The Military Regime of Siyad Barre had recalled Ambassador Yusuf Omar Azhari from the Somali Mission in Washington DC immediately as they overthrew the government and took over the country. He was put under severe military drills in “Xalane”, Mogadishu and so-called “Orientation Regime” designed to break the spirit of human beings. Later, Ambassador Azhari was thrown into Regime’s prison torture cell for several years without any charges. One day, the Ambassador had shown me the scars left permanently on his wrists by arrest-chains. To understand the humanity of this diplomat, he had traveled all the way to Abuja, Nigeria, to forgive the dictator in exile there, who had caused him so much sufferings.

I was lucky to know and work with Amb. Azhari. He was a diplomat of high calibre with the training in Western Somali secrecy with the touch of Ethiopian Emperial confidentiality and individualism. He operated and moved around the world quietly. He had traveled widely in every corner of the globe silently without drawing much public attention.

He participated and contributed immensely to the Somali National Reconciliation. “Awrkaagu haku qaado” (Don’t swallow more than you can chew), he told General Mohamed Farah Caydiid, not too impressed by the latter’s insane political ambitions in Somali politics.

Yusuf, as Amb Extraordinary and Plannepotentiary, was posted to Washington DC and served some time in Bonn, Germany. As highly experienced diplomat and smooth operator, he attracted the attention of Abdullahi Yusuf, the late president of Somalia, to act as his right-hand diplomat and political envoy. Amb Azhari shuttled missions between Abdullahi Yusuf and late Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of Somaliland on how to resolve the legacies of Somalia’s Civil War. See

A personal story from Amb Yusuf Omar Azhari. While Yusuf was posted in Bonn as First Secretary at Somali Embassy, General Mohamed Abshir Muse Mataan, the Commandant of Somalia’s Police Force then, came to visit Germany as that country trained and equipped Somali police. One night the General requested Azhari to take him to a German nightclub. The General came along with a German General with his daughter. General Mohamed Abshir was generous to entertain everyone with pleasures and delicacies of the night bar. In late hours of the night, the German General had left the bar, leaving his daughter in the custody of the other General. It was time to pay the bill, and the General had discovered that he left his cash money behind in his hotel room during a dress change. He pushed the huge bar bill to Azhari to settle it. “You are the one, who had invited us, General”, the young First Secretary, pushed back the tap to the General. General Mohamed Abshir was too angry to talk to Azhari at table. Finally, when the General spoke again, he requested Azhari for paying the bill on loan. They were never friends afterwards.

In his thick book, “Ethiopia At Bay: Personal Account of Haile-Sellassie Years” (40 years), John Spencer, PhD, a French speaking and Special Advisor to the Emperor talked about Sheikh Omar Al-Azhari as a member of Emperor’s Protest Delegation to Geneva on Italian Fascist Aggression against Ethiopia during the League of Nations that preceeded the United Nations.

“It was with great sadness that I heard the passing of Ambassador Azhari.
Amb Azhari was very quiet diplomat, honest, kind, thoughtful, and approachable person. He was a highly effective Diplomat, always pushing for smart policies that advanced and helped Somalia interest. We need more Somali Diplomats of his integrity character”

Articles about Ambassador Azhari.

SSDF Co-Chairmen General Mohamed Abshir Muse and Abdullahi Yusuf and Ambassador Yusuf Omar Al-Azhari.


  1. Kindly elaborate more his shuttle mission between Garowe & Hargeisa as a chief negotiator on behalf of Abdullahi Yusuf. That initiative which was supposed to end in agreement was foiled by the sudden death of Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, then President of Somaliland, in South Africa.


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