Racism and colourism are the reasons why Ahmed Dawlo was beaten, doused in petrol and set alight in his garage in the Mogadishu suburb of Yaqshid. Today, news has emerged that a Mogadishu court has sentenced to death those responsible for Dawlo's murder.
Dawlo’s nephew, Mohamed Abdirahman, is from a Bantu clan also known as Jareerweyne, while the woman he married, Ruqiya Abdullahi, is from another Somali clan. Bantus are of a different ethnicity to most other clans in Somalia, which contributes to greater discrimination and racial prejudice against Bantu people. Visibly, Dawlo's nephew is darker, while the woman he married is lighter.
Allegedly, Dawlo was attacked by the family of his nephew’s bride who disapproved of the inter-clan marriage. The family suspected that Dawlo had facilitated it and hidden the couple away. Local reports stated that Dawlo was killed while the newlywed couple were on their honeymoon.
This incident is a symptom of a wider problem: racism. Racism, and its offspring, colourism, are highly prevalent problems in communities in Somalia. These two problems fuel many of the inter-clan tensions. Discrimination between clans has increased since the collapse of Somalia’s government in 1991 as people came to rely more on clan powers rather than government institutions for justice. However, going by reactions to the brutal murder of Dawlo, there are changing attitudes growing in Somalia and its communities.
Dawlo's murder was followed by anger and condemnation, both online and offline. Joy and jubilation followed the court's ruling on the fate of his assailants. Perhaps this is a sign of a changing Somalia as people unite against bigotry and hate.
Header Image Credit: Dalsan TV