Press release:2.12.2023 Hargeisa,
The Isaaq Genocide Institute (IGI) strongly condemns the recent terror attacks in Buq-dharkayn, a village located in the Sool region of the Republic of Somaliland. These inhumane acts were carried out by a violent militia propped up by Somalia government in Muqdishu, with the aim to dismantle Somaliland’s democracy. This militia, consist of various elements, including a local militia operating under the name ‘SSC-Khaatumo’ [names referring to a geographical area which is a significant territory in Somaliland, and inhabited by diverse clans and legally known in Somaliland as Sool, Sanaag and Togdheer regions].
This violent campaign consists of different groups such as members of Al-Shabaab in Somalia, Western trained Gorgor and Danab of Somalia National Army and Somalia’s PSF (Puntland Security Forces) who were western trained to fight alshabab but have crossed over from the Somalia’s border to fight Somaliland. Additionally, the militia includes former dismantled members of the Liyuu police – Somali Region of Ethiopian army, have also engaged in militant aggression against the Republic of Somaliland since February 2023.
The village of Buq-dharkayn was attacked on 09/11/2023 and 23/11/2023. ISIS’ strategies of burning down houses while inhabited by civilians, destroying critical infrastructure such as water supplies, killing women and children in their homes while they brought down their homes are evident in these attacks. Civilians were abducted; and taken from their homes. Beheadings and burning of captives are common since this terror aggression was launched against the Republic of Somaliland. A mosque with an 80-year-old religious leader inside was razed to the ground using bulldozers, and the elderly scholar was murdered. Extreme Genocidal violence has been perpetrated against Isaaq civilians, the most recent being in the village of Buq-dharkayn.
Isaaq civilians, residents of Buq-dharkayn village, fled their homes amidst an on-going ethnic cleansing campaign. The perpetrators returned to complete the village’s destruction, burning everything to the ground. These acts were captured on film by the perpetrators, indicating the impunity they enjoy. There has been no response from the United Nations or the international community.
The militia also burned two other villages in Sanaag region causing loss to life and livelihood. The abduction of unarmed nomads have become regular.
Previously, the “SSC-Khatumo” initiated a violent campaign in Las Anod, Sool region of Somaliland, earlier this year. On 08/25/2023 the militia attacked Somaliland army who were stationed near the Gooja-Caade military base, who were at the time retreating. The militia committed horrific crimes against the POWs of the Republic of Somaliland. The violations of the Geneva Conventions against Sool’s Isaaq civilians, along with the mistreatment and murder of POWs, have not been accurately reported by ICIC and Amnesty, organizations claiming to have investigated these atrocities. Many POWs remain captive, enduring torture and degrading conditions including mutilation. The terror activities of these groups have persisted since their initial attack in Las Anod in February 2023.
Somaliland has always mandated its army to be on defensive positions and had tried the entire time to negotiate in peace using Somaliland clan elders. The government of Somaliland had declared unilateral ceasefire to this date until the Somaliland army base was captured by the militia and groups mentioned above in an asymmetrical warfare that breached all norms of conventional warfare.
The United Nations has not dispatched an independent fact-finding mission to investigate the on-going aggression. Unfortunately, UNSOM has disseminated biased information originating from Somalia, falsely accusing the Republic of Somaliland of indiscriminate shelling in Las Anod. However, there is no clear evidence of infrastructure destruction. Amnesty International’s claim regarding the indiscriminate shelling of Las Anod in their report on 20/04/23 requires a thorough investigation. Presently, members of Al-Shabaab terrorist groups have integrated into the newly formed ‘administration’ of “SSC-Khaatumo”, comprising 45 council members.
The Somalian government, in its efforts to destabilise the Republic of Somaliland, has extended full support to the separatist militia group “SSC-Khaatumo”,initially praising them for their violent gains and subsequently recognising its legitimacy on 19/10/ 2023. However, Somalia lacks jurisdiction over the Republic of Somaliland, which gained independence on June 26th, 1960, a time when Somalia was still under UN Italian Trusteeship and was awaiting decision on its future. Somalia’s persistent actions to destabilise Somaliland have received undue support from the United Nations and the rest of the International Community. This approach, aimed at containing Somalia’s failed status in the Horn of Africa, entails granting unlimited aid to Somalia in the hope of transforming it into a democratic and sovereign entity.
This strategy has adversely affected the Republic of Somaliland, obscured by the illegal and baseless but politically accepted policy of ‘One Somalia’ by the International Community, particularly the United Nations. Furthermore, despite the United Nations possessing charters against genocide, war crimes, and torture, it has not implemented adequate measures to safeguard Somalilanders against such crimes perpetrated by Somalia, its designated terror groups, and militias.
On the contrary, the United Nations has not penalised Somalia for the Isaaq Genocide committed against the Isaaq population predominantly Somaliland in the 1980s. Individuals responsible for this genocide are now present in the Sool region of the Republic of Somaliland, aiming to perpetuate it further. These individuals include well known former military figures. Somalilanders have patiently awaited the United Nations’ protection from Somalia’s aggression, holding onto the hope that the UN’s treaties for the protection of civilians would eventually come into effect.
Neglectfully, the United Nations, shielded by Absolute Sovereign Immunity, has obscured and misrepresented the plight of Somalilanders to its member states. This is a critical error, as the potential downfall of the Republic of Somaliland to Somalia could have dire consequences for the entire Isaaq population, who legally should be protected by the Genocide convention, and for other countries in the Horn of Africa and East Africa. Somaliland acts as a crucial buffer against the proliferation of terrorism from Somalia.
The Republic of Somaliland has played a pivotal role in safeguarding bordering countries like Djibouti and Ethiopia from terrorist attacks originating from Somalia. Its strategic location contributes significantly to protecting the Red Sea shipping lanes and the Bab-El-Mandeb strait. The democratic nature of the Republic of Somaliland prevents authoritarian and rogue states from gaining unregulated access to the vital waters of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. The destabilization of many countries would likely ensue with the collapse of the Republic of Somaliland, yet the United Nations and the broader International Community appear indifferent. Is this intentional?
The Isaaq Genocide Institute fervently hopes that it is not, anticipating that the United Nations will duly alert its member states about the imminent dangers faced by the Republic of Somaliland at the hands of Somalia.
The Isaaq Genocide Institute urgently brings to the attention of the United Nations and the international community that the regions of Sool, Sanaag, and ‘Cayn,’ claimed by the “SSC-Khatuumo” separatist group, are inhabited by diverse clans, with the largest among them being the Isaaq people. Any nation engaging in transactions with the separatist militia “SSC-Khatuumo” is not only violating international law on Genocide prevention but also endorsing the planned genocide against the Isaaq people in these regions. Somalia’s legitimization of this separatist militia, which has inflicted terror in the Sool region of the Republic of Somaliland, signals an alarming intent for the genocide of the Isaaq people.
The UN must maintain the arms embargo on Somalia as a crucial safeguard against escalating conflicts and regional destabilization. The embargo’s presence prevents the influx of weapons into volatile regions, curbing the potential for violence and fostering peaceful resolutions. Simultaneously, refraining from altering the African Union (AU) charter regarding colonial borders upholds the integrity of historical agreements, acknowledging the significance of established boundaries in maintaining stability and preventing disputes.
We suggest the action plan include our most urgent priorities:
1) The United Nations and the international community must understand that Somaliland’s independence, secured on June 26, 1960, holds inherent protection within the UN Charter, safeguarding its sovereign status and ensuring its autonomy remains respected and upheld. Preserving these structures and charters not only safeguards peace but also upholds the principles of sovereignty and stability essential for sustainable global cooperation.
2) The United Nations and its member states are to refrain from any actions that advocate for arms embargo to be removed from Somalia without clear measures that ensure the protection of the Isaaq population as per mandate under the Genocide convention and their responsibility to protect
3) All nations to refrain from any engagement/transactions with the violent militia “SSC-Khatuumo” is not only violating international law on Genocide prevention but also endorsing the planned genocide against the Isaaq people in these regions.
4) we appeal to anti-torture organizations to send representatives to the region to investigate the plight of captured POWs of the Republic of Somaliland who held by the militia in Las Anod , many of whom continue to endure torment in torture chambers. An independent investigation is needed immediately
The Isaaq Genocide Institute advocates for peaceful coexistence and the application of the rule of law where justice is applicable. Denying justice to any human family is tantamount to denying justice to all humanity. We call upon all Genocide prevention organizations to unite in our shared pursuit of a peaceful world where justice is not a privilege for a few. The fabric of human trust must be repaired through the equitable application of justice. No human should suffer in silence. Courage resides in each of us, and together, we can combat injustice worldwide for a more peaceful and just world.