Somaliland: Large-scale Exhumations Started
A Peruvian forensic anthropology team has started on a project that is expected to reveal details of the widespread atrocities that were committed under the rule of dictator Siyad Barre.
Truth behind enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, torture and other human rights violations of Somalilanders is about to be unearthed.
The Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team - EPAF, has begun exhumations in in the country, as part of a five-year agreement signed with the government thus unearth the truth behind an estimated 60,000 civilian deaths and hundreds of victims of enforced disappearances from 1970 to 1991.
The EPAF team which will also training local forensic personnel and college students of biomedical sciences in order to avail of the country relevant forensic expertise.
The exhumations result from the enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions, torture and other human rights violations perpetrated during the reign of dictator Siyad Barre whose underlings are credited with the over 60,000 deaths and hundreds of unexplained disappearances
One of the main perpetrators in this case is General Mohamed Ali Samatar, who was Vice President and Defense Minister of the Democratic Republic of Somalia from 1980 to 1986. In January 1987, Samatar took over as Prime Minister of Somalia, until the fall of Barre dictatorship in 1990.
During the cause of its duties, the Jose Pablo's led EPAF team that also includes a number of international journalists is assisted by Mr. Abdiaziz Mohamed Diriye who was part of the team that brought Gen Ali Samatar to justice in the USA where he was found guilty of committing atrocities against Somalilanders and fine $21 Million.
While informing that most of the mass graves documented has a minimum of 12 corpses the national massacre investigations committee, which is supporting the EPAF, work, gave the following breakdown of mass graves so far identified:
I. Hargeisa (Maroodi-Jeeh region) - 200 mass graves
II. Berbera (Sahil region) - 12 mass graves
III. Burao (Togdheer region) - 8 mass graves
IV. Sheikh (Sahil region) - 1 mass grave
V. Erigavo (Sanaag region) - 2 mass graves
VI. Arabsiyo (Gabile region) - 1 mass grave
The Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team (EPAF) is a non-profit organization that promotes the right to truth, justice, and guarantees of non-repetition in cases of forced disappearance and extrajudicial execution. EPAF seeks to contribute to the consolidation of peace and democracy where grave human rights violations have taken place by working alongside the families of the disappeared to find their loved ones, gain access to justice, and improve the conditions affecting their political and economic development.
To achieve these goals, EPAF works in four principal areas: Forensic Investigation, Historical Memory, Forensic Training, and Human Development.