Somaliland Elections: Major Blow to Canadian, American, Al-Shabab’s Clandestine Operations

Last month, May 2010 the Al-Shabab affiliated armed group NSUM in Buhodle town and Widh Widh village, both in Sool region of Somaliland, got a rude awakening when Somaliland security forces swiftly and devastatingly overrun the militants. After gearing up for a showdown with the local security forces for five years, launching a camping of terror against Somaliland police stations and government officials, holding a number of meetings to promote violence and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for war, the armed group NSUM finally met its fate. It was caught in between the Somaliland and the Ethiopian forces. For Al-Shabab, NSUM and its Canadian and American commanders, the lights went out in less than 24 hours. They suffered a crushing defeat. All conflicts ceased. But is the war over?

Of course not! Next step for the so-called Northern Somalia Unionist Movement’s (NSUM) leaders, Suleman Essa Ahmed (Hagal tosiye), an American from Columbus Ohio, and Col. Ali Sabarey, a Canadian from Toronto, of course with the help of Al-Shabab suicide bombing experts is to plan a different war: one that is not only frightening but is also impossible to uproot its perpetrators.  (By the way, Mr. Ahmed is an uncertified accountant. Yet he calls himself a “doctor”.)

In an interview with a local radio, Horseed Media, Mr. Ahmed’s accomplice, Col. Sabarey was asked if his militias plan to attack Somaliland on the Election Day June 26, 2010. Col. Sabarey stated, “It could be the 26th, 27th or any minute.” However, he didn’t deny at all that he plans bloodshed in the region. Similarly, doubtlessly Al-Shabab just like the NSUM is waiting for the Election Day to detonate its payloads of explosives against the polling stations. Why these Canadian and American citizens came back to their birth region to destroy it, not to rebuild it, is a mindboggling task.

But as shown in a program about the Sool conflict recently aired by Universal TV, half way through the video, one could observe: partially frightened and partially bewildered American and Canadian could hardly believe how the events unfolded so unanticipated. Surrounded by no more than a dozen baffled militias armed with AK-47 guns and bazookas, Mr. Ahmed suffering from fatigue mumbled in a tremulous voice that he would continue the war if Somaliland security forces don’t abandon Sool province. In contrast, Col. Saberey, staring straight down his feet, remained silent. Pinned down by heavy rains while squeezed between Somaliland and Ethiopian troops, clearly, the two men underestimated the psychosocial effect of wars. See Universal TV’s program:

While the overwhelming majority of Sool residents want peace and development for their province, not conflicts, some well-off Diaspora communities want to govern the region from overseas with a remote control, of course. Now and then, these Diasporas groups would raise money and either a greed-driven-local warlord such as Col. Cabdul Casiis (Garam Garam) who duped the NSUM to give him more than $50, 000 collected for clandestine operations against Somaliland security forces few years ago or warmongers from abroad namely, Mr. Ahmed and Col. Saberey would jump on the wagon and volunteer to lead a campaign of destruction masqueraded as “liberation” in Sool region. Read more about how the NSUM’s villain attacks to detonate explosives against Somaliland police forces were botched by Col. Cabdul Casiis´s (Garam Garam).

They claim to “liberate”—a euphemism for destruction—Sool region, but from whom? Who are the “invaders” occupying this region? Let me clarify one thing: in Somaliland or Somalia no society could extend its hegemony over other regions that don’t belong to it, nor is there an authority that could govern regions in which it is not welcomed. There is no such a thing called: “occupying regions by force”. That era is over. In other words, each Somali society is in charge of its territory and its resources and so do Sool people. But could the so-called liberation cause a mass exodus in the region? A paradox!

More than ever before, an incipient deadly conflict among local tribes looms in Sool region. On one side, those who want to remain part of Somaliland because they adamantly believe: historically, culturally and geographically they have been part of Northern Somalis [Somaliland society] and in 1960 when Somaliland joined Somalia, Sool people were part of Somaliland, not Puntland or Somalia.

On the other side, those supported by the Diaspora groups and NSUM’s violent militias who are strongly convinced because they share tribal lineages with the population of Puntland, they couldn’t care less what the International laws about boundaries state. It is their way or the highway!

Meanwhile, both Habar Jelo and Fiqishini tribes of Sool and Sanag regions appealed for peace and dialogues. Fiqishini in fact warned against the danger of one tribe dictating the others in Sool province and demanded a peaceful co-existence and discussion between all Sool tribes.

Moreover, a clear evidence to displace Sool population who refuse NSUM’s demands could be inferred from its spokesperson’s remarks. The representative in U.K. for the armed group, Abdi Ahmed Adam told the Universal TV program: that his forces plan to wage a war not only in Sool region but also in Burao city, the second capital of Somaliland, in Togdher region. Yet the NSUM screams that other Northern tribes from as far as Awdal region of Somaliland invaded Sool region to loot the land.

And according to Garaad (a tribal chief) Jama Garaad Ali from Sool region: anyone from Sool region who is part of Somaliland government is not different from the Indian workers in Dubai. They too are there to make a living, just as Sool politicians are in Hargeisa, Somaliland capital, to earn their daily bread. This is what exactly Garaad Jama stated while in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 2009. Interesting! But what about the politicians from Sool region currently serving the Somali government in Mogadishu—how are they different from the Indian workers in Dubai, I ask you Garaad Jama? (Perhaps they are honorable Pakistanis!)

Now, in response to the Garaad Jama’s disreputable remarks, Somaliland Minister of Justice, Ahmed Hassan Ali (Asowe) who hails from Sool region echoed his famous statement, “We are not Indians and you [Garaad] are not Kikuyu [a Kenyan tribe]”. Mr. Ali added, “Come back home to resolve our differences through a dialogue”. But the Garaad turned a deaf ear to Mr. Ali’s plea for peace to avert the region from destruction and turning it into the little Mogadishu of Somaliland. He waged a war instead. (See Mogadishu in ruins:

In October 2009 Garaad Jama declared a war against Somaliland security forces in Sool province when he stated, “We must fight against Somaliland by any means necessary”. In May 2010, as soon the war he asked for exploded, he wrote an emotional letter in which he implored the U.N. to take action against Somaliland government.  In his letter, however, he avoided mentioning Ethiopia which devastated Buhodle town and confiscated eighteen commercial trucks each worth between $30, 000 to $50,000, much less condemn it. The trucks and their goods are worth well over half a million U.S. dollars. Instead, he verbally assaulted Somaliland. Also, he neither appealed for peace and calm in the region, nor demanded a ceasefire and negations.

But you would think he has learned a lesson from the war he instigated—a causeless war. Not really! One week later, now sooner has Buhodle town buried its citizens slaughtered by the cruel Ethiopian troops than Garaad Jama begun mobilizing more tribal militias to continue the inferno he lit up. Garaad Jama on one hand pleads for help and on the other attacks security forces.

Luckily, on June 05, 2010 the tribal leaders and Garaads of Buhodle town demanded Garaad Jama and the NSUM militias to leave the town. Prominent tribal chiefs from the area warned against Garaad Jama and his armed group using Buhodle as a launch pad for attacks against Somaliland security forces which are stationed villages surrounding Buhodle. A well respected tribal chief named Mohamoud Umar Amey told the BBC’s Somali program that they [Buhodle tribal leaders] won’t allow bellicose groups burning Buhodle. He stressed the need for peace. He also said, “They [NSUM leaders] left their people in safe areas and want to burn our town”. Read one of my earlier articles in which I warned against the Canadian and the American warlords waging a war in Somaliland while leaving their families in Toronto and Columbus Ohio.

Meanwhile, as soon as Garaad Jama’s militias are rounded up and and laid charges against them for being a menace to society, the International community would pressure the Somaliland government to release them, just to join another battle. The recent visit of Somaliland delegation led by President Dahir Riyale Kahin to France surprised Mr. Kahin and his accompanying cabinet Ministers. The French government pressured the delegation to release the recently terror-convicted men from Sool region. However, the Somaliland authority bristled at the French suggestion.

In fact, their release could set off revenges. The convicted men were responsible for Col. Osman Yusuf’s death. They collaborated with the NSUM group and Al-Shabab. And releasing these men would upset the victim’s family members who would possibly take the law into their hands. And this explains why Somaliland is convinced keeping these criminals behind bars is in the best interest of everybody—something the French authority either ignored or overlooked.

While Garaad Jama, Al-Shabab terrorists, American and Canadian warmongers are gearing up for another showdown with Somaliland security forces, Somaliland remains committed to pacifying the region. The government has already sent elders and religious leaders from all over the country to Buhodle to convince the armed group to lay down its weapons. Experts in conflict resolution, dozens of tribal chiefs and religious leaders are on their way to Buhodle town, Tuka Rak and Widh Widh villages to speak to their counterpart to establish a lasting-peace in the region. Also Sool politicians in the government appealed for peace and denounced goading the local tribes of the region against one another.

But while Al-Shabab and NSUM sharpen their explosive detonating skills, evidently jubilant Somalilanders are preparing for the second presidential elections in June 26, 2010. See breath-taking pictures of Somaliland parties: UDUB, KULMIYE and UCID and their supporters campaigning:

To sum up, clearly, a small violent group financed by some Sool Diaspora communities and armed by Al-Shabab not only wants to hijack the wishes of some of the Sool population who wish to remain part of Somaliland, but this militant group in fact wants to suffocate the entire Somaliland population. Because Al-Shabab and NSUM know that it is impossible to suppress the popular voices of Somaliland people, determined to settle for nothing less than a sovereign state, either waging a terror campaign against Somaliland security forces or dismantling Somaliland along feuding tribal enclaves may finally bear some fruit—a dangerous, destructive path.

As history attests, it was a minority group in Gen. Mohammed Siad Barre’s doomed Somali regime that dictated the majority of Somali people. Similarly, today, yet another small group mainly from the Diaspora communities—in fact remnants of Gen. Barre’s regime—and religious zealots from Mogadishu want to reinvent the wheel and decide which direction Somaliland should be heading irrespective of the wishes of the majority. Never again! Somaliland is here to stay.

Dalmar Kaahin


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