A tribute to our colleague and Somali peacebuilder, engineer Kulmiye

June 23, 2008

On 22 June 2008, engineer Mohamed Hassan Kulmiye, the head of the Center for Research and Dialogue (CRD) Belet Weyne office, was killed by unidentified gunmen. Violent conflict, targeted killings and shrinking civic space have rendered peacebuilding increasingly dangerous in the complex political-security context of south-central Somalia. The Hiran region has suffered its deadly share of rampant attacks and counter attacks by insurgents and Ethiopian forces. There have been a significant number of targeted killings of military officers, civic leaders and others.

‚ÄúMy son was a man of peace and no one should be harmed on his behalf, including those who murdered him‚ÄĚ said the father of Engineer Mohamed Hassan Kulmiye, making an emotional appeal against any revenge killing at a tense meeting of his sub-clan the day after Kulmiye was assassinated.

Kulmiye ran the Belet Weyne office and was the principal researcher. He facilitated numerous reconciliation processes in the Hiran region and beyond, in collaboration with his CRD colleagues. One of his great strengths was his fundamental understanding of the principles of participatory action research, ensuring the ownership of the process was always with the stakeholders. Kulmiye was well respected by the local and regional administrations and had provided capacity building on local governance and leadership. Highly regarded by the traditional leaders, he was recognised for his genuine respect for their ability to mediate local conflicts. Kulmiye also understood the importance of providing technical and logistical support to local reconciliation processes.

Kulmiye had played an active role in facilitating a series of reconciliation processes and peace initiatives.

July 2006 Mahas district peace conference
December 2006 Raso village peace conference
February 2007 Adado conference, concluding the Sa’ad-Saleman reconciliation process
March-August 2007 Hiran peace caravan
April 2007 Formation of Hiran Business Organization (HBO)
October 2007 Elbuur peace conference between Hawadle and Murosade sub-clans
October 2007 Moqokori village peace conference
April 2008 Mahas district peace conference (conclusion of peace talks)
June 2007-June 2008 Formation of civil society networks in Hiran and Lower Shabelle

Kulmiye worked closely with other civil society groups in Hiran region, who stood in solidarity with his view that civil society must act as a pressure group on the drivers of local conflicts to find peaceful solutions. He was also assisting the local business community to work more effectively together to support peace. At the request of civic activists and others, Kulmiye was in the process of mobilising the community to establish democratically elected district and regional councils in Hiran region, following the achievements of local communities in Bay and Bakool regions. The huge number of condolence messages received by the Center for Research and Dialogue and Interpeace reflects the immense regard in which Kulmiye will continue to be held for his ability and achievements as a peacebuilder. This is a demonstration of the widespread and continuing desire of people to find a way forward through dialogue, not guns.