The National Security Service was the primary intelligence service of the government of Siad Barre and the bedrock of its repressive internal security apparatus, existing from 1970 until 1990 when it was formally abolished.
Organization and structure Edit
The NSS was subordinate to the Interior Ministry, and (in the closing years of the Barré regime) was headed by Abdiqasim Salad Hassan (who would later be a one-time President of Somalia under the Transitional National Government.) Conceived in the Soviet model and organized with the help of the KGB, the NSS was an elite organization whose key officers maintained close links to Barré's Supreme Revolutionary Council.
NSS prisons Edit
The NSS headquarters and interrogation center in Mogadishu, referred to as Godka or "the Hole", was particularly notorious. Other NSS centers included Mogadishu Central Prison, and stations at Lanta Bur, Labtanjirow and Burwein.
1990 dissolution Edit
In 1990 the NSS was formally dissolved as a palliative measure. However, its abolition was not accompanied by the demise of other security agencies who also had effectively unlimited powers of arrest and detention and similarly notorious reputations for torture and ill-treatment of detainees. These include the President's own bodyguards, the Red Berets; the Dhabar Jabinta (or "Backbreakers") a branch of the military police; the Hangash, another branch of the military police; the Guulwadayal (or "Victory Pioneers"), a uniformed paramilitary group; and the investigative wing of the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party (SRSP).
Similarly, the decision to dismantle the NSC did not guarantee a fair system of justice because other courts, such as the Mobile Military Court and the Regional Security Court, retained the power to sentence people to long prison terms and even death without any pretense of due process. In an effort to show that the government was opening the political system, President Barre resigned as Secretary General of the ruling party, only to be replaced by a son-in-law who for many years headed the NSS.
Somali politicians with ties to the NSSEdit
Controversy surrounds the activities of the NSS, as well as those politicians who served in or assisted the NSS during the Barre regime. This is a partial list of Somali politicians who had known or alleged ties to the NSS:
- Abdiqasim Salad Hassan TNG President of Somalia (2001–2004); as Interior Minister under Siad Barre, was head of the NSS.
- Ali Mohammed Ghedi TFG Prime Minister of Somalia (2004–present); alleged agent/informer.
- Hassan Abshir Farah TFG Prime Minister of Somalia (2001–2003), Minister of Fisheries (2004–present); allegedly cooperated with the NSS as regional governor in Barre government.
- Dahir Riyale Kahin President of Somaliland (2003–present) served as the NSS station chief in Berbera.
- Hasan Muhammad Nur Shatigadud TFG Minister of Finance (2005–present); President of Southwestern Somalia (2002–present); Colonel in the NSS
- Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti since 1999, was reportedly trained by the NSS.
Ethiopian president Meles Zenawi and Eritrean president Isayas Afewerki also had reported contacts to the NSS; according to a Somali government official quoted by IRIN news, Zenawi and Afewerki "lived together in a villa behind Tawfiq Hotel, north Mogadishu, and were handled by the National Security Service, provided with travel documents and Somali passports, trained and given a Tigrayan radio frequency". Zenawi's NSS handler was the father of TFG minister Ali Mohammed Ghedi.