Somaliland: The Unsung Hero Who filmed the Siad Barre Atrocities in Hargeisa

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By: Yusuf M HasanCol. Ahmed Hasan Huudle

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Tutututututuuuu and another 100 or so people both young and old bite

the dust in Hargeisa and other areas of Somaliland.

Meanwhile in the south Radio Mogadishu broadcasts inform that the annual regional tournament is underway in the peaceful cities of Hargeisa and Burao.

This was the scenario in June 1988 when a full scale war between the Somalia National army-SNA and the Somalia National Movement-SNM was on-going.

A former colonel of the SNA then leading a ragtag band of SNM militias was then ensconced in the outskirts of Hargeisa helplessly watching the droves of citizens fall down left and right through airborne bullets and bombs being dropped by his former colleagues in the Somalia air force which he had resigned from a few years earlier to become a businessman.

“As I watched my brothers and sisters dying and listening to what Radio Mogadishu was informing about the serenity of this particular area where a regional sports tournament was purportedly in progress, I made the decision to show and inform the world otherwise” Said Rtd Colonel Ahmed Hasan Abokor “Huudle”

Having decided that his calling for the liberation of his motherland was not thorough the barrel of a Kalashinkov automatic Colonel Huudle relinquished command of his SNM platoon and took a camera.

Thus begun the shooting of the epic video that revealed what was actually happening in Hargeisa as Siad Barre entered the annals of history as the first president to bomb his own citizens and cities.

“Using my Air force acquired skills thus a knowledge of bombing strategies I managed to captured in motion picture the gruesome murder of the unprotected scampering men, women and children of Hargeisa” Col Huudle told Somalilandsun and Dawan newspaper during a joint interview at his residence in the capital city last Saturday.

The video captured by Huudle brought to light what was actual happening in Hargeisa thus wakening the world to realities as opposed to the propaganda eschewed by Siad Barre in Mogadishu.

“My Moment of glory and satisfaction was not when the video was shown to the world but when during an interview with BBC Gen Ali SamaGen Ali Samatar: The Hargeisa Butchertar then deputy president of Somalia changed his denial of massacres perpetrated by the air force after he was shown clips of my video” said Col Huudle.

General Mohamed Ali Samatar, who was Vice President and Defence Minister of the Democratic Republic of Somalia from 1980 to 1986 and In January 1987, Samatar took over as Prime Minister in January 1987, until the fall of Barre dictatorship in 1990 was the main perpetrator of the Hargeisa massacres.

According to government records over 60,000 citizens lost their lives in the fateful month of June 1988 as the now beleaguered SNA forces utilized all forms of ordnance not against the armed liberation movement of SNM but against unarmed civilians.

As proof of these atrocities several mass graves have been unearthed  in the Somaliland capital city of Hargeisa and other cities of the country most recently by a team from the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team – EPAF

While informing that most of the mass graves documented has a minimum of 12 corpses the national Massacre investigations committee, which supported the EPAF, work, gave the following breakdown of mass graves so far identified:

I. Hargeisa (Maroodi-Jeeh region) – 200 mass gravesunearthed from Mass graves in Hargeisa

II. Berbera (Sahil region) – 12 mass graves

III. Burao (Togdeer region) – 8 mass graves

IV. Sheikh (Sahil region) – 1 mass grave

V. Erigavo (Sanaag region) – 2 mass graves

VI. Arabsiyo (Gabile region) – 1 mass grave

Gen Samatar is now fighting for his liberty with the support of the Somalia federal government after being found guilty of crimes against humanity by a court in the USA.

While the story can never end here the poignant issue is that most heroes of the liberation war both in and out of the SNM remain unsung and unrecognized.

The gallant Rtd Colonel Ahmed Hasan Abokor “Huudle” is a good example of an unsung hero whose bravery under fire made it possible for the world to get a true glimpse of the realities of atrocities being perpetrated by the Siad Barre Dictatorship that was bent on the ultimate annihilation of the entire Issaq clan and their cahoots in the SNM.

Col Huudle now in his early 60’s lives in Hargeisa with his wife and nine kids of whom four are the only family breadwinners as he, Colonel, has or is yet to get any gainful employment since the creation of Somaliland on 18th May 1991.

To contact Colonel Huudle for first hand information call 00252 63 4103820 and for those who know other unsung heroes of the SNM war of liberation kindly pass the information for action through evidence@somalilandsun.com  

Watch a scene from the Col Huudle video of June 1988

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