It is the target of folklore jokes for different reasons:
- It produces daring and assertive residents, characteristics considered negative or derogatory by more urban residents of old Mogadishu, and by others as well.
- It attracts envy from rest of Somalia for contributing the finest soldiers to the Somali National Army.
- It is the home town of prominent Somalia’s politicians, leaders and top military officers.
- It had led the way in the struggle for national independence. For the bravery of its residents, Italian Colonial Administration Authorities called it “Rocco Littorio”, after the name of Italian Warship for brave soldiers.
- Galkayo was the epicenter of repression and persecution by the Military Dictatorship of General Barre for no good reasons other than the strong character of its residents.
Lately, since the foundation of Puntland State, Galkayo and entire North Mudugh Region had been neglected in terms of good governance and development projects, dismissing it as nuisance frontier and despicable Puntland trouble spot. It has been left to its own device as irredeemable enclave and ungovernable location of the State. Since the inception of Puntland State Galkayo has been suffering from Administrative vacuum. Regional authorities there were appointed in nominal fashion without any meaningful State backup to address the the unique chronic issues and historical problems in the absence of well-intended governance strategy. The City has been treated as an outcast in the family. Even Galkayo road links to the rest of Puntland State had been disowned and allowed to deteriorate beyond repair. It is now three times easier and faster to travel more than four hundred Kms on the way to Bosaso on the shores of the Red Sea in the east than to drive a little more than two hundred Kms to Galkayo from Garowe, the main administrative center of Puntland State. Any vehicle that reaches Galkayo safely from Garowe would need total overhaul and expensive repairs. A multi-clan Somalia’s town of a quarter million residents with the potential to become the future National Capital City has been let go to ruin and rot.
As a result of despair due to neglect, residents of Galkayo became disillusioned and lost any hope in the future. Youth have been taken advantage of by Al-Shabab and other extremist organizations of all forms and shapes. Youth have been recruited as killers and murderers of their own kinship. Even elders gave in to Al-Shabab intimidations.The cream of its residents had been assassinated by local hopeless youth under the spell of Al-Shabab. For the first time, strange questions on whether Galkayo belongs to Puntland or Galmudugh were raised. Some residents of the city have been contemplating the idea of seceding from Puntland altogether since being part of the State has lost all meaning. In the words of the New Governor of North Mudugh Region, Abdilatif Sanyare, “Galkayo was no different from the two regions of Shabelles” in Southern Somalia with regards to the menace of Al-Shabab terror.
Most recently, a break has come to the residents of North Galkayo:
- Relationships and good neighborliness with the Southern Galkayo have significantly improved.
- Relative security and calm have returned to the City of Galkayo in both parts of the town.
- Dozens of Al- Shabab assassins have been apprehended and persecuted, a security campaign still underway as we write this article. These prisoners of Al-Shabab assassins have been narrating, in their debriefings, graphic details of their murder exploits. But, it is still premature to conclude that the Dystopian Somalia’s City of Galkayo is out of the woods. It is too good to see Galkayo that lucky.