Among Somalis, owning a camel is an indication of high social status. Camels are regarded as the main reserve stock, and therefore act as a store of wealth and security against poverty and natural calamities.
In the past, stealing camels was one way of acquiring wealth especially during inter-clan conflicts.
But one man in Somaliland recently surprised many when he voluntarily returned unspecified number of camels he stole from a rival family 33 years ago.
This week, Adan Garro said he decided to return the camels to their rightful owners at which time, the owners forgave him.
“Back in the 1970s, it was common to steal livestock from your rivals and never feel remorseful. But I have decided to repent and return what did not belong to me,” he told the BBC Somali Service.
The camel forms a key part of Somalis’ rich heritage.
For millennia, camels have been a dependable source of not only transport but also food and milk for Somalis. There is probably no other society on Earth where the camel plays such a pivotal role in the economy and culture as in the Somali society.
The Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN estimates that 65 percent of all camels in the world are found in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan.