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Banaadir regional court pledges to fast-track settlement of land disputes

Storyline:National News

Banaadir Regional Court has vowed to expedite the hearing of all land cases to ensure the rightful owners of land and property in the city get justice.

The Court’s chairman Aweys Abdullahi Wehliye said Saturday the court will seek to end illegal land and property ownership and ensure the original owners get them back.

“We are determined to making sure all plots are returned to the original owners. As you know in the last few months there has been ongoing process for people especially in Mogadishu to return fixed asset illegally held which is part of reconciliation between communities,” said Wehliye.

Wehliye was speaking during the handing over of land belonging to Ismail Bur’I Abukar whose property had been held by occupants for the last 27 years. “I wish to thank the chairperson Aweys for facilitating the return of my property,” said Abukar.

Land and property ownership in Mogadishu remains an emotive and complex issue dating back to the collapse of the government in 1991 and even before. In a report early this year, the Mogadishu based think tank Heritage Institute for Policy Studies (HIPS) said lack of legal precedents and multiple ownerships over time make it difficult to resolve land ownership in Mogadishu.

“Given the length of time many diaspora Somalis have been absent, it is not uncommon for properties to have been sold by the occupants that had seized the land following the collapse of the government to new tenants,” HIPS said. It further noted, “Though there are no legal precedents for claiming formal squatters’ rights in Somalia, occupants often refer to them nonetheless.”