Dealing with Somaliland

Suliman Baldo in Development and Cooperation, ICG
July 2006

Soon after the state had collapsed in Somalia 1991, the self-declared Republic of Somaliland proclaimed independence from the rest of the country. Whereas the southern part of Somalia slid into anarchy, Somalilanders restored peace and built up effective government structures. On its summit at the end of June, when this comment was already written, the African Union discussed the sovereign status of the territory. Somaliland�s application for AU membership provides an opportunity to settle the issue peacefully.

On 18 May 2006, the self-declared Republic of Somaliland marked fifteen years since it proclaimed independence from Somalia. Its sovereignty is still unrecognised by any country, but its president, Dahir Rayale Kahin, submitted Somaliland�s application for membership to the African Union in December 2005. The claim to statehood hinges on the territory�s separate status during the colonial era from the rest of Somalia and its existence as a sovereign state for a brief period following independence from Great Britain in June 1960.

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Conflict in Somalia Moves Toward Confrontation

During the weeks of July 17 and July 24, the revolutionary process in the stateless country of Somalia entered a new phase as the conflict between the rising Islamic Courts Council (I.C.C.), which is bent on creating a state based on Shari’a law, and the embattled and internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government (T.F.G.) moved toward armed confrontation with the entry of Ethiopian troops into the country in support of the defenseless T.F.G.

Full Story from Power and Interest News Report (PINR)

Somaliland Celebrates Independence Day

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The streets are busy as we drive around Hargeisa at around 8:30am, people walking seemingly towards one direction, the khayria (public square) where the celebration of Somalilands 13th Independence Day is being held.

The main street is full of people; women with their homemade placards hold them with pride, men and women in Somalilands national costume walk gallantly with their friends who like them want to be counted on this special day.

We park in a side street and start walking towards the square when approximately 7 military trucks and police escorts hurriedly pass through the pool of people. We realized we just missed the President. The celebration is over.

The people remain even after the President’s exit, seemingly not content with the morning ceremonies. Some tried to create trouble, they didnt escape, because the people themselves brought them to the police station. Besides, with the seeming endless arrival of truckloads of police to the site how can you escape?

It is not surprising that theres no military march this year, former President Egal reportedly stopped the parade of uniformed men during Independence Day celebrations since 2001 because it only reminds the people of the military dictatorship which the Somaliland people fought against. The program was definitely short. The amount of Somalilanders that gather in the streets just couldnt get enough they just need to celebrate! Why the thirst to celebrate?

Its been 13 yeas since the sheer belled (clan conference) held in Burao declared independence from the Republic of Somalia. The clan elders and the people of Somaliland have raised this nation from the rubbles of destruction brought by war, they have formed a government currently learning the ropes of democratic governance, they pursued and succeeded in conducting 2 democratic and peaceful elections in the midst of doubtful eyes of countries that refuse to recognize them.

They have rebuilt houses, school buildings, hospitals and other infrastructures destroyed during the bombing of Hargeisa, they did the same in Burao, revived educational institutions in Borama where Amoud University now stands. They have revitalized the international airport that ushered in airlines going in and out of the country leaving Somaliland more accessible to both local and foreign people. Somalilanders from diaspora continue to come back and invest in businesses strengthening telecommunications, import/export trade, and construction industry; recently they have initiated building private villages to provide affordable housing to the public.

The world may know about the atrocities committed to the people of this nation by Siad Barres military regime. The world may know about the inter-clan skirmishes that brought them to kill one another during the years of civil war. Its about time that the world should also know that day-by-day the country struggles to keep itself together, to live in a peaceful and an independent Somaliland.

President Riyaale’s Independence Day Speech

Somaliland web posted an English summary of President Dahir Riyale Kahin’s speech during the country’s Independence Day celebration.

May 18, 2004 5:03pm
Asia Intelligence Wire

Somaliland President Dahir Riyale Kahin today addressed thousands of Somalilanders on the occasion marking the 13th anniversary of Somaliland reclamation of its independence and secession from Somalia. The occasion was marked today at Hargeysa’s Khayriyah Square.

In his speech, President Riyale emphasized the current situation in the country and both the internal and external policies of Somaliland. President Dahir Riyale Kahin also explained Somaliland’s progress and performance. He said the international community had described the progress of Somaliland as sterling and commendable.

In his speech, the president also said the development strides made by Somaliland has made its enemies envious and to harbour a grudge against it. He said the enemies of Somaliland had attempted to damage the sovereignty and the existence of the country.

President Kahin further said the recent killings of [foreign] aid workers in Boorama, Sheekh and Hargeysa towns were enough proof and evidence of sabotage.

President Dahir said there were two main reasons behind such actions which he described as dangerous. Firstly, he said, it was to fight foreign aid workers in Somaliland with a view to creating panic and convincing the international community that there were terrorists in Somaliland. Secondly, he said, it was to frighten and stop foreign investors from investing in Somaliland.

President Dahir Riyale Kahin today sent an appreciation and congratulatory messages to the residents of Doqoshay village, which is situated on Hargeysa-Berbera road, where some of the bandits who committed the terrorist acts were recently arrested. The bandits killed a Kenyan woman who was working for an aid agency there, the president said.

On his recent visit to Britain, Belgium and Ethiopia, President Dahir said the Somaliland delegation met British parliamentary officials and explained to them Somaliland’s cause. He said their visit to these countries was a historical one aimed at realizing the recognition of Somaliland.
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“Show me the money”

When I arrived a few days ago and did my usual iskawaran? (how are you) to Somali friends one issue that automatically crops up is how they were saddened by the dismissal of Mohammed Hashi Elmi, Minister of Commerce and Industries. From my conversations with people, I gathered that Mohamed Hashi is one of the few cabinet members highly regarded for his competence.

A demonstration against corruption was held in town yesterday attended by youth and students. The government responded by arresting 19 young demonstrators who are now in jail.

It is widely known that the reason why Mohamed Hashi was sacked was due to his effort in questioning the country’s budget for 2003. Somaliland.org reports on this issue.