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Somalia`s New Tongue Twisting Names
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Zooming into the Past
What If Canada Would Have Sheltered Abdullahi Yusuf!
Biyokulule Online
August 21, 2010


Toronto: The Somali problem has been around for two decades now and it is apparent that no quick fix will put to those who commit war crimes or any other crimes or human rights violations against innocent people.

In early 1990s, as you will see below, groups of immigrant Canadians were trying to bring their relatives to Canada. They wanted to reunite their fathers and loved ones in Canada. They fought government immigration policy to short-circuit the process, despite the fact that in general, the law-abiding Canadians wait years for the processing of sponsored relatives.

Meanwhile, it was reported that those who sought to reunite their loved ones on humanitarian grounds include Hawo Abdi Samater whose husband, Abdullahi Yusuf, was “an ex-army officer who headed the Democratic Front for the Salvation of Somalia (DFSS), fighting the military government of then-president Siad Barre from an Ethiopian base from 1978 to 1985”.

Canada faced a daunting task of figuring out whether the ex-army officer is a legitimate refugee or a war criminal.

Ottawa`s initial response to Samatar`s appeal was apparently suspicion-filled statements about the ex-rebel leader`s life story and therefore put forward such statements as: "We`re dealing with a guy who was detained. We want to determine why and what he had done to result in that." As the former leader of a rebellion in Somalia "we want to make sure he was not involved in any activity that involved subversion and terrorism."

In any case, thanks the time consuming morass for the Canadian immigration process, sheltering Abdullahi Yusuf was not possible. The ex-rebel leader would have tarnished the Canadian image.

The apprehension of the immigration officials rose from the realization that the ex-rebel leader should answer past human rights abuses instead of being given refuge here.

Pair in danger in Ethiopia, families told
By Barbara Aggerholm
Kitchener-Waterloo Record
May 31, 1991

But now, the men have phoned from Ethiopia to say they`re in danger and have no money for food or lodging.

"As much as I was happy, I am worried about them," said Yasmin Hassan, whose father, Abdulqadir Hassan, was released along with Hawo Abdi Samatar`s husband, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed.

The families are appealing to the federal government to help the men.

Ahmed is an ex-army officer who headed the Democratic Front for the Salvation of Somalia (DFSS), fighting the military government of then-president Siad Barre from an Ethiopian base from 1978 to 1985.

He and his followers, including Abdulqadir Hassan, were imprisoned after Ethiopia and Somalia signed a peace treaty ending the 1977-78 war between the two countries.

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed had been detained in Ethiopia army headquarters in Addis Ababa since 1985 without being charged with any offence, said Amnesty International, the world-wide human rights organization which issued an urgent appeal last year on his behalf.

Last year, Waterloo MP Walter McLean raised Ahmed`s case with Ethiopian leaders. And thousands of high school students in Waterloo Region wrote to the Ethiopian government to appeal for Ahmed`s freedom.

But his wife and four children didn`t hear from him until this week.

And now they, along with Yasmin Hassan and her brothers and sisters, are anxious to bring the men safely to Canada.

They are asking McLean and Kitchener MP John Reimer to help.

"The country is not safe," she said. "We`re asking the Canadian government to do something."

Ahmed Haji-Jama, a Toronto relative, said the family asked immigration officials in Kitchener if they can speed up an application made by Samatar last year to sponsor her husband to come to Canada.

Now that he`s out of detention, they should be able to help, he said.

Hassan said she spoke to her father and Ahmed after they telephoned from a hotel in Addis Ababa.

Her father said the rebels just opened the prison doors and let them go. They are in danger from ethnic clashes in the capital, Haji-Jama said.

McLean said there`s nothing Canada can do immediately, though the situation could change rapidly.

"There`s no lack of sympathy," he said. "The problem is to get some access." He has received many calls for help through his riding office and in Ottawa.

Ethiopia`s international airport is not open, the Canadian embassy is closed and Canadians there are trying to keep safe, he said.

There`s hope the situation will very soon open up so a request like this one can be pursued, McLean said. "There`s a good deal of international and African interest in getting stability."

United Nations agencies, relief organizations, churches and the International Red Cross are all present in Ethiopia, he said. "At the moment, we`re trying to support the peace-making process and get the development programs up again."

McLean said he can`t say at this time how Canada can help the families once the situation is stabilized. "There may be special circumstances here that will be brought into play."

Reimer said he will work on the families` concerns with the External Affairs Department.

He said he wrote a letter previously to then-external affairs minister Joe Clark and then-immigration minister Barbara McDougall asking them to intervene on Ahmed`s behalf.

© Copyright 1991 Kitchener-Waterloo Record.

Somalian eager to join K-W family
By Barbara Aggerholm
Kitchener-Waterloo Record
June 14, 1991

"The spouse is a landed immigrant so it`s a Number 1 priority."

Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed had been detained in an Ethiopian prison for six years before being freed recently by rebels who captured the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

In a telephone interview from Ethiopia, Ahmed said he is relying on friends to help him in Addis Ababa because he has no money.

"For almost six years I was in complete isolation in my room," said Ahmed, who has asthma.

"I got no sunshine, fresh air. I couldn`t get any time outside the room. I was sick and they refused to give me medical assistance."

He said he and Abdulqadir Hassan, who also has relatives in Kitchener, were in touch with the Canadian embassy in Ethiopia to request documents that would allow them to join relatives in Canada.

"I will be so happy to join my family, to see again my wife and my children."

Dunnington said Ahmed`s case is not straightforward.

"Because of the volatile political situation in Ethiopia and Somalia, we don`t let people in until we assure ourselves there haven`t been security problems and criminal activity," he said.

"We`re dealing with a guy who was detained. We want to determine why and what he had done to result in that." As the former leader of a rebellion in Somalia "we want to make sure he was not involved in any activity that involved subversion and terrorism."

Ahmed is an ex-army officer who headed the Democratic Front for the Salvation of Somalia (DFSS), fighting the military government of then-president Siad Barre from an Ethiopian base from 1978 to 1985.

He and his followers - including Hassan - were imprisoned after Ethiopia and Somalia signed a peace treaty ending the 1977-78 war between the two countries.

Ahmed had been detained in army headquarters in Addis Ababa since 1985 without being charged with any offence, said Amnesty International, the world-wide human rights organization which issued an urgent appeal last year on his behalf.

His wife, Hawa Abdi Samatar, and four children live in Kitchener. After six years of silence, the family finally spoke to him on the telephone recently.

"He didn`t know anything about schools, how tall we were . . . " said his daughter, Maryan Yussuf, 22. "He`s like a person who woke up after six years."

They are anxious to see him safe in Canada.

"The day I listen to his voice, I`m not OK," Samatar said. "I`m so afraid of that place."

Dunnington said Ottawa immigration officials were aware of the case because Waterloo MP Walter McLean raised it last year.

The Canadian embassy in Ethiopia has sent a letter to Ottawa asking for direction, he said.

Ottawa will likely notify the Canadian embassy in Ethiopia in about a week as to what course to take, Dunnington said. It usually takes about six to 12 months for medical and background checks, he said.

"They`re looking at developing information at hand to see whether they want to take six months or short-circuit it." If appropriate, a minister`s permit could exempt him from medical and background checks, Dunnington said.

Ottawa is also reviewing Hassan`s case to see whether he should be allowed to join his Kitchener family on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, Dunnington said.

© Copyright 1991 Kitchener-Waterloo Record.

Somalians to get immigration hearings
Kitchener-Waterloo Record
June 26, 1991

Immigration spokesman Rick La Rush said Thursday that over the "next couple of months," immigration officials in Nairobi will interview Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and Abdulqadir Hassan, and one other man.

They will investigate the men`s backgrounds - such as the reasons for their detention - as well as do medical examinations and other checks, La Rush said.

Ahmed is an ex-army officer who headed the Democratic Front for the Salvation of Somalia (DFSS), fighting the military government of then-president Siad Barre from an Ethiopian base from 1978 to 1985.

He and his followers - including Hassan - were imprisoned after Ethiopia and Somalia signed a peace treaty ending the 1977-78 war between the two countries.

Ahmed was detained without being charged with any offence, said Amnesty International, the world-wide human rights organization that issued an urgent appeal last year on his behalf.

Immigration officials in Nairobi will consider that the men`s families are in Canada and whether "severe sanctions and inhumane treatment" await them if they return to Somalia, La Rush said.

Ahmed`s wife, Hawa Abdi Samatar, has been approved to sponsor her husband in Canada, while Hassan`s family is being asked to submit a similar application, La Rush said. Hassan has seven children in Canada, an immigration Telex said. Ahmed and Samatar have four children.

© Copyright 1991 Kitchener-Waterloo Record.

Canadian Paper Says Aydid Enquiring About Political Asylum
BBC Monitoring Service: Africa
October 11, 1993

The `Toronto Sun`newspaper reports that Somali warlord Muhammad Farah Aydid is starting the process of applying for asylum in Canada. The report says Mr Aydid is being sponsored into Canada by his wife Khadiga Gurhan, who came to Canada as a refugee in 1990. However, a Canadian Immigration Department spokesman said no application had been filed for Mr Aydid to come to Canada.

Source: Radio Canada International, Montreal, in English 2130 gmt 9 Oct 93

© 1993 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Puntland administration accused of bad governance
BBC Monitoring Africa – Political
February 28, 2001

Boosaaso [northeastern Somalia]: Intellectuals, prominent public figures and community elders of the Somali northeastern regions have released a joint statement addressed to the Puntland administration [self-declared autonomous regional administration], the region`s council of representatives and the southern factional leaders.

The statement, signed by 78 persons of high profile, accused the Puntland administration for scores of violations. They accused the administration of entering [into] secret marine agreements, human rights violations, the establishment of [an] underground front [presumably of southern faction leaders and the Puntland administration who are allies of Ethiopia], misappropriation of common assets, printing counterfeited money and sabotaging peace in the regions.

The statement strongly condemned the Rahanwein Resistance Army administration for its claims of the possession of Jubba Land [region in southern Somalia].

The statement also made clear that a conference could not take place in Garoowe [capital city of Puntland administration] until Puntland traditional leaders wind up their current meeting to decide on the matter. The statement finally warned the southern faction leaders allied to [the Puntland leader] Abdullahi Yusuf of attending such a conference in Garoowe, adding that they would take the responsibility over what happens if they insist on arriving in Garoowe.

Source: HornAfrik Online text web site, Mogadishu,, in English 26 Feb 01.

© 2001 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Puntland leader reportedly "hiding" in London
BBC Monitoring Africa
September 26, 2002

It has now become an open secret that Puntland`s dictator, Col Abdullahi Yusuf, is hiding in London, United Kingdom. Hiding from no-one but from his own people after he has committed human rights atrocities in Puntland State of Somalia, of which the death of the highly respected Somali paramount chief, Sultan Ahmad Muhammad Hurre, a British citizen, was his latest victim.

The sultan, Col Yusuf`s vocal critic, was brutally shot point blank by the dictator`s bodyguards on 17 August 2002, at Kalabeyr village in Puntland State of Somalia. It is believed that the order was given by the dictator who was supervising the elimination of the respected traditional chief.

Col Yusuf has caused untold hardships, killings and atrocities among civilian populations in Boosaaso, Qardho, Garoowe and Gaalkacyo cities of Puntland State of Somalia.

The fact that the colonel came to UK in a clandestine manner reportedly for a medical check-up gives a credence to his culpability. His arrival was a top secret for his supporters, and he is reportedly moving from house to house in order to keep the angry Puntlanders at arm`s length.

Col Yusuf has a litany of human rights abuses that stretch back to 25 years when he led the Ethiopia-based armed insurrection against the Somali government.

Meanwhile the children of another victim, their father Abdirahman Aydid, killed point blank by Yusuf`s body guard in 1985, and the children of Sultan Hurre [phonetic] are both in UK and are calling for justice to prevail. In addition to these two high profile broad-day-light assassinations, there are many victims of Col Yusuf`s trade mark - eliminate your political enemies.

We, Somali Peace Rally [SPR - presumably a UK-based pressure group], strongly urge the British authorities to prosecute Col Yusuf for his dismal record on human rights...

Excerpt from report by Somali anti-Abdullahi Yusuf Puntland web site on 26 September

© 2002 The British Broadcasting Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

War and Political Assassinations Continue in Puntland State
January 02, 2003

Galkaio, Jan 01, 2003 (Somali Peace Rally/All Africa Global Media) - Somali Peace Rally (SPR) condemns the criminal and senseless murder and the brutal killing of the intelligentsia of Puntland and indiscriminate massacre to the unarmed civilian people of Bari Region by Col. Abdullahi Yusuf, a man who thinks that he prospers in having blood in his hands.

We all know the broad-day-light assassination of Col. Farah Dheere, a prominent businessman in Garoowe, a key figure opposed to Col. Yusuf. Mr. Farah was killed by the body guards of Puntland`s brutal dictator. On 17th August 2002, another high profile assassination took place in Kalabayr village (between Garoowe and Galkacyo) the point-blank killing of Suldan Hurre, a very important person in Puntland who opposed publicly the Colonel`s misrule of Puntland regions. The prominent Sultan was brutally shot by the special guards of Col. Abdullahi Yusuf

To perpetuate the circle of bloodshed, on December 25th 2002 another wealthy young entrepreneur, Abdirisak Mohamed Jama aka Boobe was brutally killed by a hit man sent by the Colonel. The Colonel`s militia helped the assassin get away. Mr. Boobe was lately accused of collaborating with the Abdullahi`s dissidents in Dhudo base under the leadership of General Adde Muuse.

The violent effort by Col. Yusuf to intimidate civilian population have exacerbated tribal and other tensions within the country.

We strongly urge Human Rights organisations to investigate the mass barbaric killings of Col. Yusuf. We also call the international community to take Col. Yusuf to court and he faces the accusation made against him. It is reported that Col. Yusuf eluded court proceedings in UK recently. The realization of a prosecution against this decades old brutality would have been a bright day for justice and good governance in Somalia.

In another unfortunately event, on December 30th and 31st 2002, the Col. Yusuf launched an attack on his political adversaries in Dhudo village of Bari region. This is a stark violation of Eldoret cease-fire signed by all Somali warlords including Col. Yusuf. The Somalis as well as the international community have to condemn this barbaric assault. SPR calls for Col. Yusuf punishment in his admission of being an obstacle to peace in Somalia. Unless Col. Yusuf pays a big price for his violent practice, the Eldoret talks will be futile exercise.

We remind the Somali people that the barrel of the gun, Abdullahi`s trademark is not leading Somalia any where. Indeed, it is what brought Somalia where it is now. We condemn this practice, and we call for a peaceful resolution of conflicts in Puntland and Somalia at large.

© 2003 AllAfrica, All Rights Reserved

Govt, Insurgents `Committing War Crimes`
by Kevin J. Kelley
August 21, 2007

Nairobi, Aug 21, 2007 (East African/All Africa Global Media) -- All parties in the increasingly vicious conflict in Somalia are guilty of atrocities that warrant prosecution as war crimes, Human Rights Watch charges in a report published last week.

Powerful outside forces such as the United States and European Union are also criticised, as are the African Union and the United Nations Security Council.

"Numerous violations of international humanitarian law have been met with a shameful silence and inaction on the part of key foreign governments and international institutions," the rights group says.

The report urges the US and EU to use their leverage over both Ethiopia and the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) to put an end to the slaughter of civilians in Mogadishu. The Bush administration, which strongly supports Ethiopia`s occupation of Somalia, is specifically urged to enforce the provisions of a US law barring American aid to military forces that commit gross human rights abuses.

The report also notes that the United States has carried out military strikes of its own inside Somalia in recent months. Washington says its air attacks were aimed at "terrorists" allegedly involved in the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Hundreds of non-combatants have been killed and some 400,000 Somalis have been uprooted in the past few months, Human Rights Watch reports. Decrying this "catastrophic toll on civilians," the group warns that the conflict is being largely ignored despite its "regional and international significance."

"The warring parties have all shown criminal disregard for the well-being of the civilian population of Mogadishu," says Human Rights Watch director Ken Roth. "The UN Security Council`s indifference to this crisis has only added to the tragedy."

Interviews conducted by the group`s researchers in Kenya and Somalia in April and May offer evidence of "illegal means and methods of warfare" on the part of Islamist insurgents as well as the Ethiopian occupiers and the TFG`s own forces.

Human Rights Watch finds that the insurgency routinely bases its fighters in densely populated neighbourhoods of Mogadishu, thus placing the lives of local residents at risk. Militants associated with Somalia`s ousted Islamic Courts Union also fail to distinguish between civilians and military targets in their attacks, the report adds.

It further notes that, in March, the insurgents mutilated the bodies of captured combatants whom they had executed.

Ethiopian troops have meanwhile carried out "widespread, indiscriminate bombardment" of areas where the insurgents are based.

"The deliberate nature of these bombardments, evidence of criminal intent, strongly suggests the commission of war crimes," the report says.

Human Rights Watch says it has documented cases of Ethiopian forces deliberately shooting at and subsequently executing civilians.

The occupiers are also said to have attacked hospitals in the Somali capital.

"They committed pillage and looting of civilian property, including of medical equipment from hospitals," charges the 113-page report entitled "Shell-Shocked: Civilians Under Siege in Mogadishu."

"The insurgency placed civilians at grave risk by deploying among them," Roth comments. "But that is no justification for Ethiopia`s calculated shelling and rocketing of whole neighbourhoods."

The TFG is accused of carrying out its own attacks on civilian areas.

The report includes a transcript of a radio interview with Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf who was asked whether he would order bombardment of an area where insurgents were hiding, even if civilians lived there.

"Yes, we will bombard it!" Mr Yusuf replied.

TFG forces also mistreat Somalis in their custody, loot property, and prevent aid shipments from reaching displaced persons, the report says.

Allegations against Ethiopia contained in the report are "unfounded," the government in Addis Ababa said in a statement.

The New York Times meanwhile reported that Abdi Haji Goobdoon, a spokesman for the Somali transitional government, called the report "very, very complicated." He said the TFG acted in "self-defence" in the course of fighting early this year. "Our government had just arrived in the capital, and we were coming under repeated attack. We had to stop it."

The United Nations must do more to help restore the rule of law in Somalia, Human Rights Watch says.

© 2007 AllAfrica, All Rights Reserved

Somali Bantus say they are being exterminated by Aidid loyalists
February 26, 1996

Children pulling a donkey cart watch a carload full of armed militiamen pass through the streets of Mogadishu October 17, 1995. Militia loyal to warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed began imposing taxes on buses crossing over the greenline

MOGADISHU, Feb 26 (AFP) - Dozens of members of Somalia`s minority Bantu community have been killed by militiamen loyal to warlord Mohamed Farah Aidid in the Lower Juba region of the country since January, a Bantu spokesman said here Monday.

Spokesman Ibrahim Mohamed Dirie said Galjeel clansmen, who support Aidid, have been systematically killing Bantu men, women and children in what appears to be a policy of ethnic cleansing in the fertile Lower Juba region of southern Somalia.

Dirie said the killers were led by Colonel Abbas Mohamed Addow, Aidid`s “regional administrator” in Lower Juba.

“Some of the people were killed because of their wealth, while other victims were poor peasants who refused to work in the militiamen`s farms,” Dirie told reporters in north Mogadishu.

Most of the killings have occured in Mugambo and Malleyley villages, Dirie added.

On February 13, 1996, Galjeel militiamen killed Makomo Majemi, 56, a rich farmer and a human rights activist in Mugambo, and his son Kabirow Majemi, 18. The two victims had refused to works as bonded labourers in the militiamen`s farms.

Dirie said he was encouraging his people to take up arms and defend themselves against what he called the unprovoked aggression by other groups. He appealed to the international community to investigate Bantu rights violations in the region.

Most of the southern Somalia`s Bantus are farmers who have had little interest in the country`s factional politics or inter-clan warfare.


Sawirro Somaliya


Muqdisho of Yesteryears and Today’s Muuq-disho



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