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Colonel Said bin Salem al Wahaibi

Colonel Said Salim sadly passed away in October 2020.

He was born on 1 May 1936 in Wadi Assarin. At the age of 16 he went to Sohar and was employed by an Indian Contractor building the new Army Camp behind Bait Kashmir. He took a close interest in the military training going on there, and on 1 September 1953 at the age of 17, he convinced the OC, Major Colin Maxwell to enlist him in the Batinah Force (Later NFR). Said had a great aptitude for soldiering, and progressed through the ranks quickly, becoming a Sergeant within 12 months.

He was involved in the capture of Rustaq from the dissidents in 1955. In June 1957 he was promoted WO2 and made CSM of C Company NFR. During the Jebel Akhdar Campaign (Aug 1958 – March 1959) he was with his Company at Tanuf and took an active part in the operations. Later in 1959 he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, becoming the first Omani commissioned officer and moved to C Company NFR.

In early 1965 he was posted to the SAF Training Centre at Ghallah, returning to NFR in Dhofar on operations in late 1966. With the formation of DR in 1967, he was posted there to help form 2 Company, but later became MTO, and then in 1969 OC Recce Platoon.

On 23 June 1970, CO DR tasked Said Salem with selecting 11 others and entering the Palace in Salalah, to facilitate the accession of Sayyid Qaboos as Sultan. This was successful and Lieutenant Said Salem became the first ADC to the new Sultan.

In 1973 Said was promoted, and to sort out those people blocking Sultan Qaboos’s reforms was appointed Director (later President) of Royal Court Affairs, working directly to Sultan Qaboos, who raised him to Minister status in 1975.

Despite improved finances and development, HM was disappointed with the state of the Capital Area, so in 1983, HM again turned to Said and gave him the additional task of administering Muscat Municipality.

The zenith of Said’s career arrived in 1985, the 15th Anniversary of Sultan Qaboos’s Reign. Said organised the National Day Celebrations and beautification of the Capital Area, and they surpassed all previous occasions, for which he was honoured by the award of Oman’s highest Order.

The following year he retired from Public Office and put his efforts in to his business, expanding the Assarain Group of Companies.

He was married twice, initially to a Sohar Lady, Shieka in the 1950’s, who bore him five sons, and secondly to a Dhofar lady, Fatima in the early 1980’s, by her he was to have two daughters and two sons.

Said Salem was a great organiser and motivator, and played an important role in the first fifteen formative years of Sultan Qaboos’s reign. The virtue for which he is chiefly famed is his extraordinary generosity. He will be sadly missed.

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