Thursday May 18, 2023
Col. Osman Mohamed Jeelle, centre, in this undated photo alongside former President Mohamed Siyad Barre (far right). SUPPLIED
MELBOURNE, Australia (HOL) – Col. Osman Mohamed Jeelle, a former mayor of Mogadishu and notable member of Somalia’s Supreme Revolutionary Council, died Thursday in Melbourne, Australia. Born in 1938 near Afgoye Badi-Adde, a village in the Jalalaqsi District of Hiiraan Region, Col. Osman had a long career that began with a scholarship from the Egyptian Government and ended in a lifetime of public service.
newsinsidRaised in Balcad after relocating with his family at a young age, Col. Osman’s journey to prominence began with a scholarship for Military Officers awarded to him by the Egyptian Government after high school. Following his studies at the War Academy in Egypt, where he specialized in Armored Vehicles and earned a Bachelor of Military Science degree, he joined the Somali National Army as a second lieutenant.
Throughout his tenure in the military, Col. Osman proved himself a capable leader and strategist, holding several key positions, including command of military forces, training personnel, and deploying troops in times of conflict. His leadership also extended to the Northern Division based in Hargeisa, where he coordinated Cingolati tractors in the absence of tanks.
Col. Osman Mohamed Jeelle during an interview with Hiiraan Online in 2015. You can read parts 1 and 2 HERE. CREDIT: Ibrahim Baafo/ HOL
The inception of the National Secret came in response to allegations of misconduct against the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Yusuf Duale, who was reportedly involved in attempting to provide a secret document to the French embassy. Led by Col. Osman, the department later grew into a pivotal government entity.
Col. Osman held a diverse portfolio of senior positions within the former military regime, including Mayor of Mogadishu, Minister of Animal Husbandry and Pasture, Chairman of the Financial Leadership of the Socialist Party, Chairman of the General Leadership of Health and Research of the Socialist Party, and membership in both the Social Affairs Committee and National Economic Committee.
Col. Osman often found himself in the company of Mohamed Siad Barre during diplomatic visits to Arab and Muslim countries, during which he penned and occasionally delivered speeches at international events. In 1974, Col. Osman notably represented Somalia at the United Nations General Session, receiving substantial acclaim for a speech he gave on behalf of President Siad Barre, who was the Chairman of the Organization of African Unity at the time.
Abdirisaq Haji Hussein, Somalia’s envoy to the United Nations, wrote a letter to President Barre, praising Col. Osman’s display of statesmanship – a sentiment he emphasized by repeating it twice. It was a fitting testament to a man whose life was defined by leadership, diplomacy, and dedicated service to his country.