President Mohamed Farmaajo has publicly apologized to the people of Somaliland over massacres by former autocratic regime of Siad Barre in the late 1980s in an unprecedented move not before taken by former presidents.
Farmaajo said the atrocities committed by Siad Barre regime should not be construed as an act by the south or clans therein but rather one by the then government.
“The persecution of our brothers in the northern regions was not based on the south invading the north or by any clans but it was by the then government,” Farmaajo said.
“As the President of the Nation, I want to make that apology and extend our apologies to our northern brothers,” the president added.
NEWSINSIDEFarmaajo’s remarks come a day after a meeting with Somaliland president Muse Bihi at the sidelines of the 33rd AU Ordinary Summit in Ethiopia. Details of the meeting remained scanty but Villa Somalia confirmed the meeting was hosted by Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed.
Subsequent governments after the civil war have not rendered public apologies to Somaliland following the atrocities of 1988-89 which estimates put the number of deaths between 50,000 and 100,000.
Following the massacre and subsequent collapse of Siad Barre regime in 1991, Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in May 18, 1991 and has since pursued its path for statehood despite lacking international recognition.
The opening up between Mogadishu and Hargeisa is likely to pave way for talks which collapsed in 2015 and have since then failed to resume. Relations between the two sides nose-dived in early 2017 after Somaliland agreed to a naval base deal with UAE at the port of Berbera.
Somalia sought the intervention of the UN Security Council terming the deal a violation of the country’s territorial integrity and independence.
Following a resolution by the Federal Parliament in March 2018 declaring the naval base deal illegal, Somaliland declared it would no longer be taking part in talks with the South.