Abortive  Coup                        



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Siad Barre “May Day” Speech

Mogadiscio Domestic Service in Somali

0448 GMT 1 May 1978


[Speech by Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre at National Theater in Mogadiscio on 30 April on the occasion of May Day recorded]


[Excerpts] Lately there have been crises in the Horn of Africa, as in many other parts of the world--between colonialists and the colonized, between a black colonialist government and the black people it colonizes. This is not a new phenomenon; it is an old one. Many countries which were under colonial domination not so many years ago have freed themselves, after a long struggle, from the colonial yoke--for instance, Somalia.


It is surprising and amazing that today, when it is shameful to talk about colonialism, let alone practice it, some countries boast: We shall always be colonialists. It is also unfortunate that some other countries support their colonialism. It is an even greater shame today for one people to colonize another. It is for this reason that, without hiding anything, we ask the Soviet Union and its allies: How long will this colonialism continue? If this is to continue, why did the other European colonialism end? Why did they have to give freedom to those who fought for it? Will they change history? Will the Soviet Union and its allies change colonialism into a new concept? Will socialism evolve into colonial­ism and change history?


Can the history of the human race see this coming? It will not be possible. Otherwise many countries free today would not have been freed. The Soviet Union and its allies cannot change this, and it is imperative for colonized people to be free in the long run. Is it possible for the Abyssinians to colonize others forever? Others with much greater power, ability and resources have failed; they have failed and others will also fail. What is happening there is similar to what happened in Vietnam and Algeria; there are no other benefits expected to come. The broom finishes, but the dirt never comes to an end. [applause]


Some of the colonizers do understand and quickly retreat, while some, because they are stupid, continue colonizing others, increasing the suffering, deaths, injuries, defeat and humiliation. The people colonized by Abyssinia will be free. Eritrea will be free, and they cannot refuse to let them be free. [applause] Western Somalia will be free, and they cannot refuse to grant it freedom. [applause] The numerous Abo will be free [applause] because this is history, and no one can prevent the sunshine from reaching us.


No one has ever succeeded in stopping the sunshine from getting to us, and therefore no one will stop these people from obtaining their freedom. Abyssinia is nothing; they are being led by others and those who lead them should understand this. They still have time to retreat before they find themselves in a grave error of humanity and doctrine.


Before it is too late, they should understand the wishes of those who fight for their legitimate rights and allow them their freedom. If they do not, then they will go against the wind of change in the human race, and finally they will be swept away by the flood and find themselves helpless.


When I talk about Somalia, its policies are not changed from one direction in the afternoon to another at night, yet another in the morning and so forth; that is not our way.


Somalia believes in human rights and self-determination for all humanity. That has always been our policy and we shall continue following it. Empty threats and a show of force will never deflect us from our principles: understanding and assistance for those fighting for their human rights, freedom and self-determination. [applause]


I shall now turn to foreigners, imperialists and their ilk, who beat drums in some capitals. To these drumbeaters and propagandists who publish articles and newspapers in countries which are enemies of the Somali nation, who would like to sow confusion among the Somali people and who are trying to do so by spreading false propaganda against the Somali Democratic Republic and the Somali people, we say: The Somali people will befriend those who show respect and friendship, but those who adopt arrogant attitudes and try to take advantage of this difficult period will be disappointed.


Somalia is a free nation which knows what it wants. It can do what it wants and distinguishes friend from foe. Those who show respect and appreciation will get the same in exchange, but those who lie about Somalia or try to take advantage of it will never benefit. I must emphasize this.


I am now going to touch on some African problems. I am distressed that problems purely African nature are being handled by foreigners. I am sorry that problems Africa could solve by itself and which concern purely African matters are being interfered with by people from other continents.  I am sorry that Africa has kept silent about this problem. I am sorry that Africa did not feel offended at this interference by foreigners who came here illegally, that Africa could not see this new manifestation of colonialism, and that Africans did not ask themselves how they could accept this new colonialism while they fought the old one. This is a historic question which Africa will eventually have to answer. However, I must say that Africa has awakened and its ambition is to unite and determine its own destiny. Africa still has time to rectify this problem and show the world that it will not allow foreigners to trample on its rights.


Now I would like to talk about current problems in the Arab countries. It is unfortunate to note that a nation of one ethnic group – a nation with the same culture and infinite potential – has allowed itself to be trodden on, divided and set in mutual opposition. It is a really unfortunate situation. Their problems depend only on their unity. [words indistinct] I will leave it at that.



After the revolution, we adopted socialism and we continue to follow it. The Somali people must realize that there is a long and bitter struggle ahead. Even today we are passing through a difficult period.


However, irresponsible elements serving colonialist interests, who could not in any circumstances, speak for the nation, tried to overthrow the revolution. I would like to say that coups are no new thing. They have existed all along and will exist and may happen any day, but tire difference is this: What is the aim of the coup? Some coups could be staged in the interests of a people, some could be the product of feebleminded people like this group in Somalia, some could be made to serve foreign and imperialist interests, some could stem from political principles, and some could be made to serve a people. But the one attempted against the revolution was a childish game.


Anyway, those who were responsible for the attempted coup here are in jail, and others who were implicated by them ran away. Anyway the culprits are here. These elements will be dealt with according to the law after their guilt is established. It is not a matter for me or the Central Committee; it is a matter that concerns the law, which is above us all.


I would like to remind those who are beating the drums nowadays that those who are leading the revolution of 21 October cannot be moved from their principles. Those are being used by the colonialists will suffer. What do I care about them?


Jaalayaal: I did not come to power to divide Somali but to unite them, and I will never deviate from this path. I shall respect a Somali individual as long as he deserves respect, but if (?he) turns away from the correct path, then that is not my business.


Finally, I would like to remind you that we are passing through a difficult period. We should teach the foreigners and colonialists that Somalia cannot be led by other people and that the traitors who fled the country will never lead Somalia. We Mach them that Somalia exists and shall exist and shall never accept colonialism. The Somali people must strive for their nationhood and existence by showing their unity and readiness to safeguard their nation.


Jaalayaal: Again I would like to congratulate the workers of the world, hoping that their solidarity will be fruitful. Jaalayaal: I would like to thank those who organized this celebration. Jaalayaal: Thank you and good night.



Siad Barre Announces Crushing of Attempted Coup

Mogadiscio Domestic Service in Somali

1030 GMT 9 Apr 1978


[Address to the nation by Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre--apparently live]


[Text] Good morning. We have known all along that recently various types of imperialism have been saying that the Somali Army has been defeated by the Abyssinians and their allies; they also spread rumors of political crisis in the country, saying that because its economy is in a mess there is also a crisis in this sphere. They also drew attention to other indications in a way calculated to cause confusion and to facilitate achieving their aims and to harm the Somali people. We have constantly been aware that colonialism – which has many faces, both old and new – has wanted all along to stir up chaos in the country. We knew that they had their lackeys inside the country and that [word indis­tinct] they were taking orders from them.


As usual, the government was aware of and vigilant regarding all these activities and intentions. Accordingly, I regret to inform the Somali people that this morning at 1000 a few individuals, comprising soldiers and officers, attempted to stage a coup. [word indistinct] the national army has quelled the abortive coup and the culprits have been arrested.


When I say this I am very sad, because it means that after 8 or 9 years of orientation and guidance on the national duty of the Somali people, individuals connected with the imperialists have attempted to shed Somali blood. They will be tried according to the law.


I say to the Somali people, who have experienced many difficulties and who are capable of thinking about their nationalism, unity and development: You must first and foremost be calm, because there is more unrest now.


Second: You must be vigilant against colonialism, whether the new or the old; be more cohesive in your unity, which the foreign nations are anxious to destroy in their own interests.


I wish you all happiness and prosperity. I am sure and confident that whatever the colonialists try to do they will never succeed as far as the Somali people are concerned. The Somali people are self-sufficient and can decide for themselves.


Once again, I wish that you may always have the upper hand over the imperialists and the enemy. Thank you.



Mogadiscio Comments on Abortive Coup

Mogadiscio Domestic Service in Somali

1115 GMT 9 Apr 1978

[Unattributed commentary]


[Excerpt] An attempted coup to overthrow the Somali revolution was that is the subject of our commentary today.


Some people have tried to sabotage the revolution of 21 October 1969. The secretary general of the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party [SRSP], Jaalle Mohammad Siad Barre, has already warned the Somali people against the conspiracies hatched by colonialist to divide the Somali people, their nationhood and sovereignty. He did this when the conflict started in the Horn of Africa, and when the Somali Democratic Republic [SDR] decided to give full support to the liberation fronts. The imperialists and neo-imperialist confront the Somali nation in an effort to obstruct the progress of the Somali revolution.


Accordingly, they recruited forces to serve their interests. When the colonialists fail in this, they formed a clique of soldiers and officers to serve their interests.


The secretary general said that the Somali people and their leaders are aware of what the colonialists intend to do. The armed forces and the progressive forces will never permit their blessed revolution to be damaged.


This morning at 10:00, a small unit serving the interests of international imperialism, in line with imperialist intrigues, tried to stage a coup. However, they were confronted and destroyed by the national army, which killed some of them and arrested others, while some of them who are on the run are being pursued by the authorities.


After defeating the reactionary group that attempted the coup, the secretary general of the SRSP and president of the SDR, Jaalle Mohammad Siad Barre, addressed the nation over the radio, and appealed to the people.



Siad Barre Gives More Details on Coup Attempt

Mogadiscio Domestic Service in Somali

0440 GMT 12 Apr 1978


[Text] Jaalle Siad has said that the national army always discharges its duties in a commendable manner and that its contribution to the Somali people is outstanding and cannot be overemphasized.


Speaking about the abortive coup attempt by a unit serving foreign interests, the president revealed that the lackey unit had killed 20 people and wounded 34 others and that it had destroyed a number of vehicles and a quantity of ammunition. He added t the members of the national army who had confronted the unit involved in the coup attempt had used their good sense and, motivated by national sentiments, had succeeded in capturing most of the plotters.


A few are still at large and are being hunted do Jaalle Siad said that the members of the army who had put down the attempted coup ha fulfilled their national duty, just as they always had done when the country was in difficulty.


The president said that the lackey unit intended to take advantage of the difficult period through which the country is passing and hand the country over to colonialism, disrupting its stability. He went on to say that the ultimate objective of the colonialists was to spread false propaganda against the Somali nation, halt the progress of the Somali people, destroy the Somali revolution and undermine the Somali peoples' unity and cooperation.


Jaalle Siad, who was speaking on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of the national army, concluded his speech by saying that any similar attempt in the future is bound to suffer the same fate.



Nairobi Cites Somali Defector on Plan to Invade Kenya

Nairobi Domestic Service in English

1400 GMT 8 May 1978


[Text] A former colonel in the Somali National Army has disclosed in Nairobi today a plan by President Siad Barre to invade Kenya immediately after the Ogaden war. Col. Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmad told a press conference in Nairobi that the plan could not be carried out because his brigade at Sidamo, 40 Km from Mandera, had no ammunition and the necessary supplies. He defected to Kenya on the 10th of April this year with over dozen officers and men. The colonel has accused President Siad Barre of perpetuating fanny in the country. He also revealed that several hundred people are languishing in the country's jails.



Defector Discusses Attempt

Nairobi Domestic Service in English

1600 GMT 8 May 1978


[Excerpt] Col Abdullah Yusuf, a former Somali officer who defected to Kenya, said told that his group defected to Kenya after the abortive coup attempt to oust General Siad Barre after losing the Ogaden war. Colonel Ahmad said the coup failed because the groups involved had no means of communication as President Siad Barre had concentrated the troops at the Somali-Ethiopia border without transportation facilities.


He claimed further that Siad Barre had only sent troops who were not members of his clan to die in the Ogaden, while some 10,000 troops of his own clan were concentrated around Mogadiscio to protect him and his close friends. Colonel Ahmad said further that President Siad Barre had run away from his presidential palace and hidden in a slum on the day of the attempted coup.


He also accused President Siad Barre of banking the financial assistance sent to him by Arab states in his special account in Europe. He observed that the Somali ambassador to France, a relative of Siad Barre, has bought two huge villas in Paris with the money that has been given to Somalia for development. Colonel Ahmad has appealed to Arab countries and the Muslim World to stop giving aid to Somalia, because that aid would only be used to oppress the Somali people.


He also appealed to the Western World to stop arming Somalia for the same reason. The Somali defectors accompanying Colonel Ahmad have applied for political asylum in Kenya and their applications are being considered.



Mogadiscio Denies Ever Planning to Invade Kenya

Mogadiscio Domestic Service in Somali

1115 GMT 9 May 1978

[Station commentary]


[Text] Our commentary today concerns the naked lies uttered by the liar, Abu Nuwas [boon companion of the Caliph Harun ar-Rashid in the "Arabian Nights"] called Abdullahi Yusuf in a press conference in Nairobi last night in order to gain the sympathy of the Kenyan Government. Abdullahi was an officer in the Somali armed forces and was one of the small group defeated recently when attempting to (?obstruct) the progress achieved by the October 1969 revolution, and its victories.   In Nairobi yesterday Abdullahi spread the lie that when Somalia withdrew its military units which were helping the liberation movement of Western Somalia, he was ordered to lead 16,000 Somali soldiers in an attack on Kenya. This is a ridiculous and baseless lie that can appeal neither to the intellect, nor to the mind, nor to the [word indistinct] of any human being.


There is a Somali saying: The truth and the lie (?have different marks). The falsehood that this man wanted to make credible is self -contradictory and can be seen to be ridic­ulous when one examines the following points:


1. The issue between Somalia and Kenya is a legacy of the problems left behind in Africa by the colonialists and Somalia has on numerous occasions placed the issue before inter­national forums.       It has told the Kenyan Government how it intends to solve the problem peacefully in the spirit of African brotherhood, good-neighborliness and through the good offices of the OAU, and not to try to resolve the problem by using force.


This problem differs from that of the Somaliland colonized by the Abyssinian government, because, as is well known and documented in history, the Abyssinians shared out the Somali lands with the European colonialists, who invaded Africa. It is, therefore, im­possible for Somalia to send forces to Kenya under any circumstances.


2. Somalia withdrew its military units which were helping the Western Somali liberation movement-- which in the first place were committed in Western Somalia face foreign in­tervention--so as to pave the way for a negotiated settlement and to make the foreigners withdraw from there and end the problems of the war. Now let us ask:  Would it be conceivable for Somalia to think of sending troops to attack Kenya so soon? The answer is: No.


3. Colonel Abdullahi was a subordinate officer, answerable at his post to more senior officers in the administration and leadership of the armed forces. It is completely inconceivable that he or any other individual of his rank should have been made respon­sible for a mission of such magnitude.


4. It is quite obvious that the man wanted to gain the sympathy of the Kenyan government and to seek from it material rewards by uttering this cheap and incredible allegation. It seems that his ears did not hear what his mouth uttered insofar as he s naive to attempt to fool a whole government by means of such cheap lies.


5. As he himself said, he was one of the stooges who attempted to plunge Somalia into chaos, to damage the sovereignty of the people, and to sow the seeds of discord and tribalism. Nonetheless, the part he played was one which can only be viewed with utter contempt and was very insignificant. The man talked on behalf of others who took part with him in the conspiracy and who, he alleged, were killed together with their families, or imprisoned. It is indisputable and well known that his wife is still working with the Somali Film Agency, which is under the Somali Ministry of Information and National Guidance. This gives lie to his allegation and proves that no single family was imprisoned in connected with that issue, let alone children. It is indisputable that the offence is confined exclusively to those who participated in it and those individuals will be brought to court.


Now the question is: What will that man say when the culprits, led by Mahmud Shaykh Osman (Irro), who was the mastermind of the affair, are brought to court.


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