SOMALI PILOT WHO DEFECTED
THAT THE PILOT, COLONEL HASSAN WAS INTERVIEWED BY OMAR ALASOW and NOT The Guardian Reporter. the interview is also published in an article that Omar submitted to the International Congress of Somali Studies, Turku, Finland, August 6-9, 1998 and edited by Muddle Suzanne Lilius -kartt.ISBN 952-12-0823-6
According to Amnesty International several thousand
civilians were killed when SNM-held areas were bombed
by Somali Air Force pilots. One Somali Air Force pilot
defected to Djibouti in July, saying that he was refusing
to obey orders to bomb civilian targets in the North.
Thousands more civilians from Hargeisa were deliberately
killed by artillery bombardment as they fled towards
the Ethiopian border to escape from the fighting and
killings in the city.
International, Somalia Report 1, December 1988.
to The Guardian newspaper, Somali Air Force pilot
has defected to neighbouring Djibouti after refusing
to bomb civilian targets in the rebel held Northern
city of Hargeisa. Lieutenant-Colonel Ahmed Mohamed
Hassan, the defected pilot provides further evidence,
in telephone with a Guardian reporter in his residence
in Luxemburg that:
"At the briefing (before the attack) we were instructed
that the military target is the enemy. Direct your
attacks against wherever there is a high concentration
of Isaaqs. They are all SNM members and supporters
(meaning civilian population from the Isaaq clan).
I asked the Brigadier-General if such bombardment
was legitimate and constitute a military advantage
for the Air Force. "It is the responsibility of the
Isaaqs (civilian population) to kick out the SNM from
their homes. They accommodate them. Let them face
the consequence" he replied, adding that "in times
of war we are obliged to obey orders. No question."
original mission of the Somali National Army was to
protect the nation from external aggression. I was
trained to fight against an enemy force not my own
people; my decision was firm to risk dying rather
than bombarding civilians and their property."
Guardian, Friday July 15, 1988.
to Africa Confidential, the planes that bombarded
Hargeisa and other cities come from two air force
units. Somali pilots flew the Mig-17 and ex-Rhodesian
air force pilots who now hold South African or British
passports piloted the Hawker Hunters. According to
Hargeisa residents these planes have been far more
dangerous and effective than the silver-coloured Somali
piloted Migs. Africa Confidential, 29 July, 1988.