Somali President Mohamed Farmajo apologised on Thursday for deadly bombings carried out by one of his predecessors more than three decades ago in the breakaway region of Somaliland.
Farmajo’s apology to the people and government of Somaliland on Thursday was the first of its kind.
This came two days after he held talks for the first time with Somaliland leader Muse Abdi in Ethiopia on the margins of an AU summit.
“When we forgive each other, we get justice, and when we get justice, we get peace,” Farmajo said at an annual judiciary conference.
In 1988, Somali strongman Mohammed Barre ordered his air force to bomb Hargeisa and other cities in the northern region to suppress an uprising.
The operation killed thousands of civilians and northern Somalis have long called the event a war crime.
Barre’s ouster in 1991 plunged Somalia into anarchy as warlords carved out clan-based fiefdoms.
Governments formed since 2004 have tried to impose their authority, but have faced a growing threat from the al-Shabaab terrorist group.
Somaliland declared independence in 1991, but the state is not internationally recognised.
The relationship between the Somali government and Somaliland had deteriorated since Farmajo took power in 2017, with Somaliland repeatedly accusing his government of disrupting talks on uniting northern and southern Somalia.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Felix Ajide