Somaliland: What Exactly Did The Former Regime Do To Us?


Mass graves in Hargeisa caused by war criminals

Somalilandsun – I am not a lawyer by profession but I am a physician who worked in Somaliland from 1983 to the first 12 days of June 1988. I witnessed or have firsthand information of so many acts of brutality, victimization, indiscriminate shelling of civilian residencies and mass killing.

The above question is debated nowadays in all over Somaliland. Have we been the victims of genocide, massacres or just an atrocity? I think the answer is all of the above. The governments of Somaliland and Somalia recently agreed that atrocities did happen in all over former Somalia and in particular in Somaliland. I think this is a positive development.

It is our responsibility to prove that acts genocide and massacre were carried out against our people. There is a legal definition of both acts. There is a united nations convention against genocide and mass killing.

We do not need Somalia to agree or disagree and I don’t think they will ever agree. We just have to invite United Nations agencies for human rights and hire international lawyers. We have a plenty of evidence because the witnesses and families of people massacred in Jazeera, Burao, Sheikh, Gabiley and many other areas are still alive.

We have videos of the indiscriminate shelling of our cities. We have mass graves. It seems that we are wasting our time blaming or defending our government. The former supporters of Siad Barre are trying to equate our suffering to what happened in Somalia after the collapse of the regime even though they know the difference. Can we put local politics aside and start fighting for the denied rights of our people?

Aden Ismail, MD, FRCP

London, Ontario