Zooming into the Past                                    


Late Appeals That Fell on Deaf Ears

Part III


President Abdiqassim Salad Hassan



Interior Minister Abdiqassim Denounces Violence

 Mogadishu Domestic Service in Somali

1900 GMT 24 Dec 1990


[Speech by Abdiqassim Salad Hassan, deputy premier and interior minister, during a news conference in his office on 24 December – live or recorded]


[Text] Brothers, today I wish to mention two broad issues of great importance to the Somali masses. Firstly, we consider as a bandit anyone who makes lawful what God has forbidden, namely the taking of life and public property. A bandit is anyone who enters houses, kills people, and takes away their property. He is anyone who tries to detonate explosive devices among the people in order to create terror. His only goal is to acquire illegal property by means of looting and extortion. Accordingly, the bandit's motive in killing a Muslim and taking his property is twofold: first, to quickly acquire wealth, and the other, to create terror in the minds of people. These are the two issues I wanted to mention.


These bandits, whose aims I have just mentioned, have been operating in other areas and in neighboring coun­tries. As soon as they enter the city, they start terrorizing the people. We must contain these bandits. We must work in unison – for example, by offering tip-offs, by killing and arresting these bandits if they are carrying firearms.


If we, as the masses, do not work in unison, the security forces cannot by themselves do the job of ensuring stability. Without your backing, the security forces are like flesh without bones. Throughout the world, the masses work hand in hand with the security forces. That is clearly what every one of us must do so that we can feel secure in our homes and keep our property, children, relatives, and transportation secure.


As these matters affect all the Somali Muslim masses, I appeal to them to carry out God's commands by defending themselves. God promised murderers and unbelievers eternal retribution. God promised mur­derers and unbelievers eternal retribution. [repetition as heard] The youth, mothers, clerics, and elders must cooperate, knowing that we can only contain the situa­tion if we are united.


Another thing is that there is a tendency to close down shops in the city for fear of looting. We shall provide armed guards. The shops must stay open with their lights on. The security forces will guard them; the masses must abandon this habit.


God and the prophets have already emphasized that those fighting for and protecting the (?community) have the right to kill and amputate hands and feet. As this is God's command, we, the Somali masses, must carry them out. The Somali masses must obey God's com­mands since they are well-placed to do so. The security forces must obey God's commands, for they are part of the masses.


I also wish to touch on the sound of gunfire in the city. For example, last night there were many gunshots heard in the city. If I tell you about the gunshots, you might be led to believe that last night's gunshots could have turned the city upside-down. The majority of those firing – let me say 90 percent – were guards, especially those of individuals and government officials. We would urge protected officials to tell their guards to stop unnecessary shooting, for the ammunition is valuable and could run out. If they do not stop, we shall collect the weapons, be they in the possession of civilians or government offi­cials. It is senseless to terrorize the city. Shooting is prohibited unless there is a genuine bandit attack and someone is compelled to defend himself. The habit of aimless shooting in order to show others that one has a gun must be stopped. This is for the sake of stability and peace in the city.


The security forces deserve gratitude for their untiring fight against the unbelievers who have legalized the shedding of Muslim blood. The security forces deserve gratitude for their untiring fight against the unbelievers who have legalized the shedding of Muslim blood. [rep­etition as heard]


The other day I personally witnessed a bizarre incident. A Somali girl was shouting at the top of her voice after being attacked by two bandits, while people in the bus she was traveling in looked on unconcerned. She was stripped of her jewelry. Let me ask the Somali people: Where have Islamic values gone? Where is the Somali ethos? The 20 people in the bus could have captured the two bandits, who only carried knives. God is angry with us because what we claim to be and what we do are two different things. We claim to be Muslims, but what we do is un-Islamic. That is why God is getting angry with us. That is why God is getting angry with us. [repetition as heard]


The opposition is the opposition. God created it, and no one can deny this. A father, his children, and their mother oppose one another. Leadership and heritage can be shared. That is no problem, for at the right age, every Somali citizen has the right to be elected or to vote. He has the right to be president or prime minister.


This can be brought about according to the wishes of the people. How do we learn the wishes of the people? We can learn them by forming many parties. We must examine diver­gent views. We elect one another.


Clause 18 of the Constitution of the Somali Democratic Republic [SDR] says all citizens have the right to (?form) political parties. I wish to inform respectable Somalis that the law governing the formation of many parties was passed by Parliament and endorsed by the president of the SDR. From tomorrow [25 December], people can form political parties in the SDR. There will be official announcements to this effect on the radio and television and in the newspapers for seven consecutive days, starting tomorrow. A committee on multiparty politics has been formed according to the law. The committee's secretariat is based at the Ministry of Interior. Any group wishing to form a party should follow the established procedures and then come to the committee at its office and apply to form the party. Should the committee turn down any group's request to form a party, the group should have recourse to the law. If the committee finds that a certain party is well planned, it will undoubtedly issue a go-ahead.


I wish to inform the Somali people that the country is on the brink of catastrophe. Our beautiful flag, which our fathers fought for, is about to fall to the ground. I appeal to the Somali people, who believe in God and his messenger, to give priority to their national flag, which is a symbol of unity. There is nothing that is above our flag and sovereignty. There is nothing that is above our flag and sovereignty. [repetition as heard]


God requires of us, the rebels, and others to settle our differences through dialogue. We must open a dialogue. We must form parties. We must elect leaders. There is no other way. No one who tries to take power through the barrel of a gun will succeed. He will fail. He will be cast into hell for shedding blood. Sitting here with my equals, I cannot envisage seeking power by means of guns. We do not believe in the use of guns. We believe in holding a dialogue as the only path God has shown us. Any forces opposing us in our defense of Somalia's sovereignty and honor must come forward to negotiate and form parties.


No one will benefit from shedding Somali blood. We pray to God to cleanse the minds of the Somali people. We pray to God to cleanse the minds of the Somali people. [repetition as heard] We do not have to hold a dialogue in Cairo, Rome, or Washington. Our custom used to be to hold negotiations under an acacia tree. Let us talk to each other in that manner. Let us arm ourselves with the holy Quran and hold negotiations. As a govern­ment, we are not ill- motivated. We want the Somali people to elect anyone they wish to lead them, without suffering any further political problems. The Somali people can hold elections within the set time. It is up to the people whether to postpone the election of their leader. We are concerned with the welfare of the Somalis. Only that is of great importance to us.



Siyaad Says He Will ‘Relinquish Power’ for Peace

 Mogadishu Domestic Service in Somali

1700 GMT 23 Jan 1991


[Text] This afternoon Somali President Jaalle Mohamed Siyaad Barre addressed the Somali nation through the media and pointed out that nothing could be achieved by the killings, the pillaging, and the civil war in Mogadishu. He said one could not achieve victory by [words indistinct]. The president particularly spoke of those who are constantly looting and their evil practices against public and private (?property). He said this was a lack of culture, inhuman and [word indistinct] unity to loot the property of Somalis and Muslims beyond the limit of [words indistinct]. He said such a state of affairs was not in accordance with Somali tradition and culture.


He warned the masses to distance themselves from the blood-shedding of Somalis in a tribal conflict. He said such killings could serve to split the Somali fraternal masses. He appealed to the Somali people to remember and thank God for the respect he has for human life.


The president spoke of the importance of food produc­tion and output and the role it could play in promoting and developing society and called on the masses to get involved in various farming activities [words indistinct]. The president said the masses ought to admit that we could only progress from poverty through agricultural production. He emphasized the need to stop fighting each other and instead turn to [words indistinct]. Jaalle Siyaad said foreign aid and [words indistinct] could not help.


Speaking to those opposed to the government from the country’s political point of view, Jaalle Siyaad said peace negotiations and reconciliation efforts were con­tinuing smoothly. Referring to those who say: Unless Jaalle Siyaad relinquishes power there is no peace. He said that he would relinquish power providing there would be peace and a cease-fire. In order to achieve this, he appealed to the Somali people to embrace peace, saying peace was good for the unity and future of the Somali masses.




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