General Mohamed Nur Galaal

The Great military Chief

For the last thirty years many people  were killed in the Somali violence. Fathers, mothers, grand fathers, grand mothers and children as little as infants were lost needlessly. In the  Islamic  and Somali cultures, it is forbidden to harm or kill women, children, religious leaders and traditional leaders and elderly people. It also forbidden to  attack civilian facilities including schools and hospitals according to the International law. Civilians can not be a deliberate military target by any circumstances.

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The Great military Chief

Military targets is entirely different from civilian targets. Article 8 of ICRC explains it clearly as  the following:  “so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose partial or total destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage.”

Governments or states are expected to establish this rule as a norm of customary international law applicable in both international and non-international armed conflicts.  According to ICRC the Military manuals which are applicable in or have been applied in non-international armed conflicts incorporate this definition of military objectives. The Somali government is obliged to follow the international conventions and its military officials should be well conversant with the rules  and are expected to apply this rule in its military force engagements.

There are many incidents which are troublesome and concern and can not be justified. The government security officials should be aware that they will be accountable their actions outside established military objectives.

It is unfortunate that the most prominent practitioners of this rule in Somali  military, general Mohamed Nur Galaad, to have been killed in an a questionable circumstance. It needs thorough investigation into how he was killed and the  procedures followed, afterwards, in dealing with his body without following a proper forensic practice.

General Galaal was responsible  the military affairs for the first government of Somalia led by President Abdikasim sallad Hassan after the civil war. He  vehemently advocated that the military should not fight with warlords in Mogadishu. He said that that  it would have been illegal in international law that military to fight in civilians quarters and claiming  that it was a collateral damage was a weak excuse. He said that he had warned the warlords NOT to try to attack the government...

He confessed that his hands were tied by the international military rules ( he encouraged me to read  about the military rules). That was why President Abdikasim stayed away from the military matters and no one had come to harm’s way in his tenure... The warlords knew if they had attacked the government of president Abdikasim that they would have met a very serious response from a professional and deciplined military men like General Galaal.

 It is relevant to acknowledge that General Galaal chose  to observe the international military rules all his life  even when Somalia was lawless environment. When Siad Barre regime was overthrown he advised that the Somali military should NOT involve itself what he viewed to be a imminent civil war. It is only fair to mention here that the General  used  to help the poor and the Somali military veterans who had been living a part in Martiine Hospital

Somalia has lost today one of its heroes when it comes to  Somali military matters. He was a kind, remarkable and elderly man with deep knowledge in the military and Somalia’s hostile environment like the palm of his arm and the qestion on every body's lips is that, "Was the  general a militry target?"   He, himself, knew the anwser to that question. But Somalis need to know. Don't they?

It is sad that a great military chief to be killed in that way, but his family and close friends like me are familiar with his professionalism. What a great general! May Allah bless his soul. Amen.The end.

Mohamed Mohamud Adde

The author is an academic and an Independent Somali Political Analyst.

Article 21 May 2021 10:14

I read your article on Foreign Policy with keen eyes and interest. While whining from public officials does not deserve response from any sensible citizen of the Republic of Somalia, I felt compelled to counter false narrative with more objective analysis.