Somaliland grants safe passage to former Somali Deputy PM to visit his ailing father


Monday October 26, 2020


FILE – HOL

Hargeisa (HOL) – The President of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, has granted clemency to the former Somali Deputy Prime Minister, Mohamed Omar Arteh so that the latter can be by the bedside of his sickly father.

Arteh was considered a persona non grata by the Somaliland government for his perceived betrayal to Hargeisa. Arte, who hails from the Habr Awal subclan of the Issaq, served as the deputy Prime Minister under Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke from January 2015 to March 2017. He also served as the Somali Minister of Labour, Youth and Sports.

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According to local media reports, the pardon was granted on condition that Arteh formally denounces his support for a ‘greater Somalia’ and the formal reunification of Somaliland into the Somali union. However, there are no public statements made by Arteh to that effect thus far.

He arrived in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa, on Sunday.

The amnesty was likely granted under compassionate grounds on behalf of Omar Arteh Ghalib, Mohamed’s father and an elder statesmen who is well respected both in Somaliland and Somalia.

Omar Arteh was Somalia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1969 to 1977. While serving as Somalia’s top diplomat, he was selected as the President of the United Nations Security Council in January 1972 – a presidency that is rotated monthly among the 15 member-states. Siad Barre appointed Omar as Prime Minister of Somalia in a desperate bid to hold on to power on January 1991, just before USC fighters overran Mogadishu. Ali Mahdi Muhammad reappointed Omar as the PM, where he would remain until May 1993. In 1997 Omar Arteh vied for the Somaliland presidency but lost to Mohamed Haji Ibrahim.

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