During the 1980s in the self-declared republic of Somaliland around 200,000 people were killed under Siad Barre's regime. The Somalia National Movement (SNM) rebel group led by the Isaaq had attacked some refugee camps and government facilities in northern Somalia. On May 27, 1988 Said Barr gave orders to exterminate the Isaaq tribe. Villages were attacked, cities were destroyed, and many were killed then buried in mass graves.
In 1991 the Somali government was overthrown and it collapsed. Somalia has been in constant state of turmoil with opposing groups trying to control the country. This has led to thousands of civilians being killed, attacked, and displaced. The Somali government has looted civilian property and there are cases of assaults and rapes. At least 2,000 have been killed, 1.4 million displaced, and over 500,000 that have fled to nearby countries.
United to End Genocide
In 1997 evidence of the mass graves in Somaliland were exposed by the heavy rain and flooding. Forensic teams examined 100 mass gravesites and two were identified as the Malko Durduro Elementary School site and the Badhka site. Skeletal remains were found in both locations and afterwards the Somaliland government started the War Crimes Investigation Commission (WCIC) to investigate the atrocities committed by Siad Barre's regime. The WCIC was able to identify victims and witnesses along with gathering testimonies to help prosecute the war criminals.
The city of Hargeisa in Somaliland was destroyed during Siad Barre's regime. Thousands were killed and buried in mass graves. This documentary "Kill All but the Crows" explores the community that now lives with memories of the past along with forensic investigators and human rights activists to reveal the truth.One of the interviewees mentions that many became mentally ill as a result of the genocide. About 45% of the residents were traumatized and had posttraumatic stress disorder. One lady recalls being held as a prisoner but being spared her life because she was pregnant. She gave birth to her baby while her feet were in chains.The process of exhumation in Hargeisa is tense. The team has to be very careful not to destroy possible evidence. As a fragment of human bones are found, the community protesting at the gravesites become upset. The Minister of Justice has to convince them to allow the evidence to be taken to the lab then be given a proper burial.
YouTube - Al Jazeera
Mohamad Ali Samantar was a former Prime Minister and General of Somalia. He led the army in committing murders and torture of Somali civilians during Siad Barre's regime. After Barre's dictatorship ended Samantar fled Somalia to escape persecution and ended up living in the United States. In 2012 he accepted liability for the human rights abuses under his command and he was the first to be held accountable for the atrocities in the Somalia genocide.