured.[1]

In March 1999 hundreds fled the market after fighting erupted. Fighting continued between Islamic Courts and secular militias through April.[2]

On 26 January 2000, the market was the site of the shooting of Ahmed Kafi Awale, a radio commentator for Hussein Mohamed Aidid's Radio of the Somali People. Three others were killed and seven badly injured.[citation needed]

On 5 January 2001, a fire broke out in the market. The vegetable section of the market was destroyed, as was part of the milk section. Islamic Courts Union (ICU) militia forces broke up the fighting.[3]

In February 2001, an influx of counterfeit currency led to the shutting of the market for a time. The Somali shilling collapsed. Traders only accepted U.S. dollars for a time. The cost of arms was affected, and the cost of food and essentials doubled during the crisis.[4][5]

On 10 April 2004, another fire broke out in the market. According to a report to the UN Security Council:

On the night of 10 April [2004], a serious fire in the main Bakaara market in Mogadishu resulted in at least eight people killed and more than 30 wounded. Armed looters shot indiscriminately into the crowd. The incident caused significant insecurity in the areas surrounding the market.[6]

On 2 October 2007, another fire started in the market, spreading rapidly. The fire reportedly was caused by a fired shell during a brief fight between the re-liberation forces against Ethiopian invaders and their allied transitional government forces nearby.[citation needed]

On 15 October 2009,[7] Al-Shabab insurgents shelled the Bakara Market with mortars, killing 20 people and wounding 58.

On 1 May 2010, two bombs detonated at a mosque near the market, killing 39 people and wounding 70.[8]

On 12 May 2011 the African Union Mission to Somalia and the Transitional Federal Government launched an offensive towards the market to clear out Al-Shabaab.

On 14 May 2011 heavy shelling hit the market resulting in at least 14 civilian casualties. Most of the civilians killed were women doing their shopping, and one child was also among those killed.[9]

In November 2012, the head of Bakara’s business community, businessman Ahmed Nure Awdiini, was shot dead outside his office in Mogadishu.[10]

Security Checkpoints[edit]

The security checkpoint for the market was controlled for a long while by Mohamed Qanyare Afrah, a Mogadishu warlord who was appointed Minister of National Security by the Transitional Federal Government. The checkpoints for the market were removed in June 2005 as part of the Green Leaf for Democracy (GLED) initiative of a "Global Week against Small Arms."[11]

References[edit]