Introduction: The historical and brotherly relationship between Somaliland and Djibouti went rock bottom since 1977, when Djibouti-former French Somaliland became a semi-independent state. Somaliland was the traditional sanctuary for the people of Djibouti, where they feel safe from the ravages of the brutal French colonial authorities. While on the other hand, Djibouti authorities have imposed undeclared sanctions on the people of Somaliland in their hour of need.
Both the Djibouti governments of Hassan Guled and Geelle closed the border between the two countries nearly a dozen times since 1991. In almost all cases, that illegal and arbitrary closure of the border may have been largely motivated by clan hatred, insecurity, unwarranted fear or shear incompetence of understanding the consequences. The movement of goods and people between Somaliland and Djibouti was a matter of life and death at the time.
Djiboutians used to be admitted to the country’s boarding schools for free. At the height of Djibouti’s struggle for independence, the people of Somaliland and Somalia for that matter were fully with them. Djiboutian refugees have been welcomed with open arms. But since the independence of 1977, everything went upside down.
When Siyad Barre’s dictatorship was ravaging Somaliland and other parts of the Somalia, Hassan Guled the former Djibouti president blatantly sided with Siyad Barre. As a result of that wrong policy, Somaliland refugees suffered serious violation of their human rights.They were subjected to all kinds of mistreatment including deportation, police brutality, arbitrary imprisonment and physical assault.
The Djibouti government refused to recognize refugees fleeing Siyad Barre’s brutal military machine. These people who left behind all their possessions, have to hide among relatives in Djibouti and never were given a refugee status. On the other hand, the so-called Issa refugees from Ethiopia have been given automatic refugee status.
That was a flagrant violation of the universal declaration of human rights signed in Geneva in “1949?. As a signatory of the afore-said protocol, Djibouti has breached that important document and its tenets. In contrast during the peak of Djibouti’s independence struggle of the 1970s, Djiboutian refugees were all welcomed with open arms, and used to be given free meals and free hotels almost anywhere in Somaliland and Somalia.
The above-mentioned principles will be only respected If Single-clan dominated African Banana Republics were real states headed by real national leaders, but not artificial clan enclaves masquerading as real states and led by Clan chieftains. Unfortunately the latter may true here.
I wonder how come former refugees welcomed, comforted and supported treat their former hospitable hosts with such a harsh treatment, deportation, exclusion and hatred. What exactly went wrong? many of us are still wrestling with the reasons that triggered such asymmetrical behaviors.
Both the former president Hassan Guled and his Successor, and the current one Mr. Geelle were behind such distasteful policies, which seriously strained the historical brotherly relationship between the people of Djibouti and Somaliland. These hostile and unreasonable policies against anything Somali are well and alive as I speak.
Djibouti’s so-called presidential election of 2005
Seeing the president for life of this tiny state campaigning for his re-election was ludicrous. You may wonder why he was frantically campaigning when there was no opponent running against him. But you may come to your senses and remember you are in Africa. It was actually fun to watch Mr. Geelle crisscrossing Djibouti, kissing babies, greeting and waving to people.
That whimsical act just looks like a scene from a fictional movie acting by a fictional character.This Machiavellian, manipulative maharajah (king or prince) keeps on coming with different colors and faces. Grasping his real intentions, aspirations and conspiracies is almost next to impossible. This wolf in sheep’s clothes has so far deceived almost everybody. But at the end of the day, the words opportunistic, selfish, myopic, despotic, clannish, callous and inept will be all over his finger prints.
He systematically used all the government machinery including the media, government officials, transportation and what have you to put him on top. Following his winning of the trade mark; traditional 99% of the vote in the presidential election, he has metamorphosed into fully grown despot along the lines of Africa’s notorious big men, regarding the rigging of elections. People such as Milton Obotte, clownish Bukassa, Mughabe, Hosni Mubarak, and Mobutu the inept butcher who engineered the assassination of a beloved African nationalist leader Patrice Lumumba will come to mind.
During the time of Djibouti’s unique presidential elections, the US state department issued the following and I quote ” Mr. Geelle deprived from his people the ability to change their government”. Djibouti’s one man presidential election of 2005, have completed the metamorphosis of Mr. Geelle from a semi-despot into a full fledged one with all his attributes, from the extermination of the freedom of expression of his citizens, creating a well-funded, omnipresent secret service agency, monitoring and watching the activities of their citizens round the clock, and spending a big chunk of the countries meager budget on his personal security detail.
I would also like to draw your attention into Geelle’s blemished resume. Since the country’s achievement of the nominal independence in 1977, he was a notorious secret services director in the Hassan Guled government. The full-fledged dictator thinks the French mercenaries stationed in his min-state will suppress those opposing his dictatorial regime.
The performance of French forces in Ivory Coast proved otherwise. They failed to stop the onslaught of the opposition groups who occupied the northern part of the country. We must also have to cautiously take note, of Geelle’s burning propensity to violent attacks against his political enemies.
This eternal presence of French foreign forces certainly make him feel bold, invincible, unaccountable, intransigent and keeps on committing serious civil and human rights violations. The presence of said forces is an open ended proposition. Therefore, I have the liberty to infer that France is in full complicity with Geelle regarding his improprieties and violence against his people.
The withdrawal of those mercenaries from Djibouti appears to be in no one’s agenda anywhere. Talking about the foreign forces in Djibouti seems to become a taboo which nobody can talk about.
The most opportune time to talk about the future of these foreign forces in the country has just availed itself now, regarding the compromised moral code of such forces, and the high incidence of infectious diseases in Djibouti.
Moreover, Djibouti government has no jurisdiction over French foreign legions If they commit crimes in the country.
This open ended French presence made the clan that dominated Djibouti political scene since 1977 more arrogant, less transparent and less accountable. This false premise that the French forces will always come to their rescue If they got into trouble, made Djibouti’s tribal government less and less diverse, more dictatorial and less accommodating. Ironically Djibouti’s colonial government and parliament were much more diverse, than the post independent Djibouti government and parliament.
For all practical purposes, the relatively large Gadaboursi and Isaak communities were disenfranchised, and their votes doesn’t count. Therefore, It is rather ridiculous to hear those hailed from Djibouti complaining about holding the Somaliland September 29Th, parliamentary elections in Saylac. I wonder how come they are so blind about the distasteful actions, hostilities, discrimination and barbaric behavior towards the Gadaboursi, Isaak and Afar communities in Djibouti. They are well aware that, Djiboutian Somalilanders were not even got the opportunity to vote in a fair and transparent elections.
Their utter indifference to the blight of Djiboutian Somalilanders, will take away the credibility from whatever they may say or claim. Many Saylites and others will always harbor the belief that, those Issa elements complaining about injustice are trouble makers working for the government of Djibouti to destabilize Somaliland.
Many Somalilanders already knew what is really behind the tenacity of this fraudsters, which among other things is to acquire as many arbitrary seats and quotas as possible.
Enentually Their main ojective is to destabilize Somaliland. The actions of these twisted minds has been observed in Arta, Embagatti and other forums which didn’t even concern Somaliland. You will never see these fictitious pretenders to Sayla in the real forums where the development, education or health care regarding Saylac or Somaliland were discussed.
What they need to do right now is to tell their despotic regime in Djibouti to respect the civil and human rights of all her citizens. They ought to tell him to stop his endless sabotages and conspiracies against the people of Somaliland. Actions like that may help repair your checkered record a bit with the people of Somaliland.
The people of this God forsaken land-Djibouti also enjoyed more freedom under the notorious French colonial authorities. On the other hand, the Djibouti parliament is not based on population size but on a false and baseless mambo Jumbo premise, which has been secretly agreed upon in “1977? in Paris between Hassan Guled’s party and the French.
“1977? political deal looks much like “1943? French drafted constitution of Lebanon. That constitution gave the presidency and other top powers to the christian community. That lopsided constitution was largely one of the major factors that triggered the “1975? Lebanese civil war.
In the same token the 1977 secret agreement between Hassan Guled and the French has sparked the rise of the FRAUD ( the Front for the Restoration of Democracy). The FRAUD waged an aggressive guerrilla war with the government of Djibouti. The war with FRAUD was ended in the early 1990s.
A cease fire was signed and some pench marks for the government of Djibouti to follow were agreed upon. But according to a recent FRAUD press release, the Djibouti government has breached the agreed upon cease fire agreements. They warned to wage another armed campaign against the regime, had they not head their lawful demands.
The “FRAUD” waged a devastating guerrilla war that spanned for several years against the Djibouti government.
During his tenure as Hassan Guled’s chief security and intelligence chief, many people have mysteriously disappeared and torturing of political opponents, and the non Issa groups was the norm not the exception.
Another big blimp on his resume is the brutal assassination of Mr. Borrel a French human rights attorney, on an assignment for investigating human rights abuses sent shock waves through France and Djibouti.
Mr. Borrel basically came to Djibouti to investigate Geelle’s reign of terror whereby people were falsely accused, tortured and dragged of their homes at the dark of the night, and a number of those people have been mysteriously died in prison. The names of some of those unfortunate victims are available.
That was nothing but a systematic ethnic cleansing efforts aimed to eject as much non Issas as they can from Djibouti. This triggered thousands of non Issa family to flee the country from 1989 to the present.
It is incumbunt upon all the states these non Issas (Gadaboursi and Isaaks) are taking refuge, to recognize these people as refugees. Many of these people have sought refugee status in Europe, Canada and the US.
The magnitude of the brutality that culminated with the assassination of Mr. Borrel was beyond comprehension. He was a French civil and human rights attorney. Mr. Borrel who collected a wealth of information during his stay in Djibouti was seen as a huge threat to the status quo, and apparently an order from the highest echelons of power was given out for his physical elimination. Mr. Borrel’s wife and others directly implicated Mr. Geelle who was the chief security chief of the country at the time.
Even in a world where the physical removal of opponents is the norm not the exception, the malignancy, the ferocity, and callousness of that cold blooded execution style killing was too extreme.
While the Djibouti president was on a victory tour in France, a French judge ruled Mr. Geelle who was at the time the chief Djibouti security officer at the time of the killing, to appear in a court hearing, regarding Mr. Borrel’s brutal assassination. But as expected the subpoena was ignored and he continued on his tour.
We have seen what the for life despicable African leaders has the potentiality to do when they are cornered by their detractors. Memories of Rwanda, and the butchery in Bosnia, Somalia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Cambodia, and many other places is still vivid in our minds.
A note to the international community
The international community has a major role to play here, had they have to avert other countries from becoming other Somalias, Rwandas, Darfurs, Congoes and Ivory Coasts. They need to reassess the automatic membership of all states to the UN and other international organizations. Membership should should be a privilege and not a right. Membership in the international organizations and recognition of states should be conditional on performance, good governance, respect of human and civil rights, democracy and the rule of law. The twentieth century paradigm with respect to independent states should have to change.
It is imperative among the UN, the world bank, IMF, the international donors to think twice of prolonging the lives of brutal, genocidal dictators. Unfortunately many who rebelled against those dictators also failed miserably, to move their countries out the morass and mayhem brought about by the myopic life long despots. We have seen Liberia, Sierra Leone,Somalia, Ethiopia and other places fall into disintegration, destruction, self-immolation and catastrophe.
All these cataclysmic events didn’t happen by accident. They have been happened because of an unchecked, and an unlimited power accumulated in the hands of one man. We have seen the potentiality for genocide, mass murder and destruction these selfish despots are capable of doing when they are threatened. We understood how these modern monsters care less of a nation, people, country and even the clan.
They still keep on tirelessly engaged in their earth-moving rhetoric of division, sowing the seeds of hatred between communities, excessively using the clan card. The huge polarization of communites is not by accident but by design. The despotic, vision-less, inept, and mediocre leadership in Somalia triggered the irreversible disintegration of a once a proud nation.
Besides the Issas and the Afars, the state of Djibouti bordering Somaliland is ironically populated by two major groups in Somaliland, the Gadaboursi and the Isaak communities.
The French installed the Issas there in a deal that took place in a closed door in Paris in 1977. In that infamous deal the FLCS ( the Front for the Liberation of the Somali Coast), who have waged an armed struggle against the French colonial forces in the then French Somaliland, led by Dr. Omar Osman Rabbe and others was shut out from the so-called independent negotiations. According to that deal population census will not matter much. Which means the Issas by hook or crook should always hold the presidency, and a number of other political posts at all times.
The Gadaboursi and the Isaak communites have through the years suffered unlawful imprisonment, constant harassment, shutout from employment and purged from high government posts. Several ethnic cleansing campaigns have been waged to reduce the population of these communities. That was a top government policy. There was one time in the mid-1990s when several hundred teachers from the Gadaboursi and Isaak communities all of a sudden left Djibouti and sought political asylum in Europe.
Both Geelle government and Hassan Guled’s government have pursued harsh, inhuman and dictatorial polices that has seriously strained the historical relationship, between between the brotherly communities of Somaliland and Djibouti. Despite the phased ethnic cleansing of the Gadaboursi and the Isaaks from Djibouti, the latter can still pose a serious threat to Geelle’s government had free elections are conducted in Djibouti. The mentality of the Issa regime in Djibouti was to keep the numbers of the Gadaboursi and the Isaaks down by all means.
The country has very little known resources. The main assets of the country are the airport and the seaport. Nowadays Mr. Geelle leased both of the afore-said assets to an Abu-Dubai Arab company who run, manage and control these facilities but with a very hefty fees.
Those two facilities were the major employer of the country. Following the takeover of the airport and the seaport by an Abu Dubai company, many people have lost their jobs. Rising port fees and taxes costed Djibouti to loose a significant Ethiopian transit business.
The Ethiopian business used to enjoy a grace period of about 45 days, whereby storage fees were not charged on their goods.That privilege was reduced to 30 days before the Arab company took over. Then the foreign port management company further reduced that grace period into 15 days just recently.
That triggered a huge protest from the Ethiopian business leaders. Anyhow at the end of the day, the Ethiopian businesses unhappiness will translate into a lost business, and that means less revenues and more unemployment. According to the latest unofficial reports, unemployment figures in Djibouti run over 60%..
When was the claim on “Saylac” started
This baseless claim on Saylac started at the beginning of the disintegration of the former Somalia at the early 1990’s. Djibouti rulers counting on the French foreign legions in their land will defend them from any spillover to Djibouti, became heavily involved in an aggressive policy of destabilization of Somaliland for the last 15 years.
Since 1991, the clannish government of Djibouti sends trained terrorists and sometimes regular Djibouti forces to cross the border into Awdal region of Somaliland. On several occasions, They have temporarily occupied some areas of Awdal. But every time they have been routed by an amalgamation of area natives and the Somaliland forces.
Nowadays the Issa regime in Djibouti changed tactics and came with a new long range policy of annexing some parts of Awdal. With the blessing of president Rayaale and the UNHCR, the Djibouti authorities start repatriating thousands of people from Ethiopia to Awdal. That shortsighted and lackluster policy caused a serious controversy in Awdal.
This has caused so much tension, and the indigenous people have repeatedly complained to the Somaliland government, to stop bringing this people from Ethiopia. They don’t mind letting Awdalite of all stripes into the state of Awdal , but totally against bringing the natives of another country. This is the new policy when the policy of force and annexation has been miserably failed. This policy will also fail.
Following the French engineered defeat of the pro-independent party led by the late Mohamud Harbi in 1958. Awdalite leaders at the time, decided to give the two Saylac parliamentary seats to their Issa brethren without any election. Therefore, since the military coup of 1969 in the now defunct “Somalia”, two Issa parliamentarians from Sayla were coming into the parliament of the then Republic of Somalia.
On the other hand, regarding Somaliland parliamentary elections, several Issa individuals called to stop holding election in Saylac. That means allotting all seats to the Issas without any election. The indigenous Gadaboursi leaders in the area rejected that none sense and told them, If you have the numbers you are claiming, go and vote and win the allotted Saylac seats.
With all the things their government has done to the Gadaboursi, Isaaks and the Afar they seem still to be dreaming of a long lost privilege. In September 29Th election in Saylac, the Issas won a parliamentary seat. The people of Somaliland will never forget the unnecessary mistreatment they suffered in Djibouti.
These groups would have being kept quiet and not remind the people of Somaliland, what their fascist clannish regime have done to the Djibouti Somalianders, and still doing to these communties. Historically these false pretenders were never in charge of Saylac, never had Real Estate and not had a large population in the city of Saylac-ancient Awdal.
These people have been helped, financed and encouraged by the Djibouti government. Moreover, They never did any act or effort to improve the lives of Saylites. There is a group called Awdal Development Agency who have built schools in all the rural districts of Awdal. I never heard of these impostors to the crown of Saylac ever helping these noble efforts.
Some of these eternal wanners are working for the government of Djibouti to destabilize Somaliland. That is why they are stirring up trouble. But let me tell this people, they will never succeed with a borrowed power, which is nowadays increasingly dimishining. people living in this neck of the woods will for ever defend their rights, land and dignity. Impostors working for foreign entities will never succeed.
History of the unopposed seats of Saylac
The already severely marginalized Awdalites in the former Somalia, have the wherewithal to give almost half of their so meager parliamentary allotments to their Issa neighbors. But in 1977, when Djibouti achieved its nominal independence, the French installed Issa leadership totally marginalized both the ethnic Gadaboursi and Isaaks.
The sectarian narrow government didn’t stop there, they purged the above-named communities from the top government posts. These communities have been exposed to endless government harassment, imprisonment and other forms violence of violence without probable cause.
Nowadays the government of Djibouti is constantly conspiring against Somaliland and its people. This government already succeeded to put a wedge between the brotherly people of Somaliland and Djibouti. This tiny enclave, which the people of Somaliland helped, marched and agitated for them have not answered in kind.
Djibouti government which itself is practically illegitimate is bad mouthing, disparaging and agitating for the political and economical destruction of the people of Somaliland. Since 1991, the government of Djibouti has closed the border between the two countries more than dozen times.
According to the international law that is an act of war and illegal. So-called member states of the UN can not close the border without serious security concerns and an imminent threat. Non of the above were existent at the time. This was an attempt to put pressure on the people of Somaliland to cede land to Djibouti. That will never happen. If you look on what this government did for its people for the last thirty years. Almost nothing has been done regarding infra-structures, job creation, civil and human rights, education and health care.
Reprinted by SayliciPress.net – staff writer