ADDIS ABABA (Somalilandpress) — Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdullahi Duale is believed to have asked U.S. officials for the extradition of the former Somali Prime Minister, Gen. Mohammed Ali Samantar on charges of war crimes in Somaliland in the 80s and early 90s.
In a meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Mr Duale is believed to have asked Mr. Karl E. Wycoff, Deputy Assistant Secretary (Acting), to extradite the former Somali official to Somaliland to face justice.
Ali Samatar served as Defense Minister from 1980 to 1986, and as Prime Minister from 1987 to 1990, when the military regime collapsed.
In 1980s, Somalia’s military junta led by Mohammed Siad Bare and Gen. Mohammed Ali Samatar hired Rhodesian mercenaries to bombard Somaliland’s three major towns – Hargeisa, Burao and Berbera, an estimated 50, 000 were killed and more than 800, 000 people were forced to leave their homes. Many of these refugees fled to neighbouring Ethiopia.
Those who survived the bombings or the deliberate starvation were often rounded up, tied together using barbed wires and gunned down from a point-blank range. If that method was not cruel enough, they would often tie them together in barbed wires, bulldozed and were left to rot in the streets.
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Mohamed Ali Samatar who now lives in the Virginia area under the name of Samatar Ali is being sued in a civil court. However before the case can move to civil court the Supreme Court of the United States has to decide if a head of “sovereign“ can be sued.
Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), whom the civil suit is filed under insist that Mr Samatar is no longer head of state and that immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act does not apply to him as an individual but only foreign states.
Mr. Samatar’s legal team insist he was not directly involved but army generals who served under him at the time have came out this week claimed he gave direct orders to target civilians in the north of the country.
A number of American leaders including senior Democratic Party United States Senator from Pennsylvania, Mr. Arlen Specter have supported the civil case against the former Somali leader.
The Supreme Court is expected to weigh in on the issue and could hand down a ruling in the early summer.
Somaliland delegation consisting of government and Parliamentary officials led by Mr Abdullahi Duale are due to arrive in Washington the coming days.
No one knows if the Americans will hand him over but it’s highly not possible.
In another development, Mr. Duale met with the Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Mr. Takeda Alemu, the two discussed ways to strengthen ties in the fields of economy, security and longstanding bilateral relations.
Mr. Duale also met with the new Ethiopian Ambassador to India and the two discussed how Ethiopia could assist Somaliland to develop ties with India. India considers Ethiopia one of it’s most important partners in Africa and in recent years number of scholarships India offers to Ethiopia has more than doubled.
Somalilandpress, 7 March 2010