On October 15, 1969, 50 years ago, the former democratically-elected and the second president of Somalia Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke was assassinated by a bodyguard while visiting the town of Las Anod. It’s thought the assassination was politically-motivated but details remained largely a mystery for 50 years on.
On this occasion, we here publishing you an article written by Mohamed Haji Ingiriis about this mystery story on 2017
Who Assassinated The Somali President In October 1969?
The Cold War, The Clan Connection, Or The Coup d’État
Mohamed Haji Ingiriis
Faculty of History, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
The mystery of the assassination on October 15, 1969, of President Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, the second civilian Somali leader in the post-colonial period, has been misunderstood. Soon after, on October 21, 1969, at 3 o’clock in the morning, Radio Mogadishu announced that the military seized the power and overthrew the civilian government. It was also announced the prime minister and members of his government, as well as former President Aden Abdulle Osman and other politicians, were arrested. The parliament was abolished, the constitution suspended, and all political and social organizations banned. Based on newly unearthed primary sources—previously classified court documents, official government bulletins, intelligence sources, and oral interviews with key witnesses—this article assesses for the first time the circumstances surrounding the assassination. Who masterminded the assassination? Why and what was the motivation behind it still remains a puzzle to Somalis and non-Somalis. The assassination was among the high-profile murders in East Africa that year: including, the assassinations of Tom Mboya, a senior minister in Kenya on July 5, 1969, and of Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane, the leader of Mozambique Liberation Front, on February 3, 1969. Most Somalis and non-Somalis assume that Abdirashid was “killed” due to an intractable clan rivalry over state power between contesting postcolonial elites. This article counters the conventional explanations of the assassination by contending that the Soviets and Siyad Barre played a crucial role in Abdirashid’s assassination: for the former, removing a pro-Western administration was paramount, for the latter, the aim was to seize power through the ideology of Soviet-style socialism.
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