On this date in 1972, Somali Generals Muhammad Ainanshe Gulaid and Salad Gaveir, along with Col. Abdulkadir bin Abdulla,* were publicly shot in Mogadishu by a 90-man** (!) firing detail for attempting a coup the previous year.
Muhammad Ainanshe Guleid had been Barre’s second vice-president (the first was also arrested for another supposed plot, though not executed), so the alleged conspiracy would have been treason at the very highest level. It’s obscure at this point to what extent the arrests might be attributed to an actual intended coup as against internecine politics within the ruling Supreme Revolutionary Council, or even whether those categories were wholly distinct.
“They were charged,” according to An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Conflict and Conflict Resolution, 1945-1966 (it makes great bathroom reading) “with treason in a plot to assassinate the president … and other high officials and to return the socialist country to capitalism.”
The Soviet-backed Barre had plenty of problems over the next two decades, but actually managed to hold the tumultuous country until 1991. Then rebels finally deposed the dictatorship. Neither those rebels nor anyone else, however, was able to establish an effective central government — leaving Somalia to become the anarchy/libertarian paradise it’s famous as today.
(Juxtapose: the Barre regime’s attempts (pdf) at establishing a more conventional tourist profile.)
* Each of these names have several possible transliterations. Actually, later this same year, Barre would announce an official choice of Latin script for the heretofore unwritten Somali language; schoolchildren at this time had to learn English, Italian, Arabic, and Somali.
** The source for the 90-man firing squad figure is I.M. Lewis, “The Politics of the 1969 Somali Coup” in The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 10, No. 3 (Oct., 1972). As the title indicates, our day’s principals are not the author’s chief concern, but he adds apropos of Barre’s doomed efforts to shift loyalties away from tribes and towards the state that the massive fusillade party “was anti-tribal in composition, and that the Government would see to the funeral arrangements — traditionally a lineage responsibility.”