Somali Military Pilot Awarded Medal for Refusing to Massacre Civilians

HARGEISA (Somaliguardian) – Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi awarded Medal of Honor to Ahmed Dhere, a Somali military pilot who refused to bombard the city of Hargeisa in 1988 as part of clampdown by the country’s military ruler against those he perceived as locally sympathetic to guerrillas.

Mr Bihi said in a tweet that “Ahmed Dhere refused to bombard Hargeisa in 1988 and to massacre innocent people”. He added that the former military pilot “sacrificed his life to the people of Somaliland and on behalf of the Somaliland people, I awarded him the Medal of Honor”.

Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi described the former military pilot as a “true hero” in the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland.

Ahmed Dhere landed his military jet in Djibouti in defiance of a government order to bombard Hargeisa, a city that was later razed during war between Siad Barre’s military regime and SNM, a resistance movement supported by Ethiopia’s communist Derg administration.

Since then, the military pilot from Mogadishu has been considered a hero in Somaliland after the northwestern Somali territories declared independence in 1991.

A United Nations investigation concluded that the crime of genocide was “conceived, planned and perpetrated by the Somali government” against people of Somaliland. The number of civilian casualties estimated to be between 50,000-100,000 according to various sources, while some reports estimate the total civilian deaths to be upwards of 200,000 civilians.

Along with the deaths, Barre regime bombarded and razed the second and third largest cities in Somalia, Hargeisa and Burao respectively.

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