The Republic of Somaliland and its people lost three prominent, highly respected sons – Omar Arteh Ghalib, Dr Adan Yusuf Abokor and Sultan Mohamed Mohamoud Handulle in a single day.
Statesman Omar Arteh Ghalib was one of the most visible giants in Somali politics. Born in 1930, in Hargeisa, Somaliland, he served as a teacher and a schoolmaster before he joined the Harbeisa gubernatorial office of the Somaliland British Protectorate shortly before the country gained its independence in 1960.
After a short stint at the Somalia Moscow embassy, Arteh, the military strongman who took over the reins of Somalia in October 1969, appointed him an ambassador. He served in that capacity until 1976. It was during this period that Arteh showed his skill and professionalism serving his country and people in a manner that could be remembered in history.
During his tenure as foreign Minister, Ghalib succeeded to make Somalia a member of the Arab League in 1974.
in 1982, he was placed under house arrest and sentenced to death in 1988, along with 17 othera including the former Vice President, Ismail Ali Abokor, on suspicion of aiding the Somali National Movement (SNM) which took up arms to drive the oppressive Somalia military out of present-day Somaliland.
The bested General, Siad Barreh, however, appointed him as prime minister only two days before he fled the capital, Mogadishu, on 26 January. Arteh succeeded another Somaliland, Mohamed Hawadle Madar. Both appointments, clearly, were meant to assuage the wrath of the freedom fighters to the north. It was an eleventh-hour, though, and there was nothing the appointments could really change.
Arteh was re-appointed by the civilian government which took over from Siad Barreh – a capacity he held until 1991 despite the fact that his come country, Somaliland, has restored its sovereignty from the disastrous union with Somalia in May 1991. As such, his premiership ended the objective of Mogadishu in both Siad Barreh time and later to keep Somaliland on a leash.
Arteh ran for the Presidency of Somaliland in 1993 in the Borama Grand Conference but was defeated to it by the late Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal.
That event, however, constituted Arteh’s single contribution to Somaliland as a Republic.
Arteh passed away on natural causes on 18 January in Hargeisa.
Dr Adan Abokor played a leading role in the pacification of Somaliland areas during the 90s. He headed a number of INGOs among which was the International Cooperation for Development (ICD) which, almost singlehandedly, started and maintained a series of conferences, symposia and programmes which contributed greatly to peace-making, state-building and community development.
He passed away in Ankara, Turkey on Wednesday – a victim of COVID-19.
Sultan Mohamed Mohamoud Handulle ‘Indhacase’ was a traditional leader.
Sultan Handulle was best known for the self-less time he always accorded activities furthering societal stability and national cohesion in, specifically, matters pertaining to peace.
He was a rare breed of a leader who never blindly sided with the constituents he led but who, instead, stood for justice and fairness in all cases, all instances no matter what.
COVID-19 also claimed the life of the Sultan.
An endless string of condolences had been pouring on the internet and across all broadcasting channels for all three leaders since yesterday.His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, was among the dignitaries who condoled the bereaved families, friends and the nation, in general, on the sad deaths of the departed.
President Bihi participated in a state funeral held for the late Arteh and Handulle held in Hargeisa Thursday.