Catching up with Kismayo

After about five years away, I traveled back to the coastal city of Kismayo, the capital city of the Lower Jubba region as well as the interim capital of Jubaland state. It was my fourth trip to the city. I traveled to the city in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan, the famous religious and military leader of the Dervish Movement, had the city’s airport named after him in May 2019. Upon landing there, things were smooth, unlike the past where I was interrogated and asked of a guarantor before I was allowed in. Read more

Feeling the heat at the border: my visit to Dolow

I have had the privilege to travel to many towns in Somalia in the past eight years, but I did not visit any of the towns in the Gedo region. Recently, however, I had an assignment in the border town of Dolow, and everyone I asked told me that it is the safest town in the Gedo region. Nevertheless, I departed Mogadishu feeling unsure about how my trip would work out. Read more

Back in Beledweyne: Vivid Memories, Inspiring Stories, and a Bright Future

After almost three years away (two years and 9 months to be exact), I traveled back to Beledweyne for a short assignment. The last time I was there was in December 2018. That previous trip was my first return to the town after 8 years away. At that time, I wrote a blog post titled ‘Back to Beledweyne eight years later’. I was excited to go back to the town again. I spent three good years in Beledweyne between 2006 and 2009 studying at a secondary school. These three years shaped my life in many ways. I also learned many tough lessons from the fragile security situation, recurrent floods, and armed clashes. Read more

Getting back to Baidoa: a changing city

I have been occasionally traveling to Baidoa since 2014. It is a nice, cool town, and its people are welcoming. It is always great to go back to the city and keep up with the great development going on. The last time I visited Baidoa was January 2021 when I was doing field research on fiscal federalism for Somali Public Agenda. Read more

Bitter-sweet lessons of Jowhar

Although I have travelled to many Somali cities in the past eight years, I had never been to Jowhar, the capital city of Middle Shabelle region. Jowhar is also the capital city of Hirshabelle state – the newest federal unit – which was established in October 2016. I was excited that I was finally traveling to this historic town. Read more

Back to Buulaburte: Bringing back memories after ten years away

Going back to Buulaburte – my hometown – had a lot of emotional attachments. The last time I was in the city was August 2010, when I was about to start my sophomore year at  Mogadishu University. I was now going back to the town after ten years and six months (or 10.5 years) on 16 February 2021. This time, it was not only me. I went back with my wife and our three young children – it was the first visit for all of them. We were all happy and excited about the trip. Read more

Gone But Never Forgotten: A Tribute To My Late Father Abdullahi Sugunto

Twenty years ago today, on a Thursday morning, 7th December 2000 (10th Ramadan 1421) my father died in Buulaburte, a district in the Hiiraan region. That night I was sharing a room with my three younger brothers. We woke up crying. Read more

My visit to Dhusamareb

On 19 July 2020, I travelled to Dhusamareb, the capital of Galmudug State, for Somali Public Agenda study on Galmudug reconciliation process. It was my first trip to the famous old town. In the past, I visited several Galmudug districts, but access to Dhusamareb was not possible at that time due to the presence of Ahlu Sunna Wal Jameeca (ASWJ), which was at loggerheads with the Galmudug administration then based in Adaado. Read more

A Day With My High School Classmates

After 11 years since our graduation from Sheikh Mohamed Moalin Primary and Secondary School in Beledweyne, I spent a memorable day with some of my high school classmates in Mogadishu. We had a lunch and afternoon tea/coffee together at the Peace Garden (Beerta Nabadda) in Mogadishu, a green space that people come for photos, weddings, celebrations and family gatherings. Read more

Badhan – Buuhoodle – Gaalkacyo (and much in between)

On a sunny August day in 2019, I landed at Garowe’s Gen. Mohamed Abshir airport. I had visited Garowe several times in the past, however, this was the first time I had used the city’s new airport. This was the beginning of a three-week trip. During this period, I visited Badhan, Buuhoodle, and Gaalkacyo (North). Read more