Somaliland MoFA Diaspora Directorate Applauds Commemoration of WW I & WW II Combatants of the Somalis Battalion in France

FRANCE – (WARSOOR) – The Diaspora Engagement Directorate under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of the Republic of Somaliland  sends congratulation to the Somalis Battalions Association and generally to the Somaliland Diaspora Community in France and vastly appreciates celebrating  memorial of the WW I & WW II Combatants of Somaliland origin  for the second time on the Saturday, Oct 17, 2020 in Paris.  

On behalf of my name, and the name of the Somaliland Diaspora worldwide, I am so happy to express my sincere gratitude to the dedicated activists of the Somalis Battalions Association as well as the Somaliland Community in France for their nationalistic efforts on the momentous historic occasion of commemorating the Somaliland national combatants who fought for France in the 1st and the 2nd World Wars.  

Over 2.000 young men a large majority of them as origin of the British Somaliland determinedly fought alongside the French Troops in the World War I in which 400 fighters of them lost their lives at the battle ground whose bodies are currently buried with official notes in different places in France within 1916-1918 whilst 1,200 of them were wounded.  Unlike other Africans compellingly engaged, Somalis Battalion (Bataillon Somalie) was recruited with their own accord and free will by the French Colonial Administration in Djibouti. According to evidences and history records, fighting against the Nazi in different places, they did not only demonstrate exceptional bravery but as well proved highly disciplined heroism for which they deserved to be among the most rewarded army unit with the second rank war medals after the war.  

Likewise, over 500 Somalilanders entered for Second World War on the side of the French liberation as well and 36 men of the later were killed currently buried at one place. This is in reality factual history of the people of Somaliland and which should ever be remembered and honored.   

Compliant with the records and on hand evidences, all those soldiers of the Somalis Battalion who died in the battle though recruited in France by the French Colonial Administration; they were citizens of the British Somaliland and left from all the regions of the current Republic of Somaliland. As shown in the Death Certificates of the late Somalis Battalion Soldiers, during the recruitment, they wrote their birth places as Herer, Hargeisa Burao, Borama, Berbera, Xeeb Berbera, Bari, Guban, Bulahar, Oogo,  Hawd, Gaaroodi, Dar Ceel Biir, Geed Adari, Aware, Dari, Agagaalle, Harirad, Badar, Buurdhaab Selel, Marmar/Zeila, Sheikh, Jifada, Baladh, Adalle, Hobyo (Italian Somaliland), Jigjiga (Abyssinia),  and the names of so many settlements mainly under the districts and regions of Somaliland plus few others registered as locations under the Italian Somaliland and Abyssinia  (Source: Somalis Battalions Association). As the Death Certificates, indicate, among the 1st Somalis Battalion were 25 Somalis from Abyssinia, 200 Yemenis, and 70 Comorians while the rest of 1,400 plus soldiers were young and middle-aged men from Somaliland in the early twentieth century. We shall collaborate with the Somalis Battalions Association to publish the whole List of the Names of the 436 soldiers died and buried in France.   

Finally, I am so thankful to the founders of the Somalis Battalions Association commemorating memorial of our beloved fellow citizens who lost their lives as combatants fighting against the Nazi in support of France in the World War I and World War II for the second time to mark this crucial occasion and specially to Mr. Ibrahim Yusuf Guled for this patriotic endeavor in relation to the remarkable milestone of the history of Somalilanders.

“The fact is that if you neglect your history, other people will claim and boast of your noteworthy deeds in the past!

 Saad Mohamed Abdi  

Director of the Diaspora Department

Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation

Hargeisa, Republic of Somaliland