My father, Ismail Ahmed Ismail, who has died aged 94, was the founding commander of the Custodial Corps of Somalia, overseeing the country’s prison system. From 1970 to 1988 he expanded the corps from a force of 1,500 men and women to around 12,000. They were responsible for the security, supervision and management of penal institutions in the republic, including special units and a series of schools for homeless young people.
Ismail was born near Erigabo, in the British Somaliland Protectorate. His father, Ahmed Ismail, was a policeman in Aden, Yemen, and Jubaland territory under the British East Africa administration. He later became a head clerk in the port of Aden. Ismail’s mother, Halwo Mohamoud, was a multi-linguist from Aden. She ran a successful business trading spices, food and clothes between the region’s Red Sea coastal towns and Yemen.
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