Somaliland: Massacre at Ahmed Dagah


flames engulf the city during riots by Haqsoor supportersA Stain on the Conscience of Silanyo

By: Jamal Madar

Somalilandsun – On Thursday, 6th December 2012, a brutal massacre took place on the south bank of Hargeisa in which two people lost their lives instantly and two others succumbed to their wounds later at Edna Aden Hospital after the so-called Somaliland Special Police, an anti-terror unit, have been ordered

to use whatever force is necessary to disperse an unarmed peaceful demonstrators protesting against an apparent “manipulated local election results” held in the country 0n 28 November 2012. At least nine others were injured some of them seriously including a ten year old girl who was shot in the stomach.

These demonstrators died from fatal gunshot wounds to the neck or upper abdomen which indicates that the police have been granted an unrestrained power to use live ammunitions to quell the protest. Even worse, when this “state terrorism” was perpetrated against the people of Ahmed Dhagah no single government official or institution expressed sympathy or condolences in public to the relatives of the fallen victims. Similarly, the largely clan-based civil society groups in Somaliland came under fierce criticism for their criminal wall of silence on this abhorrent crime.

When President Ahmed Silanyo was in opposition three years ago, Rayale could not stand his blistering condemnations whenever the security forces resort to firing guns into air to disperse his angry KULMIYE supporters demonstrating against the government’s injustices. Silanyo was then a fire breathing demagogue whose words could easily incite his supporters to insurrection or vigilantism although he is now an old shadow of himself.

It is an irony of fate that the people whose blood was shed in the streets of Ahmed Dhagah by Silanyo’s security forces are the same people that remained shoulder to shoulder with him in the hour of his need. Also, they were the same people who propelled him into power by overwhelmingly voting for his ruling party- KULMIYE.

During Rayale’s days, whenever a protester is hurt in a peaceful demonstration, often organized by KULMIYE party activists, Silanyo would visit them at the General Hospital and wish them a speedy recovery.

Today, it was only after much public outcry and avalanche of condemnations, mostly from the Diaspora, that Silanyo reluctantly expressed his deridingly belated expression of sympathy to the relatives of the murdered peaceful demonstrators while in the same breath threatening the bereaved relatives that he will “deal forcefully with anyone who disrupts the law and order”. But the president missed the point by a wide mark. It was none other than his security forces that acted unlawfully in this instance. It remains a mystery until now why everybody in Somaliland is so silent on this hideous crime which has seriously damaged the reputation of this country. This silence implies nothing but consent to the barbaric manner in which these people were killed in cold blood.

No matter what, this ugly massacre of children will remain an indelible stain on the moral conscience of Silanyo and his inner circle. It is also sad and lamentable that the British taxpayers whose funds supports this special police unit, which was meant to fight terrorists, is now being used to silence dissent in order to advance Silanyo’s family political agenda.

Needless to say, the slain demonstrators were exclusively supporters of HAKSOOR political association who unwaveringly believe that the results of the local election announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) were deliberately manipulated.

In fairness, there are strong indications that lend credence to the argument of the HAKSOOR supporters that the election results have been deliberately manipulated to ensure that the only political associations that the government favours would, in the end, qualify for national parties. WADDANI party whose leader is also the Speaker of the House is simply a subsidiary of KULMIYE party and remains at the beck and call of Silanyo. There is no way that WADDANI will be a credible opposition and hold the government in power to account to the best interests of the people.

There are also rock solid evidences of massive vote riggings in the form of video clips that are currently making the rounds on the internet not to mention the documentations and other material evidence available. Only a fool can deny such self-evident truths. There is no doubt that HAKSOOR was targeted by NEC officials with the full knowledge and collaboration of selected cabinet ministers and KULMIYE party officials headed by Hersi Haji Ali, the minister of the presidency.

First, the HAKSOOR final vote tally was consciously deleted from the NEC computer in an apparent attempt to create confusion and chaos. Until now, no one has come up with any sort of explanation for this criminal offence. When HAKSOOR officials asked for a recount, the ballot boxes from the electoral district of Ahmed Dhagah, the stronghold of HAKSOOR, could not be found at all even though the NEC headquarters in Hargeisa was heavily guarded and its surroundings was teaming up with people.

Even the conspiracy theorists and blind supporters of the government could not find a plausible explanation about the mysterious disappearances of these ballot boxes. It emerged later that the reason why the electoral commissioners were unwilling to show the missing ballot boxes of the electoral district of Ahmed Dhagah was because HAKSOOR ballot papers were “dumped and burned” in the dry river bed of Hargeisa where the ballot papers were found flying over all over the place. The HAKSOOR candidates ‘names were clearly printed on the ballot papers with a cross put in the box next to the potential candidates’ names.

This incontrovertible evidence was shown on Horn Cable TV by Hassan Essa Jama- HAKSOOR leader. The local press was also invited to check the authenticity of the ballot papers which clearly bears the seal of NEC on the back of each ballot papers.

A more damning evidence surfaced when the president’s special advisor on Eastern Region, Fuad Adan Adde, said unambiguously in a press statement that the chairman of the NEC Essa Yusuf Mohamed, was “directly responsible” for the deliberate disenfranchisement of the Sool people particularly Huddun district. He stated that the NEC chairman, a clan fundamentalist in his own right, “clearly favoured his own clan over the Dhulbahante clan”.

The extreme wickedness of this government could be summed up in one example. KULMIYE councillors who lost their seats had been brazenly replaced with others who were earlier officially declared as winners in the press, leading to violent demonstrations between government forces and supporters of the councilors who were deliberately robbed of their victory with the assistance of Silanyo’s Kangaroo court in Hargeisa.

The local election held in the country on 28 November 2012 was not only a complete and utter sham marred by large scale vote rigging, “under-age voting, and multiple voting” but also ended up with the brutal murder of four innocent people.

The consequence is that today Hargeisa remains a divided city where Silanyo’s forces have no control at all over Ahmed Dhagah district. It is off limits to government functionaries. Taxes are not collected. Government vehicles are impounded although civilian and NGO cars freely operate and move around.

When HAKSOOR was robbed of its votes in Sool, Zeil and Sanaag and the blood of its supporters were shed, its leadership was told to place their complaints with the relevant district and provincial courts where the election fraud and vote rigging occurred. The Haksoor leadership has now issued an official press statement in which they made it quite unequivocally clear that all the chief provincial judges of Sool, Awdal, Marodi Jeh and Sanaag informed them in no uncertain terms that they could not handle any HAKSOOR complaint regarding the election.

It has now emerged that the executive department directly intervened in the relevant courts because the government could not stand the overwhelming evidence at HAKSOOR’s disposal.

The responsibility for the blood spilled in the streets of Hargeisa lies fairly and squarely at the presidential palace and the clan fundamentalist chairman of the NEC, Essa Yusuf Mohamed, who refused to postpone the announcement of the hotly disputed election results despite the many unanswered questions.

The trigger-happy elements within the ranks of the Police who have committed this heinous crime are yet to be identified let alone to be charged. Furthermore, there is no apology from the government and no heads will roll

Today, Silanyo cannot claim to be the president of all Somalilanders. Certainly, he is not the president of the people of Ahmed Dhagah. Whether we like it or not he reduced himself as the Leader of a Clan Fiefdom rather than the leader of a state.

As a fervent and loyal supporter of this nonagenarian president for more than a decade, I would never have imagined even in my wildest dreams that Silanyo’s government would so easily and quickly turn into an organized crime syndicate right in front of our eyes to the extent that it would brazenly steal the local election in a broad day light and resort to bathing in the blood of innocents.

It’s a new chapter that will be written in the annals of Somaliland history.

Jamal Madar