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Using ethnography from 1987–88 and oral histories collected in 2006–8, the chapter describes Somalia’s civil war through the experiences of three families in Banta from before the arrival of war, through the war, to their flight to Kenya as refugees. The people in Banta’s region were particularly vulnerable during the war because of their minority status. Somalia’s political history, reviewed here, demonstrates how civil wars are often localized expressions of destructive global dynamics created through colonialism, Cold War geopolitics, foreign aid, and militarization.

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