Home / History / History: Reports of Interviews of torture victims in Somaliland – Part 2

History: Reports of Interviews of torture victims in Somaliland – Part 2

Human Rights valuations and abuse of power is still ongoing practice even though the reasons we overthrown the late Dictator Mohamed Siyad Barre was to restore the freedom we have today. Read the testimonies below and remember that this could happen again, lets make sure history does not repeat it self.

Human Rights in color, The abuse and the detention of innocent must stops.
Human Rights in color, The abuse and the detention of innocent must stops.



(These testimonies were given to Amnesty International on condition the informant’s name was not revealed lest there were reprisals against his or her family in Somalia. Amnesty International considers their fears justified.)

” A” was arrested by the National Security Service in )anuary 1980 along with eight other persons after some politicaI Ieaflets had been distributed and slogans or other political statements had been painted on walls. Following his arrest he was handcuffed, had most of his clothes taken off and was placed in a small unlit cell which had a dirt floor and contained faeces, He was given no food for 48 hours. He was held in his cell until August 1980.

During his detention he was taken out every two to four nights and tortured. He was placed blindfolded in the back of a station wagon and driven for approximately haIf an hour to the place of torture- During his torture he was blindfolded and handcuffed. He was physically abused and placed in awkward positions. He had a hood placed over his head and the cord on it pulled tight so that his head was pulled down to his knees. He had someone sit on his thighs, when he was in an uncomfortable position- He was forced to kneel while his mouth was held open by clamps and water poured down his throat. When he became unconscious with this treatment, his testicles were squeezed, with the pain briefly bringing him back into consciousness again.

He suffered burns to his feet and wrists when he was forced to Put his feet in very hot water and had hot water poured over his wrists. He still has scars associated with these burns as well as other scars on his body associated with his physical torture.


In May 1982 “B” was arrested while participating in a student demonstration in protest against the arrest of some teachers. He was in prison from May 1982 until July 1982. On the right of his arrest he was beaten up and had material pushed under his fingernails. He was kept in a very small cell by himself and was not allowed any visitors or contact with other detainees. While in detention he was taken out of his cell, to be tortured approximately every two days. He was physically assaulted and repeatedly placed in water until he almost suffocated.

At these times his entire body would be submerged and people would put their feet on him to hold him down . He was shown pliers and threatened with having his testicIs Pulled out if he did not provide the information that was requested of him. He was threatened with being killed and was aware that other detainees had been killed in detention. He was frightened during the detention and this fear was intensified by the fact that he was still relatively young, aged 20, and in his second year of high school.

FolIowing his release he returned to high school. After completing high school he was conscripted into the army and when he refused this he was imprisoned again from January until May 1985 when his family paid a large bribe to have him released. During this detention he was kept in a dirty, unlit underground cell. He was beaten up but not as badly as during his first detention and was twice submerged in water.


In September 1982, C ” was arrested while completing his last year of high school and was detained for about 20 days. During this detention he was treated roughly but not actually tortured. After completing school he was called up to an army training camp. Within the camp various slogans against the government were being passed around on sheets of paper and he along with others was detained on suspicion of being involved with this- Following his arrest he was beaten up and told that if he did not tell who else was behind the slogans and if he did not confess himseIf he wouId be kept iniprison for Iife. He was shown prisoners who had been tortured and was told that the same fate awaited him if he did not tell everything. When he denied involvement he was tortured in a variety of ways.

His place of detention was close to the ocean and he would be taken down to the ocean, placed in a boat and then put in the water where he was held under until he almost suffocated and then pulled up and interrogated. This went on for some time, at least until he started vomiting, and he usually ended up unconscious. Once he regained consciousness the interrogation would continue. This submersion in the ocean occurred approximately twice a week during the first six months of his two-year detention and approximately twice a month after that. He was also tortured by being placed in a chair and punched all over his body until he collapsed. He had the soles of his feet beaten until they were red. When he was asleep at night he often had hot water, tea or cold water thrown over him. Whenever he was wanted at night for interrogation he would be hit with a stick or kicked in order, to wake him up. He was insulted and insults were made against his father who was also in detention.

He reported that the worst aspects of his detention occurred during the last year when he was forced to work every day building houses. His job was to carry heavy stones and cement, something which was quite difficult, especially with the injuries to his legs and body due to his torture- Whenever he fell down or, dropped anything he was beaten on the spot. His legs became swollen and his injuries did not have time to heal because of the ongoing beatings.He was released in late 1984.


“D”, a woman aged nearly 30 years, arrested in 1984, claimed that she had been denied entry into universety or government jobs because of her clan and her father, who was arrested in 1983 and has not been heard of since. Their home was frequently searched, and members of her family were questioned, including herself. In 1984 she was arrested by the NSS and told that because she had not told them all she knew, she would be imprisoned for life.

She was brought to Mogadishu’s central prison, and put in a room so small she could barely lie down in it. There was no window, only a small opening in the door through which the guards spoke to her or passed her food. There was a small light, turned off at night. It was very hot, there were biting insects, and she lost weight on the poor diet of maize and bread.

Water was brought only with meals. She did not have a toilet but was taken to one three times a day. Although she was provided with a blanket and sheet, cold water was often poured on the floor to make sleeping impossible she had no contact with a lawyer or anyone outside the prison. She was never tried or formally charged with an offence.

She was frequently beaten at night, usually by three men at a time. They blindfolded her, kicked her and struck her with hard objects which she could not see. She was pushed hard against the wall and struck about her face and body. Some of her teeth were knocked out in this way.

They also used some kind of hot object to burn her. When she tried to defend herself they tied her up with her wrists and ankles pulled together behind her. Sometimes they gripped her neck and threatened to choke her or to bring her to the ocean, put her in a bag, and submerge her. They attempted to rape her, but she says the cell was too small and the men too disorganized to overcome her struggles against them. She was released after six months and told she would be watched. Four years later, she continues to have right shoulder pain, frequent headaches, poor sleep, nightmares, poor appetite, diminished memory and concentration, frequent crying episodes, and is easily irritated’. She has three upper teeth missing, and has a two-centimeter circular scar on the skin overlying these teeth, suggesting their loss through trauma. She has a laceration scar on her back, and several scars on her abdomen which are consistent with burning by some kind of instrument. There is also a scar on her abdomen which is consistent with her report of being burned there with a cigarette, and she has laceration and abrasion scars on her arms and one leg.


In September 1984, E ” and his father were arrested at home and taken blind folded into detention. “E” was held in solitary confinement in a small cell with no window. He was not allowed any visitors or contact with lawyers. No exercise facilities were provided and on several occasions he went for a month without being allowed to bathe, Sanitary facilities were a pail in the cell which was often not emptied more than once a week. His diet was poor, consisting of maize and millet, these often being bad or badly cooked.

During his detention he was taken blind folded out of his cell at night, approximately twice a week, to be tortured. He was then hung upside down by his ankles , apparently on a puIIey so that he couId be raised and lowered. While in this position he was beaten with sticks, punched and kicked. His head was forced into a bucket of water and held down by the torturers’ feet. He was repeatedly asked “Do you want do die?” and “What were you doing?” He had great psychological difficulty dealing with this experience, was overwhelmed by it, had difficuIty accepting that it was reaI, and lived in the anticipati on that he was going to be killed. He was unexpectedly released in an amnesty on 21 October 1985.


In November 1984, “F”, a Somali returning from abroad, was detained at Mogadishu airport on arrivaI , was searched , bIind foIded and taken away by the authorities . When he reached his place of detention he was beaten up and had his head knocked against the wall, during which time the guards were laughing and joking around over their capture of him-He was given dirty pyjamas full of lice to wear and was hit whenever he tried to remove the blindfold to look at the guards.

During his detention he was kept in a corridor of the prison with many others including old men, women and young children, all of whom were groaning and in distress-He was forced to stand up. He was asked whether he wanted to sit down, to go to sleep or to use the toilet, and whenever he said “Yes” he was laughed at and beaten. He was fed hard bread and a glass of tea which was to serve four people.

After two or three days he asked for water and was given hot water to drink. When he complained about this, he was again physically assaulted. After a few days he was interrogated by a colonel who asked him why he joined the SNM and how much money the movement had collected. When he refused to answer and denied knowledge, he was whipped and kicked and was forced to watch another prisoner being tortured with electrical shocks. He was forced to his knees and the colonel took out a pistol threatening to shoot him if he would not talk. He was then threatened with a knife, after being told that he was not worth wasting bullets on. He was hit on the back of his left shoulder with the knife, producing a puncture wound. He also suffered an injury to the right side of the bridge of his nose and was beaten up so that he almost became unconscious. He was then blindfolded again and taken back to his spot in the corridor during which time he was insulted and hit by the guards. He was later released without being charged or tried.


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Mohamed Ghalib Musa is the founder of Somaliland Net and the chief editor. It's a human thing to work to together to achieve a common Goal and objectives, Let us work together and we will succeed.

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