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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 , 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.
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.
On 1 May 2010, two bombs detonated at a mosque near the market, killing 39 people and wounding 70.
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.
In November 2012, the head of Bakara’s business community, businessman Ahmed Nure Awdiini, was shot dead outside his office in Mogadishu.
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."
- Horn of Africa Monthly Review 1-31 May 1997 UNDP
- World: Africa Mogadishu market clash BBC
- Horn of Africa: IRIN Update, 10 January SOMALIA: Fire in Bakaara market, IRIN
- Horn of Africa: IRIN Update, 12 February IRIN
- Fake Somali Banknotes Flood into Mogadishu Xinhua
- Local Business, Local Peace: the Peacebuilding Potential of the Domestic Private Sector: Case Study, Somalia International Alert
- Somalia: Mortar shell kills two in Mogadishu
- BBC News - Somali blasts kill 'at least 30 at militants mosque'
- Somalia shelling kills 14 civilians at market
- Somali Mogadishu businessman Ahmed Nure Awdiini killed, United Kingdom: BBC News, 2012
- Global Week of Action Against Small Arms Somalia 2005 Somaliweyn