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History 1974: Siyadd Barre and Emperor Haile Selaasie met during African Unity Summmit in Mogadisho

Published on June 11, 2014 by   ·   No Comments

I found these historic photos in Djibouti with a professional photographer  in Djibouti.  He told me that his deceased father of Dhulbahante, Jama Siad, Christian who himself was a French educated lawyer who has had many collection of Somali history photos. The family currently owns a prominent photo lab in Djibouti. 


From Left: Senegal President Leopold Senghor, Empreror Haile Selassie and President Siyad Bare 


To my speculation, the late president Siad Barre was hosting the African unity summit at Mogadishu in 1974. Almost all African head of states were there and the OAU Secretary General was to be elected, contested by the Somali foreign minister H.E Omar Arteh Ghalib and the Zambian foreign minister. The Somali agendas priority was as far as the Ethiopian emperor was attending the summit was to lobby within the African Head of States to support Somalia’s claim of Ogaden. The election of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) secretary General turned out to have no winner because there were not enough votes for either candidate to secure the position.

Many English-speaking countries were supporting Zambia, while the French and Arabic speaking countries were supporting Somalia. President Siad Barre asked his foreign minister to decline and the Zambian foreign minister to become OAU Secretary General.

In this photo, the body language suggests that the late Léopold Senghor of Senegal is mediating late Emperor Haile Selassie and SiadBarre. The emperor was feeling tired and frail because of the uprising going on back in his country due to famine and lawlessness. There were student demonstrations in the streets of Addis Ababa with communist ideologies. There was also a military mutiny and also disguisingly showing allegiance to the emperor. Siad Barre was in his peak time with Soviet military arsenal.

Siad Barre is showing that he is not happy with what Senghor was saying, thinking that he is sympathising the Emperor’s argument. On terms of Léopold Senghor is seen to be explaining to both parties about the OAU charter defining that colonial borders should remain, as it was whenever an African country was declared as independent state. H.E Senghor has had expressed with his hands drawing about borders. I think Siad Barre was thinking of what next words he was going to say.


Noah Askar Atteyeh


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