HARGEISA (Somalilandpress) — The missing corpse of Hassan Saleban Mohamed, the first SNM commander was recovered in the village of Bali Abane, 60 km south of the capital, Hargeisa, after 27 years on Monday.
According to the mayor of the village, Mr. Hassan Shillin, the first commander of Somali National Movement (SNM) was beheaded in 1983 by members of the Somali national army (SNA) under the orders of Somalia’s totalitarian dictator, Mohamed Siad Barre and Defense Minister, Mohamed Ali Samater, who currently resides in Virginia, United States.
He added that after they hacked the head of his lifeless body, the Somali army, hanged his head from a tree above their military camp in the village in a move to humiliate SNM and to create fear among the locals. Mr. Shillin said they hid the rest of his body else where and has been missing ever since.
A local elderly man, who witnessed the event on that day in 1983, said: “Mr. Hassan and his forces launched a raid on the military camp in the village that lasted from dawn through to dusk, a bullet striked him in the evening and the Somali forces recovered his body on a pick-up truck and took him to their military post.”
The corpse was unearthed by HALO Trust, a non-political NGO, specialising in the removal of hazardous debris of war including landmines and heavy weapon systems. HALO Trust also successfully dismantled 175 mines consisting of anti-personnel and anti-tank minebelts.
Somaliland minister of resettlement, Mr. Mohamed Yusuf Osman, said his administration plans to give the late commander, a divisive figure, the honour of national burial in Hargeisa in the coming days. The family of the commander, including the former minister of commerce and industry, Mr. Mohamed Saleban Mohamed (brother), have been informed.
Neil Ferrao, the director of HALO Trust Somaliland, praised the findings as well as the donor nations however he said there is more to be done and more funds were needed. Mr Ferraro said a large number of minefields remain in the country that were laid during the 1964 and 1977 – 78 Somali-Ethio conflicts and between 1981 and 1991, when SNM waged an armed struggle against the Somali dictator. The fields exist along the Somaliland-Ethiopia border and vast number of them in farmlands and private properties.
Last week, two employees of HALO were killed in the Togdher region when their Land Rover carrying four staff was striked by a landmine while driving back to their camp in the village of Daba-gorayale. Until now it is not clear, how this has occurred because the agency has previously marked the road clear of mines. This is the first time someone from HALO trust was killed in Somaliland since it’s operations began ten years ago. HALO has since issued a press statement vowing to investigate the matter with the collaboration of “the police and the Somaliland Mine Action Centre” (see The HALO Trust: Press release).
The Somali National Movement (SNM), which waged an armed insurrection against the regime of Mohamed Siad Barre, was found in the streets of Jeddah in 1981 by a small group of prominent Somalilanders. Few months later, it’s most powerful branch and financial body was established in London. It’s core mission was to remove the Somali dictatorial regime from Somaliland and restore the national constitution. By the following year, it transformed its national base to the Ethiopian city of Dire Dawa, where it conducted a number of successful raids inside Somaliland with the backing of Ethiopian small arms.
By 1988 SNM was able to operate inside Somaliland and captured a number of towns from Siad Barre of which he responded with indiscriminately shelling of major Somaliland urban towns (Hargeisa, Burao and Berbera) with the support of Rhodesian fighter jets. At least, 500, 000 civilians were massacred. In 1991, SNM drove the last SNA pockets from the country, the Siad Barre central government in Mogadishu collapsed, and SNM declared the independence of Somaliland. Today, Somaliland is democratic but unrecognized and SNM remains an important part of it.
Photo: History in the making- HALOs first ever female demining section in Somaliland
Somalilandpress, 22 April 2010