Between 1987 and 1989 Somali dictator Siad Barre carried out a campaign of systematic mass murder of the ethnic Isaaq population of the north-western Somali Democratic Republic, in what is referred to as the Isaaq genocide, the Hargeisa holocaust. During the massacre of Isaaq and Hawiye peoples of the region Barre ordered the complete destruction of the largest cities in the country's Northwest, Hargeisa and Burao, leading many historians to refer to this as the Dresden of Africa. This period of harsh authoritarian repression set the stage for the Somali Civil War and as Somalia descended into a power vacuum in 1991, the Northwestern region declared independence from Somalia as 'Somaliland', named after the colonial state of British Somaliland that had previously occupied the region.
Today, Somaliland independence is not internationally recognised, and despite being recognised as genocide by the UN, there has been limited international recognition for the Isaaq genocide. No commission to find the remains of victims or establish an official death toll has ever been established, despite 50,000 to 200,000 losing their lives during this period, despite the use of systemic rape and the laying of over a million landmines in Somaliland.
Why is Somaliland’s independence not recognised internationally?
Why is the Somaliland's Hargeisa holocaust another forgotten genocide?