Information regarding Somali government's recall of its diplomatic personnel from the embassy in Italy in the summer of 1989 and the fate of those returned. [SOM5235]

According to The Washington Post, the Somali government recalled many of its senior diplomats posted around the world. [: Blaine Harden, "Somali Envoy Undiplomatically Resist Recall Orders", The Washington Post, 26 August 1988.] There is no specific reference to Somali diplomats in Italy among sources available to the IRBDC, dealing with the general recall of Somali diplomats. The recall, which affected about sixty diplomats, was ordered in May 1988, a day before the SNM offensive in the north. [ibid.] Mr. Richard Greenfield, a former political advisor to Siad Barre for nine years, claims that the "recall is focused on diplomats who belong or are related by marriage to northern Somalia's Isaak clan, an ethnic group that forms the heart of the rebel Somali National Movement (SNM)". [ibid.]

The president of the North Somali Association of Quebec corroborates this and further notes that in June and July 1989 there was another recall of Somali diplomats abroad. The source reports that although the majority of ambassadors are from the Marehan and Dhulbahante clans, the first and second Secretaries in the embassies were not. It is for this reason that, according to the source, Siad Barre wanted to replace the latter diplomats with Marehan ones. Also reported was the fact that many diplomats had refused to go back to Somalia. [ As stated by the president of the North Somali Association of Quebec during a telephone interview with the IRBDC on 25 April 1990.]

The manager of COSTI, Centre for Italian Scholastic and Technical Organizations located in Toronto, states that the government had recalled many of its diplomats during the summer of 1989 to facilitate the reshuffling planned by Siad Barre. This information was corroborated by an Ottawa based source [ As stated by a prominant member of the Somali Canadian community in Ottawa, during a telephone conversation with the IRBDC on 26 April 1990.] who notes that the reason for the recall may have been to replace the existing personnel with people loyal to Siad Barre. Another possibility, cited by this source, was the need for the Somali government to cut its operational expenses by closing some of the embassies in countries where Somalia has little economic ties.

All the oral sources stated that although many diplomats refused to return to Somalia, those that did were reportedly demoted or imprisoned.

Corroborating information from published sources is currently unavailable to the IRBDC.

Attached please find a copy of the following document:

-Blaine Harden, "Somali Envoys Undiplomatically Resist Recall Orders", The Washington Post, 26 August 1988..