Somaliland: Revisiting the Siad Barre Massacres


Forensic experts describe finding human remains with “knotted lThe Horrors Unearthedoops of rope binding their wrists together behind their backs”

Somalilandsun – When heavy rains in 1997 exposed bones, ropes, broken skulls and torn pieces of clothing in shallow graves in Hargeysa, capital of the Republic of Somaliland, northwestern Somalia, it set in motion the rudimentary beginnings of an international investigation into alleged war crimes.

At the request of an independent expert of the UN Commission on Human Rights, an international forensic team, provided by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), came to Somaliland in December 1997. Two North American forensic experts were shown more than 100 alleged mass-grave sites. After preliminary investigations, the team reported that some of the sites did indeed exhibit characteristics of mass graves and contained evidence of gross human rights abuses. It recommended that the sites be preserved, and an international team of forensic specialists be authorised by the UN to carry out further investigations.