The Genocidal Legacy of Siyad Barre’s Regime on the People of Somaliland Somalia often perceived globally as a dangerous failed state plagued by warlords, pirates, and terrorists, contrasts sharply with the reality in Somaliland. The autonomous state of Somaliland, unrecognized internationally as an independent state, stands as a beacon of peace and stability with its thriving capital, Hargeisa. However, Somaliland also bears the scars of brutal state-sponsored violence from its recent past. Under General Siad Barre’s dictatorship from 1969 to 1991, the people of Somaliland suffered severe atrocities as Barre waged a genocidal war against the Isaaq Clan, suspecting them of rebellion. His orders led to catastrophic military assaults, notably in Hargeisa, which faced near-total destruction, tens of thousands of deaths, and widespread torture. Mass graves from this period remain a grim legacy. Now, as Somalilanders look to a more secure future, there is a growing call to address these historical injustices. In 2016, Al-Jazeera launched a compelling two-part series under its “People and Power” segment. This investigative series delved into the ways in which the people of Somaliland were confronting their harrowing past. It chronicled the efforts of a group of forensic experts and human rights advocates who were dedicated to bringing Yusuf Abdi Ali, an alleged war criminal, to justice for his crimes.

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