SOmaliland Freedom of Speech Now

NEWS PAGE 13


Silatech, ARC, Dahabshiil join to support Somali youth enterprise

June 9, 2013. http://www.silatech.com/home/news-events/silatech-news/silatech-news-details/2013/06/09/silatech-arc-dahabshiil-join-to-support-somali-youth-enterprise

Silatech has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dahabshiil, the largest international payments firm in Africa, and the American Refugee Committee (ARC), an international NGO fighting poverty and unemployment, to promote Somali youth enterprise development and provide employment solutions in the Somali territories.

In keeping with its mission to create jobs and expand economic opportunities for young people throughout the Arab world, Silatech will collaborate with Dahabshiil and ARC to explore initiatives to promote youth entrepreneurship and self-employment opportunities as a means of alleviating poverty.

As a Somali-founded business, Dahabshiil remains a primary remittance service for the global Somali diaspora, with thousands of outlets in more than 150 countries. Dahabshiil's portfolio includes Dahabshil Bank International and a leading telecommunication services provider, Somtel. As such, the initiative between Silatech, Dahabshiil and ARC is the first of its kind in the Somali territories and will leverage Dahabshiil Group's suite of services as part of an exclusive joint venture.

According to a 2012 UN report, youth unemployment in the Somali territories is approximately 67 percent, one of the highest in the world. However, given the increasingly positive outlook for the Somali territories and the relative stability in many areas, development organizations and socially-conscious private sector companies are increasingly shifting their focus away from humanitarian assistance towards sustainable economic rehabilitation. As this transition continues, providing the right conditions for stimulating economic activities, particularly for the youth, is becoming critical.

Building on a Silatech-led online crowd-funding platform - which has mobilised more than $3.3m from over 80,000 individual lenders to fully finance the needs of more than 2,700 young Arab micro-entrepreneurs - Silatech, ARC and Dahabshiil will explore adapting the success of this model for the Somali environment. ARC has a strong presence within the international Somali diaspora, which the initiative would look to tap into as a potential resource to help fund Somali microenterprises through the platform.

Reflecting on the partnership, Silatech CEO Dr. Tarik M. Yousef commented: "Developing a strategy for intentionally targeting younger clients represents an enormous social and business opportunity for financial institutions operating in Somalia. Through this partnership we are delighted to help a leading Somali company like Dahabshiil further fulfill its mission of investing in the betterment of the Somali society."

Dahabshiil CEO Abdirashid Duale, said: "We have witnessed at close quarters how remittance finance has helped foster development and fuel national economies across the continent. As the economic outlook of the Somali territories continues to improve, it is clear that the young generation will play a key role in the economic future of the region. Dahabshiil is committed to investing in sustainable projects across Africa. Commitment to community support and strong corporate social responsibility are core principles that are critical to the future success and sustainability of our business. In addition to the much-needed financial services that we offer, Dahabshiil will, through this partnership, be able to deliver skills building and guidance to young Somalis."

Responding on behalf of ARC, CEO Daniel Wordsworth said: "In spite of overwhelming challenges, Somali youth have demonstrated resilience and the capacity to adapt and survive. We believe that this initiative will empower young entrepreneurs in Somalia with the services, skills and knowledge needed to help their businesses thrive, thus contributing to long-term recovery."

With projects in 11 Arab countries, Silatech microenterprise partnerships have since 2009 financed more than 30,000 businesses and provided assistance to more than 190,000 young people. Silatech is the largest provider of youth-focused microenterprise services in the Middle East and North Africa.


SOMALILAND IS A REAL COUNTRY, ACCORDING TO SOMALILAND

Somaliland is a real country - Vice interview with the head of Somaliland mission in London Thursday, June 6, 2013. http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/somaliland-is-a-real-country-according-to-somaliland

By Mark Hay - VICE

At the back corner of the top floor of a little office building in London’s East End, around the corner from the Tesco down Mile End Road from the Whitechapel subway stop, sits the one-room Somaliland Mission in the UK.

Yes, Somaliland, not Somalia (as the pamphlets in the office make painfully clear). In 1991, right after the ouster of the Cold War-era military dictator of Somalia, Mohamed Siad Barre, and just before the descent of the country into 22-and-counting years of chaos and violence, the northern stretch of the nation softly declared its independence as the Republic of Somaliland.

No countries have officially recognized the independence of Somaliland, however, and few provide it much support. In fact many countries, America included, officially back the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, a party that periodically denies the independence of Somaliland.

Yet since declaring its independence, Somaliland appears to have experienced less insecurity and violence and developed more effectively than the rest of Somalia. Most of the recent (extremely limited) news coverage of the region has applauded heartening developments like the 2010 presidential elections, in which the opposition party defeated the incumbents by a razor-thin margin of a few hundred votes in elections dubbed free and fair by international observers, and power transitioned with nary a Molotov cocktail thrown.

After that changing of the guard, the new president, Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo, appointed Ali Aden Awale as the new head of Somaliland’s Mission in the United Kingdom, a fully functioning diplomatic outpost issuing Somaliland visas and promoting the cause of recognition. After visiting the Mission recently, I spoke to Awale to figure out how exactly he conducts diplomacy in a world that has yet to recognize the reality of his nation.

VICE: How did you get a mission in the UK despite the fact that the government doesn’t recognize the independence of your region?

Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo: Let me first correct you. We have never been a region and we are not a region. We are a country called Somaliland. We became independent before Somalia even came into being. And then there was a unification of the two states. Then, in 1991, we cancelled that unity.

The office came into being because of the Somaliland community that was already here. It was a very strong community. During the civil war of the 1980s our country organized itself from here. It was a very strong part of our struggle against the dictatorship of Barre.

After the successful toppling of that dictator we turned our office into a diplomatic Mission. Because on May 18,1991, [when they got rid of the dictator] we decided to look back upon our history [to the existence of an independent State of Somaliland in 1960] and withdrew from the union and declared the re-assertion of our independence again. At the same time we decided that we needed an outlet where we could conduct our day-to-day activities and convey our message to the world.

Why did you choose London for that?

London was our biggest community and our main channel of communication with the outside world. This office has grown over the years and we now have 13 posts and representatives’ offices outside of Somaliland in places like Belgium, France, Ethiopia, Norway, and the USA all functioning and representing the nation.

How did you get involved in all of this? How does one become the ambassador for a young and unrecognized country like Somaliland?

At the time of the struggle I was one of the members of the community who was supportive of the cause. I was living in Saudi Arabia at the time, financing the operations back home. Later, I became a member of the current ruling party, before we won the election in 2010, and after we won I was appointed by the president.

When you went from being an office supporting a movement against the Barre dictatorship to a diplomatic mission—keeping in mind that Somaliland had been badly damaged in the civil war—how did you function? How did you practically communicate with and speak for Somaliland?

It was one of the toughest and most difficult situations. It used to take us a fairly long time to get in touch with the people back home. There were some satellite telephone systems, which were very expensive. But there were no postal services at all and not even a telephone system. It took us about three years to establish the first telephone contact with a few imported satellite phones.

What’s the learning curve like, transitioning from being the organizers of a resistance movement to diplomats?

The way we see it, we are still struggling for our nation. We were able to establish our government systems. But it is a learning curve, as you say. We started with disarming the militias, then bit-by-bit we transitioned to a multi-party system. We have endured a lot of ups and downs and I think we have been very good at dealing with situations as they arise.

The main issue is that we are now able to understand how the world works. And now we are pushing our case in the world and we also started to engage talks to officially end the union with the people in Mogadishu, although it professionally ended in May 1991.

What’s it like talking with the Somali government, which believes in the unity of the nation, including Somaliland, and doesn’t approve of your independence?

The conversation, as you can imagine, is different on their side. They have their own reasons for being in that mood. But as we see it, it is our country and our decision to end that union. We know they may be very unhappy with it. But that’s their problem.

Do you have any problems with the British government, given that you’re conducting diplomatic work in their country for a nation they don’t officially recognize as existing?

In fact we haven’t got any sort of difficult situation in this regard. We have had a very strong and long relationship with the British government. And most of the time the people who are representatives have dual nationalities with the country they work in, so we don’t have trouble with visas. Also, we are not the only country here with an office that is not recognized by Britain. There’s also Taiwan, which has a big representative office and strong economic relationship here.

You’ve gone ahead and just developed your state—currency, passports, all of that—without recognition. Have you gotten any blowback for doing that?

We haven’t had any problems with blowback from the rest of the world. The Somalis do talk about things that are very illogical and annoy us, but we get used to this kind of rhetoric from them and we know how to deal with that.

And what about your diplomatic relations with the UK? Why are they so unsupportive when it comes to the recognition of your independence and so stuck on the notion of Somalia’s unity?

I don’t think that’s the case. I think that is the case in the view of people who have not studied the history of Britain in Somaliland. Britain has problems with piracy and terrorism, which we help them with, and Britain wants to help Somalia, which we as Somalilanders have no problem with.

We believe Britain is not pushing us into anything [i.e. union with Somalia], and they have good communications with us. I believe that they know exactly the reasons why we have decided to stay away and we hope they respect that, and we respect their decisions as well.

So you’re happy with neutrality? Just as long as the UK doesn’t force you into unification, you’re OK with that as opposed to hoping for outright recognition?

We are not happy with neutrality, but this is the fact of the situation now. And we are happy dealing with our situation with Britain on that basis so far. But we are not happy with their position currently. We wish they could have done more for us like the Americans did in South Sudan and the Portuguese did in East Timor.

You know, Somalialand has been doing well for the past 22 years with little help from the international community. We hope the British and Americans and the rest of the world will reward good behavior and people who are doing a good job in rebuilding their country. Because right now they’re spending billions in Somalia, which is proving to be fruitless.

The security of Somaliland has been built by the Somaliland people and we’ve established a government with a fully functioning parliament, a central bank, a constitution, police and military forces, currency, passports, and so on. We have everything a modern nation needs and we’ve done this by ourselves. Somaliland is one of the countries in the Horn of Africa where there is no piracy. We use the army and security forces to maintain security and control terrorism. Somaliland is doing its part and more. And currently it looks like the world is ignoring all the good things that Somaliland is doing.

You did mention that the British have provided some support, though. What specific things have the British done without providing recognition?

Britain supports our country in some areas like the training of our security forces, health, and education. But in our eyes that is not enough.

So when do you think some nation, any nation, will grant you recognition?

I don’t want to say names but there are many countries that are impressed with our progress and achievements and they have discussed it within themselves. I think it will be in the very near future.

Why has it taken so long? Why haven’t you been recognized by any nations yet?

I don’t know. I think that is to be answered by the rest of the world. But the way I see it, we couldn’t yet get the support of those we thought should support our cause.

Somaliland has no problems with its independence legally. We just cancelled our union like Syria and Egypt cancelled their union.

The fact of the matter is we were expecting that Britain and America would do more and say to the rest of the world that it is time to grant the Somaliland people what they deserve, which is their political recognition. That is what they did for South Sudan and East Timor. What did South Sudan prove that we cannot prove? Nothing. They were never independent. We were.

It is time for them to realize that it is in their interests to give Somaliland’s people what they deserve. Otherwise we are really worried about unemployment and our population growth and the young people who are graduating from the universities and are not able to find jobs.

What do you think people should be investing in?

The most important thing that we as Somalilanders expect the world to help with is the road network. Somaliland has a very poor road network hindering the movement of people and trade. We have no doubt that as soon as that road network is improved there will be even better economic growth in Somaliland. Also, there are a lot of resources that are unexplored and we have been inviting international organizations to look into our minerals and oil prospects.

Many places in Africa have gotten that sort of development—roads and such—by striking deals with China, where the Chinese get access to mineral rights and build infrastructure in exchange. Are you looking at anything like that?

I think China is a very cautious country and will be considering a lot of things before they make a decision. Also because of the Taiwan factor they will not be quick to react to Somaliland—but that is my personal view. There are countries discussing this with us though.

How fatigued and frustrated are you as a mission after 22 years without recognition?

That’s a very good question, but let me say this: The people of Somaliland have had a very difficult history of oppression under Barre in the late 1970s and 1980s, and the elders remember that those days were days of hell which we do not want to see again.

The President of Somaliland said just a few months ago in an annual speech to the house of parliament that the country is ready to wait, to work hard, and to do its best to get what it deserves, even if it takes a hundred years. That is the people of Somaliland’s mindset. We do not expect any of our people to get fatigued.

We are doing our day-to-day business better than Somalia and better than many other countries. We are living in a country where there is democracy, free press, rule of law, elected government, a justice system, and a legal system.


Somalia: Parliament in Somaliland - Reforming the Upper House

Africa Research Institute (London)

BY HANNAH GIBSON, 5 JUNE 2013

A bicameral parliament in Somaliland

Somaliland announced secession from Somalia in 1991. The Somali National Movement (SNM) - an armed insurgency group which had helped to overthrow the Siyad Barre regime and assumed leadership of the country - promised that power would be transferred to a civilian government within two years.

The SNM fulfilled its promise and at the 1993 Borama Conference of Elders, Mohamed Egal was chosen as the country's first president. Also at Borama, it was decided that the parliament in Somaliland would be made up of two chambers: the House of Elders and the House of Representatives.

The House of Elders - or Guurti - is an institutionalised version of a traditional council. In recognition of the central role played by clan leaders in the demobilisation and disarmament process, the Guurti became part of the country's formal political system.

The problem comes now, twenty years later, as Somaliland is striving to enhance its multi-party democratic system and seeks international recognition. Many of the original members have died since it was first established. The Guurti has essentially become hereditary. Most have no formal education.

There is a widespread feeling that the Guurti is being called upon to perform tasks which are beyond its original remit and current abilities.

"We need to reassess the mandate and membership of the Guurti", says SNM veteran Abdirahman Duale "Boobe" in After Borama: Consensus, representation and parliament in Somaliland. "When it was first set up in 1990, its role was primarily one of mediation. What we have now is an old group of inexperienced people with a central role in legislation."

Taking sides

What shape should this reform take? Part of this ongoing debate relates to the issue of selection. If the members of the upper house were elected, there would be two elected chambers.

Once again, only those who wield sufficient political clout - and with the means of financing a political campaign - would be able to secure a voice in the formal political system, rendering an upper house redundant.

An alternative is for the nomination of individuals to an upper house containing representatives from minority communities, civil society and experts in appropriate fields. As was envisaged - albeit briefly - in Malawi in 1994.

Perhaps the biggest opposition to reform comes from the current members of the Guurti. Changing the composition of the upper house will not prove popular with the incumbents.

A position in traditional leadership structures has become an important way to gain influence - and, for some, to do business - in Somaliland. Even those who were not part of the original peace-making process of the early 1990s are likely to be reluctant to relinquish their positions without adequate incentives.

The answer to this conundrum is not immediately clear. Replicating systems developed over centuries in other parts of the world is of limited value. Institutional solutions to political problems need not be permanent. But they do need to remain relevant and appropriate.

The Guurti has not adapted well to the challenges of the legislative task of an upper house.

Making decisions on intellectual property law, or assessing the terms of investment agreements on oil and gas, require different knowledge from that employed in the resolution of conflict. If an institution is required to perform both functions, its members must have appropriate skills for both tasks.

Going forward

One option would be for the Guurti to relinquish its parliamentary role. Instead, a new institution - possibly even extra-parliamentary - could be created with a remit to improve oversight, proactively engage with law-making, and be more broadly representative.

The Guurti's traditional - and invaluable - role in mediation and conciliation, may well be needed again in the future of Somaliland and the wider Somali region. For this to be effective however, the Guurti needs to regain the moral authority and trust of the public that has diminished during its institutionalised incarnation.

Somaliland should be able to navigate such a transition - however fractious the process may prove. And if it does, it may find itself again setting the pace in developing fitting and adaptable political institutions. In time, others might choose to follow the example.

Hannah Gibson, Policy Voice - Africa Research Institute. http://allafrica.com/stories/201306060848.html?viewall=1


Djibouti donates tuberculosis medicine to Somaliland

June 06, 2013. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2013/06/06/newsbrief-06

The Djiboutian government's Centre for the Purchase of Medicines and Essential Materials donated 650 cartons of streptomycin sulphate and 150 of vitamin B complex on Tuesday (June 4th) to help Somaliland fight tuberculosis, Djibouti's La Nation reported.

Somaliland regional Minister of Religious Affairs Sheikh Khalil Abdullahi Ahmed and Minister of Social Affairs Mohamud Ahmed Barre received the donation from Djiboutian Minister of Health Kassim Issack Osman and Minister of Islamic Endowments, Muslim Affairs and Culture Aden Hassan Aden.

"This initiative will only strengthen the ties that unite our two peoples," Ahmed said.


Q&A: Somaliland leader Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo

By Nazanine Moshiri | Aljazeera – June 5, 2013

Somaliland, a self-declared republic inside Somalia, celebrated 22 years of "independence" last month. Somalia has recently again called for unity, but Somaliland's leader says his region is doing better than other parts of Somalia.

Sitting on the Gulf of Aden, Somaliland is officially regarded as an autonomous region of Somalia. The two were, however, separate until 1960. During a civil war in the 1980s, 40,000 people from Somaliland were killed, and nearly half a million fled.

Somaliland, which is more tribally homogeneous than the rest of Somalia, has been striving for international recognition since it broke away in 1991.

Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri spoke with Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo, Somaliland's president, about the challenges the area faces.

Nazanine Moshiri: President Silanyo, it has been 22 years since Somaliland declared independence, but you still haven’t managed to gain the recognition of the world. Are you any closer 22 years on?

Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo: Well, we may not have been recognised, that’s true. We realise recognition is not an easy thing - but the international community engages with us and works with us. It doesn’t mean we are cut off from the international community. On the contrary, we are very well-connected with the international community: they work with us, engage with us. I have just been travelling almost throughout the world, and meeting with governments. Governments and delegations come to us, they have aid programmes here, they support the democratisation programs here, and we deal and co-operate with the world.

NM: You refused to go to the recent conference on Somalia in London. Can you tell us why?

AS: I would like to say that we have very good historical relations with Britain. And much as we would have liked, it did not become possible for us to go because the London conference was held and chaired for Somalia. The prime minister and the president of Somalia chaired it. After consultations with different parties and different groups, we decided that it was not acceptable to us. We attended many meetings before, where talks were being held for Somalia and Somaliland, but this one was different.

NM: A lot of money was pledged at that conference to Somalia. Do you think some of that money should go to Somaliland too?

AS: Well, I think the international community has been helping us - we receive a lot of assistance from Europe. Of course we would like to see a commitment as far as development is concerned.

NM: On your recent trip to the US, did they promise you they would recognise your statehood?

AS: No, they did not tell us they would accept [or] recognise our statehood. They said they would continue their support and development programmes, that they would continue that commitment.

NM: What do you think is behind this? The African Union is very clear on this. Do you think that if they give you and your country independence, then many other unstable regions would just flare up?

AS: Whatever the reasons maybe, Somaliland and Somalia historically have been two different countries - you know the history of Africa and many other parts of the world. They emerged from the colonial period. As a matter of fact, at the time of independence many countries offered their recognition to Somaliland. But at that time, there was so much enthusiasm to unify all Somali-speaking people in the Horn of Africa, including Somalis in Ethiopia, Somalis in Kenya and Somalis in Djibouti. [Unity] was the ambition of young people.

But that was not possible, because of the policies of the powers of the world. Eventually the principle was accepted that Somalis in Ethiopia should live as part of Ethiopia. The people of Djibouti have established their own state: it used to be called French Somaliland, and has become independent and accepted by the international community. Those parts which were part of Kenya have remained part of Kenya.

So why shouldn't Somaliland, a former protectorate, also be accepted by the international community? After the union with Somalia during Siad Barre’s regime, the type of treatment that has happened to Somaliland [was terrible]. You see the planes now in the middle of town - those were the kinds of planes that were taking of from the airport of Hargeisa and bombarding the population, including women and children, when they went out of Hargeisa to the Ethiopian border. These crimes were committed by the regime and Somaliland has ever since been struggling to become independent.

NM: You have talks going on with Somalia brokered by the Turks in Istanbul. Can you tell us how those talks are going?

AS: We held talks in Istanbul before, and the talks in Turkey are part of programme by the international community to establish reconciliation between Somalia and Somaliland. We are not against the talks; we accept them as long as they are on equal terms, and we were equally happy about the results.

NM: What did you agree on?

AS: We agreed to agree to more talks, and to respect each other and continue to co-operate in other ways.

NM: But the president of Somalia has been clear: he says he wants to unite Somalia.

AS: Well, I think I have been very clear too that we are going to return our independence. We would like to remain friends and co-operate. It is not I who decides, nor my government, but the history of Somaliland decided it will continue to be and has always been a different country.

http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/q-somaliland-leader-ahmed-mahamoud-silanyo-103720979.html


Somaliland - Semi-Pastoralist School in Sanaag Gives Pastoral Children Access to Education

04 June 2013 17:18


The pastoral education project in Somaliland funded by Finn Church Aid with the implementation of its local partners of Adeso started in August 2012 with the aim to improve access to quality education thus pastoral children in Sanaag region of somaliland got three new mobile schools, in addition to target schools support was given also to already existing semi-pastoral schools.

The project consisted of the provision of school subsidies, school materials and capacity building of community education committees. This was to ensure that schooling for 7-14 and 15-25 year olds will be successful.

The successful project was result of cooperation with mosques, the influence of elders, public information and several meetings. Also child to child clubs were established. The content of activities included peace building and good governance.

Semi-pastoralist schools are important in areas, where families are partly fishermen and agro-pastoralists. Pastoralists face a continuous decline in livestock assets, and depletion in stock due to illegal fishing. They lack proper equipment. Drought affects both groups.

In order to survive, people have struggled to get food for the families and have been forced to move from one place to another.

With the grant, teachers have been able to get semi-pastoralist schools better equipped. Classrooms now have furniture, school materials and proper learning environment. The number of children in the schools has raised and pastoralist children are able to get formal education.

Finn Church Aid in Somalia/Somaliland

FCA has a country office in Hargeisa, Somaliland and a sub-office in Garowe, Puntland.

Peace building and relief aid

Since 2008, FCA has supported peace building initiatives by the traditional and religious leaders in the country.

FCA continues to support essential services in camps for Internally Displace People (IDPs) in Mogadishu and food distribution in Gedo. We provide clean water and food to tens of thousands of families. This has been of significant help in an area where drought is a major challenge.

FCA also supports local partner organisations in Puntland and Somaliland in humanitarian projects related to schooling and livelihoods.

We provide relief aid in Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, where people have fled from Somalia, as well as in the camps of Aw-barre, Shredder and Dolo Odo in Ethiopia.

The aim of the humanitarian aid work supported by FCA is to:
• save lives by providing clean water, food and shelter our people
• emergency education for children, especially children living with disabilities
• skills training for youth
• improve access to water and sanitation in IDP and refugee camps
• renovate and construct boreholes in the camps
• establish water supply committees

In establishing water supply committees, special attention is paid to gender equity. The committees are supplied with tool packages for cleaning up the environment and for organising waste disposal, and offered training. The program is implemented by a local organization.

Working together with partners

Our partner organisation Norwegian Church Aid specialises in organising water and sanitation both in connection with emergencies and in the long term. Diakonie Katastrofenhilfe provides food and supplies to evacuation camps in and around Mogadishu. Local partner organisations are ADESO, working in the Sanaag region, and Candle Light in Somaliland.

The emphasis of the work is to ensure continuity and find sustainable solutions after the acute relief aid phase.

For more information visit http://www.kirkonulkomaanapu.fi/. http://www.kirkonulkomaanapu.fi/en/wherewework/africa/easternandsouthernafrica/somalia/semi-pastoralistschoolgivespastoralchildrenaccesstoeducation/?id=2941


Somaliland: Unrecognized Republic Seeks Stronger ties with Kenya

01 June 2013. Source: www.standardmedia.co.ke

Dr Omar's Charm offesive diplomacy attracting global attention to SL

By GEOFFREY MOSOKU

NAIROBI - The Republic of Somaliland is turning to creatingstrong economic and trade ties with its neighbouring and friendly neighbour as it heightens its quest for recognition.

With an impending application at the African Union (AU) for recognition of sovereignty, the semi-autonomous country has embarked on a charm offensive with its neighbours and other international allies to woo investors to the Horn of Africa country.

In this way, the country's Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omar says the country's visibility in the region as an economic and political powerhouse can be noticed.

Dr Omar, in an exclusive interview with The Standard on Sunday, says that Kenya can offer good lessons in creating a conducive environment to attract investors.

Currently, the semi-autonomous country with a population of 3.5 million people has missions in United Kingdom, United States, Sweden, Kenya, Ethiopia France, Belgium Djibouti South Sudan and Canada.

Off all these, the foreign minister says that Ethiopia has a fully-fledged consular, which offers visa services to its national and also signed bilateral ties in the fields of commerce.

Greater stability

The UK, US and Ethiopia also have signed military agreements to share intelligence, a factor, which has contributed to greater stability in spite of what is happening in neighbouring Somalia. The minister now says that Kenya is one of the key countries that his country is seeking to deepened bilateral ties with focus on trade and investment. "There is a growing number of Kenyan who work and live in Somaliland with other working in international organizations. Similary, many citizens of Somaliland have lived and worked in Kenya for a long period and this is the friendship that we seek to strengthen," he says.

Omar adds: "Partly, I am here to learn from Kenya's economic development model." Somaliland's deposits of oil, gas and coal are attracting the attention of international investors, and agreements have been reached with a Kenyan firm among those given a concession license to explore minerals.

Somaliland and Kenya share a similar heritage, having been colonised by Britain when the country was then known as British Somaliland. Since independence, the country has held five successful democratic elections.

Omar says that Somaliland has made many impressive gains in creating a favourable investment climate, but more international donor and investment support is needed. The main priority is infrastructure, including technical schools, hospitals, sports stadiums, energy generators, irrigation dams, mobile courts, police stations, research centres and roads.

But the main obstacle to major foreign direct investment has been ignorance of Somaliland's well-established peace and stability as well as its economic potential on the part of international investors.

The foreign minister argues that Somaliland is at a much more advanced stage of development and investors and donors must acknowledge this reality.

Omar was in Kenya to discuss an airspace control controversy with the UN and give a key note address at the Somaliland Regional investment Conference (Soric) that was organised by the Hanvard Africa and the Kenyan Chamber of Commerce.

Following a meeting with the UN the two sides have agreed to resolve the airspace control contraversy through dialogue.


Somaliland said weary of spill over of conflict in southern regions

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 31 May 2013. Somaliland Net website in English 26 May 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. Text of report by Somaliland Net website

Despite pressure from the UN and some western countries, the elected leadership of Somaliland articulated a nuanced approach towards Somalia based on the fact that the two countries have two different political identities but share the same language, religion and culture: No negotiation on issues involving any political arrangement between the two countries but a desire to strengthen bilateral trade and cooperation on other areas of mutual interest such as fighting piracy and terrorism.

The question is why Somalilanders are wary of any political arrangement with Somalia? Since Somaliland reclaimed her independence in 1991, a potent national consciousness emerged in the minds of the people which resulted in the erection of a rampart-like barrier that insulated the country from the problems that be-devilled Somalia for the past twenty years. As a result Somaliland escaped the misery, violence, terrorism, and piracy that plagued Somalia. The inescapable conclusion among Somalilanders and their elected officials seemingly is that any political arrangement will result in the collapse of this protective wall and the serious problems that plagued the south will infiltrate into their country and ravage their society.

In addition to the injustice that came with the 1960 unification, the history of Somalia during the past 20 years is also important to consider in understanding why Hargeysa does not want to have anything to do with Mogadishu. During those two last decades there was no country called Somalia but men who did not care about their country and who were determined solely to make large fortune by any means. First there came the warlords who dismantled factories and sold these assets for their salvage values in neighbouring countries. Then pirates who roamed in the high seas and had the guts to demand millions of dollars from hard working seamen going about their business in the Indian Ocean. Then there were the so called transitional leaders who travelled from one foreign capital to another soliciting for financial help. As someone once wrote about Romania, Somalia in those 20 years was like a foolish man who inherited rich resources-rivers, rain forests, rich soil, factories, etc- and who degraded and even recklessly destroyed those assets.

This is the place the UN wants Somaliland to go under its creeping unionization policy that handed control of Somaliland air space to an agency based in Mogadishu. If the UN get away with this, it will of course be followed by other steps engineered to gradually bring Hargeysa under Mogadishu. But Somaliland vehemently objected to the UN ploy. If Somaliland is to make a political arrangement with Mogadishu, she will be swallowed by the deep black hole in the south: the problems that afflict Somalia will move into the country, development activities will cease, businesses will move out and people looking for work will rush to Mogadishu even when there is nothing, but misery and death for the local people in Somalia. And the period Somaliland remained independent will be remembered as the Golden Years.

It may be helpful to recall another moment in recent history when officials from another international agency experimented with ideas in Mogadishu that contributed to the collapse of the Somali state: In the early 1980s the International Monetary Fund persuaded Siyad Barre to float the Somali Shilling which was pegged to the US dollar at the rate of 7 to 1. At the time there were no foreign currency reserves, no commodities for exports to generate foreign currency and there were no large diaspora to remit hard currency. Immediately after the Shilling was floated its value fell sharply. The massive public employees sector and the uniformed personnel who depended on fixed salaries suddenly found their wages were not worth even 10 dollars a month. Misery visited households. Anybody who can leave the country did so. By the end of the decade, the state collapsed.

And the social and political conditions of the two countries are far more complicated than the financial one the IMF bungled in Mogadishu in the 1980s.

Somaliland and Somalia are two different countries as much as Djibouti is a separate one too. The two countries had different colonial experiences; they got their independences on separate occasions and obviously they had different political evolutions during the last two decades. The UN should deal with Somaliland separately from Somalia.

Credit: Somaliland Net website in English 26 May 13


Somaliland said seek discussion over control of Somali airspace

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 30 May 2013. Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 30 May 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. Text of report by privately-owned Somali Shabeelle Media Network website

Somaliland Foreign Affairs Ministers, Muhammad Abdullahi Umar, has held talks with United Nations officials in Nairobi and said they would also discuss a recent understanding between the UN and Somali government on the country's airspace.

Muhammad Abdullahi Umar said United Nations did not consult Somaliland in its decision to hand back Somali airspace back to the government adding that the decision was not well considered.

It was just recently that the United Nations handed control of the Somali airspace back to the Somali government, a move opposed by Somaliland Administration.

Credit: Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 30 May 13


Somalia: Civilian Shot Dead in Hargeisa By Somaliland MP

29 MAY 2013 Garowe Online (Garowe) http://allafrica.com/stories/201305300078.html

Hargeisa — A Somaliland MP was arrested and charged for the murder of his friend that was shot and killed Tuesday night in Hargeisa, Garowe Online reports.

Mustafe Osman Dahir a MP in the breakaway region of Somaliland was charged for the murder of Abdirashid Adan Warsame, who was according to local media, a friend and neighbour of the MP.

Somaliland authorities charged the MP with murder on Wednesday after he turned himself over to police.

It is unknown what let up to the murder or what caused it. Somaliland authorities said that they investigating the case and would release a statement pending the investigation.

Somaliland, located in northwestern Somalia, unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.


Somaliland Fact Sheet May 2013 - Humanitarian review[PDF]

May 29, 2013

Read in PDF

Drivers and features of the humanitarian situation: Recurrent droughts, flash floods and protracted displacement are the humanitarian issues of concern in Somaliland, which declared its independence in 1991. It has remained relatively stable, but a border dispute with neighbouring Puntland over areas in the regions of Sanaag and Sool has been a flash point and has hampered humanitarian access to the area.

Recent trends: According to the latest food security and nutrition analysis released in February 2013*, people in need of humanitarian aid have decreased to 413,000 from 650,000 since August 2012. The agricultural production in Somaliland has increased by 7 per cent since 2011. The livestock exports have increased 25 per cent since 2010.

Impact: Somaliland has areas, where prolonged drought has led to high malnutrition rates for children under five years of age. About 39,000 children suffer from acute malnutrition. Drought and conflict are the main causes for the displacement of some 85,000 people, who live in settlements in Awdal, Galbeed, Sool and Togdheer regions. About 1.1 million are internally displaced in Somalia.

Challenges: Most displaced people have limited access to land and/or resolution of land tenure and land rights. Somaliland has not yet adopted a policy for internally displaced people and this is a priority for humanitarian partners to address in 2013. Humanitarian access to disputed areas of Sanaag and Sool remains a challenge.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/OCHA%20Humanitarian%20Fact%20Sheet%20Somaliland%20May%202013.pdf


Stiffer penalties, formal justice to curb rape in Somaliland

REPORT from IRIN Published on 28 May 2013 —View Original


Vulnerable: Rape cases in Somaliland are often settled outside the courts © Jane Some/IRIN

HARGEISA, 28 May 2013 (IRIN) - Stiffer penalties and reduced reliance on traditional justice systems could help end the rising incidence of rape in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, say officials.

"We estimate that about 5,000 rape cases may have taken place in Somaliland in 2012, compared to 4,000 cases in 2011," Abdi Abdillahi Hassan, the director of social affairs in Somaliland's Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, told IRIN. "There is no data of gender-based violence rates in Somaliland," he added.

Records at the Sexual Assaults Referral Centre (SARC), also known as Baahi-Koob, of the Hargeisa Group Hospital in Somaliland's capital, also indicate a rising trend. "The centre received 195 rape cases in 2012, compared to 130 cases in 2011," Ahmed Dahir Aden, SARC's director, told IRIN. The reported cases are mainly from areas near Hargeisa.

Few rape victims seek medical care; those who do arrive well after the attack. "Many women do not reach Baahi-Koob centre in the first 24 hours of the rape incident, and consequently the evidence of the rape cannot be easily found by the medical team," Aden said.

Inadequate settlements

The extent of rape in Somaliland remains difficult to measure, with most cases going unreported or being resolved between families.

While rape is punishable with a jail term of five to 15 years in Somaliland, cases are often settled outside the courts by traditional leaders, with perpetrators typically paying compensation or marrying the victim.

For example, the perpetrator's family can give some amount to the victim's family, explained Faiza Yusuf Ahmed, the chairperson of the Somaliland Youth Development Association (SOYDA). "In addition to that, sometimes the case may proceed before the court and the perpetrator may be sentenced to imprisonment. However, the perpetrator may also pay an amount relative to his prison term [a fine], and he will be released. For this reason, if we want to decrease rape, we need to stop both the traditional ways of solving rape cases and the buying [off of] the term of imprisonment," she said.

The acting Somaliland attorney general, Aden Ahmed Mouse, concurred: "One of the problems that we are now facing is the traditional way of solving [rape cases]. For example, the families of the victim and the perpetrator may agree before a public notary and demand that the court release the perpetrator. And the public prosecutor can do nothing because the victim is here and she is telling the court that she has stopped the case against the perpetrator."

Explaining the payment of fines by perpetrators, Mouse said: "Sometimes, the perpetrators are sentenced to a term less than the term in the penal code, after the judge considers how the rape case took place and the circumstances. For example, a perpetrator may be sentenced to five years. He may stay in prison for two-and-a-half years and later he may apply to buy the remaining [time]. The fine equivalent for one year in prison [for a rape charge] is 2,740,500 Somaliland shillings [about US$421.61]. But we are now thinking of stopping this," he said.

Call for stiffer penalties

Efforts are underway to stiffen the penalties for rape.

"We stopped [granting] bail to the perpetrators of rape. We have even proposed to the parliament to pass a law [to] increase the punishment for rape [to] include the death penalty," said Mouse.

A police official with the criminal investigations department, who preferred anonymity, said: "As the police, it is our duty to catch [criminals] and send them to trial, including the rape assault cases. But of course sometimes police officials accept it when the two sides [the victim and the perpetrator] agree to solve the case between them."

The chairperson of Somaliland's National Human Rights Commission (SLNC), Fathiya Hussein Jahur, called for a greater role by the formal justice system.

"The human rights commission has already made contact with the chief justice, the attorney general and the police commander to stop the interventions of the elders. We believe that if the defendants face punishment for their crimes, rape will decrease," said Jahur.

In an April workshop, traditional leaders, the police and judges agreed to establish stiffer penalties for rape, stop traditional resolution mechanisms and increase public awareness about the effects of sexual violence, she said.

"As a traditional leader, I believe that the traditional way of solving rape cases encourages the increasing rapes. For this reason, I am appealing to the traditional leaders to accept the justice and the criminal procedures of the courts," Ahmed Iman Warsame told IRIN.

"I believe it is forbidden to rape a women, in any law, whether it is the Somaliland constitution or the Islamic Sharia."

Child victims

Child rape is common too.

"The last case we processed was of an IDP - internally displaced - child in the state house area of Hargeisa. The child was only six years old and a [male] relative raped her. The case went to the court and he was sentenced to six years in prison," said SOYDA's Ahmed.

Nimo Hussein Qawdhan, the deputy health minister added, "It is shameful that our hospitals receive a raped child daily."

http://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/stiffer-penalties-formal-justice-curb-rape-somaliland


Somalia invests in animal production

Source: eNCA. May 28, 2013. http://www.enca.com//africa/somalia-invests-animal-production

Mogadishu – Somalia’s government is investing in training veterinarians to become a regional hub for animal production.

The semi-autonomous Somaliland state is currently a major exporter of livestock to Gulf States, but wants to expand that to guarantee quality livestock.

Minister of Livestock Dr Abdi Aw Dahir Ali said the major port of livestock for the Horn of Africa is Berbera, because of its location.

“Berbera exports livestock from Ethiopia, from Somalia, from Kenya.”

The Sheik Technical Veterinary School was established over 10 years ago and has 118 students.

It aims to improve the quality and health of livestock in Somaliland.

“You know, this school is the only veterinary institution in this region and was started in 2002,” said tutor Mohamed Said said.

“This region is very strong in livestock and most of the people, they have animals.”

Student Nished Mohamed said he hopes to have his own dairy farm in future to produce milk. “Because many people they don’t have enough milk in our towns.”

Once they graduate, many of the students work for the Ministry of Livestock based in the city of Berbesa.

Almost all Somali livestock exports go the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Qatar.

Somaliland hopes that it’s veterinary graduates will ensure that this little enclave’s livestock is traded throughout the Horn of Africa.


Somalia: Rape On the Rise in Somaliland

27 MAY 2013. Garowe Online (Garowe)

Hargeisa — Rape in Somaliland has been on the upsurge according to a department in Somaliland's Ministry of Health that reported 299 rape cases in 2012 and 2013, Garowe Online reports.

The findings came from a Needs Assessment department in Somaliland's Health Ministry that reported 104 rape cases during 2013. The rape cases are steadily increasing rape activists in Somaliland say.

Asho Abdi the head of the department that broke the findings told media that there were 67 cases that were taken to court and that only 17 cases were presided over by Somaliland courts.

The rape cases have been on the increase and activists are asking for concentrated effort in curbing the violent crimes.

Earlier this year the UAE and Britain pledged £2 million to fight sexual violence in Somalia.

Somaliland, located in northwestern Somalia, unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.


Somaliland: Pastoral Education Project Provides Formal Education

Sunday, 26 May 2013 18:04

Abdullahi Mohamed Hassan is 26 years old and lives in Durduri a village on the coastline of Sanaag region Somaliland

By: ADESO http://adesoafrica.org/pastoral-education-project-gives-pastoral-children-in-somalia-access-to-a-formal-education/

Somalilandsun - Durduri, a village on the coastline of Sanaag region, Somaliland has an estimated population of 40 households comprising of fisher folk and agro-pastoralists.

Prolonged droughts have had a detrimental effect on livelihoods in Durduri. Pastoralists face a continual decline in livestock assets, while depletion in fishing stock due to illegal fishing from unauthorized international vessels, lack of proper equipment and the dry conditions mean that fishing is no longer a viable livelihood option for fisher folk.

In both cases, many are forced to accumulate high debts in order to meet their basic household needs. More and more of Durduri's residents have become destitute, leaving their traditional livelihoods behind for more sedentary, less productive lifestyles.

Another great concern in Sanaag region is poor access to education for pastoral and fisher folk children. The periodic migration inherent to a nomadic lifestyle makes daily attendance to a fixed school largely impractical, while a lack of schools, poor teacher retention and high school fees mean that livestock rearing is often a more viable option than education.

In response to this, Abdullahi volunteered to serve his community as a teacher. Initially, he undertook this role without any support but his own belief that Allah will help him as he helps others. However, the community soon extended their support by temporarily providing him with an area of shade for use as a classroom. The new classroom lacked furniture, text books and other necessary facilities for teaching. For seating, any chairs available were made out of shrubs, and students often brought mats from their family homes. Overall, the classroom offered very limited protection against rain, sun and dust; elements known to affect daily life in Sanaag region.

From August 2012 to February 2013, Adeso implemented the Pastoral Education Project (PEP) with support from Finn Church Aid to improve access to quality education for pastoral children in Sanaag region, Somaliland/Somalia. PEP targeted 18 schools – eight formal and 10 semi-pastoral – while establishing and maintaining three mobile schools. Activities included the provision of school subsidies and scholastic materials and capacity building of Community Education Committees (CECs) to support schools and ensure sustainable outcomes. PEP also focused on school enrolment drives, targeting school-age children (7 – 14 years old) and youths (15 – 25 years old) through mosques, meetings, the influence of elders and public address systems. In addition, the project established child to child clubs, supporting them through a grant of $475 USD to implement activities that encourage peace-building and good governance.

During PEP, teachers from semi-pastoralist and mobile schools were trained on the Alternative Basic Education (ABE) Curriculum to give pastoral children the opportunity to access formal education. The ABE approach is more flexible in terms of time period and subjects studied, allowing students to 'catch up' and make the transition to formal primary and secondary schools.

The semi-pastoralist school of Durduri (among others) received monthly school subsidies of $100 USD over six months, which helped to improve access to education for pastoral children in the area, increasing the number of students to 35. Moreover, another school supported by PEP achieved a higher number of student enrolments than ever before – it had never had more than 15 students prior to the intervention.

Thanks to the grant received by the newly established local child to child club, Abdullahi now has a fully furnished classroom, complete with school materials provided by Adeso, including text books, a blackboard, chalk, solar lamps, and a tent to shield students from the outside elements.

http://adesoafrica.org


Penned-up pirates feeling marooned

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 25 May 2013. York, Geoffrey. The Globe and Mail [Toronto, Ont] 25 May 2013: A.16.

Prisoners locked away in remote Hargeisa have become diplomatic pawns in breakaway region's quest for independence

This is how it ends for a Somali pirate: not with the bang of a rifle, but with a quiet fadeout into a sewing class, a vegetable garden and a basketball court.

At least 34 convicted pirates are locked away in the remote city of Hargeisa, capital of the self-declared nation of Somaliland, where the United Nations is trying to teach them useful trades: tailoring, welding, brick-making, computer skills and gardening. In their leisure time, the pirates play basketball in the dusty prison yard.

Somalia's pirates were once the scourge of the seas, holding more than 1,200 hostages in 2011 and inflicting $18-billion in damage to the world economy. But over the past year, a massive European-led naval operation, combined with armed guards on cargo ships, has foiled almost every hijacking attempt by Somali pirates.

Today the number of pirate attacks is down sharply - but the dilemma now is what to do with the convicted pirates, who have become a diplomatic bargaining chip and a source of government wrangling.

The pirate prisoners - who continue to deny their guilt, insisting they were "just fishing" when they were captured near the Seychelles - agreed to be transferred to Hargeisa's prison because it has Somali guards and a familiar language and culture. But now they say the prison conditions are much worse than in the Seychelles.

Somaliland prison officials complain bitterly about a lack of financial support from the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which had promised to help provide food, medicine and other basic support for the convicted pirates. The budget shortfall is as much as $72,000 annually, the prison officials say.

Two of the pirates, 25-year-old Mawlid Ahmed Abtidon and 29-year-old Abdi Fatah Ahmed Abdullah, lounge casually in the office of the prison commander as they field questions from The Globe and Mail. They complain about the shortage of prison food and the absence of promised phone calls to their families in Mogadishu, although both appeared well-fed and healthy. They also say that they were never allowed to appeal their trial verdicts.

"Life in this prison is not good," Mr. Abtidon said. "We are requesting you to convey the message that our rights were neglected."

Most of the 34 pirates here, who are serving prison terms of up to 25 years, were previously held in the Seychelles, close to where they were captured in 2009 and 2010. Several other pirates are being held in other Somaliland prisons. The breakaway region in northern Somalia agreed to accept the pirates as a gesture of international co-operation - and unofficially in hopes of winning diplomatic recognition for its independence.

Although it is an oasis of peace and democracy in the Horn of Africa, the enclave of Somaliland has failed to gain any international diplomatic recognition so far. To bolster its cause, Somaliland has agreed to accept up to 60 pirate prisoners - a valuable offer to the UN, since most countries are unwilling to accept the pirates, and the prisons in southern and central Somalia are not considered secure enough to hold the pirates safely.

Two agencies of the United Nations spent a reported $1.5-million to complete the construction of the Hargeisa prison in 2011 so that it could house the pirates. But now the UN is accused of breaking its promises to support the pirates.

"When I hear the word 'UNODC,' it makes me angry," said Abdullahi Dahir, a senior official in Somaliland's prisons agency. "The UNODC is failing to provide basic needs for those who were transferred from the Seychelles and those who were captured here."

Current spending by the Somaliland government is only $1.20 a day for food and medicine for each prisoner, the UN acknowledges, but it insists it is working on a plan to provide more of these supplies to the prison. "The process is under way to deliver these items in the near future," one UN official said in an e-mail.

He said the UNODC is encountering difficulty in the "delivery and storage" of sheep, beans and oil to supplement the prison food.

The UN also acknowledges that most of the pirates have not been allowed any phone calls to their families, although it blames the Somaliland government for this decision.

The pirates are among 409 inmates at the Hargeisa prison. The prison commander refused to allow photos of the conditions in the cells, but he allowed a brief visit, showing that the cells are crowded, although each prisoner has a bunk bed.

While officials squabble over their food and medicine, the pirates say they should be transferred to a prison in Mogadishu, close to their families. They say they haven't talked to their families since they were transferred to Somaliland.

In the meantime, the pirates are kept busy with the UN's vocational job programs at the prison. They weld chairs for an orphanage. They make bricks for the construction of a government ministry. And they build bunk beds for the next group of arriving pirates from the Seychelles.


Somaliland energy sector said attractive for international investors

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 25 May 2013. Somaliland Sun website in English 0000 15 May 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. Text of report by privately-owned news website Somaliland Sun

Investing in a country which does not technically even exist is becoming an ever more attractive idea for a select group of entrepreneurial investors who have realized Somaliland's development potential.

Businessmen from the Somali diaspora are rapidly investing in projects that aim to significantly improve Somaliland's infrastructure and telecommunications by seeking out potential development opportunities and by utilizing the country's wealth of oil, gas and mineral resources. If these initiatives succeed, there is huge potential for unprecedented economic growth in Somaliland but likewise there is equally risk attached to large scale investment projects. In other African countries, the exploration of natural resources has periodically led to exploitation and widespread corruption. It is now up to Somaliland's private investors to develop viable alternatives by working effectively and transparently with the government in order to encourage democracy and economic growth.

There are important lessons to be learned from Africa. In 2008, Africa accounted for 12 percent of global oil output, at approximately 10 million barrels a day, and 6 percent of the world's gas production at about 147 millions tonnes per day. With such impressive oil and gas export statistics, logic would have anticipated significant growth and development within the regions that were profiting from natural resources. From 2000-2010 oil exporting sub-Saharan African countries experienced a 10 percent growth in GDP per capita but this was undermined by population growth, which is now currently accelerating by 2.5% per year, consuming the rewards reaped from oil and gas exports.

In order to succeed in the future, Africa must look for alternative ways to use its oil resources. African countries exportation of gas and oil has become worryingly reliant on this singular commodity to the detriment of development in other critical areas key to the continent's success. In theory, Africa should be converting its energy resources into electrical power. This avenue would be effective in strengthening manufacturing and servicing sectors, encouraging economic diversification and harbouring a broader range of export revenues. As it stands, the reliance on oil exports is halting development.

Development projects currently underway in Somaliland indicate that Somaliland's investors have learned from the errors of the past. The Somali born London based businessman Muhammad Yusuf has spent his professional life developing the very successful investment firm, Invicta Capital Limited in the United Kingdom, which specializes in investment opportunities in film, property and energy. Muhammad is now keen to invest in Somaliland believing it to be the place where investment opportunities await.

Muhammad said he has decided to invest in Somaliland for the following reasons.

Nobody ever made money from following the herd and the most money is often to be made where there is a mismatch between what people perceive to be the place and the reality of what it is, and Somaliland is exactly in those kinds of circumstances where there is a huge gap between the reality and the perception so actually there is a method to my madness and it isn't inconsistent with the basic principles of business: Go find yourself a situation that nobody else has spotted and be prepared to hang on in there while everybody else catches up.

Yusuf and his delegation are in discussions with the Somaliland President Ahmed Silanyo about investing 40 million dollars into a mining, oil and gas exploration program. There is promise for this project if Yusuf uses his entrepreneurial skills to enable Somaliland to reach its full potential, a skill which has already been demonstrated by the success of his other UK businesses. Stor Power Limited, a UK based energy company founded by Yusuf is transforming the way energy is supplied in the UK, providing potential investors with the opportunity of investing in privately owned generators. The National Grid is the sole operator of the electricity system in the UK and is breaking down more frequently due to increased usage of less reliable renewable energy sources. To counter this problem, Yusuf's privately operated generators will act as a backup, supplying electricity to the National Grid during periods where additional supply is required. It seems that Yusuf is capable and willing to look for innovative ways to invest in natural resources and it is hopeful that he will invest intelligently into Somaliland.

Somalilander investors are also looking beyond the country's natural resources and are presently injecting money into developing other key service sectors. In 2011, Mohamed Aw-Said launched the Somaliland based telecommunications company SOMCABLE which has recently invested 35 million dollars into a project that aims to drastically improve Somaliland's telecommunications. The company has been contracted by the government to build a long haul fiber-communications network on land and also to build a landing station in Berbera that will allow Somaliland to interconnect with submarine cable networks in the Red Sea. It is anticipated that the new cables will be effective in creating a competitive environment between local, regional and international providers where bandwidth prices will fall and telecommunication usage will increase. The project will directly benefit Somaliland by reducing unemployment, improving the region's capability of functioning as an independent state and by making it easier for public services such as national universities, hospitals and aid agencies to connect to the rest of the world. The success of the company will no doubt also encourage other wealthy Somalilanders to invest in similar projects in Somaliland.

The investment projects already being deployed in Somaliland are encouraging in that they indicate that the country is rightly prioritizing the need to develop its infrastructure and public services. Poor infrastructure makes the cost of business expensive as investors persistently have to cover additional costs caused by factors like badly built roads, poor communications and inadequate electricity supplies.

The development of services such as telecommunications in Somaliland will make it both easier and more cost effective for future investors to invest in Somaliland. The planned construction of the Berbera corridor road between Berbera port and the western border will further enhance Somaliland's investment potential by providing a decent trade route that links Somaliland's port with the Ethiopian capital Addis-Ababa. On the provision that Somaliland continues to invest wisely, it seems likely that investment will lead to significant development in the future.

Rebecca Charlton


Somalia protests Ethiopia's support for Somaliland and military display

May 25, 2013. http://www.ethiopianreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=53470

The government of Somalia has secretly protested against Ethiopia's recent remarks that it would extend military support to Somaliland should it come under attack.

According to Hadhwanaagnews, a newspaper in Hargeisa, a letter of protest has been issued from the office of Somalia's president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud this week.

According to them in the letter, which is still yet to go public, Somalia claims the recent military parade in Hargeisa was all Ethiopian troops. They stated that Somaliland does not poses such army insisting that those that marched on the streets of Hargeisa on the 18th of May were Ethiopian army.

The newspaper claims the news of the letter was leaked by an Ethiopian official, who can't be named because he was not authorized to speak on the matter. The Ethiopian official said Ethiopia has not yet replied to the letter from the office of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who is currently in Addis Ababa for the African Union's 50th anniversary.

The official also stated that Somalia could not believe with its own eyes the military display in Somaliland. He said Somaliland enjoyed 22 years of stability and it has managed its security and defense forces on its own and Somalia finds it had to swallow this.

Somalia has been angered by Ethiopia's promise to standby one of its key allies in the region in the case of conflict with Somalia's various groups or anyone else.

Hundreds of Somaliland armed forces marched throughout various cities last week to mark the 22nd anniversary of its restoration of sovereignty. Unofficial estimates put Somaliland's active military numbers between 28,000 and 35,000 compared to Somalia's only 3,000.

Having escaped decades of conflict in Somalia, Somaliland, which sits on the Gulf of Aden, employs its own security and police forces, justice system and currency.

It has a reputation for successfully maintaining law and order for its population of 3.5 million.

Once the source is verified, Somaliland will respond accordingly to Somalia's naked aggression and accusations.


Somaliland will not negotiate control of airspace with Somali government

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 24 May 2013. Radio Risala, Mogadishu, in Somali 1530 22 May 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Somalia's break-away republic of Somaliland says it will not negotiate its airspace with Somalia soon after the latter had publicly expressed intention to discuss issues regarding their airspace, aviation system with Somaliland, according to a report by privately-owned Radio Risala on 22 May.

Somaliland Foreign Affairs Minister, Muhammad Abdullahi Umar, stressed that they have their own rights to negotiate these issues with the United Nations.

The minister also added that donors will direct donations to the administration and not through the Somali Federal Government which enjoys a status of international recognition.

Somaliland has had banned UN flights over its territories after UN handed over control of Somalia's airspace to the Federal Government of Somalia. Somali president later called on his Somaliland brethren to "swallow their ambitions" and unite with Somalia.


Ethiopia said extend military, diplomatic support to Somaliland

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 21 May 2013. Raxanreeb website in Somali 21 May 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. Text of report by Somali news website Raxanreeb

Ethiopian government has said it would provide all sorts of assistance to the Somaliland administration including military, political and financial support.

Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, while addressing the parliament in his country said Ethiopia would strengthen relations with the Somaliland particularly in defending the region. Ethiopian prime minister said they would also defend Somaliland against threats by Al-Shabab fighters.

"Ethiopia is ready to offer diplomatic, military and financial support to the Somaliland Administration," said the Ethiopian prime minister adding that their two administrations would soon sign agreement on strategic cooperation. He said his government has appointed a committee to look into ways of strengthening relations between Ethiopia and Somaliland.

Ethiopian prime minister also said their armed forces would be fighting alongside Somaliland force as well as offer training. Ethiopia becomes the first Horn of Africa nation to extend such support to Somaliland.


EU hands-over Sheikh Technical Veterinary School to IGAD

Delegation of the European Union in Kenya. Press release. Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Today, the European Union has launched the handing over phase of the Sheikh Technical Veterinary School to the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD). The pioneer school specialised in animal health and initiated by the EU in Somaliland 10 years ago, will indeed soon become a regional centre of excellence within the Horn of Africa.

With a third aid envelope of 3 million EUR, the EU will ensure a smooth transition of the school management and boost the school's education services. This by upgrading the academic programmes to university level and by extending training and collaboration with other institutions in the entire Horn of Africa.

The Sheikh Technical Veterinary School is one of the EU's main success stories in Somalia. It was created in 2002 as part of the EU's efforts in supporting the Somali livestock sector. It has successfully trained a generation of competent professionals, from the entire region of the Horn of Africa, to manage animal disease control and support regional trade. A major effort that contributed to the lifting of a regional livestock export ban which led to an export increase of Somali livestock from 2.5 million in 2007 to 4.8 million in 2011.

The Sheikh Technical Veterinary School is currently managed by EU's implementing partner, Terra Nuova, under the auspices of the African Union Inter-regional Bureau for Animal Resources. IGAD has recently decided to adopt the School and the handing over process should end within the next three years.


"We will defend Somaliland," Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn

May 20, 2013. http://www.ethiopianreview.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=53171

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn declared bi-partisan support for Somaliland in the case of military action against the threat from neighboring Somalia and other external militants such as al Shabab.

The Prime Minister delivered the keynote speech this weekend in the Ethiopian Parliament in front of Ethiopian legislators.

Mr. Desalegn specified that Ethiopia is ready to provide diplomatic, military, and economic support to Somaliland "should they need it".

He underlined the long bilateral relationship between the two Horn of African states saying Somaliland and Ethiopia cooperate on many fields including security, economy and education.

He told the Ethiopian lawmakers that he recently dispatched more than a dozen directors and chairman to Somaliland as a part of a high-level technical committee that will study ways to enhance relations. He said he wants to expand existing ties to reflect on the modern geopolitics of the region.

The Prime Minister hopes the two sides will soon sign an official bilateral strategic cooperation agreement. The technical committee has been doing its studies for the past three years. Last year the gathering was held in the Ethiopian chartered city of Dire Dawa and this year in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa.

"Somaliland is a friend and a key strategic ally for Ethiopia. We will spare no expense to defend and protect Somaliland. We are ready to extend an arm of support to our Somaliland brothers every time they are in need of one," he told the Parliamentarians.

He said that the Ethiopian armed forces were ready to fight along side those from Somaliland and offer them technical support as well as training. He said he was wary of militants from Somalia who are spurring out off that country due to military pressure from the African Union troops (AMISOM).

He did not specify if Ethiopia would support Somaliland forces against armed forces from from Somalia but he has indicated Addis Ababa will spare no expense to ensure the existence of Somaliland. He strongly emphasized that his government will standby Somaliland against any threat from "any direction".

This is the first time one of the key nations in East Africa has openly offered its direct support for Somaliland since ending its bitter marriage with Somalia two decades ago.

The keynote speech by Mr. Desalgn comes during time when there is diplomatic rift between Hargeisa and the internationally recognized but powerless government in Mogadishu.

Equally it coincides with Somaliland's 22nd anniversary of Independence from the rest of Somali Republic.

His message has received overwhelming support throughout Somaliland and residents have welcomed PM Desalegn's strong support. Somalilanders consider Ethiopia the closest ally and their ties traces back to more than 300 years.

It was just weeks ago when Prime Minister Desalegn received the Somaliland President Ahmed Silanyo at his official residence in Addis Ababa.

The two heads of State concurred on the enhancement of security, education and commercial ties.

"Somaliland and Ethiopia share cordial relations of which we are determined to not only sustain but enhance as well," President Silanyo told Somaliland and Ethiopian reporters.

On his part, Prime Minister Hailemariam, expressed Ethiopia's interest in fostering stronger relations with Somaliland based on mutual benefit.

He said "Ethiopia is ready to further bolster its relations with Somaliland administration in the areas of trade, education, capacity building and port services."

He also underscored that Ethiopia will extend support to Somaliland in order to ensure that Al-Shabaab forces who are fleeing from Somalia will not pose a threat to Somaliland.


President Silanyo's speech on Somaliland's independence day

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 19 May 2013. Somaliland Sun website in English 0000 19 May 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC.Text of report in English by privately-owned news website Somaliland Sun on 19 May

In the strongest terms yet has the President H.E. Ahmad Muhammad Mahmud Silanyo reiterated the country's sovereignty in an unprecedented speech by a Head of State on a national day as he oversaw commemorations marking the country's 22nd anniversary of independence in Hargeisa

The President underpinned the essence of SL as a national entity hence underscored her self determination to achieve the people's aspirations at all costs.

In his 18th May Independence Day celebration commemorating the 22nd year since Somaliland re-asserted her independence from former Somalia regime, the Head of State vowed to set up the efforts to boost the country's ultimate full integration into the community of nations.

The President's speech which was highly acclaimed by the members of the public called for unity, solidarity and togetherness hence appealed for constant maintenance of peaceful stability while stepping up vigilance.

H.E. Ahmad Silanyo outlined chronologically how the former Somalia Unity collapsed, resulting in SL re-asserting its independence.

"Our country is an independent democratic and a peaceful country", said the President in an unequivocal and vivid clarification of SL as an entity.

He added that it is a country sustaining her populace, re-built and developed by her own people hence guarded vigilantly by the same, whereby the world respectfully acknowledge her existance.

The Head of State reminded the nation that every country was advanced by their own patriots and that such prosperity and development was only achievable when the populace are united, in solidarity and confront issues in togetherness as one.

Noting that development is the cornerstone of our self-determination, the President said that, "You are aware of our past economic status and where we have managed to reach today".

He however warned that there was still a long way to go.

In an emotional coaxing to nudge the populace to step up economic production, the President lamented, "It is perturbing for my people neglect livestock and agricultural production and the environment".

While acknowledging the expectations of his office and at the same time while he knew the general livelihood standards of the people, he called on the populace to rise to the occasion by being productive.

Quipping with a query, the President wondered, "How can we achieve development if we do not toil and work our lands?".

He noted the tangible rehabilitation and construction of government offices, modern graded highway etc in the city hence pledged to keep up the pace.

The Head of State told the international community that they ought to acknowledge the facts that in reality Somaliland was an entity that re-asserted its independence and nationhood hence that there was no way out they can assume otherwise.

He said that the right to self-determination of Somaliland was similar to that of any other country elsewhere on earth.

Reminding everybody that the SL essence wasn't something that has just shooted, H.E. Ahmed Silanyo re-lived the 1960 union of southern Italian Somaliland and British Somaliland which aborted on the 5th of July 1960 (barely a week after uniting) when Y.I. Samatar Gandhi revealed the fallout.

He said that it was soon after followed by the referendum on the union that SL resoundingly echoed "NO" (90%).

Soon after, the President recalled, the teachers demos dubbed "Bakayle-qalad" was quickly followed by resignations from the cabinet by Somalilanders.

So was the aborted coup by revolting SL officers and subsequent sentiments under-scored the belligerence ensuring thereafter.

The President continued speaking of SL's well documented history hence brought the audience close to tears when he talked of the massacres, mass murders genocide and tortures perpetrator upon Somalilanders for being disgruntled!

Apart from the air-bombings he cited the Jazira executions, murders of Burco traders, massacres at Malka Durdura and Kal-Sheekh, to mention but a few, as shocking incidences whose wounds really hurt to-date.

Ahmad Silanyo stated that given the Greater Somalia Dream which SL aspired to hence initiated the union, the repercussions of the aborted unity killed and buried the dreams for good such that SL would not rescind her stature again.

He wished the Kenyan, Ethiopian, Somaliland and Djibouti Somalis well and urged them to be true to their respective countries.

He warned that an effort to revive the doomed dream would have serious repercussions hence that her stature ought to be respected.

The Head of State said that SL has so far established democracy, multipartism, independent judiciary and legislative systems and executive governance with international guidelines.

He said that while the country has all the qualifications as of any other sovereign country in the community of nations, the state would step up its lobby to achieve dejure status and fledge the wings to as many countries as possible.

In the same breath he said that the country is engaging international investiture in the country and that was set to achieve its goals at all costs.

The President thanked all arms of the government, the intellectuals, traditional leaders, youth and women hence prayed to God for blessing such that the populace may prosper.


UN Acknowledges Suspension of Flights in Somaliland, New Phone Code in the Works?

http://innercitypress.blogspot.com/2013/05/un-acknowledges-suspension-of-flights.html

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 16 -- After the UN refused to circulate Somaliland's April 1 letter, then downplayed its non-attendance at the "Somalia" conference in London, on May 14 Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky:

"Inner City Press: Somaliland says that UN planes can no longer, for now, land in any Somaliland airport and they are ascribing this to a decision they say by the UN to turn over full management of their airspace to the Government of Somalia.... does the UN have any comment on its planes being barred from Somaliland and what impact would that have on the delivery of UN programs there?"

Spokesperson Nesirky: I’d have to check, Matthew, I don’t know the answer to that. I’d just have to check.

And the next day Nesirky did come back with an answer, waiting until the May 15 noon briefing to read it out: "I was asked yesterday about flights to Somaliland. I can say that, following notification by authorities in Somaliland, all UN flights to and from Somaliland have been suspended with effect from yesterday. The UN and its agencies take this development seriously and are in discussions with the relevant authorities to bring about a resolution as quickly as possible.

There has been no impact on UN programmes and it is our priority to ensure no interruption of support or activities. The UN welcomes the efforts to resolve this quickly. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that around 413,000 people in Somaliland need humanitarian aid, including 39,000 children who suffer from malnutrition. More than 85,000 people remain displaced due to recurrent drought and conflict. Humanitarian organizations are providing food, nutrition, shelter, water and sanitation, among other support."

But how will it continue, if UN planes due to this still unjustified decision, can't land anymore? And now this: Somaliland's Minister of Telecommunications is said to be planning to create another country code, to replace Somalia's 252.

The UN, perhaps to remain tight with Mogadishu, appears to be ignoring the issues raised by Somaliland. Is this the best approach? Watch this site.

POSTED BY INNERCITY PRESS AT 5/16/2013 10:27:00 AM


Somaliland marks 22 years of independence

Aljazeera – 18 May 2013. http://en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/somaliland-marks-22-years-independence-180841799.html

People in Somaliland are marking 22 years of self-declared independence from Somalia, but they are still waiting for the world to recognise their region as a country.

Celebrations were held in the capital, Hargeisa, on Saturday, with people holding rallies, waving flags from their vehicles and staging shows in various stadiums.

Somaliland, which is more tribally homogeneous than the rest of Somalia, has been striving for international recognition since it broke away in 991.

Ahmed Mahamoud Silany, the region’s president, told Al Jazeera on Friday that, despite Somalia's calls to be united with the region, Somaliland is determined to retain its independence.

"We would like to remain friends with Somalia, we would like to cooperate with them. "But as far as our independence is concerned. It is not I who has decided, it's not my government who has decided.

"It the people of Somaliland, and the history of Somaliland, which has decided that Somaliland is going to be, and has always been a different country."

The UN and the African Union have both rejected calls to recognise Somaliland.

'Oasis of peace'

Having escaped decades of conflict in Somalia, Somaliland, which sits on the Gulf of Aden, employs its own security and police forces, justice system and currency.

It has a reputation for successfully maintaining law and order for its population of 3.5 million.

Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from Hargeisa, said that while war has raged in Somalia for decades, Somaliland has managed to unite its people.

“In the last few years Somaliland has become known as an oasis of peace in the horn of Africa," she said.

Because Somaliland is not recognised as a state, it is not eligible for international development loans.

"Without recognition, it cannot get the foreign investment it needs," Moshiri said, adding that aid is instead sent to Somalia.


Somaliland waits for worldwide recognition[video]

Citizens and leaders in the autonomous region of Somalia say they are historically and politically a separate country.

Last Modified: 18 May 2013 09:13. http://www.aljazeera.com

Play video

The Horn of Africa has been ravaged by war and famine for decades, and now one of Somalia's regions, hopes to become an independent state.

Somaliland sits on the Gulf of Aden and is officially regarded as an autonomous region of Somalia. The two were, however, separate until 1960. During the civil war in the 1980s, 40,000 people from Somaliland were killed, and nearly half a million fled.

The region then declared independence in 1991. Since then, it has held four peaceful elections.

Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo, the president, told Al Jazeera that Somaliland would like to retain its independence, despite Somalia's calls to be united with region.

"I think I have been very clear too, that we are going to retain our independence," he said.

"We would like to remain friends with Somalia, we would like to cooperate with them.

"But as far as our independence is concerned. It is not I who has decided, it's not my government who has decided.

"It the people of Somaliland, and the history of Somaliland, which has decided that Somaliland is going to be, and has always been a different country."

Foreign investment

Al Jazeera's Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from Hargeisa on Friday, said that while war has raged in Somalia for decades, Somaliland has managed to unite its people.

"It is now the biggest exporter of livestock to Saudi Arabia," she said. "Much of the progress has been down to Somalis sending money from abroad."

Poverty, however, remains high and because Somaliland is not recognised as an independent state, it is not eligible for international development loans.

The UN and the African Union have both rejected calls to recognise Somaliland.

"Without recognition, it cannot get the foreign investment it needs," our correspondent said, adding that aid is instead sent to Somalia.

On Tuesday, in response to a move by Somalia to assume full control of Somalia's entire airspace, including Somaliland, Mohamud Hashi Abdi, Somaliland's civil aviation minister, issued a ban against all UN flights from its airports.

"We had already signed an agreement which allows an independent panel to control the airspace," Hashi was quoted by local media as saying in Hargeisa.

Elsewhere in southern Somalia's Jubaland, a "warlord" assumed presidency of the region on Wednesday.

Ahmed Madobe was elected Jubaland's "president" by a conference of about 500 elders and local leaders, but was challenged by Barre Hirale, a former Somali defence minister.

"I was nominated president of Jubaland by the elders ... I call on the people to support my presidency to assist me in bringing peace," Hirale said.

Potential rift

Madobe is a key ally of Kenya, and his appointment risks opening a rift between Kenya and Somalia, according to AFP news agency.

With tensions already high, the move raised the risk of clashes between rival factions in the southern port city of Kismayo, a former stronghold of the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab, where Kenyan troops in an African Union force are now based.

Jubaland lies in the far south of Somalia and borders both Kenya and Ethiopia, and control is split between multiple forces including clan militia, the al-Shabab, Kenyan and Ethiopian soldiers.

Jubaland joins other semi-autonomous regions of the fractured Horn of Africa nation, including Puntland in the northeast, which wants autonomy within a federation of states, and Somaliland in the northwest.

http://www.aljazeera.com


One Goal: Decreasing Newborn and Maternal Mortality

Posted: 05/13/2013. By Amy Szabo, Interim Executive Director, Friends of Edna's Maternity Hospital

She's been referred to right here on the Huffington Post as the Muslim Mother Teresa.

When you meet Edna Adan Ismail and hear her talk about her life's work, you understand why. She is charismatic and compassionate, driven, and full of grace and beauty. She's often been referred to as a "force of nature." And she has literally committed everything she has to achieve one purpose: decreasing the newborn and maternal mortality rate in Somaliland and the Horn of Africa.

A lot of experiences have directed Edna's path -- she is the daughter of a physician, a UK-trained midwife, the first woman in her country to drive, a former first lady and former foreign minister, and a retired Who Health Organization (WHO) employee -- but the amazing experiences she's had don't compare to the amazing work that she is doing to provide quality healthcare for women and children at the Edna Adan University Hospital in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

And I don't even know where to start to tell you about this work. Since Edna cashed in everything she owned to build the hospital, which opened in 2002, she and her team have:

The Edna Adan University Hospital is not only about providing women and children and the rest of the community with quality healthcare. Through its university programs, Edna is educating women and men, giving them job skills, and, at the same time, sending much-needed medical professionals back out into her country and the world. Yes, her hospital is about maternal, newborn and child health, but it is about women's education, workforce development, and community economic development as well.

All these facts and numbers, as impressive as they are, don't do Edna and her hospital justice. You have to see her smile and the fire in her eyes, and listen to her talk about her patients and this vision of a modern, well-equipped, and efficient health care and training facility that she has made a reality through force of will and lots of sacrifice. Get to know Edna through the Half the Sky Movement website, book, or documentary. Explore her hospital's website or follow her on Facebook or Twitter. And when you fall in love with our friend, Edna Adan, and her life's work -- as we know you will -- you'll want to get involved. That's what the RaiseForWomen Challenge is all about!

About Friends of Edna's Maternity Hospital

Friends of Edna's Maternity Hospital is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that raises funds for the hospital built by Edan Adan Ismail in order to address the grave health problems that endanger the lives of women and children in Somaliland. Founded in 2000 by a group of Americans and Somalilanders living in the U.S., Friends of Edna makes annual grants to the hospital based on its need and maintains an endowment to ensure that the hospital will continue to fulfill its mission for generations to come. For more information, contact Amy Szabo at amy@friendsofedna.org.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/friends-of-ednaas-maternity-hospital/one-goal-decreasing-newbob3267177.html


UN flights banned as Somalia, Somaliland battle for control of airspace

By ABDULKADIR KHALIF. Wednesday, May 15, 2013. http://www.africareview.com/News/UN-flights-banned-as-Somalia-and-Somaliland-battle-for-airspace/-/979180/1853662/-/g482y5z/-/index.html

The breakaway region of Somaliland has banned all UN flights from its airports following a spat with the Mogadishu-based federal government of Somalia.

The self-declared republic located in north-western Somalia is protesting Sunday's move by Mogadishu to assume full control of Somali's entire airspace, including that of Somaliland.

It is the first time the Somalia is taking control of its airspace following two decades of anarchy triggered by the collapse of the central government in 1991.

On Tuesday, Mohamud Hashi Abdi, Somaliland's Civil Aviation minister, issued the ban against UN agencies alleging that UNDP and the Nairobi-based Civil Aviation Caretaker Authority of Somalia (CACAS) had violated a previous agreement between Somalia, UNDP and the Somaliland administration.

"We had already signed an agreement which allows an independent panel to control the airspace," Minister Hashi told the media at Hargeisa, Somaliland's capital, some 1,500km northwest of Mogadishu.

"Unfortunately CACAS and UNDP seem to be siding with [the] Mogadishu government."

The ministerial order states that effective May 15, no UN flights will be allowed to land at Somaliland airports.

On Sunday, Somalia indicated its intention to consolidate control over its airspace by relocating its civil aviation office from Nairobi.

"The federal government (of Somalia) will relocate more than 100 airspace management staff based in Nairobi to Mogadishu by end of this year," Somalia’s Information, Posts and Transport Minister Abdullahi Elmoge Hersi told reporters.

Mr Hersi added that the airspace control office, which will now be based at Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport, would maintain close collaboration with Nairobi’s civil aviation authorities during the move.

No country has yet recognised Somaliland, which snubbed the recent high-profile conference on Somalia in London.


Somalia: Somaliland Minister Rejects Control of Airspace By Somalia Govt

14 MAY 2013. http://allafrica.com/stories/201305150231.html. Garowe Online (Garowe)

Hargeisa — A minister in the separatist region of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia has rejected a new agreement to transfer control of Somali airspace over to the Somali Federal Government (SFG), Garowe Online reports.

Somaliland Civil Aviation Minister Mohamud Hashi Abdi told the BBC Somali Service during a Tuesday interview that Somaliland's administration "will not accept" airspace control by the SFG in Mogadishu.

"All the parties met in Nairobi and a preliminary agreement was reached, which stressed that airspace control is a nonpolitical. It was agreed to establish a Joint Committee including Somalia and Somaliland to manage airspace control. However, this new declaration of airspace controlled in Mogadishu violates that agreement and will not work and it will not be accepted in Somaliland. I think it is unfortunate that a Minister makes public claims to something he cannot control," said Minister Hashi.

Earlier Tuesday, Somali Federal Government's Minsiter for Information and Telecommunication, Mr. Abdullahi Ilmoge Hersi, told the BBC Somali Service: "Somalia is one country. Airspace is measured and allocated by the U.N., including airspace over the sea. By June 1 [2013] the Civil Aviation Caretaker Authority for Somalia (CACAS) will transfer some of its power to the Somali Federal Government and by Dec. 31 [2013], CACAS mandate expires. Somali Federal Government will be responsible for airspace permission for all of Somalia, as the government is internationally recognized."

Minister Ilmoge explained that CACAS "will send funds to Mogadishu for training and skill building" to prepare Somali staff to takeover the role of CACAS by the end of 2013. CACAS has been based in Nairobi with 120 staff for the past 20 years.

Continuing, Minister Ilmoge declined to respond to a specific question about Somaliland's concerns, but responded: "For example, in telecommunications, Somalia is a single country with a single country code of 252. Airspace control is similar."

Somaliland's rejection:

But Somaliland's civil aviation minister, Mr. Hashi, rejected any cooperation with the Somali Federal Government over airspace management.

"It is unfortunate and we do not welcome this decision, which hurts the ongoing dialogue and cooperation between Somaliland and Somalia [Federal Government]," said Minister Hashi, adding: "Somaliland is an independent country and the Somali Federal Government does not represent us. We have restored our independence and Somaliland gives permission for airspace use, Mogadishu does not and will not. We will not recognize that office [in Mogadishu]."

Somalia's new federal government has been recognized by the international community, but the government is struggling to control areas in south-central Somalia, while Somaliland and Puntland in the north have been self-administering since the 1990s.


Somaliland censure politician over meeting with Federal Government leader

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 14 May 2013. Universal TV, London, in Somali 0000 14 May 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. Text of report by London-based Somali-language Universal TV

Somaliland administration has criticised the leader of UCID party, Feysal Ali

Warabe, over a meeting with the president of the Federal Somali Government and threatened to take action against the politician.

"You have seen it on the media Feysal Ali Warabe dine with the Somali president and his ministers in function hosted by the Somali community in Birmingham. The function was hosted by the Somali community for their president and we were not involved and had no role in it. On many occasions he has been heard calling for a national conference and this apparently was what his intention was. It is now clear that Feysal had deviated from the Somaliland goal [to secede]," said Somaliland Minister for information, Abib Diriye Nur, during a news conference.

The minister said Somaliland Administration would now be making a decision about the conduct of the leader of UCID party.

"He is the one that has brought himself in the open, he has laid his secrets bare. There will be a discussion on the issue and a decision will be made by the administration and the people of Somaliland," said the minister.

Feisal Ali Warabe has meanwhile dismissed the administration's criticism and said his encounter with the Somali president was nothing more than a courtesy call.

"I am disappointed by the level of ignorance among Somaliland officials and concerned that they do not know what their capacity as ministers is. The minister says I do not have the mandate to meet with the Somali president and that its only the Somaliland leader that has such an authority. He fails to understand am leader of a political party and we can have our own views different from that of the administration," said Somaliland opposition official.


Somalia: Somaliland administration bans UN flights

May 14th, 2013. By Abdalle Ahmed

HARGEYSA (RBC) A breakaway administration in Somalia’s Northern region of Somaliland has banned on Tuesday UN flights from its airports following anger at Somalia Federal Government’s take over its airspace control declared on Monday, RBC Radio reports.

Somaliland Civil Aviation Minister Mohamud Hashi Abdi issued the order against UN agencies alleging that UNDP and Civil Aviation Caretaker Authority of Somalia (CACAS) based in Nairobi violated previous agreement between Somalia government, UNDP and the Somaliland administration.

“We had already signed an agreement which allows an independent panel to control the airspace.” the minister said in his press conference in Hargeysa, the capital of Somaliland today.

“Unfortunately CACAS and UNDP seem to siding with Mogadishu government.” he alleged. Somaliland Civil Aviation Minister Mohamud Hashi Abdi declared starting from Wednesday May 15th 2013 no UN flights could arrive Somaliland airports and that the administration will not permit any UN flights to land in Somaliland-run airports. Somalia government has announced on Sunday that it is preparing to take over the control of its airspace by the end of this year.

The Minister of Information, Posts, Telecommunication and Transportation Abdullahi Elmoge Hersi and other government officials met on Sunday in Mogadishu with officials from the United Nations Development Program and representatives from Civil Aviation Caretaker Authority of Somalia (CACAS) based in Nairobi. The meeting officially declared transfer supervision of the country’s airspace to Somalia federal government in Mogadishu.

There are no immediate comments from the office of United Nations in Somalia.

Somalia’s airspace control has been under the Civil Aviation Caretaker Authority of Somalia (CACAS) which is a civil aviation authority programme created by the United Nations in 1996, with a mandate in Somalia.

CACAS has served as a caretaker for Somalia’s airspace since the collapse of the central government in the early 1990s following the outbreak of the civil war. The organization has collected over-flight revenues on behalf of the country.

Several attempts by previous Somalia transitional governments to take over the service failed because of lack of skilled and trained staff and the long time wars the country has plunged into.

http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/05/somalia-somaliland-administration-bans-un-flights/


UNIVERSITY OF HARGEISA: THE OLD AND THE NEW CHAPTER!

May 13, 2013. http://oodweynenews.com/2013/05/university-of-hargeisa-the-old-and-the-new-chapter/

Keen to learn, motivated to help, and eager to be recognized as important contributor to your society

Young students of boys and girls chat along the sparkling corridors of their compasses in the University of Hargeisa with hope conversations; they go in and out of the university, interesting to attend their subjects. This inspiring new chapter was brought by the new president of University of Hargeisa Dr. Abdi H Gass. The president succeeded the post after a public announcement made by the council which is the highest policy making body of the university. Dr. Abdi took over the reign of University of Hargeisa in July 23, 2012 after well over 30 years of experience in the education sector. With a vision of educational expertise has enriched his strategies towards innovation and expansion in the University.

UoH is the process of instituting a strong Financial, Personal, Academic, etc. system to make the university accountable and transparent. UoH is striving to meet its vision of becoming the best university in East Africa. This vision must be realized in the light of meager financial resources and culture that is resistant to change.

I was the third batch of 32 students graduated from the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in 2012, and still evoked the inspiring message from the president of University of Hargeisa, he said "Dear students, it is a momentous event, because it marks the end of one milestone in your lives. Years at University of Hargeisa were especial, because they helped you to become the individuals you are today".

The University is recently pursuing new short courses for the professional people to create more space for career enhancement. These courses were specifically offering by the Institute of peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS). IPCS is the first institute that focuses on studies and academic research in the areas of peace and conflict within the entire Somali-speaking community in the Horn of Africa. The Scene University of Hargeisa is a place of hope, respect and ambition.

PRESIDENT GASS's NEW INITIATIVES AND PRIORITIES.

President Gass's initiatives and priorities focus on making certain that University of Hargeisa fulfills its mission as an excellent nation's university that is operated competence and successfully. During his short time, he contributed these different initiatives including Academic, Management, Financial and Communications as mentioned below.

Though the access to university education has been increasing, the quality of education in many Somaliland universities appears to be on the shrink. Lack of well-trained and motivated lecturers and poor & inappropriate curriculum is among the main reasons explaining this diminishes. It is also clear that it does not provide needed skills for young Somalilanders to compete in an increasingly competitive labor market. Consequently, the likelihood of poorer young people proceeding to secondary and tertiary education is hindered due to the massive challenges and uncertainty they live. To reach our full potential and lay the foundations for future development of our country, University of Hargeisa was established in the year 2000 for the need of university due to growing number of students graduating from the high schools. The university objective was to bring up intelligent, educated and far-sighted students who lead the country into global development. Today approximately 5000 students at the University both in morning and afternoon shifts. The university has got six main faculties; Business Administration, Economics, Law, Science and Medicine and Islamic studies. The university is also has postgraduate schools and implemented a distance learning program in the field of information Technology (ICT), journalism and other courses. The study goes on annual two semester basis with two vacations in the year. One month in the winter and two months in the summer.

With regards to my university days, I recalled that there were lots of panel discussions resting on different area such as, Somaliland Natural Resource Allocation. This debate was took part by ministries, politicians, educators and also the students of different faculties leaded by the economic section student in the university. It was a sign of improvements that enables us an economic students to participate fully to make the University of Hargeisa a place where every one of us can display his/her hidden knowledge and give advice to turn one from the other.

Finally, it is the time to support the new management team of University of Hargeisa to turn nation's dreams in to reality.

Written By: Farhan Abdi Suleiman (Oday)
Email: oday1999@yahoo.com
Phone: 252 2 -4401132


Negotiating Peace in Somalia: Somaliland's Perspective

Although the formation of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's government is an encouraging first step towards nationwide peace, it should not be assumed that Somalilanders will want to quickly unify.

13 May 2013 - By Edward Paice

The rebuilding process is much further along in Somaliland. Photo by Alun McDonald/Oxfam

In his 2009 book, Somaliland: An African struggle for nationhood and international recognition, Iqbal Jhazbhay’s asserts that “Somalia no longer exists”. This claim remains valid to a certain extent. Security – a crucial ingredient for further progress – is challenged daily.

Persistent al-Shabaab bomb attacks in and around Mogadishu serve as a shocking reminder of the precarious nature of the situation. Since September 2012, the president, the Supreme Court and foreign delegations have all been targets for suicide bombers. Al-Shabaab still controls much of the country. At present, the government’s authority hardly runs further than the bounds of Mogadishu – if that far.

The establishment of a new government in Somalia, led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, has given rise to greater optimism about the country’s prospects than at any other time in the past two decades. New businesses are springing up daily in Mogadishu, and elsewhere. Many members of the diaspora are returning, or seriously considering the possibility. The results of efforts to begin re-establishing a functioning state, though mixed, have been praised by foreign governments.

Any progress in improving the lot of an embattled populace is self-evidently welcome – and encouraging – but needs to be assessed cautiously. If any involved party, indigenous or foreign, believes in the possibility of a “quick fix”, it would be wishful thinking of the most counter-productive variety.

The dangers of oversimplification

For the foreseeable future, the state will be wholly dependent on military support and intervention provided by external parties – for some of whom the paramount concern is their own national security interests. While this should not preclude ambition – and many hope that Somalia can assume responsibility for maintaining internal peace sooner than is commonly envisaged – it is also a reminder of prevailing realities.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and foreign governments continue to prioritise reconstitution of the Somali state. As far as neighbouring Somaliland is concerned, at least one of the sponsors of ongoing talks with Somalia – Turkey – has been reported as expressing hope that unification might occur. Unionists – both Somali and foreign – need to tread carefully. The authority of the Mogadishu government to impose a model of federal administration, or an equivalent incarnation, on the former regions of Somalia is still widely contested and in some instances flatly rejected.

An aspirational, hastily-produced and inevitably flawed new constitution means as little in semi-autonomous Puntland and Jubbaland, for example, as it does in independent Somaliland – which strongly objects to being referred to as a “breakaway republic” as opposed to an independent sovereign state.

As Somaliland’s Foreign Minister, Mohamed Omar, remarked at the launch of Africa Research Institute’s latest publication After Borama: consensus representation and parliament in Somaliland, “it is unacceptable to Somaliland that Somalia should adopt a constitution which purports to lay claim to our territory, or that it should declare an Exclusive Economic Zone off our coast”.

Softly, softly

Immensely patient, even-handed negotiation and a consensual approach will be required if a new Somali state is to emerge and meld. Tactless diplomacy and interventions by foreign governments and UN agencies – of which there have been a number – need to be kept to a minimum. The Mogadishu government is in no position yet to consolidate power – it is facing a battle for survival. Autonomous regional powers need to be treated as equals by all parties, not as quaint or deviant distractions needing to be brought into line. Things might change surprisingly quickly if the interests of Somalia’s multiple protagonists align, either fortuitously or by design, but to assume this will happen would be self-defeating.

There may be some among Somaliland’s political leaders who see advantages to a possible reunion if peace were restored throughout Somalia and the terms were right. Confederation would undoubtedly be a more alluring prospect for Somaliland than federation. Among ordinary Somalilanders, however, economic and political marginalisation by the Siyad Barre regime has not been forgotten. Nor has the cruelty and destruction wrought on their country in 1988-91.

Most Somalilanders were consigned to years in refugee camps. Even among the political and business elites, memories of Somaliland being derided as “the wrong country” by southerners are ingrained. The question of who did what to whom during fighting in Somaliland that divided clans and the state is still fiercely contested. However, the agency of an autocratic central government in certain key events in distant Mogadishu during this time is indisputable. It casts a long shadow.

Whatever transpires in the next few years in Somalia and Somaliland, the fact that the latter has developed a credible constitution, held a succession of genuinely competitive multi-party elections and effected peaceful transfers of power is worth emphasising. Perhaps the one key message that Somaliland can hold up to its neighbour is the importance of time and developing the capacity to defuse crises. The institutions of a functioning state and durable peace are not conjured up overnight.

This article was originally published by Africa Research Institute here.

Edward Paice is the Director at Africa Research Institute.

http://thinkafricapress.com/somalia/somalia-somaliland-historical-scars-hassan-mohamud


Somalia: Somaliland opposition leader blamed for meeting with Somali President

May 13th, 2013. http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/05/somalia-somaliland-opposition-leader-blamed-for-meeting-with-somali-president/

By Abdi Muse

Feysal Ali Warabe (left) meets with Somalia foreign minister in Birmingham last week which saw large condemnation from Somaliland officials. /photo file.

HARGEYSA (RBC) Somaliland information minister Abib Diriye has blamed senior opposition leader for holding secret meeting with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud last week in UK, RBC Radio reports.

Feysal Ali Warabe, the chairman of UCID, the biggest opposition party in Somaliland, a breakaway northern Somalia region has reportedly met with Somalia’s Federal Government ministers in Birmingham, UK during last week after the conclusion of the international conference on Somalia future hosted by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

“We condemn and see s unfortunate meeting between Feysal Ali Warabe and Somali government officials, such meeting is against the independence of Somaliland.” said the region’s information minister Abib Diriye in a press conference in Hargeysa on Monday.

The minister noted that they did not known the motive behind such meeting in UK while he said Somaliland has made clear its position towards joining Somalia and its political process.

Somaliland, which declared its breakaway from Somalia in 1991 boycotted to attend the London conference in Somalia which the world leaders pledged billion of dollars to rebuild post-war Somalia.

On his side Feysal Ali Warabe, the chairman of UCID party strongly dismissed the allegations and insisted that the meeting was on mutual level and chatting as friends.

“I did not meet with Somali government officials as an official representing Somaliland, but as a friend and politician.” he defended himself speaking to different media outlets.

He called the Somaliland administration to handle demonstrations in its local regions rather than criticizing his meeting with Somalia government ministers in UK.

“We have alot of things to share and indeed there are so many things we have interrelated.” he added.


Somalia: One killed in a violence in Burco town

May 13th, 2013. By Abdi Muse. http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/05/somalia-one-killed-in-a-violence-in-burco-town/

BURCO (RBC) At least one person was killed two others were wounded after special police unit and local truck drivers clashed during a protest in Burco town, the capital of Somalia’s northern region of Togdheer under Somaliland administration, RBC Radio reports.

The local truck drivers protesting against new order from the Burco Municipality that banned local sand diggers to collect sand for construction from suburbs of the city’s two main bridges went on strike on Monday as they gathered at the entrance of the mayor’s office.

The truck drivers complained that the local government did not allocate them space to dig the sand used for construction of houses. One civilian was killed and two others fatally shot and wounded after the special police unit of Somaliland shot to disperse the people in protest.

Large crowds pf people gathered again at the city centre after the shooting of the police and were seen youths throwing stones to the police.

Burco mayor Mohamed Muraad called the government to intervene the situation and convince for the killing of the civilian. “I condemn the killing of the innocent people and that is not what my administration will justify in any how or matter.” he added. Somaliland police chief did not comment on the protest in Burco and the killing there.


Rapes on rise in Somaliland, say medical officials

By ABDI GULED | Associated Press – May 12, 2013. http://news.yahoo.com/rapes-rise-somaliland-medical-officials-140049088.html

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — An upsurge of gang rapes has hit the breakaway region of Somaliland — a normally peaceful enclave considered by many to be a sanctuary from Somalia's decades of violence.

Knife-wielding young men follow women along the dusty streets of Hargeisa, the capital of the region, dragging them inside buildings to rape and rob them. Children are among the victims.

At least 84 women have been raped since the beginning of this year, according to rights activists and medical officials. "This year is more terrifying than last year when we were barely receiving two or three in each month. This year we are seeing a new victim for every day," said a nurse at a hospital in Hargeisa. She insisted on anonymity because she is not authorized to release the details.

"It's rampant and victims are being attacked at homes, streets or anywhere now," she said.

The northern region of Somaliland declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1960, but it has not won international recognition as an independent state. Having escaped decades of conflict in Somalia, Somaliland employs its own security and police forces, justice system and currency. It is seen by some neighboring countries as a bulwark against terrorism. It also has a reputation for successfully maintaining law and order for its population of 3.5 million.

The outbreak of gang rapes in Somaliland began early this year and has surprised local residents who blame gangs of young men.

Confronted by the spate of attacks, police have arrested dozens of suspects, but the rapes continue on Hargeisa's streets and in back roads.

Some of the victims were beaten while others suffered stabbings by the gangs. This could dent the women's freedom in Somaliland where they can drive and exercise many freedoms. Many women do not wear the veil in public.

But now some religious leaders suggest that women remain closer to their homes to avoid the rapes.

"This is in fact a horrible outbreak, raped and bleeding children are being brought into hospitals every day," said Nimo Hussein Qowdhan, Somaliland's deputy health minister. "It's becoming out of control. We must concentrate on fighting it." Two young children were recent victims of the gang-rape attacks, said officials.

"It's a disturbing development, even children are being raped by criminals," said Fathia Hussein Ahmed, chairwoman of Somaliland's national human rights commission. "According to a report we have made, children are the most affected." She said rapes continue to haunt victims, as many women are shunned by some communities after being raped by gangs. Some are divorced by their husbands because of the rapes.

"We are creating awareness among local communities to illustrate the negative impact of rape," she said.

The sexual attacks have brought the long-taboo subject into street conversations and have provoked calls for a new approach toward rapists, instead of the traditional clan-related legal solutions. Clan elders often let off rapists with softer punishments. In Somaliland, it is common for the clans to make their own rulings to evade harsher sentences from the government judiciary.

"We warn that the traditional clan justice system (should) avoid solving these cases, instead, courts must apply the ruling to such cases," said a statement from a consortium of human rights groups in Somaliland.

Unlike the rest of Somalia where women avoid reporting crimes to law enforcement agencies, women in Somaliland are increasingly reporting their cases to the hospitals and police. Hospitals are creating counseling for victims of sexual attacks. Activists say this may also be driving the increase in reported rapes, as women are aware of services and more likely to seek help or report rape.

However, police and rape victims struggle to identify the culprits who are believed to be unlinked, making it hard for investigators to contain the violence through arrests.

"You never know who's to blame," said Sadiya Hassan, a resident in Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway region by phone. "The attacks forced us to avoid walking while dark or through back roads."

"This is not easy to pinpoint exactly what triggered (the rapes) but the cost of marriage for young people in Somaliland is too high and contacts between the opposite sex before marriage is also frowned upon and the fact that many youths in the diaspora returned to the country may also have contributed," said Mohamed Abdillahi, a university professor in Hargeisa city.


Contrasting Somalia and Somaliland

11 May 2013, http://www.ednahospital.org/2013/05/contrasting-somalia-and-somaliland/ Yan Digilov, Chief Strategist for Firestarter, talks about his discovery of a place called Somaliland which hasYan Digilov discovers Somaliland never been recognized by any government and was thoroughly neglected by the major NGO's. See below for full video. Here are excerpts -Edna Aden

"As a hypothetical exercise, picture in your head a country in Africa limping into the end of the 20th Century facing widespread disease, poverty and war. Now let's take this country and split it in half."

What if we gave the one side everything they needed, an enormous credit card to build their infrastructure and aid in times of famine. "And the other side, we just leave it up to them to figure out how to pay for key infrastructure projects without access to support from international development experts. Leave it up to them to figure out how to secure peace without our guns."

"Fast forward 20 years. Who's winning? Which side has built world class hospitals that treat patients from across the region and which side is still battling malaria, HIV, and other infectious diseases?"

"Where do you think you'd find a private sector driving it, reaping the rewards of economic growth and where do you think you'd run into massive corruption? But most importantly, where would you find peace? And where would you find unmitigated war?"

"It wasn't long ago that we heard a rumor of a place that this exact scenario was playing itself out in a place called Somalia."

"There's a place in the south called Mogadishu that is commonly referred to as the most dangerous place in the entire world. ...while the world was focused on pouring countless developmental funds into Mogadishu a tribe of nomads had gathered in the north without the support of the international community to endeavor on their own path to development. Rumor had it that this section in the north was thriving. Still held in obscurity from the rest of the world but they had an atmosphere of economic growth and stable peace. We had to go and see it for ourselves."

Students at Abaarso Tech in Somaliland

Mr. Digilov goes on, first, to describe the amazing Abaarso School of Science and Technology , of which Edna's friend Jonathan Starr is the co-founder. This school is providing students with a world-class education. One graduate was recently admitted to M.I.T.

At just short of ten minutes, Mr. Digilov describes being in a hotel lobby in Somaliland when a certain woman sweeps past. He was struck the fact that this woman was walking about 3 paces ahead of a pack of about 10 men. "So, I knew I had to meet her."

"Edna Adan has been able to put women on the front lines for the battle to improve health care for the population as a whole. And by doing so she makes sure that there will always be a seat at the decision-making table for women in Somaliland."

"But if you and I had all the money in the world, we couldn't figure out how to do what Edna has been able to do."

"Surgeons come from around the world and spend weeks performing the same surgeries over and over again for people who have traveled great distances. But you can't just send an email to a rural nomad to tell them about the opportunity to receive medical care. Edna has been able to use hyper-connected tribal networks that are able to spread news of an opportunity overnight to thousands of people. The work that they do at her hospital, maternal care, preventative health, and limiting the spread of infectious diseases, reverberates and has an impact of every Somali present or future."

"Every month, Edna sends her own pension from the U.N. as [the hospital's] operating budget, but of course she couldn't have done it all by herself. That's the question that we at Firestarter grapple with every day. There's a lesson that I learned in the brief time that I worked at an investment firm here in Houston. You don't invest an idea. You don't invest in a strategy. You don't even invest in a company. You invest in people. So, when we invest in a charity we have to consider the same ideals. We can't just send money to people who look like they need it the most. We send our social dollars to people that inspire us to action. At Firestarter we have a holistic approach to giving to charity and to helping to fuel growth in the developing world."

"Ain't no mountain high enough for the people of Somaliland to be kept from the dreams of building their country."

"Edna Adan's hospital, though it's the most modern medical facility in the region, is still fighting to get the diagnostic facilities they need to support surgical procedures and mammographic exams."

"But most importantly, there is a very crucial role for us all to play. As individuals, simply knowing that a place like Somaliland exists helps to support the efforts toward peace that have succeeded, amid conditions that have historically led to nothing but war." Read the original article HERE.

Watch Yan Digilov Discusses Firestarter in Somaliland http://www.ednahospital.org/2013/05/contrasting-somalia-and-somaliland/


Somaliland's role in peace and security

Financial Times [London (UK)] 09 May 2013

From President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo.

Sir, Increased international attention and support for Somalia is both welcome and necessary. We hope that the Somalia conference makes a tangible difference, channelling more and smarter funds towards the development and security of our region.

Despite progress in Somalia to rebuild the shattered country, peace and a lasting political settlement remain some way off as Katrina Manson reports ("Leader appeals for new Marshall Plan for Somalia", May 7). The damage and instability caused by the lack of governance for two decades will take time to repair.

This is in contrast to Somaliland, the autonomous state to the north of Somalia, which over the same period has held five separate elections, put in place functioning state institutions and been fully involved in international efforts to combat terrorism and piracy in the wider region. Yet these acknowledged successes and the meeting of criteria for statehood under international law have still not seen Somaliland recognised as an independent state.

We are pleased to see a government in Mogadishu starting to deliver for the people of Somalia. But Somaliland must not be forgotten. Lasting peace, security and prosperity in our region requires a resolution to the political independence of Somaliland.

Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo,
President of Somaliland,
Hargeisa, Somaliland


Somaliland - Why Elections Matter

Friday, 10 May 2013
By Edward Paice, Africa Research Institute (London)

As news and analysis emerges from the second UK-Somalia conference in London, the absence of the government of Somaliland is noticable. Somalia and Somaliland are bound by many longstanding ties, but over the past two decades their political trajectories have diverged.

As institutions in Somalia have crumbled under the weight of protracted sectarian violence, Somalilanders have made considerable headway in building a functioning democratic system of government. While political developments in Somaliland should not be romanticised, they are worth examining and reflecting upon.

Elections in Somaliland have been an integral ingredient in establishing an inclusive system of representation. They are not mere formalities, conferring a thin veneer of legitimacy on a permanent incumbent; nor are they conducted solely as a sop to foreign donors insisting on greater democracy; nor is the prime motivation to further the pursuit of international recognition of Somaliland as a sovereign state.

For most Somalilanders, elections an essential component of internal peace and security. They present clans, sub-clans and individual voters with important choices and provide a forum for free expression of views. Elections involve complex reshaping of relationships between regions and groups.

The November 2012 local elections were of particular significance. Only the three political associations which attracted the most votes would win, or retain, legal status as political parties until the next local elections – which may not occur for another decade. The previous local elections, in 2002, had established UDUB, Kulmiye and UCID as political parties. Ten years on, it was by no means certain that two of these three would exist beyond the November polls.

By July 2012, many of UCID's supporters and MPs had transferred their allegiance to the new political organisation Wadani, led by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi "Irro". UDUB, the party of two previous presidents, was widely thought to be dissolving. New alliances were being forged, old ones were being redefined – and competition was intensifying daily.

It was against this backdrop that Africa Research Institute interviewed ten prominent Somalilanders, including the three Speakers of the House of Representatives, two government ministers, MPs, civil society activists and representatives of women's organisations. The product of these conversations is published in After Borama: Consensus, representation and parliament in Somaliland. The accounts focus on how political stability has been maintained in Somaliland – and present assessments of representation, the role of political institutions and national development priorities in the country.

After Borama was launched at African Research Institute in London on 1st May. The event coincided with the 20th anniversary of the conclusion of Shirki Boorraama – the Conference of Elders of the Communities of Somaliland in the city of Borama, in western Somaliland. As described by Mark Bradbury in Becoming Somaliland, this was "not only a defining political event in Somaliland, but also an example of an indigenous popular peace-making process that has few parallels in contemporary Africa".

Somaliland's 2012 local elections were fiercely contested. Seven political entities competed for the right to contest parliamentary seats and the presidency in future elections. Despite the intensity, some violence, and a good deal of rancour in the immediate aftermath, the results were accepted. Kulmiye and UCID retained their legal status as political parties and were joined by newcomer Wadani.

As ever, lessons have been learnt. In an address to both houses of parliament in January 2013, President Silanyo acknowledged the need for a new voter register before the next parliamentary polls – to counter electoral malfeasance and the possibility of more serious outbreaks of violence. This will be no easy task. A previous effort proved extremely divisive and had to be abandoned.

Good electoral management and fairness are vital – but so too is inclusiveness. Women remain substantially excluded from formal politics in Somaliland despite their pivotal roles in society, the economy and in negotiating peace. For most pastoralists, central government is a distant – even irrelevant – entity.

The announcement by President Silanyo of a US$1.3m stimulus plan for Sool, East Sanaag and Buhoodle regions will be welcome, but much more needs to be done by government both within and beyond the main towns and cities. Economic and social development must be prioritised throughout the country.

Thorny and controversial issues confronting Somalilanders were raised at the launch of After Borama, as they are addressed in the publication. These include clan politics and the concentration of power, the management of elections, the consequences of the lack of a voter register, the campaign to secure a role for women in formal politics, the future role of the Guurti – the upper house of parliament, and the conduct of international donors.

With occasional lapses, Somaliland has been successful at maintaining peace for more than two decades. The country created a credible constitution held a nationwide referendum on independence, has conducted a succession of largely free elections and has effected peaceful transfers of power. These experiences may not provide a blueprint– Somaliland has ploughed its own distinctive furrow through success and setback. But they do contain valuable insights for those interested in promoting long-term peace and stability in Somalia, and the wider region.

The publication After Borama and podcast of the event can be downloaded here .

Photos of the launch can be accesed here.

Edward Paice, Director

African Research Institute


Somalia: Negotiating Peace in Somalia - an Insight From Somaliland

BY EDWARD PAICE, 8 MAY 2013
Africa Research Institute (London)

In his 2009 book, Somaliland: An African struggle for nationhood and international recognition Iqbal Jhazbhay’s asserts that “Somalia no longer exists”. This claim remains valid to a certain extent. Security - a crucial ingredient for further progress - is challenged daily. Persistent al-Shabaab bomb attacks in and around Mogadishu serve as a shocking reminder of the precarious nature of the situation. Since September 2012, the president, the Supreme Court and foreign delegations have all been targets for suicide bombers. Al-Shabaab still controls much of the country. At present, the government’s authority hardly runs further than the bounds of Mogadishu - if that far.

The establishment of a new government in Somalia, led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, has given rise to greater optimism about the country’s prospects than at any time in the past two decades. New businesses are springing up daily in Mogadishu, and elsewhere. Many members of the diaspora are returning, or seriously considering the possibility. The results of efforts to begin re-establishing a functioning state, though mixed, have been praised by foreign governments. Any progress in improving the lot of an embattled populace is self-evidently welcome - and encouraging - but needs to be assessed cautiously. If any involved party, indigenous or foreign, believes in the possibility of a “quick fix”, it would be wishful thinking of the most counter-productive variety.

For the foreseeable future, the state will be wholly dependent on military support and intervention provided by external parties - for some of whom the paramount concern is their own national security interests. While this should not preclude ambition - and many hope that Somalia can assume responsibility for maintaining internal peace sooner than is commonly envisaged - it is also a reminder of prevailing realities.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and foreign governments continue to prioritise reconstitution of the Somali state. As far as neighbouring Somaliland is concerned, at least one of the sponsors of ongoing talks with Somalia - Turkey - has been reported as expressing hope that unification might occur. Unionists - both Somali and foreign - need to tread carefully. The authority of the Mogadishu government to impose a model of federal administration, or an equivalent incarnation, on the former regions of Somalia is still widely contested and in some instances flatly rejected.

An aspirational, hastily produced and inevitably flawed new constitution means as little in semi-autonomous Puntland and Jubbaland, for example, as it does in independent Somaliland - which strongly objects to being referred to as a “breakaway republic” as opposed to an independent sovereign state. As Somaliland’s Foreign Minister, Mohamed Omar, remarked at the launch of Africa Research Institute’s latest publication After Borama: consensus representation and parliament in Somaliland, “it is unacceptable to Somaliland that Somalia should adopt a constitution which purports to lay claim to our territory, or that it should declare an Exclusive Economic Zone off our coast”.

Immensely patient, even-handed negotiation and a consensual approach will be required if a new Somali state is to emerge and meld. Tactless diplomacy and interventions by foreign governments and UN agencies - of which there have been a number - need to be kept to a minimum. The Mogadishu government is in no position yet to consolidate power - it is facing a battle for survival. Autonomous regional powers need to be treated as equals by all parties, not as quaint or deviant distractions needing to be brought into line. Things might change surprisingly quickly if the interests of Somalia’s multiple protagonists align, either fortuitously or by design, but to assume this will happen would be self-defeating.

There may be some among Somaliland’s political leaders who see advantages to a possible reunion if peace were restored throughout Somalia and the terms were right. Confederation would undoubtedly be a more alluring prospect for Somaliland than federation. Among ordinary Somalilanders, however, economic and political marginalisation by the Siyad Barre regime has not been forgotten. Nor has the cruelty and destruction wrought on their country in 1988-91.

Most Somalilanders were consigned to years in refugee camps. Even among the political and business elites, memories of Somaliland being derided as “the wrong country” by southerners are ingrained. The question of who did what to whom during fighting in Somaliland that divided clans and the state is still fiercely contested. However, the agency of an autocratic central government in certain key events in distant Mogadishu during this time is indisputable. It casts a long shadow.

Whatever transpires in the next few years in Somalia and Somaliland, the fact that the latter has developed a credible constitution, held a succession of genuinely competitive multi-party elections and effected peaceful transfers of power is worth emphasising. Perhaps the one key message that Somaliland can hold up to its neighbour is the importance of time and developing the capacity to defuse crises. The institutions of a functioning state and durable peace are not conjured up overnight.

Edward Paice is Director of the Africa Research Institute.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201305081350.html


Somaliland: Danish business helps Somali fishermen

May 5, 2013
Source: Politiken

A purely private Danish development initiative demonstrates that there are alternatives to crime and piracy in the Gulf of Aden. The group behind the initiative call themselves Somali Fair Fishing (SFF). Shipowner Per Gullestrup from Clipper and the West Jutland fisherman Kurt Berthelsen are leading figures for the group.

“Within six months, we managed to raise money and equipment enough to already in the autumn being able to conduct a trial and prove to the local fishermen in Berbera that you can do fishing as a good and profitable business”, says Per Gullestrup to Politiken.

The shipping company Maersk has delivered five refrigerated containers at the port of the city of Berbera. Danish Crown and Espersen A/S have contributed with prepared equipment like stainless steel tables, knives, sinks, rubber boots, cooler boxes and pallet trucks to be used in a smaller fish factory by the port. Falck has contributed with three lifeboats. Other companies contribute with container transport, which has a value of close to DKK 400,000.

With daytime temperatures in Somaliland of 35 to 45 degrees, much of the fishermen’s catched fish are ruined because they lack refrigeration facilities. Therefore, one of Somali Fair Fishing’s first goals was to buy an ice machine in China.

“The ice maker is a key factor. If the fish are treated properly from the hook to the dining table, the value, and the fishermen, can triple their yields already in the autumn”, says fisherman Knud Berthelsen, who has been involved in similar projects in Kazakhstan and Eritrea.

Despite help from several Danish companies and a generous sum from shipping magnate Per Gullestrup, half a million kroner are missing for the operation after the trial period. Danida has refused to grant money to the project, on the grounds that the organization does not have available funds.

“It’s just too bad for Danida that they will not be part of something that probably will be a success”, says Søren Hougaard, who has previously been the Red Cross’ East Africa-chief and chairman of Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke.


Somaliland signs memorandum of understanding with Abudhabi Oil Company.

05 May 2013. http://www.thenational.ae

Somaliland government has had preliminary talks with Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Petroleum, and even signed a memorandum of understanding with International Petroleum Investment Company, another Abu Dhabi investor. No estimates for oil and gas reserves exist, but Somaliland is proximate to countries that are producing or are gearing up to do so.

Nearby South Sudan is a significant exporter of oil, and recent discoveries are about to kick off a gas boom in Tanzania and Mozambique. On the other side of the Gulf of Aden, Yemen, Oman and Saudi Arabia all produce hydrocarbons.

Mr Dualeh the Oil minster of Somaliland is unconcerned that tensions with Mogadishu, which does not recognise his government, will deter oil companies from coming to Somaliland.

Despite the endemic piracy that plagues the maritime trade routes running through the Gulf of Aden, the minister believes that the region is ideally placed for oil and gas exports.

“If we take this crude to the market, we have the biggest markets in the world facing us,” said Mr Dualeh.

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/energy/search-for-oil-expands-in-somaliland#ixzz2SJjUFAK7


Free press advocates call for independent investigation into Somaliland attack

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2013/05/03/feature-01
May 03, 2013

Despite vows from Somaliland officials that the perpetrators of last month's attack on the headquarters of Hargeisa-based Hubaal newspaper will face justice, free press advocates and opposition parties are calling for an independent inquiry into the matter.

A Hargeisa resident reads an issue of the Hubaal daily newspaper on May 2, 2013. [Barkhad Dahir/Sabahi]

During the April 24th attack, the assailants beat newspaper manager Mohamed Ahmed Jama, who is known as Aloley, with clubs and broke his arm. The assailants allegedly also tried to shoot him but failed. One of the suspects got away, while the other was arrested and turned out to be a police officer.

"The man accused will not be forgiven just for being part of the police," vowed Somaliland regional Minister of Interior Mohamed Nur Arrale who appeared before the regional parliament for questioning on April 29th. He condemned the attack, calling it an ugly act that goes against what the regional government of Somaliland and its people stand for.

The minister also cautioned against linking government officials to the attack or jumping ahead of the investigation.

Chief of Police Brigadier General Abdullahi Fadal Iman, who also appeared before parliament for questioning, told lawmakers that the investigation into the case was going well.

While police are still searching for the suspect at-large, the policeman in custody soon would be brought before a court, Iman said.

However, Aloley, who said he was recovering well from the attack, expressed dissatisfaction with how police have handled the case so far and called for an independent investigation.

"I believe that we were attacked because of our journalistic work and the writings we transmit to the public," he told Sabahi.

Recently, Hubaal has covered issues such as corruption and irregular procurement procedures by officials in the regional administration, and the controversy over oil exploration in Somaliland.

"We have evidence linking government officials [to the assailants]," he said. According to Aloley, a mobile phone picked up by Hubaal staffers after the attack revealed active communication between the captured assailant and a government official. The phone was given to the police after they arrived on the scene.

Calls for independent inquiry

Human right organisations, journalists and political opposition leaders echoed Aloley's call for an independent inquiry.

"Since the people behind the assassination attempt include a police officer, the investigation has to be conducted by an independent commission," said Ahmed Yusuf Hussein, director of the Horn Human Rights Umbrella. "[Given the conflict of interest in this case], the police cannot be trusted to conduct the investigation, and our request is to have it assigned to an independent group."

In order to bring about an acceptable outcome, the regional government must investigate the case in a just manner, said Mohamed Abdi Urad, deputy chairman of the Somaliland Journalists Association.

"We believe that, at the very least, an independent group has to be part of the investigation since the accused works in the government," Urad told Sabahi.

"If [the perpetrators] are not held accountable in a just manner, it could create instability in the country because our society has a culture of retaliation," he said, adding that if journalists are afraid to do their job, that would undermine freedom of expression and a free press.

"And the consequence of that will be concealing the truth," he said.

Lawmakers fail to create independent commission

Meanwhile, the Somaliland House of Representatives subcommittee on internal affairs, security and defence called on regional security services to bring the perpetrators and their accomplices to justice. Two opposition parties, Justice and Welfare Party (UCID) and Wadani, joined in on condemning the attack and made similar calls to form an independent investigation.

"There was no conflict between the men who carried out the attack and the newspaper, therefore, it is clear that the government used the armed men [to carry out the attack]," said Hassan Essa Jama, a politician and former vice president of Somaliland.

In a statement released on April 27th, the former regional vice president called on both houses of the Somaliland parliament to create an independent commission to investigate the case.

"[The attack] is a calculated step to sow the worst crimes, murder, intimidation and chaos among the public," he said.

Despite the numerous calls for an independent commission, so far none has been established.

In other parts of the Somalia, four journalists have been killed in Mogadishu this year, while at least 18 Somali journalists were killed in 2012 across the country.

http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2013/05/03/feature-01


Somalia: Somaliland Official Says Media Owner Attacked By Police

30 APRIL 2013. Committee to Protect Journalists (New York) http://allafrica.com/stories/201305010022.html
PRESS RELEASE

New York — A senior administration official in Somaliland has said that police officers were the perpetrators of an April 24 attack on the owner of a media network, according to news reports.

The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities in the semi-autonomous republic to conduct a thorough investigation and ensure that all those responsible are brought to justice.

Two masked gunmen burst into the offices of the critical independent daily Hubaal in the capital, Hargeisa, at around 11:30 p.m. as the paper's employees were proofreading the next day's issue, according to local journalists and news reports. One assailant fired at least once at Mohamed Ahmed Jama, but missed, the reports said.

Mohamed is the owner and manager of the Hubaal Media Network, which publishes Hubaal and the English daily The Independent, according to Hubaal Editor-in-Chief Hassan Hussein Abdillahi. Mohamed is also the manager of both papers.

Mohamed suffered a broken arm and finger while he and other employees subdued the gunman. The other assailant's weapon jammed, and he fled, but police took the first gunman into custody, according to Abdillahi Adam Omar, chairman of the board of Hubaal Media Network.

Interior Minister Mohamed Nur Arale told the Somaliland House of Representatives on Monday that both gunmen had been identified as police officers and would be prosecuted, according to news reports.

Mohamed told CPJ he had not received any threats prior to the attack. Presidential Spokesman Suleiman Duhul denied any government involvement, news website SomalilandSun reported.

In recent weeks, Hubaal published a series of articles critical of the administration of Somaliland President Ahmed M. Mahamoud Silanyo, Abdillahi said.

In one article, Hubaal criticized public remarks made by Minister of Presidential Affairs Hirsi Ali Haji Hassan at an event with the Somaliland diaspora in London during the president's official visit to the U.K., Abdillahi said.

The paper has also criticized the interior minister for allegedly choosing to give interviews exclusively to state media in connection with deadly unrest on April 16 in the eastern town of Ainabo, the site of oil exploration.

Hubaal also published a series of reports alleging corruption in the finance ministry, Hassan, the paper's editor-in-chief, told CPJ.

In late March, police in Hargeisa arrested Jama Said Elmi, a contributor to Hubaal, in connection with his columns alleging corruption and nepotism in the Silanyo administration, according to news reports. Jama was convicted on charges of insulting the nation and sentenced to six months in prison and a fine of 1 million Somaliland Shillings, according to the same sources.

"The attack on Hubaal and Mohamed Ahmed Jama is all the more alarming because of the reported involvement of police officers," CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita said.

"We hold Somaliland authorities responsible for the safety of Hubaal staff, and we call on them to ensure that all those involved in the attack, including the masterminds, are brought to justice."


Somaliland: Search for Oil Expands

Monday, 29 April 2013. http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/energy/search-for-oil-expands-in-somaliland

DNO run Tawke oilfiled in Kurdistan above, who also run the Tawke oilfiled in Kurdistan, plans to begin exploration of its block in Somaliland next year.

By Florian Neuhof/ The National

Somaliland hopes that exploration by international oil companies will unearth reserves similar to those in nearby Yemen, and is in talks to increase the number of companies taking on acreage in the quasi-autonomous region.

The region, which considers itself independent from Somalia but is not recognised by the international community, last week signed its second deal with an established international player - Norway's DNO International, a company that merged with the UAE's RAK Petroleum.

DNO's move was preceded by Genel Energy, which signed a production-sharing agreement for two blocks in Somaliland last August. Both companies are already producing oil in the Kurdish region of Iraq, another autonomous region.

DNO plans to begin exploration of its block in Somaliland next year. Like Genel, it has suffered from delayed payments from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), the result of a dispute between Baghdad and Erbil. Iraq's government considers the oil contracts between the KRG and international oil companies illegal.

Genel will start seismic surveys of its blocks soon, and aims to start drilling for oil next year, said Hussein Abdi Dualeh, Somaliland's minister of mining, energy, and water resources.

This is the first significant step towards establishing the region's oil and gas reserves.

"We have similar geology to Yemen, and Yemen has so far proven about 9 billion barrels of oil, and it hasn't looked at all its prospects. We are very hopeful that we have a similar potential," said Mr Dualeh.

While no other deals are imminent, Somaliland is working to add to the companies committed to the search for oil in the region.

"We are actively engaged with other companies as well," said Mr Dualeh. He said his government has had preliminary talks with Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Petroleum, and even signed a memorandum of understanding with International Petroleum Investment Company, another Abu Dhabi investor. No estimates for oil and gas reserves exist, but Somaliland is proximate to countries that are producing or are gearing up to do so.

Nearby South Sudan is a significant exporter of oil, and recent discoveries are about to kick off a gas boom in Tanzania and Mozambique. On the other side of the Gulf of Aden, Yemen, Oman and Saudi Arabia all produce hydrocarbons.

Mr Dualeh is unconcerned that tensions with Mogadishu, which does not recognise his government, will deter oil companies from coming to Somaliland.

Despite the endemic piracy that plagues the maritime trade routes running through the Gulf of Aden, the minister believes that the region is ideally placed for oil and gas exports.

"If we take this crude to the market, we have the biggest markets in the world facing us," said Mr Dualeh


Somalia: U.S Committed to Support for a Peaceful and United Somalia

April 27th, 2013. http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-u-s-committed-to-support-for-a-peaceful-and-united-somalia/

Washington (RBC) The United States declared that it will fully support continued dialogue between Somalia’s Federal Government and Somaliland, which is a breakaway administration on the north of Somalia, U.S State Department in a statement Friday said.

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s met with President of Somaliland Ahmed Silanyo and reiterated US support for continued dialogue between Somalia and Somaliland authorities.

“Yesterday, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman met with Somaliland administration President Ahmed Silanyo. Under Secretary Sherman and President Silanyo discussed issues of mutual concern, including stability, democracy and governance, and the need to combat Al-Shabaab”, said the statement.

“The United States expressed support for continued dialogue between the Government of Somalia and Somaliland authorities, as took place in Turkey on April 13. The United States reiterated its strong support for a peaceful and united Somalia”, added the statement.

Somaliland is a non-recognized self declared state that is internationally classified as an autonomous region of Somalia.


Embassy Row: Shadow democracy in Africa

Friday, 26 April 2013
Embassy Row: Shadow Democracy in Africa Foreign

By James Morrison

A small but stable democracy lies in the shadow of Somalia in the volatile and terrorist-infested Horn of Africa.

It formed a government based on the U.S. Constitution. It feeds more than 3.5 million residents and exports 4 million head of livestock a year to its biggest customer, Saudi Arabia.

It holds elections, and defeated incumbents peaceably transfer power to the opposition.

Yet for all its pretense to nationhood, Somaliland remains unrecognized diplomatically by all of the 193 countries of the United Nations. It is a stepchild of Somalia, which spent the past 22 years in anarchy, war and famine, while Somaliland quietly built a functioning democracy.

"It is a model for the region," Somaliland Foreign Minister Mohamed A. Omar told Embassy Row this week.

On a Washington visit with Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud Silanyo and other government ministers, Mr. Omar explained that the purpose of the trip was to provide U.S. officials with an update on the region's progress and to lobby for U.S. recognition.

He said many nations in Africa are "holding back" recognition, "waiting for a signal from the West."

"Somaliland's case is not being hindered by legal issues. It is a political issue," he said.

Present-day Somalia was created in 1960 by the union of the former colonies of British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. Mr. Omar said the goal then was to create a greater Somalia by drawing in ethnic Somalis in neighboring areas.

That goal failed. Somalia collapsed into a military dictatorship under Mohamed Siad Barre, who was overthrown in 1991.

Somalia became a lawless nation, beset by pirates and terrorists. Massive international diplomacy and some military intervention have brought some stability to Somalia, which adopted a new constitution last year and held presidential and parliamentary elections.

Somaliland, meanwhile, declared independence in 1991 and spent the past two decades working out details with various clan leaders for a new government — modeled after the U.S. Constitution, with a president, bicameral legislature and independent judiciary. It held its first multiparty presidential election in 2003.

The CIA World Factbook 2013 says Somaliland, about the size of Virginia and West Virginia combined, has "maintained a stable existence and continues efforts to establish a constitutional democracy."

Mr. Omar said the only hindrance to international recognition is Somalia's reluctance to disband the union.

Somalia's new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, is holding talks with Mr. Silanyo on the union's future. They met two weeks ago in Ankara, Turkey, and plan another meeting in July.

Somaliland also is providing information to the West about terrorist activities in the region.

"Somaliland is a credible partner in the fight against terrorism," said Mr. Omar, adding that no violent extremists are based in his country. "Somaliland is a democratic, Muslim nation in a region with terrorism."

Although Somaliland is officially unrecognized, dozens of foreign countries have offices in the capital, Hargeisa. Somaliland also is attracting foreign business because of oil and gas reserves.

Mr. Omar met Thursday with Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman, the third highest-ranking diplomat at the State Department. Mr. Silanyo earlier this week delivered a major speech before the prestigious Atlantic Council. "The visit has been quite successful," Mr. Omar said.

This great article on the delegation's visit to DC, which is based on the interview Minister Omar did with the Washington Times on Wednesday was just posted on the Washington Times' website, and is expected to appear in the print edition on Friday. Well done – Somaliland's messages come through loud and clear!-Editor http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/apr/25/embassy-row-shadow-democracy-in-africa/print/


Somaliland regional court sentences 9 for human trafficking

April 23, 2013. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2013/04/23/newsbrief-03

A court in Gabiley on Sunday (April 21st) sentenced nine men convicted of human trafficking to between three and six months in jail, a day after the Immigration Department arrested them in Wajale on the border between the Somaliland region and Ethiopia.

"These men are now in the Gabiley jail and we are still investigating the people who are behind these kinds of actions," Deputy Chief of the Immigration Department Mohamed Saleban told Sabahi, adding that the traffickers are part of a network.

The human trafficking network, which operates as a business, opened offices in Wajale to ease the secret migration of youth, Saleban said. "The network extends all the way to Libya to traffic young people out of the region illegally," he said.

Saleban said the department also brought back about 80 young migrants from Wajale.

Migration from the Somaliland region is at record high levels and has been increasing dramatically in April, he said.


DNO inks Somaliland production sharing contract

23 April 2013 | 07:56am. http://www.stockmarketwire.com/article/4579682/DNO-inks-Somaliland-production-sharing-contract.html

StockMarketWire.com - Norwegian oil and gas group DNO International has entered into a production sharing contract covering block SL18 onshore Somaliland.

Somaliland president Ahmed M. Mohamoud Silanyo and DNO executive chairman, Bijan Mossavar-Rahmani attended the signing ceremony in Washington, DC.

Mossavar-Rahmani said: "This 12,000 square kilometre block adds substantial exploration acreage to DNO International's portfolio and in an area that is both prospective and undrilled."

He said Somaliland fell within the company's geographic and geological comfort zones adding: "We have been active across the Gulf of Aden in Yemen since the late 1990s."

The company has initiated studies on Block SL18 ahead of an extensive seismic program planned for 2014.


Somalia: Wind Brings Light to Somaliland

BY ED MCKENNA, 22 APRIL 2013. http://allafrica.com/stories/201304220654.html?viewall=1

Hargeisa — A wind turbine, situated some 20 kilometres outside of Somaliland's capital Hargeisa, has become a significant totem of the country's changing energy landscape.

The breakaway semi-autonomous region that was once part of Somalia has struggled to develop its economy despite dilapidated energy infrastructure that makes it almost impossible for businesses to function.

But later this year, Somaliland's first Electricity Energy Act will be launched. It will be the country's first legal and regulatory framework aimed at managing energy production and distribution, with a focus on piloting alternative energy solutions, including wind farms in four major cities.

"Businesses have been unable to operate to their full potential as there is no regular or reliable supply of electricity in Somaliland. This is slowing economic activity and development in the region. We need to look at alternative and renewable sources of energy to reverse this trend," Minister of Mining, Energy and Water Resources Hussein Abdi Dualeh told IPS.

Somaliland has one of the world's highest electricity rates. While the rest of the world pays an average 15 to 30 cents per kilowatt hour, Hargeisa's residents pay one dollar per kWh. High energy prices and a lack of an energy policy framework have blocked competition and stifled investment in the region's private energy sector. Investors have little confidence in any long-term financial return due to limited regulation.

Local businessmen frequently complain that high energy bills are causing fewer products to be produced in Somaliland, giving foreign imports an unfair competitive advantage.

"When so much of our income is spent on electricity bills, we lose our ability to compete with foreign imports in the local market," Faisil Wadani, the owner of a small factory, told IPS.

The streets of Hargeisa are densely populated with kiosks and vendors who pay independent power providers approximately 10 dollars a month to run a single 100-watt light bulb. For the majority of these small kiosks their improvised lighting system has no switch and the bulb is likely to burn all day and night unless unscrewed.

After the collapse of Somalia in 1991, the new Somaliland government retrieved wires, poles and generators from the bombed debris in Hargeisa to try and assemble a functional, albeit crude, infrastructure for generating electricity for its citizens.

Independent power providers quickly began to appear when it became apparent that the government had no funds to invest in the power grid. This rapidly gave rise to an unregulated system that has endured since 1991.

Somaliland's antiquated electricity infrastructure is now run by a decentralised network of local power providers in Hargeisa, which involves neighbours paying neighbours for electricity.

The lack of government support for power creation has compelled many of Hargeisa's wealthier residents to import diesel generators from the Middle East to power their homes and businesses. The majority of Hargeisa's power is now generated by diesel generators and transmitted through the capital city's hazardous electricity network.

A disorganised supply of electricity in the hands of independent power providers makes consumers vulnerable to high costs and erratic power access, said Dualeh.

"The government manages only 20 percent of the electricity market while independent providers are responsible for the majority of Somaliland's electricity. Somaliland rates are very high due to this spaghetti network of independent power providers where each has their own grid using outdated equipment," he said.

According to the government, 40 percent of electricity is lost due to the poor electric infrastructure used to generate and distribute energy.

To help Somaliland draft its first Electricity Energy Act, the United States Development Agency (USAID) has been working closely with the Ministry of Mining, Energy and Water Resources, local power providers and consumers to expedite the process of creating a more regulated electricity supply.

This has created a mood of confidence among the business community that they will soon be able to be open for business for longer periods of time without interruption from frequent power cuts.

"A supply of affordable electricity without frequent daily interruption will increase my business activity and make my job less of a daily fight for financial survival," said Wadani.

The Electricity Energy Act is expected to standardise the sector's infrastructure and establish safety standards by building on the existing electric grid infrastructure in Hargeisa.

"We cannot guarantee that the new electricity law will reduce costs but we can expect the supply of electricity to be more efficient. It is more often than not to do with inefficiency that electricity rates are so high in Somaliland," Suleiman Mohamed, head of USAID partnership programme, told IPS.

But Dualeh said that the new electricity regulations "will support more efficient distribution, enhanced safety in the sector and higher levels of investment from the private sector, as they will have greater confidence in the energy market."

Wind power in Somaliland is also rapidly emerging as a promising alternative source of energy. The government has realised that the potential for renewable sources of energy should be exploited to help revitalise the region's power supply and provide a cost-effective alternative.

"We must seriously look at sources of renewable energy such as solar and wind power, especially when Somaliland has over 340 days of sun and some of the fastest wind in the world," says Dualeh.

To confront Somaliland's ongoing energy crisis, with the support of USAID the Ministry of Mining, Energy and Water Resources has erected five turbines worth over 350,000 dollars on a wind farm pilot project near the Hargeisa International Airport. Wind data stations have also been installed across the country, to offer investors information about wind power potential.

Somaliland's independent power providers are also learning about the economic benefits of generating renewable energy.

The Abaarso Tech Secondary School in Hargeisa had a wind turbine in their storage room for nearly three years before finally setting it up in January 2012. Once fully operational, the 20 kW turbine provided enough electricity to run the high school. The city government subsequently came up with an income-generating plan for the school to sell the surplus electricity it generated to neighbouring villagers.

In the long term, harnessing alternative energy solutions such as wind power should have higher returns for consumers and providers than using diesel would.

"We just spent 240,000 dollars on new diesel generators. After seeing the projected returns for wind energy, I wish we could have spent that money on wind turbines and saved on diesel costs. Diesel is the past, wind is the future," Yusuf Aaaden, a local Hargeisa independent power producer, told IPS.


Girls affected by FGM down to one quarter in northern Somalia

Thursday, 18th April 2013. Posted by Paul Robertson. (http://www.figo.org/news/girls-affected-fgm-down-one-quarter-northern-somalia-0011120)

MEPs were called on to ratify and enforce policies regarding forms of violence against women, including female genital mutilation (FGM), at a hearing hosted by Romania's Social Democratic Party on April 10th.

Only one quarter of northern Somali girls under the age of 15 have suffered female genital mutilation (FGM), new data from Unicef shows - demonstrating a significant reduction in the country's FGM occurrence rates, which was previously seen practised almost universally.

The findings, released on Tuesday (April 16th), show that 25 per cent of girls in northern regions of Somalia aged one to 14 currently undergo FGM compared to a figure of 99 per cent for adult women in those regions.

Unicef's survey follows a global ban on the practice, unanimously approved by the UN General Assembly in December last year.

Twenty-eight communities in Somaliland have reportedly stopped carrying out FGM. Sheema Sen Gupta, Unicef's chief of child protection in Somalia, said the organisation hopes that as many as 60 communities will have banned the practice by 2014.

In comments reported by TrustLaw, Ms Gupta said: "We have to continue and expand the work that we are doing. If, five years later, we find that this trend is reflected in the next age group, 15 to 25 [years old], then we know that it is sustained."


Somalia: Northern Somalia Sees Drop in Female Genital Mutilation

17 APRIL 2013. Sabahi (Washington, DC) http://allafrica.com/stories/201304180181.html

Incidents of female genital mutilation (FGM) appear to be declining in the Somaliland and Puntland regions of Somalia, according to a report released Tuesday (April 16th) by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Three-fourths of girls aged 10 to 14 in the Puntland and Somaliland regions have not been circumcised, whereas more than 98% of women aged 15 and above have, the survey found.

UNICEF and its regional partners surveyed more than 9,000 families in Puntland and Somaliland in the 2011 global Multiple-Indicator Cluster Survey. This is the first time the survey included questions on daughters' ages and whether they were circumcised.

The survey did not include southern Somalia, where the federal government is fighting al-Shabaab. Both the Somali federal government and al-Shabaab have banned FGM.

UNICEF Chief of Child Protection in Somalia Sheema Sen Gupta called the findings a promising indicator for long term reductions in the practice, which the UN General Assembly banned in December.

"FGM is practiced just around puberty," Gupta said. "It usually spikes in the [aged] 10 to 14 group and to see that it was at 25%, that was fantastic."


Somaliland regional parliament extends Lower House term

April 16, 2013. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2013/04/16/newsbrief-03

In a special session held Monday (April 15th), the Upper House of the Somaliland regional parliament extended the Lower House's term until 2015 and postponed Upper House elections until 2016.

The Lower House's current term started in 2005 and was scheduled to end May 30th, with the Upper House's term ending May 30, 2014.

The laws to govern the elections are not ready and must be finalised, said Upper House Speaker Saleban Mohamud Aden, who chaired the session. Elections for members of the Lower House should be held concurrently with presidential elections, he said.

"Considering the time it will take to solve issues and hold the elections, the Upper House decided to extend the current term of the Lower House … to July 27, 2015," said First Deputy Speaker of the Upper House Said Jama Ali, who read the decision.

With Upper House elections always held a year after Lower House elections, members also decided to move Upper House elections to July 27, 2016. The decision was made by a show of hands from 72 Upper House members -- 69 voted yes, one voted no, one abstained and the speaker did not vote, Aden said.

Somaliland regional President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo had sent a written request to the Upper House asking them to decide on the term extension after he received a report from the National Elections Commission alerting him that the Lower House elections cannot happen within the designated time.

Somaliland's Justice and Welfare Party (UCID) has expressed discontent with extending the term of the Lower House.

"We can see that an election will not be held, but we would have preferred to have them receive a six-month extension," UCID spokesperson Ali Mohamed Yusuf said in an interview with HCTV on April 14th.


Debate over Somalia's unity continues with new round of talks in Ankara

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2013/04/11/feature-01 April 11, 2013

Play Video

As the Somaliland regional administration and the Somali federal government prepare for the anticipated Turkish-mediated talks in Ankara about their future relationship, opposing public statements from officials on both sides show they still are far apart on the issue of unity.

Sabahi interviewed a number of citizens in the streets of Mogadishu about their views on Somali unity in relation to Somaliland. [Sabahi]

Unity talks between Somalia and the Somaliland region have been a contentious issue for years. Above, a woman holds the Somali flag. [Stuart Price/AFP]

Youths gather around a camel draped with the Somaliland flag during a rally in Hargeisa in January 2013. [Barkhad Dahir/Sabahi]

In February 2012, representatives from the Somaliland region and Somalia met for the first round of bilateral talks in 20 years during the Somalia conference in London, producing a resolution that called for clarifying "future relations".

At a June 2012 meeting in Dubai, Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo and then-Transitional Federal Government (TFG) President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed agreed to continue bi-lateral talks, but the two sides have not met since.

As Silanyo and his delegation were leaving for Turkey on Monday (April 8th) -- where Turkish government-hosted talks with Somalia are expected to start April 13th -- the Somaliland leader said his administration was not ready for full unity with the Somali federal government and that it was still pursuing recognition as a sovereign state.

"The points to be agreed upon are clear and we can all guess what they are. Somalia wants a reunion and for all of us to be part of Somalia, [but] Somaliland wants its independence to be recognised and agreed to by the world," Silanyo said. "That is where the conflict lies, but we will not shut the door on the world. We will state our objectives, we will present and defend our case, and clearly state the position of our people."

Somalia pushes for unity

Since the September election of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the federal government has repeatedly stated that it believes firmly in keeping Somalia united through mediation. Under Somalia's new federal system of government, Somaliland would be one of several semi-autonomous regions under the national government.

"Today Somalia is not united, but we want to unite it and we will unite it. We will unify it in a peaceful manner," Mohamud said last month at the al-Jazeera Research Centre for Studies in Doha, according to Hargeisa-based Geeska Afrika Media Centre. "We do not want to unite it using military might or diplomatic pressure. We want talks to take place between Somalis."

Nonetheless, in February, a week after the arrest of a parliamentarian for treason against his native Somaliland for working in the federal government, Silanyo repeated that Somaliland is prepared to open conditional dialogue over its relationship with Somalia as long as Somaliland's independence is not up for discussion.

During his annual constitutional address before a joint session of parliament on January 30th, Silanyo reiterated Somaliland's desire for independence and said there is no other option.

Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but is still regarded as part of Somalia by Mogadishu and the international community.

"Like I have said before, if it takes 100 years to reach, the objective of Somaliland's independence is sacred, and I am confident we can overcome any challenge that we face together," Silanyo said.

"I would like us to have good relations with the new government of Somalia. I want to tell everyone that they are not the government of Somaliland, they do not govern us, and we re-established our government in 1991," he said.

"Today, we are engaged in developing our nation and getting recognition from the world. We hope that the Somali government and its people will acknowledge that we made a decision regarding the destiny of our people, that we have a right to do that and no one can force us."

Along those lines, on March 15th, Silanyo said Somaliland would not participate in the Somali conference in London scheduled for May 7th. "It is an invitation issued to the Somali government and we will not take part in an invitation extended to Somalia, for it is none of our business," he said.

Somaliland political parties, however, have not been united in supporting Silanyo's statements. While the Justice and Welfare Party has supported them, Wadani has criticised them, calling for consultations on the matter since it is an issue "linked to the people's destiny".

Remarks may hinder compromise

The contrast in rhetoric from leaders of the federal government and the Somaliland regional administration on their future relationship may damage the likelihood of any solution coming out of bilateral talks, according to University of Hargeisa professor of economics and commerce Sharmarke Abdirahman Ibrahim.

There remain weighty issues, including the belated timing of the talks, the long-term conflict with al-Shabaab in Somalia and some Somalilanders' negative attitudes towards the Mogadishu-based government, he told Sabahi.

According to the latest estimates, more than 75% of the Somaliland population consists of youths who grew up with the notion of an independent Somaliland, Ibrahim said.

"That long time [it took to start talks] resulted in a change of opinion, because young people were raised in a separate system, and this is what they think a government is," he said. "They generally do not understand the importance of an official nation-state. Therefore, if a referendum is held, it is clear where the youth vote will go."

Politicians have alienated the public, which has made it harder to bring the two sides together, said former parliamentarian Hassan Omer Hussein.

"All the problems suffered by the northern provinces have to be attributed to the government of the time," he told Sabahi, referring to former President Mohamed Siad Barre's order to bomb cities resisting his control in the 1980s, which resulted in thousands of casualties.

"The Barre government included many politicians who were originally from Somaliland working for it, some of whom are in the current and former Somaliland administration," said Hussein, who served under TFG President Ahmed's administration.

People in Somaliland should embrace the new Somali constitution, which allows regions greater autonomy under a federal system, but does not allow secession, Hussein said. "The federal [system] is beneficial to Somaliland because there will not be the previous level of assimilation, and they will get their share of any aid Somalia receives," he said.

Ismail Hussein Mohamed, an international relations student at the Hargeisa campus of New Generation University, said he has witnessed first-hand attempts to encourage Somaliland citizens' distrust towards Somalia.

Some of the methods used to instil distrust include constantly reminding Somalilanders of the past using imagery of fighter jets flying over Hargeisa and bombing its people. "It is the symbol of the hatred cultivated against the people of [southern] Somalia," he told Sabahi.

Politicians should refrain from inflammatory statements that can foster mistrust between the two sides, he said.

Somalia and the Somaliland region should continue the dialogue to clarify their future relationship, but Mohamed said he expected a final resolution to come through a vote. "It is inevitable that a public referendum will be held, which the global community will witness," he said.


Somalia:Dahabshiil is going through a bad patch- Africa Intelligence

Published On: April, 14 2013. Source:AfricaIntelligence.com. http://www.africaintelligence.com/ION/business-circles/2013/04/12/series-of-hard-blows-for-dahabshiil,107955308-ART
BUSINESS CIRCLES. n°1354 - 12/04/2013

Series of hard blows for Dahabshiil. The funds transfer company Dahabshiil, headed by Abdirashid Duale, son of the founder of Group Mohamed Said Duale, is going through a bad patch.

Until recently, Dahabshiil, a leading financial services and funds transfer company in the Horn of Africa for the Somalian Diaspora, operated throughout Somalia, even in the zones held by the Al-Shabaab radical Islamists, without encountering any major problems. However, the explosion at its Mogadishu headquarters in the Bakara market on 2 April could be a turning point for it. Since then, many of its clients have asked their relatives abroad to use a different company to send them their monthly remittance, citing security issues as the reason. Moreover, a few days before this explosion, Dahabshiil had temporarily shut ten offices in the Hiraan, Bay and Bakool regions, after the Al Shabaab had banned it from operating. The Islamists could thereby be making Dahabshiil’s founder, pay for his unflinching support for the President of Somaliland known as “”, whose government has just begun to go after radical Islamists in Hargeisa (ION 1351). To cap it all, Dahabshiil has had a new competitor for the supply of telecoms and banking services in the south and centre of Somalia. It is the group, partly owned by the former head of.


Somaliland Gets Wind In Its Sails For Revamping Power Sector

Source Guardian.co.uk. Apr 15th, 2013

The region’s antiquated, piecemeal power grid is constraining growth – but a new energy bill may change that

Engineers erect a wind turbine in Somaliland. Hargeisa wastes nearly 40% of its electricity through technical faults and antiquated materials. Photograph: Edwin Mireri

In 2009, Hassan Ahmed Hussein brought an industrial bread-making machine from abroad to install in his hotel in downtown Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. Hassan’s idea was part business, part self-interest. Wholewheat bread is not available in Somaliland, and he envisioned selling it to small-scale vendors.

He baked bread for four months before coming to the unfortunate conclusion that the machine wasn’t cost effective. Electricity in Somaliland is too expensive. While the rest of the world pays an average $0.15-0.30 per kilowatt hour, Hargeisa’s residents pay $1 per kWh.

He abandoned the bakery and, in 2009, bought a diesel generator, poles, wires and transformers to start his own power company, Iftin, which rapidly gained nearly 2,000 customers in a catchment area of 10,000 residents. He has since merged his power stations with the city’s largest provider, KAAH, and now serves more than 4,500 people on the same grid.

Hassan is not the only local power provider. There is little government support for power generation (pdf), and many of Hargeisa’s wealthy residents import diesel generators to power homes and businesses. The independent providers depend on the price of diesel and Middle East exporters.

When Somalia collapsed in 1991, wires, poles and generators in Hargeisa were taken over by the emerging Somaliland government. The new government had no money to invest in the power grid, so independent providers began to appear. As a result, a system whereby neighbours pay neighbours for electricity has gone unchecked.

Somaliland rates are high due to a disjointed network of independent providers that have their own grid and use unreliable, dilapidated equipment. Somaliland’s minister of energy, Hussein Abdi Dualeh, says the city loses nearly 40% of its electricity due to technical problems and antiquated materials.

“Hargeisa’s streets look like a plate of spaghetti. And then you add in theft and illegal connections, and these power providers are barely breaking even,” says Dualeh. “We need a legal framework to govern the sector – we need an electricity law.”

The ministry of mining, energy and water resources is finalising a draft bill designed to regulate and standardise the sector, to be submitted to parliament for review this year. The legislation was drawn up in 2011 by the energy ministry with input from suppliers as well as technical experts provided by USAid Partnership for Economic Growth.

A functioning electricity act is part of the partnership programme’s goal to strengthen private business and the investment climate. In 2011, when the programme carried out an initial assessment, most business owners – particularly small-scale industries – cited electricity rates and services as a constraint to growth. High overhead costs give local businesses fewer opportunities to compete with imports, and as a result few products are produced in Somaliland.

The new law is expected to consolidate the grids in Hargeisa, standardise infrastructure and establish safety standards.

“Nobody can guarantee that the new law will reduce rates, but it will make the sector more efficient. We believe that inefficiency is one of the reasons that rates are so high,” says Suleiman Mohamed, chief of party at the partnership programme. “Investors will be more confident to invest in a place where there is a law and accountability with legal systems.”

Hargeisa’s streets are lined with kiosks and small merchants who pay independent providers about $10 a month for one 100W lightbulb. There are no switches and the bulb burns all day and night unless somebody removes it.

“We have an inefficient, unreliable and prohibitively expensive power supply. How can you expect businesses that require a reliable electricity supply to succeed?” says Mohamed.

The energy sector has begun looking at wind and solar power as alternative sources of energy. “Renewable energy needs to be considered. Somaliland has more than 340 days of sun and some of the fastest wind in the world,” says Dualeh.

In May, the partnership programme hosted Somaliland’s first wind power investment workshop, which gathered members of the business community, government officials and investors from the diaspora. The programme used satellite imagery to create wind maps to demonstrate the country’s wind power potential. Participants calculated the differences between diesel and wind energy in terms of generation costs and revenues.

Last year, the programme began working with the energy and aviation ministries to establish a five-turbine pilot windfarm with an installed capacity of 100kW. The programme will also erect four 25-40 metre-high monitoring stations to collect data, an essential first step towards wind investments.

“If we can harness the wind, we could supplement our power supply with an economical alternative. It’s not out of reach – we just need to find the right partnership,” says Dualeh.

Hassan welcomes the pilot. “In Somaliland, there are no financial services to invest in equipment or expansion. If we had the means, we would be putting our capital into wind.”


Somalia: Ankara Meeting Agreement Pushes for Cooperation

14 APRIL 2013. Garowe Online (Garowe)http://allafrica.com/stories/201304140182.html

Mogadishu, Somalia — After a Turkish brokered meeting between President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, the heads agreed to "continuation of dialogue", according the Ankara communiqué, Garowe Online reports.

Somali Federal Government (SFG) President Hassan and the breakaway region of Somaliland's President Silanyo met in Ankara on Saturday. In the Ankara communiqué the two officials agreed to continue the dialogue and cooperate on the security sector.

According to a SFG source, one of the key points in the agreement was to "encourage and facilitate international aid and development provided to Somaliland."

According to the source, the main reason for the meeting which was brokered by Turkey after the Somaliland government requested it, was to establish grounds for Turkish oil exploration in the contested regions of Somaliland.

Genel - a Turkish oil exploration and production company - has stake in five blocks in the contested regions of northern Somalia. The company shares stock with Australian Oil Company Jacka Resources and Petrosoma.

Some of the regions in which the oil exploration companies have bought stake in have been contested by Puntland and Somaliland and the local militia. Many residents of the regions have been very outspoken of the presence of the Somaliland military in the regions.

In January, the Somaliland government exchanged in clashes with local militia in Hudun, a town still not under the authority of the Somaliland government resulting in many Somaliland troops injured in the gunfight.

After much rumors that the Somaliland government would accept joining Somalia, President Silanyo stated after the meeting in Ankara that his government would not waver on their stance.

"The international community will understand the position of our [Somaliland] independence and we will not rethink," said President Silanyo after asked the importance of the meeting.

The two heads agreed to meet within 90 days to further discussions.


Challenges to the Reconstruction of the Somali State: From a Unitary to a Federal State[pdf]

15 Apr 2013. Read the full report. By IHASA research team

Introduction

The report explores state building in Somalia, and the challenges the country faces in moving ahead from a highly centralized unitary government to a federal system. The 1988 war against the Somali National Movement (SNM) in Northern Somalia and the 1991 ruinous civil war in South Somalia, which resulted in the death of thousands of innocent civilians and massive displacement of urban dwellers, (Kaptjein, 2013) have fundamentally altered the assumption that Somalia (one language, one ethnic, and a potentially unified culture) is a cohesive society because of its homogeneity. The civil war heightened clan animosity to the benefit of the country’s political elite who used it as a tool to manipulate the affairs of the nation.

Prior to the 1991 civil war and its impacts that followed, there was an ostensible believe in the concept of having strong central government. However, more than 22 years of clan factionalism, lack of transparency, nepotism and mistrust among Somalia’s disparate clan groupings, have cracked that assumption and eventually destroyed the very social contract that hitherto bound the Somali society together. Today, there is a persistent lack of confidence in centralism in favor of decentralization.

Yet, lack of clear understanding of how to apply and manage federalism to work in Somalia’s context is pitting different political factions against one another. A major source of political factionalism is the absence of consensus on the division of power and responsibilities between the federal central authority and regional entities as well as lack of coherent guidelines for implementing the principles of the provisional federal constitution. Both issues are contributing to a stalemate in not achieving a speedy recovery, and the “rebirth of sound public institutions in Somalia.

On September 10, 2012, Somalia formed a new government led by Hassan Sheik Mohamud which was elected by a clan-based proxy parliament to rebuild a federal state of Somalia from the ashes of the civil war. However, immediately after coming to the office with high expectations, and an overwhelming support across clans, this new Somali government had faced the challenging task of sorting out priorities, and even at times set out with the wrong priorities; for example, (1) its opposition to the prior agreed on Stabilization program by the preceding Federal Transitional Government, (2) its zeal to lobby for lifting the arms embargo without having a bottom up approach to building an inclusive national army, and (3) imposing handpicked regional administrators or potential regional state leaders are a few to mention.


SOMALIA: Tougher Somaliland-Somalia talks ahead

April 14th, 2013 Commentary. http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-tougher-somaliland-somalia-talks-ahead/

Twenty two years ago president Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud (Silanyo) of Somaliland wrote a paper entitled “A Proposal To The Somali National Movement: On A Framework For A Transitional Government In Somalia. ” In the paper President Silanyo, then, former SNM Chairman, cautioned against forming a government in Mogadishu following the ouster of the military dictatorship in 1991 without consulting ‘liberation movements’, and reprisals against civilians. United Somali Congress leaders heeded neither suggestion. They formed an interim administration led by Ali Mahdi Mohamed and failed to rein in their militias, who committed widespread human rights violations. Now president Silaanyo is the first president of Somaliland to be able to hold talks with a Mogadishu-based government.

Representatives from Somaliland administration and the former Mogadishu-based Transitional Federal Government, the predecessor of Somali Federal Government, met last year under an arrangement by the British government. Federalism, on which the Somali government institutions are based, is the second factor that made the talks possible. Since Somalia’s successive federal governments have banked on the support of African forces , mostly from Somalia’s neighbouring countries in favour of a federal system for Somalia, the former Transitional Federal Government leaders refrained from policies that could destabilise Somaliland, as Wikileaks entry on the late Somali president Abdillahi Yusuf Ahmed dated 24/11/2004 has shown.

The outcome of Ankara meeting held yesterday gives strong hints about Somaliland intentions to be pragmatic about the status of the Somali Federal Government and its privileges in the international fora. Somaliland has given the Somali Federal Government the green light to ensure Somaliland gets its share of the development aid. This is a remarkable success for Somaliland since it will continue to maintain its partnership with development or multilateral agencies such as USAID, SIDA, DFID and the World Bank.

However , cooperation could be derailed by the Somali Federal Government’s drive to take advantage of its status that reinstated Somalia’s membership in such agencies as International Monetary Fund. Will the Somali Federal Government consult Somaliland administration on any talks with IMF regarding new loans for post-war reconstruction? Somali Federal Government proposals to IMF for loans will not leave out Somaliland because of sovereignty grounds but failure to discuss those issues with major stakeholders such as Somaliland could undermine all that has been achieved through talks. In other words, will Somalilandland consider legitimate agreements Somali Federal Governments signs with multilateral organisations without the input of Somaliland administration? Follow-up talks between the Somali Federal Government and Somaliland Administration have paved the way for tougher talks in the future. Decisions made in Mogadishu will affect Hargeisa politically in the near future. That is why political issues were shelved during the talks between Somali Federal Government and Somaliland administration in Ankara.

Liban Ahmad. Libahm@gmail.com


Turkish minister hosts trilateral meetings on Somaliland autonomous region

BBC Monitoring European [London] 13 Apr 2013. Anadolu (also known as Anatolia) news agency, Ankara, in English 1407 13 Apr 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

[Report by Mert Bezgin: "Turkish Foreign Minister Meets Presidents of Somali, Somaliland -Turkey Seeks Dialogue Between the African Country and Autonomous Region To Overcome Problems"]

ANKARA (AA) - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Saturday [13 April] met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and President of the autonomous region of Somaliland Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo in the second round of talks mediated by Turkey in capital Ankara.

Davutoglu gathered with Somali President Mohamud before the two joined Somaliland President Silanyo in a trilateral meeting, which was held behind closed doors.

Turkish diplomatic sources close to the meeting have said talks - the first at the presidential level - were aimed at devising dialogue channels and keeping them open to work out problems between Somalia and the autonomous region of Somaliland.

The two presidents were also scheduled to meet with their Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul as well as with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Somaliland, a former British colony, declared in 1991 independence from the Federal Republic of Somalia proclaiming the Somaliland Republic, which has been internationally unrecognised since then.

The autonomous region seeks recognition as a separate country, a demand rejected by Somalia which wants the northern region to be a part of a single Somali state.

Credit: Anadolu (also known as Anatolia) news agency, Ankara, in English 1407 13 Apr 13


IOM Somalia Supports Somaliland’s Ministry of Health’s First Ever Fitness-To-Travel Medical Training

REPORTfrom International Organization for Migration Published on 12 Apr 2013 —View Original http://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/iom-somalia-supports-somaliland%E2%80%99s-ministry-health%E2%80%99s-first-ever-fitness-travel-medical

Doctors, nurses and nurse midwives pose for a photo at the end of Somaliland’s Ministry of Health’s first ever training on fitness-to-travel medical procedures, conducted by the International Organization for Migration, IOM. Dr Samir Hadjiabduli, IOM’s Head of Sub-Office in Hargeisa, stands on the right in a blue jacket Photo by Dahir Muse Dahi

In preparation for a large-scale resettlement of internally displaced persons, the International Organization for Migration, IOM in close coordination with Somaliland’s Ministry of Health has completed the Ministry’s first ever training on fitness-to-travel medical procedures, conducted for doctors, nurses and nurse midwives from Hargeisa’s Group Hospital, the Association of Midwives and Nurses of Somaliland, and Hargeisa’s Migration Response Center.

Next week, Somaliland’s Ministry of Health and IOM in coordination with the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR; the Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC; and the Danish Refugee Council, DRC will conduct fitness-to-travel medical checks and provide medical assistance to 324 internally displaced persons, IDPs who are voluntarily returning to Baidoa in South Central Somalia from Hargeisa, Burao and Lasanod in Somaliland.

NRC and DRC are part of the Return Consortium, an initiative that was started to facilitate IDP voluntary return programming in Somalia.

Somaliland hosts a significant number of Somalis from South Central areas who were displaced from their villages due to insecurity caused by raging conflicts between militias. Some of the families being moved next week were uprooted more than 20 years ago.

Dignified and orderly voluntary resettlement of migrants like IDPs and refugees is one of IOM’s core activities. Through its migration health programme, IOM offers specialized fitness-to-travel medical tests that are intended to ensure women, men and children are healthy enough to travel.

Dr Samir Hadjiabduli, IOM Somalia’s Health Programme Officer says: “Most of the population has been displaced. Many are returning home, and fitness-to-travel medical tests are important for their well-being, and the good health of host communities.”

Prior to this training, resettlements in the past did not incorporate fitness-to-travel medical tests, leaving returnees vulnerable to easily preventable diseases, and without the support of a health professional assigned to travel with them as a ‘medical escort’.

IOM Somalia’s fitness-to-travel medical interventions are funded by the Japanese government.

For more information or for interviews, please contact Dr Samir Hadjiabduli, IOM Somalia, Tel +252 24686285 Email: shadjiabduli@iom.int


Somalia: Gunmen Attack Somaliland Official Convoy, Kill Soldier

Sabahi. 04/12/2013

Gunmen and Somaliland military police clashed on Wednesday (April 10th) after gunmen attacked an official convoy near Burao, resulting in the death of a police officer and a gunman.

Three gunmen ambushed the vehicles of Minister of Livestock Abdi Aw Dahir, Togdheer Governor Ahmed Omer Haji Abdullahi and Burao Mayor Mohamed Yusuf Murad, according to Director General of the Ministry of Livestock Mohamud Ahmed Agaweyne.

The officials were returning from inaugurating a project to create enclosed grazing grounds for livestock during the dry seasons in the Aroori plains, 15 kilometres southwest of Burao. "The gunmen were protesting the enclosures the ministry was creating to benefit livestock during droughts and also to treat livestock," Agaweyne told Sabahi

One captured gunman and the two bodies were taken to Burao, Dahir said. The third gunman escaped.

Dahir sent condolences to the family and relatives of the officer who died.


Casualty features female genital mutilation in episodes

Khadija was circumcised in Somalia when she was 11 years old

BBC Radio. 04/12/2013

Casualty has become the first mainstream drama on British TV to feature a story about female genital mutilation. It's a practice used in some cultures for hygiene reasons or to make sure the woman is faithful to a future husband.

It was made illegal in Britain almost 30 years ago.

However, although there is evidence some young girls are still having it done to them, no-one has been prosecuted yet.

The second part of the storyline this weekend will show a young girl's battle to save her younger sister from having a female circumcision in a back street clinic.

The writers worked closely with charities who help real victims.

Khadija was circumcised at the age of 11 in war-torn Somalia.

Now 17 and living in west London, she explained why she decided to have it done.

"In Somalia circumcision is a must for every female, without which you will not be suitable for marriage," she said.

"Most of my friends had gone through it and wanting to fit in the group I also wanted to go through it."

'Pain'

Her mother arranged it despite initially not wanting her to have the operation.

It is often carried out in Africa without anaesthetic.

"There's a time I believed I was dying, it's so hard to describe the pain, it was so hard," said Khadija.

"I decided to speak to my mum," she said. "She decided to deny it at first, but finally she told the truth.

"She said she didn't want to do it but because of my father she had done it and she felt very bad.

"I felt upset at the fact I didn't know before. I was angry at the whole practice. My father was well educated and I was angry he had put me through this."

Fatou now works with and supports young women in the UK who are affected.

Both women said they hoped the plot on Casualty would raise awareness of the issue.

The second part of the Casualty storyline airs on BBC One at 9.10pm on Saturday 13 April


Turkey To Host Three-way Talks With Presidents of Somalia, Somaliland.

Source: Today's Zaman (Turkey) Apr 10, 2013

Turkey will hold a meeting with leaders of Somalia and Somalia's autonomous Somaliland region in ?stanbul on April 13, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

A senior Turkish diplomat who spoke to Today's Zaman on the condition of anonymity stated that after the tripartite meeting, which will also be attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Somaliland President Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo may also come together in a tête-à-tête meeting, adding that the two leaders may also hold talks with Turkish officials in Ankara after their meeting in istanbul.

“Turkey will hold a tripartite meeting with the two leaders in order to facilitate the dialogue between them. This is the first meeting of its kind between the two leaders and Turkey is very pleased that the meeting is taking place in istanbul. Turkey is ready to do its part for the maintenance of the dialogue between the two leaders. We are facilitating rather than mediating with this meeting,” said the diplomat.

Somaliland unilaterally declared its independence as a de facto sovereign state in 1991 after a coalition of clan-based armed opposition groups ousted the nation's long-standing military government. The area is internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia.

According to the diplomat, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may also come together with the two leaders if his schedule permits.

During his first diplomatic visit to Turkey in late December after taking office, Mohamud expressed his gratitude to the Turkish government and the nation for their support and aid and for instilling hope in Somalis. Mohamud, Somalia's president since last September, was invited to Turkey by his counterpart, President Abdullah Gül.

Silanyo visited Turkey in mid-March to have talks with Turkish officials, including Davutolu, who pledged to increase aid efforts to Somaliland. During his visit, Silanyo was also scheduled to meet with Erdogan; however, the meeting had to be canceled due to Erdogan's poor health. The diplomat stated that five ministers from the Somaliland side also attended the Davuto?lu-Silanyo meeting, which was closed to the press.

Following the meeting between Davutoglu and Silanyo, the delegations came together over a working meal. According to the diplomat, the sides discussed the projects of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TKA) and other Turkish nongovernmental organizations in Somaliland. “The Turkish foreign minister pledged to increase Turkey's aid efforts in all regions of Somalia, including Somaliland. He also underlined that Somaliland is of great importance to Turkey due to historical ties that have existed since the Ottoman era,” said the diplomat.

According to the diplomat, Davuto?lu also pledged to continue his support for the reconciliation, stability, prosperity and development of Somalia. During the meeting, he also emphasized Turkey's commitment to the integrity of Somalia, said the source.

Aid from Turkey in the aftermath of the 2011 famine in Somalia, the opening of the Turkish Embassy in Mogadishu in November 2011 and a visit by Erdo?an in August 2011 to the country provided momentum for the relationship between Turkey and Somalia.


Silanyo attends Somalia-Somaliland region talks in Turkey

Sabahi, April 10, 2013

Somaliland regional President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo travelled to Turkey on Monday (April 8th) to attend the second phase of Somalia-Somaliland talks.

Silanyo's delegation includes Speaker of Parliament Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Abdullahi Omar, Minister of State Hirsi Ali Haji Hassan, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Mohamud Ahmed Barre, Minister of Justice Hussein Ahmed Aideed, First Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Mohamed Farah, and opposition Justice and Welfare Party chairman Faisal Ali Warabe.

"We will go anywhere we are invited that is to our benefit," Silanyo said.

Silanyo said his administration was not ready for full unity with the Somali government and was still pursuing recognition as a sovereign state. Although Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991, the international community still regards it as part of Somalia.

"The points to be agreed upon are clear and we can all guess what they are. Somalia wants a reunion and for all of us to be part of Somalia, [but] Somaliland wants its independence to be recognised and agreed to by the world," Silanyo said. "That is where the conflict lies, but we will not shut the door on the world. We will state our objectives, we will present and defend our case, and clearly state the position of our people."


Somaliland: Prince Claus Award to honour Mohamed Warsame Hadraawi

Slightly condensed by medeshivalley.com. Tuesday, 09 April 2013

Somalilandsun - Prince Claus Award will honour the works of Mohamed Warsame Hadraawi in a ceremony to be held in Hargeisa, Somaliland on the 17th of April 2013 reports www.medeshivalley.com

The award will specially be given for the latest book by Hadraawi : The Man and the Poet in addition to his profound and beautiful poems. The book will also be launched on the same day.

Prince Claus Award committee said that " Mr. Hadraawi is honoured for creating profound and beautiful poems that enrich and expand the centuries-old oral poetry tradition that is central to contemporary Somali culture and identity, for sustaining shared historical awareness and include discourse in divisive times, for his lifelong commitment to community development and social justice, and for building bridges, providing inspiration and promoting peace.

About Prince Claus Awards :

The Prince Claus Awards are presented annually to individuals and organisations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean for their outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development and the positive effect of their work on their direct environment and the wider cultural or social field. Quality is a sine qua non for an award.

The Prince Claus Fund presents one Principal Prince Claus Award of €100.000 and ten Prince Claus Awards of €25.000. The Principal Award is presented to the laureate in Amsterdam by one of the Fund's Honorary Chairmen in the presence of the Royal Family. The other ten awards are presented by the Dutch ambassador in the countries where the laureates live and work in order to increase local impact.

I. The Prince Claus Awards Committee

The Prince Claus Awards Committee consists of independent experts from different countries representing a broad range of disciplines. The Awards Committee provides advice to the Board on the annual selection of the laureates. The members of the Awards Committee provide their services voluntarily for a term of two years. This term can be extended by two more years.

The Prince Claus Awards Publication

The Fund publishes an annual Awards book in which the laureates of that year are presented through photos of their work and laudations written by experts in their fields.

References : Prince Claus Award site

The Prince Claus Awards honour outstanding achievements in the field of culture and development. The awards are presented annually to 11 individuals or organisations whose cultural actions have a positive impact on the development of their societies.

In keeping with the Prince Claus Fund's guiding principle that culture is a basic need, the awards highlight significant achievements in areas where resources and opportunities for cultural expression, creative production and research are limited and cultural heritage is threatened.


Conflict in North Somalia: “Congo” Style War for Resources

By Mahdi Ali.Global Research, April 09, 2013
Region: sub-Saharan Africa
Theme: Oil and Energy, United Nations
http://www.globalresearch.ca/conflict-in-north-somalia-congo-style-war-for-resources/5330627

On Monday the 5th of November 2012, Somaliland forces mounted an offensive [1] against Khatumo state forces based in Hudun town.

Hudun[2] town is situated in the western parts of Sool province, in what was a relatively peaceful area of Northern Somalia.

Pro Somaliland media outlets reported [3] that “the skirmishes” were the result of elements who were trying to intimidate voters in the “local elections [4]” that was held in Somaliland. However the offensive launched by Somaliland on the 5th of November proved to be just the start of what would be a prolonged offensive campaign waged by Somaliland on Khatumo State forces based in Hudun town.

Repeated [5] clashes followed on the 28th of November, the 1st, 31st of December, the 23th, 24th of January, the 1st, 13th of February 2013, with the most recent one being on the 8th of March. The offensive on the 8th of March followed the press release [6] by Jacka resources on 6th March of large structural petroleum prospects in North Somalia.

In three months’ time Somaliland attacked Hudun a total of nine times. Sources close to Somaliland have confirmed Somaliland is planning a new major offensive. In spite of Somaliland’s continued offensive, Khatumo remains in firm control of Hudun town.

Illegitimate Oil Deals

Prior to the start of its offensive on the 5th of November, Somaliland signed a deal [7] on the 30th of October 2012 with Genel Energy Plc to drill two wells for Oil in Northwestern Somalia, on two blocks assigned by Somaliland. Soon after the deal Somaliland militia headed towards Hudun and attacked the town.

Hudun town is situated on the Nugaal block [8], one of the blocks to be drilled for oil.

The Nugaal block is a stretch of land situated in the regions of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (Buhoodle town) in short the SSC [9] regions, and to a lesser extend Nugaal region. The Nugaal block has been sold [10] to oil companies by both Somaliland and Puntland. Somaliland has sold the land to Genel Energy led by Tony Hayward, the former BP CEO, who headed BP during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. Puntland has sold the land to Horn Petroleum.

However both entities do not control or have minimal control of the Nugaal Block, with the later having no physical presence at all in the SSC region. There are also claims being made by large international oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell [11], who possess old oil exploration licenses granted by the former Somali government of Major General Mohamed Siad Barre. The SSC region is not only rich in Oil but also has large reserves of Tin, Iron Ore, Zircominium, Copper, Cobalt and Chromium.

The Nugaal Block is largely controlled [12] by Khatumo State and cannot be sold to any foreign company without the consent of Khatumo State, that represents the aspirations of the local population.

Investors in companies who claim to have bought the rights to explore Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) from either Somaliland or Puntland should be informed about the facts on the ground, and the conflict that these oil deals have caused. Any funds disbursed to these two entities for drilling rights on the Nugaal block can be considered as an squandered investment and a lack of due diligence on the part of these companies.

The Nugaal block is the most sought out by the oil companies, with prospective resources of 4.1 Billion barrels of oil.

Extraction of Oil and Minerals can only be done with the support of the local population represented by Khatumo State of Somalia.

The War Waged against Khatumo State and the SSC population

Puntland and Somaliland have been waging war against each-other in the SSC regions for a decade [13] now, and in the last three years against [14] Khatumo State of Somalia and its predecessor SSC.

Khatumo State of Somalia was created on the 12th of January 2012, in the historic town of Taleh [15]. The officials of Khatumostate of Somalia [16] have been elected and endorsed by the civil society at large including the 13 Garaads of the SSC regions (prominent elders of SSC), women associations and business groups.

Since the creation of Khatumo State of Somalia and its predecessor SSC, Somaliland and Puntland have moved closer to each-other and have formed an alliance to fully eliminate any party that may challenge their claims to these regions. This alliance culminated into a coordinated [17] attack on Khatumo State forces on the 28th of June 2012 by Puntland and Somaliland on Tukaraq a small village in Sool region, situated 15 Miles from Garowe, the capital of Puntland. The presumption in the SSC regions is that Puntland and Somaliland have divided the area between themselves.

Since the capture of Lasanod by Somaliland on the 5th of October 2007, there has been a relentless war against the local population. The war waged by Somaliland includes the targeting of food convoys, sexual violence [18], arbitrary excecutions of nomads [19] and their animals with mobile units of technicals mounted with machine guns. The wars waged by Somaliland in Buhoodle district alone have resulted in the displacement of 150,000 residents as reported [20] by the UN monitoring group on Somalia and Eritrea. These fleeing civilians end up in villages and cities where safety is provided by Khatumo State of Somalia or end up in refugee camps in Kenya.

The displacement of civilians from their homes and livelihoods by Somaliland is the main cause of loss of life in the Northern region of Somalia. The war in the SSC region will continue and accelerate in the near future while Somaliland is trying to secure these regions for seismic surveys on the ground and eventually drilling.

Despite Somaliland’s continues offensive it has been losing ground to Khatumo State that has the support of the local population.

The role of the International community and the UN

The UN has undertaken various governance and law programmes in Somaliland, including the training [21] of Special police units, maritime police and the donating of vehicles [22]. The aim of these governance programs is to increase the efficiency and the effectiveness of the security forces thereby “increasing security” in “Somaliland”.

These programs do not take into account the war waged by Somaliland on Khatumo State and the SSC population. Increasing the effectiveness of the security means increasing their ability to wage war. At the start of 2012, Somaliland started to use its newly acquired equipment and training received to attack Buhoodle district.

The UN is aware of the war that Somaliland is waging in the SSC region but is still committed to funding “governance and law” programs in Somaliland and has even increased funding for these kind of projects for 2013. Through the UN, the United Kingdom and to a lesser extend the European Union have been the biggest donors to Somaliland. The budget of Somaliland depends on the funds made available by the International community.

The United Kingdom has been informed [23] of the war waged by Somaliland by the SSC diaspora living in the United Kingdom and is well aware of Somaliland’s war against Khatumo State of Somalia and its people. However it has promised increased funding [24] to Somaliland. One has to question why the United Kingdom is funding Somaliland while it is waging war in the SSC regions of Somalia.

Although there has been a decade of war in North Somalia (Somaliland), there is a media blackout of the conflict. Many media outlets even portray Somaliland as an oases of Peace in Northern Somalia, with the BBC leading the way.

Khatumo State and the SSC population

Khatumo State of Somalia and the population living in the SSC regions are aware that the war is not only about Somaliland wanting to secede, but that it is increasingly a war for resources. Somaliland has been able to promote itself as being in full control of the SSC region to oil companies, and is actively seeking to “sell” land to these companies. The international community is keen to explore these resources.

The war in the SSC regions is developing into a war for the resources of North Somalia. The human and material cost suffered by the SSC population is of no relevance to Somaliland and the oil companies.

Khaatumo State and the SSC population are aware that the resources on their land can either be a blessing or a curse. Today Khaatumo State controls the majority of the SSC regions and is actively working towards the development of the region. It is the right of the people of Khaatumo State to choose their own destiny, and to develop their own land.

Notes

1. ”Somaliland troops clash with rebels in Hudun”. http://somaliamediamonitoring.org. 6 November 2012. Retrieved 30 March, from http://somaliamediamonitoring.org/november-6-2012-daily-monitoring-report/
2. Location Hudun, see: http://www.gomapper.com/travel/where-is/hudun-nugaal-located.html
3. ”Somaliland: Skirmishes in Hudun as Polling gets underway”. http://somalilandpress.com. 5 November 2012. Retrieved 30 March, from http://somalilandpress.com/somaliland-skirmishes-in-hudun-as-polling-gets-underway-38009
4. The local election held in Somaliland in 2012, was largely of tribal nature were each sub clan of the ruling Isaaq clan of Somaliland had its own party. The 4 (Dhulbahante, Gadabuursi, Issa, and Warsangali) other clans of Somaliland did not participate and were not represented during the local election. See Steve Kibble. “Preparing for local elections in Somaliland”.http://www.progressio.org.uk. Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.progressio.org.uk/sites/progressio.org.uk/files/Preparing-for-local-elections-Sld-2012.pd
5. Repeated clashes, see: “Fighting erupts in Hudun district, Sool region”. http://www.bar-kulan.com. 28 November 2012. Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.bar-kulan.com/2012/11/28/fighting-erupts-in-hudun-district-sool-region/, “Somaliland (Somalia) 1 Dec 2012?. http://www.crisisgroup.org. 1 December 2012. Retrieved 30 March, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/crisiswatch/crisiswatch-database.aspx?CountryIDs={F8A09CE3-0615-4CBA-9EC7-7DCC2A088A7E}, “War in Xudun” (Somali language). http://www.lasanod.com. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 30 March, from www.lasanod.com/details.php?wararPage=12&num=8520, “War in Xudun” (Somali language).http://www.lasanod.com. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.lasanod.com/details.php?wararPage=6&num=8637, “Somaliland:Khatumo Militias Dislodged from Hudun Bases”. http://somalilandsun.com. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 30 March, from http://samotalis.blogspot.nl/2013/01/somalilandkhatumo-militias-dislodged.html, “Somaliland Army Crush Khatumo Aligned Militiamen”. somaliamediamonitoring.org. 24 January 2013. Retrieved 30 March, from http://somaliamediamonitoring.org/january-25-2013-daily-monitoring-report/, “Somaliland (Somalia) 1 Feb 2013?.http://www.crisisgroup.org. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 30 March, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/crisiswatch/crisiswatch-database.aspx?CountryIDs={F8A09CE3-0615-4CBA-9EC7-7DCC2A088A7E}, “North Somalia: Somaliland Militia & Khatumo State Forces Clash in Hudun Town, Sool Region, Somalia February 13. 2013?. http://awdalstatenews.com. 13 February 2013. Retrieved 30 March, from http://awdalstatenews.com/north-somalia-somaliland-militia-khatumo-state-forces-clash-in-hudun-town-sool-region-somalia-february-13-2013/, “Somaliland: clashes between army and khaatumo separatist group militiamen in Hudun town”. http://beforeitsnews.com. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March, from http://beforeitsnews.com/war-and-conflict/2013/03/somaliland-clashes-between-army-and-khaatumo-separatist-group-militiamen-in-hudun-town-2445388.html
6. Bevis,Yeo. “Jacka Resources finds promising structures in Somaliland petroleum block”.http://www.proactiveinvestors.com.au. 6 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March, from
7. ”Turkish firm eyes Somaliland”. http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-firm-eyes-somaliland.aspx?pageID=238&nid=33524
8. ”Nogal and Dharoor valley blocks”. http://www.africaoilcorp.com. Retrieved 30 March, fromhttp://www.africaoilcorp.com/s/Nogal.asp
9. SSC region, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:SSC_Somalia/Sandbox1
10. Kelly Gilblom. “Row between Somali regions slows oil exploration”. http://uk.reuters.com. 11 May 2012. Retrieved 30 March, from http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/05/11/somalia-oil-idUKL5E8GB3LG20120511
11. Jon Kamp. http://www.foxbusiness.com. 21 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March, fromhttp://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2013/03/21/royal-dutch-shell-ceo-highlights-somalia-holdings/
12. Political map of Somalia, see: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9f/Somalia_map_states_regions_districts.png
13. For an analysis, see: Markus V. Hoehne. “Puntland and Somaliland Clashing in Northern Somalia: Who Cuts the Gordian Knot?” http://hornofafrica.ssrc.org. 7 November 2007. Retrieved 30 March, from http://hornofafrica.ssrc.org/Hoehne/
14. Mark Anderson. “Somaliland clashes with secessionists” http://www.reuters.com. 10 February 2012. Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/10/somalia-conflict-idUSL2E8D9BN420120210
15. Historic town of Taleh, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taleh
16. “What is Khatumo State”. http://www.somaliareport.com. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2013, from http://www.somaliareport.com/index.php/post/3271/What_is_Khatumo_State
17. Abdinur Elmi Qaaje. Khatumo State of Somalia. “Joint war Waged by Somaliland and Puntland Administrations on Khatumo State of Somalia”. 28 June 2012. Retrieved 30 March, from http://lasanod.com/details.php?wararPage=3&num=7679
18 Osman Hassan. “Somaliland occupying militia gang-rape 13-year old girl in Sool”. http://khatumo.net. 30 December 2012. Retrieved 04 April 2013 from http://khatumo.net/?p=1363. Dalmar Kaahin, a pro Somaliland reports of 13 old being raped. “Somaliland: the Violent Militant, Khatumo’s “Press Release” Back Fires”. http://somalilandpress.com. Retrieved 30 March, from http://somalilandpress.com/somaliland-the-violent-militant-khatumo%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cpress-release%E2%80%9D-back-fires-39179
19 “Warlord Siilaanyo & His Somaliland Killing KHaatumo Civilians”. http://www.dhanbaal.com. 26 January 2012.
Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.dhanbaal.com/main/index.php?module=News&func=display&sid=1571
20 Matt Bryden, Coordinator Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea. “Letter dated 20 June 2011 from the members of the Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea addressed to the Chairman of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 (2009) concerning Somalia and Eritrea”. Page 130. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/2011/433
21 Yusuf M Hasan. “Somaliland: UK Trained Resistant Reaction Police Unit Graduate”. http://www.somalilandsun.com. 15 March 2012. Retrieved 30 March, from http://index.php/politics/402- somaliland-uk-trained-resistant-reaction-police-unit-graduate, Colonel S. R. Roberts. “Conference on capacity- building to Counter Piracy off the coast of Somalia”. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.imo.org/MediaCentre/HotTopics/piracy/Documents/UNPOS.pdf
22 “UNDP donates vehicles to Somaliland police, judiciary”. Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.mareeg.com/fidsan.php?sid=6272&tirsan=3
23 Alex Milan Tracy. “Somali’s demonstrate against Somaliland’s war on SSC people”. http://www.demotix.com. 5 March 2011. Retrieved 30 March, from http://www.demotix.com/news/612059/somalis-demonstrate-against- somalilands-war-ssc-people#media-612064
24 “UK increases aid to Somalia”. http://somalilandpress.com. Retrieved 30 March, from http://somalilandpress.com/uk-increases-aid-to-somalia-20537


Somaliland leader will quash opposition to mineral, oil prospecting

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 08 Apr 2013. Midnimo.com website in Somali 8 Apr 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

In a circular issued by his office, the president of the self proclaimed Republic of Somaliland has warned that his administration will take lawful steps against those who attempt to bar oil and minerals prospecting by some companies in the country, reported privately-owned Midnimo website on 8 April.

The document is said to have been issued in response to residents uprising against oil prospecting by certain companies in their home areas within the Republic of Somaliland.

In the circular, President Muhammad Mahmud alias Silaanyo goes on to quote articles in the Somaliland constitution that justify prospecting for these natural resources by the administration for the benefit of the nation and sternly warns against public interference.

Somaliland's security forces are authorized to "take lawful steps against anyone who opposes, initiates communal mobilization in these districts or any preparations conflicting with peace" the source quotes.

Somaliland's government functions as a separate and independent state which benefits from overall peace and development despite south-central Somalia's decades long civil war.


SOMALIA: The motive behind Somalia-Somaliland talks in Turkey

By: Abdalle Ahmed. RBC Radio. http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/04/somalia-the-motive-behind-somalia-somaliland-talks-in-turkey/ April 7th, 2013

Mogadishu (RBC) Both Somalia’s federal government and the northern break away region of Somaliland have accepted to attend newly established talks in Turkey changing the talks table from London to Istanbul.

In a press conference in Hargeysa last week, Somaliland foreign minister Mohamud Abdullahi Omar confirmed that Somaliland administration has received the invitation letter from the Turkish prime minister to come to Turkey for talks with the Somali federal government.

He pointed out that Turkish role was very clear due to its interest towards Somali territory.

In 2012, both sides have started the first formal talks in London and were mediated by the British government but the minister did not make clear why the talks were transferred from London to Istanbul. The Somaliland voice came days after the administration has rejected to participate the upcoming London Conference on Somalia.

According to sources the new round of the talks between Somalia federal government and Somaliland administration were still the works of the Britons. The British pressured Somaliland either to attend to London Conference II which is dated on May 7th, or agree to some sort of meeting with Somali Federal Government prior to the conference. This will give the upcoming conference some sort of unanimity for the Internationals to see. Meaning, that Somali Federal Government is for all the country, Puntland is here and the missing Somalilanders are not here for technical reasons but they were in Istanbul just yesterday.

Somaliland demands

With due to the pressure from British government, the Somaliland administration has principally agreed the nature of the negotiation but has brought conditions, which include;-
- That Somali Federal Government led by president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud should recognize “crimes committed” against the people in Somaliland.
- That the talks between the two sides [Somali Federal Government and Somaliland] will focus on areas of cooperation such as borders, security and trade.
- That no discussions on sovereignty, unity etc will be put in the agenda.

On its turn, the British government suggested that the two sides’ talks should be held in one of the following countries Qatar, UAE or Turkey to avoid that new talks might taint London atmosphere days before the London Conference II, whereby the two sides finally agreed to hold talks in Turkey.

Meanwhile London suggested that the Final Communique of the Turkey meeting will be drafted between Somali Federal Government, UK, Somaliland and some input from Turkey in the development areas as the outcome shall be one of positive. Meanwhile all sides were asked to submit their inputs before April 15.

According to a diplomatic sources Somali Federal Government is reportedly on hectic days on the internal disputes with Jubbaland administration formation process and by that way Turkish government will submit on its behalf.


SOMALILAND: DEFUSING TENSION AROUND NATURAL RESOURCES

http://www.interpeace.org/2011-08-08-15-19-20/latest-news/416-somaliland-defusing-tension-around-natural-resources

03 April 2013 - Recently, in the north-east of Somaliland, a local conflict over land and resources such as pasture and water threatened to destabilize the entire region as it degenerated into a spiral of revenge killings between two sub-clans. Interpeace's local partner, the Academy for Peace and Development (APD), was called upon by the Minister of Defence, Ahmed Haji Ali (Adami), who hails from the area of conflict, to organize a mediation meeting between clan elders to defuse the tension and put an end to the feud. This reconciliation initiative enabled the clans to reach an agreement that, it is hoped, will restore access to resources and foster peace in the region.

A threat to regional security

The Sanaag Region is a major multi-communal hub, the point of convergence of four clans, and tensions dating back to the Somali civil war still persist. However, thanks to reconciliation efforts by the local clan elders themselves, the situation in the region has been relatively calm for the last two decades, and disputes are often successfully mediated locally before they can escalate. In 2010, however, a disagreement over access to water led to the death of a man, which in turn triggered a series of revenge killings between two sub-clans.

Despite local-level mediation efforts, the violence continued to escalate. By the end of 2012, ten people had lost their lives, and the two clans were beginning to mobilize forces in earnest. This not only disrupted the livelihoods of the nomadic populations of the region, but also threatened to have broader political implications: one of the clans involved has generally aligned itself with Somaliland, whereas the other clan leans more towards Puntland. Therefore, a peacebuilding intervention was called for to avoid the risk of drawing the armed forces of both states into the conflict.

Addressing root causes

It was at this pivotal time that APD was approached independently by the Minister of Defence, the Governor of Sanaag and several clan leaders to assist with the organization of a mediation conference. The conference opened in January and brought together government officials and 50 clan elders from the two sub-clans and clans involved in the conflict as well as from the two other clans present in the region, who were neutral in this instance.

"It was important that the outcome of the meeting address the roots of the conflict," explains a participant in the conference. "The opportunity was used not only to resolve this dispute and decide on compensation measures, but also to commit to upholding peace and reach an agreement on access to grazing land and water points."

Reconciliation driven by community leaders

During the conference, it was very clear that the elders were preoccupied with the conflict and attached great importance to its resolution, as well as to the preservation of peace in the future. The mediation confirmed that the clans are generally committed to maintaining peaceful relations but sometimes simply need a bit of extra assistance to put their dispute settlement efforts on track. The support provided by APD was, therefore, instrumental in reinforcing existing conflict-resolution mechanisms.


Somaliland court commutes death penalty sentences

April 03, 2013. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2013/04/03/newsbrief-04

The High Court of Somaliland's Armed Forces has commuted the sentences of 22 civilians convicted in May of attacking a military camp, 17 of whom had been sentenced to death, Somalia's Qaran News reported Tuesday (April 2nd).

The 17 civilians who faced death by firing squad will serve 20-year jail terms, and five minors originally sentenced to life in prison will be jailed for a minimum of 15 years.

The prisoners were convicted of attacking a military base in Hargeisa's Sodanta area last year in a dispute over the use of land between the community and the military. The shootout left three soldiers and four attackers dead.


Somalia: Hargeisa Court Sentences Cleric to Year in Prison

1 APRIL 2013. Sabahi (Washington, DC) http://allafrica.com/stories/201304020047.html

A court in Hargeisa sentenced on Sunday (March 31st) Sheikh Mohamud Abdullahi Gelle to one year in prison and fined him $150 for crimes against the Somaliland regional government and forming a religious political party, Somalia's RBC Radio reported.

Hargeisa Regional Court Judge Osman Ibrahim Dahir announced the verdict following a closed session. Gelle's lawyer said he had been given no opportunity to question the ruling.

Gelle was arrested in December 2012 days after forming the Hisbullah party in Hargeisa. He had been taken to court several times since then, but the hearings always adjourned without a verdict.


Skills training leads to entrepreneurship in Somalia

REPORTfrom Adeso Published on 26 Mar 2013 —View Original 31 Mar 2013. http://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/skills-training-leads-entrepreneurship-somalia

by Abdurahman Ahmed Derie & Ariel Delaney

19-year-old Farduus Mohamed Ali Shire lives in Hingalool village with her mother, father, four brothers and five sisters. Hingalool is situated in Sanaag, Northern Somalia; a region with a history of recurrent droughts. Due to its geographical location, it is also prone to floods. The volatile conditions make it very hard for families to maintain their livestock holdings, and the village now houses a high number of pastoralist families, forced to give up their livelihoods because of the conditions. As the population goes up, access to livelihood opportunities and resources goes down. Hingalool suffers from a lack of adequate health care facilities, poor infrastructure and low levels of education. Despite the conditions, most households rely on income from pastoral activities to meet their household needs.

Before Adeso’s intervention, Farduus and her family depended on her father’s wages from laboring in Hingalool village. It was not a secure livelihood as bookings were sporadic, so the family also relied on gifts from relatives to meet their basic needs. Farduus used to attend primary school until her family’s financial circumstances forced her to drop out.

In 2010, Adeso partnered Save the Children UK to implement the Social Safety Nets (SSN) project. The intervention targeted vulnerable households in northern regions of Somalia with the aim of reducing community vulnerability to food insecurity. SSN targeted 2200 households: 1200 for monthly unconditional cash relief payments and 1000 for skills training/cash grants to start small businesses.

Handicraft skills training classes were a key part of the SSN initiative, and when Adeso proposed classes in Hingalool village, Farduus saw an opportunity to help her family. Community members were targeted using Adeso’s unique inclusive community based targeting (ICBT) approach, leading to a village relief committee (VRC) formed by community members. The VRC then identified and selected skills trainees from amongst the most vulnerable community members.

Farduus was selected for training classes to establish basic tailoring skills. At the end of the course, participants received a start-up grant of $380 USD to market their newly acquired skills. Farduus used some of the money to purchase a sewing machine, and now serves customers daily with a fully operational business, “Deq’s Tailor Business”, located in Hingalool’s village center. Farduus has now covered her outlay costs and is making enough profit to support her family. By increasing her household income, she can now purchase food, milk and cover water expenses for her family. Farduus aims to continue promoting her new business and is confident that “Deq’s” will grow in the future.

SSN activities in Hingalool ended in February 2013. However, Adeso is transitioning to phase II of the SSN intervention to continue addressing the needs of the region. SSN II specifically targets communities identified as those most vulnerable to food insecurity within Sool Plateau and Hingalool village is just one of the communities that will be targeted.


Somaliland:Chevron and Exxon Mobil are interested to take over GENEL energy after Somaliland Oil rush.

30 March 2013. Source ;Telegraph .co.uk Source: http://www.directorstalk.com/chevronexxon-mobil-are-interested-to-take-over-genel-energy-after-somaliland-oil-rush/

According to newswires Chevron are negotiating with Genel to go back to Somaliland and to take over GENEL ENERGY here is the agreement that was signed by SIAD barre regime and Chevron almost thirty yers ago “Chevron International Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Chevron Corp., today announced the signing of a concession agreement with the government of the Somali Democratic Republic. The oil exploration agreement covers a three-block area in the Guban area of SomalilandThe concession blocks lie along the northwest coast of Somalia, both onshore and offshore extending into the Gulf of Aden. The concession encompasses approximately 40,509 sq. km., or 10,009,744 acres. Geophysical surveys will be undertaken during the first two years of the concession term, with exploratory drilling to follow”. Genel Energy has some very significant oil reserves and some exciting exploration licences but its share price has been dogged by political issues between Iraq’s central government and the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.

However, these issues should be resolved in time and its African exploration programme has significant upside. The company also has $1bn (£662m) of cash sitting in the bank.

Genel is the largest oil producer in Iraq’s Kurdish region. The company was formed by the reversal of private Turkish group Genel Enerji into cash shell Vallares, which raised $2bn on listing. It has an experienced management team, with former BP boss Tony Hayward in the chief executive’s seat and former senior Goldman Sachs banker Julian Metherell in the finance director’s chair.

There is no doubt the oil assets controlled by the company are significant and relatively easy to extract. However, wrangling between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) over the mechanism for sharing revenues has rumbled on for quite some time.

It is in the interests of all parties involved to resolve this issue and start exports, so oil can be sold in international markets at international rates. Until then, Genel is selling oil at lower prices into the local market and shipping some out in trucks via Turkey.

Hopes are rising that a deal can be struck, and Mr Hayward recently told Questor he expected the issue to be sorted out sooner rather than later.

A major catalyst for Genel’s share price would be an agreement that will allow a proposed pipeline to be built between Turkey and Kurdistan.

The bilateral deal has been under negotiation between the two countries for some time and includes pipeline construction, a gas sales agreement and the awarding of exploration licences in Kurdistan to a Turkish company.

Of course, this is out of the control of Genel’s management. But the factors they have under their control appear to be going well. Genel swung to a $76m profit in 2012, its first full year as a listed company, and, in order to diversify out of Kurdistan, the company has bought exploration licences in Morocco, Somaliland, Malta and Ivory Coast.

The oil group’s “proven, probable and possible” reserves have risen from 1.6bn to 5.4bn barrels.

Oil output is expected to edge higher to between 45,000 and 55,000 barrels per day (bpd) in 2013 from 44,500 barrels in 2012, should exports remain restricted.

However, if the group could export its production, output could be ramped up to 80,000 bpd in a relatively short time.

A series of four wells are scheduled to be drilled in Kurdistan, which could mean Genel booking more reserves, and there is the prospect of the first commercial oil production from Miran in Kurdistan this year.

Genel is also securing a rig to drill a multi-well campaign on its African licences, although we should not expect significant news flow on this until next year. Should no more suitable acquisitions be found, a substantial part of the $1bn cash pile will be returned to shareholders, probably this year or next.

Although the share price over the next six months is likely to be driven by politics, the African licences will become a significant catalyst for the share price next year. There is also the prospect of consolidation in the region, with major players including ExxonMobil, Chevron and Total. This will highlight the value. Things have always been interesting at Genel, but it now looks like a series of market-moving announcements could be in prospect over the next year. Trading on a 2013 earnings multiple of 21.6 falling to 12.8, Questor upgrades to buy from hold.

edited by Abdirahman Bidhaan radio bcfm bristol 93.fm www.bcfm.org.uk


SOMALIA: President Silanyo repeats boycott against London Somalia conference

March 31st, 2013. http://www.raxanreeb.com/2013/03/somalia-president-silanyo-repeats-his-boycott-against-london-somalia-conference/ By: Abdalle Ahmed

Hargeysa (RBC) The president of Somalia’s northern break away region of Somaliland Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud Silanyo has obviously repeated today that his administration will not attend the upcoming London conference on Somalia hosted by British government that will be held on May 7th, 2013.

The Somaliland authorities have earlier denounced the status given to them within the upcoming conference which will be co-chaired by the UK prime minister David Cameron and the Somalia president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

“We will not attend the London conference which we regard as only meeting that concerns Somalia matters not Somaliland.” President Silanyo said during the annual meeting of his ruling party, Kulmiye in Hargeysa today.

“We do not see our interest in it” he added.

The upcoming London Somalia Conference is a diplomatic event hosted by the government of the United Kingdom and follows on the London conference which took place on February 23, 2012. Attended by Somali government officials including the Somaliland administration and members of the international community, it focused on resolving issues that have arisen in Somalia in the wake of the civil war.

Speaking on the widely expected talks between the current Somalia federal government led by president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the Somaliland administration, which proclaimed its independence from Somalia in 1992 after the collapse of former Somalia central government, president Silanyo noted that it was ongoing process and his government was willing to sit face-to-face with the new Somalia leaders.

“With the presence of the international community we will like to sit with Somalia government and talk about our intention to be two separate states.” Silanyo continued.

Analysts say that Somaliland is coming under intense and growing pressure not to refuse the London Somalia Conference which even most of local politicians see as a golden and timely opportunity to the development of the region. The comments from president Silanyo came just after the UK’s African development minister stressed that Somaliland was likely to attend the conference on May this year.


Genel Energy : Oil exploration in Odweyne block of Somaliland

March 29, 2013. http://www.medeshivalley.com/2013/03/genel-energy-oil-exploration-in.html#more

(Medeshi)- In August 2012, Genel was awarded an exploration licence for onshore blocks SL-10-B and SL-13 in Somaliland, with a 75% working interest in both.

Genel extended its presence in November 2012 with the acquisition of 50% participating interest in the Odewayne Production Sharing Agreement which covers blocks SL-6, SL-7, SL-10A.

Onshore Somaliland is a relatively unexplored region, with few exploration wells drilled. The total size of the blocks is approximately equivalent to the entire Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Genel took the opportunity because of encouraging indications including onshore oil seeps and existing geological data showing favorable conditions for hydrocarbons to have accumulated in numerous large tilted fault blocks and sub-basins. In addition, the basins of Somaliland were contiguous to Yemen prior to the opening of the Gulf of Aden in the Oligocene-Miocene - similar sedimentary sequences and structural styles are expected in Somaliland.

We are targeting resources of over 1,000 mmbbls in blocks SL-10B and SL-13. The Odewayne block has a similar resource potential to this, targeting in order of 1,000 mmbbls. A substantial 2D seismic campaign is to commence for all the blocks in the second quarter of 2013, with the first exploration well targeted for the second half of 2014. Genel operations in Somaliland

- Two PSAs covering five blocks: SL-6, SL-7, SL-10A, SL-10B, SL-13
- Genel 75% interest and operator in blocks SL-10B, SL-13 (East Africa Resource Group 25%)
- Genel 50% interest and operator in blocks SL-6, SL-7 and SL-10A (Jacka Resources 30%, Petrosoma 20%)
- Total gross acreage 40,300 square km


President of Somaliland seeks closer ties with UAE

Awad Mustafa. Mar 28, 2013

Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo, the president of Somaliland, visits Abu Dhabi to build on business opportunities, aid and cooperation against piracy between the two countries yesterday. Sammy Dallal / The National

ABU DHABI // Senior government figures from Somaliland have held three days of talks in the UAE on investments, aid and security.

"We have met the leadership of the country and responsible leaders, and had fruitful discussions," said Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo, president of the self-declared autonomous north-western region of Somalia.

Somaliland declared independence in 1991, but has struggled for recognition from the international community, despite having a democratically elected government.

But its foreign minister, Dr Mohammed Abdullah Omar, said Somaliland was being engaged by countries and international organisations.

Mr Silanyo said he proposed UAE involvement in establishing two hospitals in the towns of Berbera and Burauo.

"We have made a request also for improvements to be made on the Burauo-Hargeisa road, which is known as Sheikh Zayed Road because the late president built it," he said.

The Somaliland government has requested road-building equipment and the tools to dig water wells.

"There is no particular financial estimate for all these projects," Mr Silanyo said.

Dr Omar said investment opportunities in the oil, gas and fisheries industries had been presented.

"We intend to invite a number of UAE business groups to visit and invest in Somaliland in oil and gas-exploration opportunities, and our fisheries industry," he said.

Hussein Abdi Dualeh, Somaliland's minister for mining, energy and water resources, said the autonomous region hoped to be drilling for oil by next year.

On security matters, Mr Silanyo said a joint security delegation was being set up between Somaliland and the UAE. "We have an understanding to work together," he said. "We are also fighting piracy quite well and a large number of the pirates are in jail."

Security cooperation is on two fronts - antipiracy and counter-terrorism, according to Dr Omar.

"We are the safest part within the region but we are still surrounded by an area filled with extremists, terrorists, criminals and pirates," he said.

"We look to share intelligence, information and notes on the subjects."

The foreign minister added that, although the rate of pirate attacks has dropped drastically, complacency is not an option. "This massive international presence [in the Gulf of Aden] cannot be sustained, therefore developing security across our own waters is what matters for the future," he said, adding that the UAE's efforts over the last two years had paid off. The UAE has been aiding the development of Somaliland and Somalia, as well as helping the countries in the region to battle piracy.

"They have presented a framework for action and a platform to launch it through the events and meetings organised last year and the year before," Dr Omar said.

Somalia has functioned without a strong central administration since the ousting of dictator Siad Barre in 1991. The collapse of his dictatorship led to civil war and clan conflict, which split the country into the regions of Somalia, Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug.

Last year, the UAE orchestrated and hosted a historic meeting between the presidents of Somalia and Somaliland in Dubai - the first in 21 years.

The then president of Somalia's transitional federal government, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, and Mr Silanyo signed a declaration that paved the way for future talks and cooperation between the nations.

Mr Silanyo said he hoped the Dubai meeting would be the first step towards such recognition.

But he said yesterday his country was still finding Somalia an obstacle.

"Somalia and Somaliland were part of a federation, and some people still find it hard to accept that this federation does not exist any more," he said.

"We are looking for international recognition from Somalia, who are our brothers and neighbours but they still do not agree."


Somalia: Somaliland Reservoir to Ease Water Shortages

BY BARKHAD DAHIR, 27 MARCH 2013. http://allafrica.com/stories/201303280118.html. Sabahi (Washington, DC)

Hargeisa — The Somaliland administration is undertaking an $800,000 project to build a reservoir and water distribution pipelines that will serve about 80,000 residents in Hargeisa's Ahmed Dhagah District.

Construction of the reservoir began December 15th, and project officials say they expect it to be operational as the region enters its rainy season at the end of April.

Hargeisa Water Agency Director Ibrahim Siyad Yonis said the reservoir is expected to produce 1,000 cubic metres per day, equal to 5,000 barrels. "Considering seasonal changes, this will regularly supply water for at least nine months each year," he told Sabahi.

Workers are digging the reservoir near a canal that traverses Hargeisa, a city of more than 800,000 residents, and will supply water to residents of the Ayah 1, Ayah 2 and Sheikh Omar neighbourhoods in Ahmed Dhagah District.

No taps will be installed in people's houses, but residents of the three neighbourhoods will be able to draw drinking water from 15 sites, Yonis said. "The residents of those neighbourhoods, most of whom are internally displaced individuals, will get clean and affordable water that is guaranteed to be healthy," he said.

Pumps will be used to draw water from the canal into the reservoir, which will then feed water to the 15 distribution points via a network of pipes. The reservoir will be able to store 100,000 cubic metres of water, or 500,000 barrels, he said.

On March 12th, Somaliland Administration Vice President Abdirahman Abdullahi Saylii officially laid the foundation for the water storage facility in Haraf District. Interior Minister Mohamed Nur Arrale, Minister of Youth, Sports and Tourism Ali Said Raygal, Assistant Minister of Mining, Energy and Water Resources Abdisalam Mohamed, and Ibrahim Siyad Yonis also attended.

The Hargeisa Water Agency is overseeing the project with help from the United Nations Children's Fund, non-profit Terre Solidali, and the Coca-Cola Company through Somaliland Beverage Industries, its local producer, Yonis said.

However, the new reservoir will only partially solve the water scarcity problem in Hargeisa, said Abdirahman Adam Aar, an economics instructor at the Civil Service Institute.

Most of the city's residents "will continue to rely on water supplied by water tankers from wells outside of the city that have unclean water", Aar told Sabahi.

"This is an economic burden on the residents, but if this new venture is expanded, it can alleviate the problem," he said.

Abdi Sheikh Mohamed, who owns one of these water tankers, estimates that he fetches water about three times a day from wells at Jalelo, Dararweyne and Hubnoweyne, 35 kilometres east of Hargeisa.

"Previously [the cost was] 7,000 shillings per barrel, but we increased the amount in the last two months to 10,000-12,000 shillings because water is becoming more scarce and we spend hours on the trip with fuel becoming more expensive," Mohamed told Sabahi.

In contrast, Yonis said the Hargeisa Water Agency, which supplies the city with 62% of its potable water, charges considerably less money -- 1,900 shillings per barrel.


Somaliland: Have we made progress in Somalia after 30 years of interventions? Attitudes toward female circumcision among people in the Hargeisa district[abstract]

Abdi A Gele, Bente P Bø and Johanne Sundby
BMC Research Notes 2013, 6:122. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1756-0500/6/122/abstract
Published: 27 March 2013
Abstract (provisional)

Background

Female circumcision is a major public health problem that largely contributes to the ill-health of women and their children globally. Accordingly, the international community is committed to take all possible measures to abolish the practice that is internationally considered to be absolutely intolerable. While the practice is a social tradition shared by people in 28 African countries, there is no country on earth where FC is more prevalent than in Somalia. Yet, since the early 1990s, there is no quantitative study that has investigated whether the perception towards the practice among Somali men and women in Somalia has improved or not. Thus, this cross-sectional quantitative study examines the attitudes toward the practice among people in Hargeisa, Somalia.

Methods

A cross-sectional study of 215 randomly selected persons, including both men and women, was conducted in Hargeisa, Somalia from July to September of 2011. Participants were interviewed using structured questionnaires, with questions including the circumcision status of the female participants, the type of circumcision, if one has the intention to circumcise his/her daughter, whether one supports the continuation or discontinuation of the practice and men's perceptions toward having an uncircumcised woman as a wife.

Result: The findings show that 97% of the study's participants were circumcised with no age differences. Of this, 81% were subjected to Type 3, while 16% were subjected to either Type 1 or 2 and only 3% were left uncircumcised. Approximately 85% of the respondents had intention to circumcise their daughters, with 13% were planning the most radical form. Among men, 96% preferred to marry circumcised women, whereas overall, 90% of respondents supported the continuation of the practice. The vast majority of the study's respondents had a good knowledge of the negative health effects of female circumcision. In multivariate logistic regressions, with an adjustment for all other important variables, female circumcision (the Sunna form) is a religious requirement 16.5 (2.43-112.6) and the Sunna form is not harmful 25.1(2.35-281.1), are the two factors significantly associated with the continuation of female circumcision. Moreover, females were less likely to support the continuation of FC compared to their male counterparts (aOR 0.07; CI: 0.05-0.88).

Conclusion

The study shows that the support towards the persistence of the practice is profoundly high in Somalia. People are aware of the health and human rights effect of female circumcision, and yet they support the continuation of the practice. Therefore, over 30 years of campaigns with limited progress demand an alternative approach towards the eradication of female circumcision in Somalia.


Somaliland signs with Glover Park Group to gain international recognition

March 26, 2013. Politico.com. http://www.politico.com/politicoinfluence/0313/politicoinfluence10302.html

By Byron Tau & Anna Palmer - Somaliland signs with Glover Park Group: The Ministry of Presidential Affairs of the Republic of Somaliland has signed a lobbying and communications contract with Glover Park Group, according to a new filing with the Department of Justice.

Somaliland is a self-declared, unrecognized state — officially, it is an autonomous region of Somalia. The region's quasi-independent status dates from the beginning of the Somali Civil War, when former president Siad Barre began massacring citizens of the region. Somaliland declared independence in 1991 amid the collapse of the Somali government, but it has not been recognized by any foreign states or international organizations.

Glover Park Group will work on government relations and public relations services on behalf of Somaliland — presumably on a campaign designed to gain international recognition of the region's self-asserted sovereign status. Somaliland is paying Glover Park Group $22,500 per month — a relative bargain in the international sovereign space where retaining a top-tier lobbying and PR firm can run as high as $90,000 per month.


Somalia: Hargeisa Youth Flock to Gyms

BY BARKHHAD DAHIR, 25 MARCH 2013. http://allafrica.com/stories/201303260068.html. Sabahi (Washington, DC)

Hargeisa — Youth are increasingly signing up for memberships at private gyms in Hargeisa, whose number has swelled like a bicep on a bodybuilder.

The boom in local fitness centres is helping to create jobs, promote good health and lure youths towards positive activities, gym owners and local officials say.

"Exercising is an entertaining alternative for young people that takes the place of substance abuse and engaging in organised crime," said Hamza Ali Jibril, owner of Golds Gym in Hargeisa.

Abdinur Mohamed Arab, a 24-year-old resident of Hargeisa, said for the past five months he has worked out al-Khayr fitness centre, where he trains in self-defence techniques to protect himself against criminal gangs.

"Since weapons are not allowed, I have been forced to learn how to defend myself and my property," he told Sabahi. "I have benefited by learning how to defend myself on my own against a group of attackers."

Gyms promote good health and well-being, said Mustafa Mohamed Qodah, director general at Somaliland's Ministry of Youth and Sports. Fitness centres distract youth from drug abuse and taking part in gang-related crimes, he said.

The majority of the gyms, however, are operating illegally. "Even though fitness centres have multiplied lately, only two of them are registered with the ministry," Qodah told Sabahi. "[Gyms] are required to register with the Sports Ministry to ensure that they are using appropriate equipment that will not harm users."

Mushrooming gym scene:

One of the first local fitness centres was Bilkhair Gym. When it opened five years ago, its only competition was Horyaal fitness centre.

"However, in the last two years, these kinds of centres have increased and there are now about fifty," said Abdiqani Jama Ali, an instructor at Bilkhair.

"I can say that this is an opportunity for business, job creation and certainly for improving public health through sports," Ali told Sabahi. "Ninety-percent of these centres have been opened by young people we trained here."

Bilkhair Gym now has about 500 members -- mainly young men and women who participate in fitness classes and weight training, but also older people who exercise to get in better shape, become healthy and ward off illnesses, Ali said.

The centre offers memberships ranging from three to 10 months. The gym stays open 15 hours a day and charges a monthly fee of $11. The classes are segregated between the sexes, and women members are assigned a female instructor.

Private fitness centres also have spread to other cities, such as Burao, Borama, Berbera and Gabiley. "Some [new gym owners] come to us for advice on how to open the business or instructions for classes," Ali said.

Jibril, owner of Golds Gym, said he opened his centre "to provide the public with beneficial fitness services and to capitalise on a new business [concept] in the country".

Although Jibril has so far not recouped the $20,000 he invested in equipment about 18 months ago, he said Golds Gym, which started with four members, now has 80 members who each pay $15 monthly for membership.

"This [business] is better than other businesses because it is not dealing in goods that will expire or be damaged and you are not selling problematic goods," he said.


Development agency formed in Somaliland to manage foreign investor relations

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 25 Mar 2013.Somaliland Net website in English 20 Mar 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

To attract international investment SDC (Somaliland Development Corporation) was established to facilitate investments between investors and local host communities through mutually beneficial agreements of co-operation. These are settled in a contractually enforceable manner under a system of supervision that supports sustainability of relationships, transparency and full mutual accountability. Foreign investors can face uncertainty about whether contracts - the basis of secure business - can be enforced and maintained in the Horn region of Somaliland. The point of the SDC, as a Community Interest UK registered company, is to circumvent this problem and, in doing so, be able to underpin some of the potential for business development and trade within this Horn region of Africa. Greater access to quality investors improves choice and the opportunity to interact and negotiate with the international business community. The work of the SDC is therefore a part of a process that seeks to better integrate Somaliland into the international community

Now,There is OIL and mineral rush in Somaliland ,UK-listed Genel Energy and Ophir Energy, and Australia-listed Jacka Resources, are starting to explore for oil in earnest in Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991.

We are embarking on the largest and most significant exploration this country has seen since it became independent 21 years ago, oil minister Hussein Abdi Dualeh told beyond brics from an oil conference in South Africa, hopeful the first drilling will start in 2014 following seismic surveys this year. They are starting in a major way - it's going to be a massive year.

The three explorers cover seven blocks between them and Dualeh insists they have nothing to fear from old claims on some of the blocks issued under the former Mogadishu administration before it collapsed.

The old companies from way back when Somalia was together have long gone. These contracts do not last forever, they are long expired. I'm not worried they will have problems - I have no idea who had what, says Dualeh. We have had full control of the territory for 21 years. We have stability and access to the port - we have what any investor would like to have.

Under the former Somalia regime, oil blocks were previously concession to Chevron, BP and Conoco before they declared force majeure more than 20 years ago when the state collapsed. A new donor-backed government in Mogadishu faces pressing concerns such as fighting Al-Shabab Islamist militants, holding off piracy and establishing a nationwide administration in the failed state.

The new explorers are no strangers to disputed and semi-autonomous states. UK's FTSE-listed Ophir Energy, which owns 75 per cent of two Somaliland blocks, also has assets in western Sahara, while Turkey-based, London-listed Genel, which has 75 per cent of another two blocks, is developing assets in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and will start exploration in Somaliland in December.

Dualeh says about a third of 24 blocks - which cover the entire country - have so far been given out but that the prospects look good. Yemen, just across an expanse of water, has 9.8bn barrels and Kenya to the south has recently discovered likely commercial quantities of oil.

The self-declared state of Somaliland, internationally recognised as a semi-autonomous region, is agreeing individual contracts as it has yet to release its own petroleum code. The only existing code dates back to the days of unity.

The geology is just very very exciting; the whole of east Africa has woken up and Somaliland is right at the spearhead of that, says Muhammad Yusuf, chairman and CEO of Petrosoma, whose 50/50 joint venture with Australia's Jacka Resources will start the first aeromagnetic survey of their southern Odewayne blocks on Thursday. He says exploration is likely to run to 45-50 million dollars in the next two years. Yusuf acquired the blocks in 2005 and spent years searching for co-investors to develop the acreage before agreeing a 50 per cent deal with Jacka Resources in March this year.

What has changed is that the investor sentiment is more positive. It's not an accident that it's an Australian company, says Yusuf They went into Uganda against conventional wisdom and found the biggest monster in Lake Albert and that kicked off the whole east Africa oil revolution, says Yusuf of Jacka's management team, who spearheaded exploration into Uganda's oil potential, which has so far yielded reserves running to 3.5bn barrels.

In Australia and Canada and to some extent in South Africa where they are used to investing in natural resource investing in anything that makes sense and is viable, they can find money and they are quick to understand risk in places like Somaliland.

Unlike other blocks, there are no former claimants on the 22,000 sq km of the Odewayne area licensed to Petrosoma and Jacka, which covers parts of three blocks.

It's like discovering an undervalued share. We not a fragile state any more after 21 years; we are undeveloped but we are a very, very resilient state. When the oil is discovered Berbera [the port] will be shipping oil rather than camels, he adds


Somalia: Borama Municipality Launches Sanitation Campaign

24 MARCH 2013. Sabahi (Washington, DC) http://allafrica.com/stories/201303250401.html

The municipality of Borama in Somalia's Awdal region is mounting a garbage collection campaign as the region nears its rainy season.

The campaign began in some parts of the city on Thursday (March 21st), and will continue in a citywide effort to prevent waterways from clogging with garbage, which can lead to illness, according to Borama municipal council Mohamed Abdi Hashi.

"We have implemented it in the Sheikh Ali Jawhar neighbourhood, particularly in waterways, pipes and unlawful garbage dumping sites that are inappropriate for garbage disposal, such as in the middle of neighbourhoods," he told Sabahi.

"We collect the garbage in two ways -- a daily collection and a weekly one conducted in one neighbourhood a week," he said. "Garbage [collection] is continuous work because it is something that is generated every minute."

Next week, the sanitation campaign will expand to Borama's Fardaha neighbourhood, Mayor Saleban Hassan Haddi said.


Somaliland and Puntland Agree to Jointly Fight Al Shabaab

AllAfrica.com [Washington] 21 Mar 2013.

Puntland and Somaliland have engaged in a joint security cooperation meeting in Nairobi to collaborate to battle terrorism, piracy and organized crime, Garowe Online reports.

Officials from the breakaway region of Somaliland and Puntland state of Somalia had private meetings in Nairobi this week. Somaliland officials who attended the meeting included representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Security, Ministry of Interior and National Security.

Puntland officials included representatives from the Puntland Intelligence Agency, Ministry of Security and Ministry of Interior. The two delegations met with British, Swedish and American officials to discuss how the two sides can jointly tackle terrorism organizations in the region.

According to sources in Nairobi, the talking points of the meeting included intelligence sharing in terrorism, piracy and organized crime. The two sides agreed to actively share intelligence on Al Shabaab agents operating in both regions. Another agreed issue was that both respective security institutions can jointly interrogate suspected Al Shabaab agents. Also arms and confiscated supplies from Al Shabaab could be shared in investigations.

The two sides also agreed to jointly battle piracy and organized crime however the special focus was on terrorism.

Puntland has repeatedly accused Somaliland of not doing enough to stop terrorism in their jurisdiction, even turning a blind eye to Al Shabaab agents fleeing southern Somalia and entering Golis Mountain Range - where an Al Shabaab faction have gone into hiding - shared by the two regions. However, Somaliland has improved the almost non-existent security cooperation with Puntland after Britain's warning for its nationals living in Somaliland to "leave immediately".

The private security meeting in Nairobi was not publicized however sources in Nairobi say that the new joint agreement could tackle Al Shabaab's presence in northern Somalia.


Hargeisa Court Sentences Elder to Two Years in Jail for Treason

Sabahi. Thursday, March 21, 2013

A court in Hargeisa on Wednesday (March 20th) sentenced clan elder Rabi Yusuf Abdullahi to two years in jail for traveling to Mogadishu in August to participate in the formation of the Somali federal government. "He took part in meetings that are against the independence of Somaliland," Marodi Jeh Regional Magistrate Osman Ibrahim Dahir said when reading the sentence. "He was among those who helped form Somalia's parliament and he went to Somalia without permission."

Defence attorney Mohamed Ahmed Abokor denied the charges against Abdullahi, saying his client had travelled to Mogadishu to take care of his property.

Somaliland Deputy Attorney General Said Yusuf Abdi told Sabahi the prosecution was also unsatisfied with the court ruling, finding the sentence too lenient. He said both the defence and prosecution have filed appeals.

Abdullahi, the sultan of the Idagale clan, was arrested on February 12th after returning from a trip to the United Arab Emirates. Abdullahi was also arrested in 2009 after he attended Transitional Federal Government meetings in Mogadishu.


Somalia: Water Scarcity Affects Somaliland Households

IRIN. 19 MARCH 2013. http://allafrica.com/stories/201303191302.html

Hargeisa — Hundreds of households in the disputed Sool area of the self-declared republic of Somaliland are facing a water shortage following poor rains, say officials.

Both Somaliland and the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland claim the Sool and Sanaag regions.

"We believe an estimated 3,000 households are facing water shortages in [the] Sool Region," Mohamed Mousa Awale, chairman of Somaliland's National Environment Research and Disaster Preparedness and Management Authority (NERAD), told IRIN.

Awale added that some drought-affected rural families had migrated to neighbouring areas, such as Togdheer and Buhotle, which had received good 'Deyr' rains - the rains typical from October to December. Others moved further south in search water and pasture.

"But we are worried [about] the old people and the people who had no ability to move from the villages. [They] are in a serious situation and need water and food," he said.

Commenting on the number of those affected, Sool Deputy Governor Mohamed Abdi Dhimbil said, "There is no accurate estimation, but I can only tell that the water shortage has affected the whole region. The nearest water source is 94km away, inside Ethiopia, and we believe that about 200 pastoralist families [are in] search of water and pasture in Somalia's Mudug Region."

Increasing prices

The price of water in Las-Anod, Sool's capital, has sharply increased since mid-February. A 200L barrel of 'durdur', or spring water, now costs $1.50, up from to $1 a month ago. A barrel of rainwater from the 'berkads', or water pans, has risen from $2.48 to $5.

"The durdurs [springs] near Las-Anod have run out of water for the first time in history, and prices [have] increased," said Faisal Jama, a journalist based in Las-Anod.

"The water price increase has [a] negative impact [on] our livelihoods. If someone's income is $150 per month, he/she needs $45 for water compared, to $22.38 a month [ago], and the remaining [money] is not enough to cover his/her livelihood needs," said Mohamed ABdillahi, a father of five.

As the dry January-to-March 'Jilaal' season progresses, more water sources could be depleted, according to a post-Deyr outlook by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU).

"In the areas where the October-to-December Deyr 2012 rains were poor, including the Sool Plateau and parts of Nugal Valley, the dry January-to-March Jilaal will likely lead to rapid depletion of water resources, especially since many berkads did not get replenished during this Deyr. Long distances to water points for livestock are likely to be observed owing to more limited water access due to the high cost of water trucking," states the FSNAU report.

The situation there could worsen with associated declines in food security, adds FSNAU.

Some parts of Somaliland have started to receive some 'Gu' rains - the rains from March to May. But early forecasts by FSNAU indicate that the rains in Somalia will be normal to below normal in terms of total rainfall.


Turkey’s assistance to all parts of Somalia including Somaliland

Source: Turkish Foreign Ministry, March 16th, 2013. http://www.mfa.gov.tr/foreign-minister-davutoglu-stresses-that-turkey-will-continue-to-support-somalia.en.mfa.

PRESS RELEASE: Foreign Minister Davutoglu stresses that Turkey will continue to support Somalia.

Mr. Ahmet Davutoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey met with Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, President of Somaliland on March 13, 2013.

Projects conducted by the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency’s (TKA) and various Turkish non-governmental organizations in Somaliland were addressed at the meeting held with the participation of five Somaliland Ministers including Foreign Minister.

Foreign Minister Davutoglu said that Turkey’s assistance to all parts of Somalia including Somaliland would continue increasingly and Somaliland was of special importance for Turkey due to the historical ties dated back to Ottoman era. Emphasizing Turkey’s commitment to the integrity of Somalia, Foreign Minister Davutoglu expressed that Turkey would continue to support for the reconciliation, stability, prosperity and development of Somali people.


Somaliland leader to skip London meeting

Africa Review. March 16, 2013

The president of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland has said that his authority will not participate in a London conference on Somalia.

Mr Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo,the Somaliland leader said that the conference won't add value to his republic.

“The London Conference will be held for Somalia,” said Mr Silanyo on Friday. He reiterated that Somaliland and Somalia could continue talks on their relationship, adding it was not continuing.

“The talks between the two sides could make progress when restarted,” said the leader upon returning to Hargeisa city, 1500 km northwest of Mogadishu, the Somaliland capital, from a trip to Turkey.

At Hargeisa Airport, President Silanyo said that his delegation that included several ministers from his government met with high ranking officials in Turkey to lobby for support.

“Turkey is going to assist Somaliland with various projects including water, health and education.”

Somaliland declared secession from the rest of Somalia on 18th of May 1991, following the collapse of the central government of Somalia.

Travel warnings

Britain announced that it was going to host a conference on Somalia on May 7, which will be co-chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud of Somalia.

Ms Fawzia Yusuf Haji Aden, Somalia’s Foreign Minister-cum-Deputy PM confirmed that its government was going to fully participate in the London Conference.

In January, Somaliland dismissed a travel warning issued by Britain, citing possible terrorism in the self-declared republic.


Rapid Response Unit completes training in Somaliland

March 14, 2013. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2013/03/14/newsbrief-04

The Somaliland region graduated a second team of Rapid Response Unit forces on Wednesday (March 13th), concluding their training at the Mandera Police Training Academy, 50 kilometers east of Hargeisa.

Somaliland regional Vice President Abdirahman Abdullahi Saylii attended the graduation ceremony with Minister of Interior Mohamed Nur Arrale and Chief of Police Brigadier General Abdullahi Fadal Iman, among others.

RRU forces are charged with responding to emergency situations such as acts of terrorism or any other event that needs rapid deployment of security forces, Iman said.

"RRU forces are always ready. We are proud that they can respond to any emergency situation that may arise," Iman said. "I am confident that they will effectively deal with the enemies of Somaliland."

In the past year, Somaliland has increased the number of its security forces to properly handle the security needs of the region, Arrale said.

"Each RRU officer is different from other forces because he is a fully equipped officer. They even have bulletproof jackets," Arrale said.

Saylii thanked the British government for its role in providing training, equipment and technical support for the RRU forces.


Somaliland transfers suspect in cleric's death to Puntland

March 14, 2013. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2013/03/14/newsbrief-02

The Somaliland administration transferred a suspect in the assassination of prominent cleric and al-Shabaab critic Abdulkadir Nur Farah to Puntland authorities on Thursday (March 14th).

"Abdullahi Osman Ahmed (Aynte) was transferred due to the communication we had with Somaliland," Puntland administration spokesman Ahmed Omar Hirsi told Sabahi. "This is the second phase in solving the sheikh's murder after the man who shot him on February 15th was arrested by the security forces."

Farah was shot in the back as he was kneeling to pray inside a mosque in Garowe.

Ahmed fled to Somaliland after the sheikh's murder, and was soon arrested by Somaliland forces in Las Anod.

Hirsi said investigations are ongoing into Ahmed's potential role in the assassination. "Everyone who was involved in the shooting and in the plot to kill the sheikh will be brought to court," he said.

Ahmed was handed over to Puntland's Internal Security Minister Khalif Isse Mudan and several regional members of parliament in Sool following two days of negotiations between Puntland and Somaliland authorities, UN-funded Radio Bar-Kulan reported. He will be held at the Criminal Investigation Department headquarters for interrogation prior to his arraignment.


Somalia: Somaliland University Puts Textbooks Within Reach

BY BARKHAD DAHIR, 14 MARCH 2013. Sabahi (Washington, DC)http://allafrica.com/stories/201303150534.html

Hargeisa — Fatima Mohamed, a 24-year-old medical student at Gollis University in Hargeisa, no longer needs to worry about obtaining hard copies of textbooks in her field.

College textbooks have been in short supply in Somalia since the civil war, but now Mohamed has a better chance of accessing the books though a new electronic library that opened last month at the privately-run campus.

"I am happy about this service because it will be help improve and strengthen students' knowledge ... it has made studying easier for me," she told Sabahi.

The electronic textbook library became the first of its kind to open in Somalia when Gollis University officials unveiled it at the Hargeisa campus on February 12th. Students can now sit at a computer workstation and access textbooks on the screen in front of them.

Aidaros Mohamed Abib, the university's academic dean, said the electronic library is free for the university's 3,500 students.

"At any one time, 30 students can sit there, having the ability to use books used by the different college departments -- most of which are engineering, science, medicine, management and administration books," Abib said.

Abib said he hopes the university will be able to increase the number of computers in the library to accommodate more students at a time.

In addition, next month Gollis University plans to launch an online portal, where students and non-students alike can pay a nominal fee to access textbooks from any location via the internet.

"We will establish an [online] portal accessible from anywhere, and issue memberships to anyone who is interested," said Walid Mohamed Ali, director of the university's information technology department.

Once the portal is up and running, it will provide access to 50,000 college-level textbooks as well as 10,000 video and audio lectures online, he told Sabahi. Most of the textbooks are published in English, but some will be available in Arabic.

Establishing an electronic library will help redress the critical shortage of textbooks and reference books in Somaliland, but the region still has too few public libraries and too many textbooks are published in languages other than Somali, said Khadar Abayare, a professor at the University of Hargeisa.

Hargeisa only has two libraries open to the public: the privately-run Gandhi Public Library and a centre run by the British organisation African Educational Trust, said Hodo Sultan Aden, head of the Mohamed Mogeh Association for Reading, Writing, Tradition and Culture.

"Reading is an important element that is missing now, and students are limited to the explanations given by teachers," Aden told Sabahi. "This is a challenge that inhibits the quality and learning growth of university students in Somaliland."


Somaliland legislator urges Qatar to back region's secession bid

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 14 Mar 2013.Somaliland Sun website in English 0000 10 Mar 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

A visiting member of Somaliland's parliament has sought Qatar's diplomatic support for his country's efforts to gain international recognition as an independent state.

Nasir Hagi, MP of the Republic of Somaliland, who was on a personal visit to Doha, wanted to muster support for his homeland's independence from Somalia but he said he was not successful in his attempts.

Maybe it was due to my mission's unofficial status, he told Gulf Times in an interview. Currently, Somaliland exists as a de facto state in the Horn of Africa but is praised for its haven status in terms of peace and stability in a volatile region. While having full local support, diplomatic missions around the world, a constitution ratified by 97 percent of its people along with democratic elections, the country and its borders remain unrecognised by the international community as sovereign.

We operate as an autonomous nation in the Horn of Africa. We want internationally-recognised independence from Somalia. There is no turning back and the world has to know that, Hagi insists.According to the African Union's constitution, borders cannot be adjusted or recognised after what has been set by the colonialist era - some 50 years ago.

Hagi says that this is in place to prevent further violence in the continent that has a recurring history of disputes leading to war.The international community refers to answering of our calls for recognition as 'opening Pandora's box'; that, if we gain independence, other communities will want theirs as well, which could lead to bloody disputes, he explains. But British Somaliland had borders and was recognised.

In 1960, the former British Somaliland gained independence as the State of Somaliland but then united with the then Trust Territory of Somalia shortly afterwards to form the Somali Republic.In 1991, after Somalia's meltdown at the hands of former Somali president Siyad Barre, the areas which formerly covered British Somaliland declared independence - breaking away from Somalia. In May 1991, the creation of the Republic of Somaliland was announced, with the local government regarding it as the successor to the former British Somaliland.

The people - who currently number 3.5m officially - want independence and recognition, he says.

We have enjoyed various forms of support from the Arab Gulf states: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is our main importer of locally raised goats, sheep and camels; Kuwait has invested 10million dollars for the establishment of two airports; and the UAE is drilling for oil.Recognising and appreciating Qatar's effective and generous efforts in mediation and charity work, Hagi said he was looking for Doha's help to gain recognition.

Qatar has supported our country with food and other aid materials and we are asking them to engage Somaliland directly and send a delegation to see what's happening on the ground. We believe that this can happen. Qatar accepts our passports and issues visas to our people, he says.He is optimistic that Somaliland's future is bright, adding that its economy has reached stability and recovery after Siyad Barre's exit

Petroleum company Genel Energy is on the ground searching for oil and gas, the government of Somaliland enjoys a healthy political life with diplomatic missions in countries like the US, the UK, Sweden, Sudan and Kenya to mention a few.


Travel advisories said unite Somaliland residents

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 14 Mar 2013.Somaliland Net website in English 07 Mar 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Whatever pros and cons of the resultant effects of the US/UK security travel alerts may be argued out to be, the one truthful factor to have come out of the whole saga has been a blessing in disguise for Somaliland.

Yes, a blessing in disguise for good riddance that brought all together in togetherness and in unison, reiterate their nationhood, solidarity and vowing to stand by as vigilantes to uphold the peaceful stability cherished. It rekindled the country's resolve, pepping it up.

This may be one reason that has coaxed the superpowers to rethink their decision by pledging to review them.

True, the contrast between Somaliland and elsewhere is the resolve of the masses as concerns their aspirations. Historically, what we have gone through has not been witnessed elsewhere before (here). Planes lifting off the same town to bomb it Or, a handful of rag tag rebel force mauling a battle hardened, fully armoured and formidable national army.

Or better still, rising from the ruins to put together a nation with unmatched democratic success in the region -the first to use biometric system in the whole continent.

All in all, despite our past being self explanatory both by implicitly and explicitly, the vows taken by the people to vouch for their security, social and political rights should have reminded the superpowers on arbitrary decisions on emotive issues. Just as the Head of State reiterated in the UK, the quest of the country's aspirations would continue hence Somaliland would never give in to whims against her interests.

It has to be understood that the slated future talks between the former Somalia entities has to continue in the envisioned civilized system and surrounding. We support the president in maintaining that the talks should not be hindered in any way. It is our utmost belief and understanding that SL is here to stay and no patriot would be daunted by any way wards.

Writer: Feisal Cige


Hawiye elders appeal for release of kinsmen jailed in Somaliland

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 13 Mar 2013. Somaliland Sun website in English 11 Mar 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Somali traditional leaders have requested the president of Somaliland to release their kinsmen who are serving lengthy jail terms in the country.

The appeal was made at a meeting held in Mogadishu by the Hawiye Unity and Cultural Council in which the elders pleaded for the mercy of President [Muhammad Ahmad] Silanyo, thus clemency for their jailed kinsmen.

Speaking at a post-meeting press conference in which he commended Somalilanders for having maintained a secure country, the chairperson of the Hawiye Unity and Cultural Council chief Muhammad Hasan Had said Somalia needs to emulate its northern neighbours.

In acquiescence to the fact that the council's appeal to President Silanyo was for persons jailed for heinous crimes, chief Had said the culprits who renounced terrorism have suffered enough.

The Hawiye clan's appeal for clemency pertains to three of the five person's sentenced to over 20 years imprisonment for the murder of an expatriate working for GTZ (German Development Agency) in Somaliland.

On 22 March 2004, two aid workers working for the GTZ, Ms Cheriyote, presumably a Kenyan, and a Somaliland national, were killed while a German citizen, Mr Helken, was wounded in an ambush by the five operatives of Al-Shabab, on the road between the capital Hargeysa, and the port town of Berbera.

The five culprits, who are currently serving their sentences at Hargeysa pirate's prison, were apprehended by residents of the Dhokhoshey village, some 430 km east of Hargeysa.

Pleading for the release of the three Hawiye clansmen among the five jailed for the murder of the GTZ employees, the elders said they are confident of the success of their clemency appeal since the Somaliland authorities and people are known for their kindness.

According to the spokesperson Hawiye Unity and Cultural Council chief Ahmad Diriye Ali, the Somaliland authorities, who have treated his kinsmen nicely ever after their grisly act, should consider releasing them. [Passage omitted].


Somaliland to vaccinate 600,000 young children against polio

March 12, 2013. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2013/03/12/newsbrief-06

An internationally sponsored polio vaccination campaign for children under 5 years began in Somaliland on Monday (March 11th).

The Somaliland Ministry of Health, the United Nations Children's Fund and the World Health Organisation are implementing the programme, which will administer the vaccine to 600,000 children.

On Monday, the Ministry of Health sent 1,209 vaccination teams of four trained health workers to Marodi Jeh, Togdheer, Awdal, Sanaag, Sahil and Sool to carry out the campaign, according to Kaise Kosar of the ministry's public health unit.

"The campaign will continue for three days in all areas except Marodi Jeh, which will have four days," Kosar told Sabahi.

On Sunday, the ministry sent text messages to citizens' mobile phones, asking parents to take advantage of the vaccination opportunity.

Polio is a viral infection that causes paralysis and motor weakness. While there is no cure for those who become infected with the disease, the vaccination can prevent infection.

Last year, more than half a million children were vaccinated against polio in Somaliland in an exercise carried out by the same organisations.


Somalia: Six Girls Fall Ill After Chemistry Class Accident

12 MARCH 2013. Garowe Online (Garowe)http://allafrica.com/stories/201303121277.html

Badhan, Somalia — Six young girls fell seriously ill on Monday after an accident at their school's Chemistry Lab in Badhan district in the Sanaag region, Garowe Online reports.

According to Badhan district councillor, the girls - students at the school - fell ill after they were exposed to chemicals after incorrectly attempting to clean the chemistry lab at their school.

The director of the school said that the girls mixed chemicals in their bid to clean the chemistry lab, which resulted in them inhaling poisonous gases. The girls were found unconscious in the lab and were rushed to hospital minutes later.

On Monday night doctors were uncertain of the fate of the girls. However on Tuesday doctors said that 4 girls are in stable condition.

The other two girls are slowly stabilizing but their condition is still serious, according to local sources.

This accident in Badhan is the first of its kind and teachers tell GO that the accident will garner much more attention on the need for safety precautions to be stressed to students in Puntland.


Somaliland MP seeks Qatar's diplomatic support for Somaliland’s freedom struggle

By Hamza Jilani/Staff Reporter -Gulf Times. March 10, 2013

A visiting member of Somaliland’s parliament has sought Qatar’s diplomatic support for his “country’s” efforts to gain international recognition as an independent state.

Nasir Hagi... wants Qatar to diplomatically support Somaliland’s freedom struggle.

Hagi, MP of the Republic of Somaliland, who was on a personal visit to Doha, wanted to muster support for his homeland’s independence from Somalia but he said he was not successful in his attempts.

“Maybe it was due to my mission’s unofficial status,” he told Gulf Times in an interview.

Currently, Somaliland exists as a de facto state in the Horn of Africa but is praised for its haven status in terms of peace and stability in a volatile region. While having full local support, diplomatic missions around the world, a constitution ratified by 97% of its people along with democratic elections, the “country” and its borders remain unrecognised by the international community as sovereign.

“We operate as an autonomous nation in the Horn of Africa. We want internationally-recognised independence from Somalia. There’s no turning back and the world has to know that,” Hagi insists.

According to the African Union’s constitution, borders cannot be adjusted or recognised after what has been set by the colonialist era – some 50 years ago.

Hagi says that this is in place to prevent further violence in the continent that has a recurring history of disputes leading to war.

“The international community refers to answering of our calls for recognition as ‘opening Pandora’s box’; that, if we gain independence, other communities will want theirs as well, which could lead to bloody disputes,” he explains. “But British Somaliland had borders and was recognised.”

In 1960, the former British Somaliland gained independence as the State of Somaliland but then united with the then Trust Territory of Somalia shortly afterwards to form the Somali Republic.

In 1991, after Somalia’s meltdown at the hands of former Somali president Siad Barre, the areas which formerly covered British Somaliland declared independence – breaking away from Somalia. In May 1991, the creation of the Republic of Somaliland was announced, with the local government regarding it as the successor to the former British Somaliland. “The people – who currently number 3.5mn officially – want independence and recognition,” he says.

“We have enjoyed various forms of support from the Arab Gulf states: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is our main importer of locally raised goats, sheep and camels; Kuwait has invested $10mn for the establishment of two airports; and the UAE is drilling for oil.”

Recognising and appreciating Qatar’s effective and generous efforts in mediation and charity work, Hagi said he was looking for Doha’s help to gain recognition.

“Qatar has supported our country with food and other aid materials and we are asking them to engage Somaliland directly and send a delegation to see what’s happening on the ground. We believe that this can happen. Qatar accepts our passports and issues visas to our people,” he says.

He is optimistic that Somaliland’s future is bright, adding that its economy has reached stability and recovery after Siad Barre’s exit.

“Petroleum company Genel Energy is on the ground searching for oil and gas, the government of Somaliland enjoys a healthy political life with diplomatic missions in countries like the US, the UK, Sweden, Sudan and Kenya to mention a few.”


Solar power brings water to rural communities in Somalia

REPORTfrom UN Children's Fund Published on 08 Mar 2013. By Swangin Bismarck. http://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/solar-power-brings-water-rural-communities-somalia

LASA-DACAWO, Somaliland, 5 March 2013 - Ten year old Fatima Ismael Saleh and her family used to be constantly on the move in search of water for themselves and their livestock. But thanks to a new solar powered water system installed in the village, the family can stay in one place and Fatima can complete her schooling.

Fatima’s family is among the 10,000 residents of Lasa-dacawo village in Somaliland, North Western Somalia, who have benefitted from the water supply made possible by funding from the Government of Japan.

Enclosed in a barbed wire fence, ten solar panels of 150 Watts each installed on high ground power a submersible pump which lifts underground water into a storage tank with a capacity of 25,000 litres. Some seven kilometres of pipeline takes the water to a school, a health centre and five kiosks consisting of a sheltered tap stand where ppeople can collect water in containers.

“This water system has eased the stress particularly on women who used to spend most of their time in search of water, which is now available to all”, said Haaxi Abdi Omar, a female community leader who is leading efforts to maintain and sustain the water system.

Before the water system was installed, the people here had no any other regular water source other than the seasonal rivers which were dry most of the year. During this time, another water pump located about 30 kilometres away would be the only alternative or water trucked to the village and sold at the cost of US$ 1 per 20 litre jerry can. Most people couldn’t afford it.

The students at Lasa-dacawo Primary School now have sufficient supply of clean drinking water. Containers filled with water for washing hands after using the toilets are put in front of the separate toilets for boys, girls and teachers.

The Head Teacher, Ismael Idley says the water supply has made a tremendous change. “It’s not possible to compare. We had nothing before. The students and the teachers are all happy.”

Ahmed Muse, Head Nurse at Lasa-dacawo Health Centre, says the running water is a major improvement. “A health centre can’t run without water. We need water to keep our equipment clean and for the patients,” he said.

Before that, the health centre used to buy water from truckers but it was not always sufficient and was often contaminated.

He added that the number of people with diarrhoea coming to the health centre has fallen since January, and attributes the improvement to the water supply.

The village Headman Muse Ali Yasin said the installation of the water system has meant families no longer have to move in search of water to find pasture for their livestock.

“Even relations have improved with our neighbouring villages that come to fetch water from here,” said Mr Ali.

The participation of the Community is crucial for the success of the water system as they will be responsible for managing it and ensuring the sustainability of the water supply.

UNICEF currently supports the operations and maintenance of the system but in the long run, the community is expected to take responsibility for minor repairs.

Ms Abdi, a member of the Village Water Committee, says their role is to make sure the water kiosk area is kept clean and that water collection is done in an orderly manner.

She says they now plan to start collecting fees from households to raise funds for them to fix any break downs in the future.

“Women play a key role in the collection and safeguarding of the water for domestic use and that is why we are part of the planning, management and decision making about water”, said Ms. Abdi. “We are volunteers motivated by the importance of water to our lives,” she added.

The Water Committee also informs the relevant authorities in case of a major break down that the community can’t afford to fix. The main challenge for the use of solar energy as a new technology in Somalia is the lack of skilled personnel to service the system and repair it if there is a major breakdown.

Currently the system is maintained by an attendant employed by the community to protect the solar panels and keep their surfaces clean to receive the sun rays and yield maximum power.

The project is one of several funded by the Government of Japan to enhance access to adequate safe drinking water and improve hygiene and sanitation for rural communities in Somalia. Another 40,000 people have benefited through four other similar projects using an integrated approach to bring water and sanitation facilities to a health centre, school and community.


Human rights advocates call Somaliland's Mogadishu travel ban unlawful

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa. March 06, 2013. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2013/03/06/feature-01

The Somaliland administration's restrictions on people travelling to Mogadishu, which have resulted in some high profile arrests, infringe on the rights of citizens, human rights advocates say.

Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo's administration has arrested several people for traveling to Mogadishu. [Ali Musa Abdi/AFP]

The February 12th arrest of well-known clan elder Rabi Yusuf Abdullahi is one of the latest in a series of cases involving prominent local citizens accused of violating the administration's Mogadishu travel ban.

Abdullahi went to Mogadishu in August to participate in forming the Somali Federal Government. He has remained in jail for more than three weeks as prosecutors build a case against him.

Somaliland declared itself a sovereign state in 1991, however, its secession from Somalia has not been recognised by the Somali Federal Government or the international community.

"It is a fundamental right for a person to go anywhere he pleases without having any restrictions imposed on him," said Ahmed Yusuf Hussein, director of the Hargeisa-based Horn Human Rights Umbrella.

"Someone should not be arrested or charged for what he believes, and it is wrong to jail him for his political ideas if he is not causing any trouble," he told Sabahi, adding that international laws and the Somaliland constitution protect citizens' freedom of political thought and expression.

Nonetheless, a government order restricts politicians, party leaders and traditional leaders from travelling to and from Mogadishu, according to Somaliland Minister of Interior Mohamed Nur Arrale.

"There is an order at the airport to prevent party leaders, politicians and cultural leaders from travelling to or coming from Mogadishu, which is a place we disagree with on politics and with an administration that is claiming [Somaliland]," Arrale was quoted as saying in an interview with independent newspaper Geeska Afrika on December 28th.

The Somaliland administration is in talks with the Somali Federal Government, which Arrale said could be undermined if prominent figures from Somaliland also engage independently in that dialogue.

The interview appeared two days after Berbera airport police blocked former deputy chairman of the ruling Kulmiye party Abdirahman Abdulkadir Farah and former Somaliland Minister of Youth, Sports and Tourism Mohamud Said Mohamed from boarding a flight to Mogadishu.

Farah and Mohamed said they were travelling to Mogadishu to sell property they owned there.

Incidents date to 2012

Politicians and other officials have been caught up in the travel ban since last year, despite indications that the Somaliland administration is willing to enter talks with the Somali Federal Government.

On October 19th, chairman of the Somaliland Football Federation Ahmed Mohamud Sheikh Muhumed was arrested in Berbera with athletics association official Mohamed Hussein Dhabeye after they returned from a visit to Mogadishu.

The two were accused of going to Mogadishu to meet with the Somali Football Federation. They were released after a few days.

On February 13th, a member of the upper house of parliament, Ahmed Hassan Salah, and his wife were stopped at airport on their way to Mogadishu. Zamzam Abdi, Salah's wife, who spoke to independent newspaper Hatuf about the incident, said she and her husband were going to Mogadishu to sell their house.

Even though they were prevented from boarding one flight, Abdi said the administration eventually gave them written permission to leave on another flight after the family provided evidence that their trip was apolitical.

On February 23rd, Somaliland deported Somali parliamentarian Jama Mohamud after a regional court in Marodi-Jeh fined him 1 million Somaliland shillings ($151) and ordered him to leave Somaliland within 24 hours. Mohamud, a Hargeisa native, was arrested earlier in February on charges of treason for serving in the Somali Federal Government.

Rights advocates weigh in

People started travelling from Somaliland to other parts of Somalia after Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo's administration held its first formal direct talks in decades with the Somali Federal Government in June, said Khadar Iid Kariye, editor of Hargeisa-based independent newspaper Ogaal.

However, the administration does not want anyone with political clout or anyone currently in office to travel to Mogadishu because it does not want the relationship it established with Somalia to undermine its bid for sovereignty, Kariye told Sabahi.

"[The administration] wants to show that its people have not been swayed by what is going on in southern Somalia," he said.

Hargeisa-based political analyst Abshir Askar said people must not be stopped from travelling to Mogadishu for business, trade or political reasons.

"The [Somaliland] administration can engage in talks with the Somali government, but people cannot be prevented from travelling to Mogadishu because they have many reasons to go there," Askar told Sabahi.

The Somaliland administration this month signalled its willingness to talk to the Somali government, as long as its independence is not up for debate.

There is no law in Somaliland that criminalises travelling to Mogadishu, Mohamud Abdirahman, a lawyer with Hargeisa-based Watershed Legal Services, told Sabahi.

"According to the Somaliland constitution, one can only be punished for a crime that is forbidden by a law [passed by parliament]. Therefore, travelling to and from Mogadishu cannot be a crime or have a punishment," Abdirahman said.

"If Jama Mohamud and Rabi Yusuf Abdullahi were held for that reason, then that is illegal," he said.


Writer calls for change of political culture in Somaliland

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 27 Feb 2013.

This sort of article is an oddity for this website because normally we chose to focus on more pertinent issues that strengthen the bedrock Institutions Somaliland needs to augment in order to sustain itself; a strong and living Constitution, independent and ethical Judiciary and Media. We also campaign for Somaliland?s recognition through media correspondence and back door lobbying.

But if one has been an observer of our nation's slow but progressive political and emotional decline, one could not be blamed for seeking treatment for a sudden bout of depression.

Persistent nuisances detrimental to Somaliland can no longer be ignored. The silent majority of Somalilanders can no longer afford to be oblivious to these problems as this young and struggling Republic becomes unhinged. A vocal minority who aren't accountable to anyone dominates the discourse. They are mainly in political parties (politicians), media and are tribal warriors who are more concerned about their placement in our society than that of the nation.

They show no urgency for the immediate needs of the people and lack decorum by showing no restraint. As a consequence peoples divisions harden, the enemy list grows and tribalism is brought to the forefront without shame or contrition. And Somaliland media enables and perpetuates this tit for tat thus the spread of frivolous stories about individuals and groups that have no relevance to Somaliland?s development.

These three entities are not some unseen or ghostly like presence that come out of their shells in the dark of night to destroy our nation. We know the enemy, we have seen the enemy and the enemy is us!

Political Parties (politicians);

Generally politicians do what they need to do for their political survival. No more. No less. If those who support them are not demanding that they appeal to what is best about people, why would they change? Why elevate the discourse? This constant trivial political pursuit and the daily battle for the never-ending election cycle have taken a psychological toll and almost everything else has taken a back seat. This is evidenced by the helplessness if not the malaise people feel. Politicians are simply a reflection of their society and until and unless that society demands better of itself, nothing will change.

Tribalism:

It would be naive to suggest that with the snap of two fingers tribalism should end in our homeland. But it is not naive to suggest that we must begin somewhere! Every one of us believes tribalism is someone else's problem; its not them or their family or friends who are contributing to this dilemma. If this is the case then who are the others? we always blame? Self-reflection and criticism have never been a strong human trait but we have taken this to another level and in the meantime Somaliland loses.

Media:

An independent media is one of the core principals of a developing nation. That independence exists to a certain extent. Unfortunately we have misused that right. To be fair, the media has generally done great work in bringing attention to the plight of our people and their immediate needs. Our intent is not to slight them in any way nor is it to challenge an individual's right to free expression or the medias right to publish what they deem appropriate. But what happened to showing restraint and looking at the bigger picture? Or does the need to steer more web traffic or attract more readership to one's publication outweigh the greater good? It has become, willfully or not, a conveyance for sensationalism in which tribalism, division and hatred are spread conveniently. Slandering and destroying people's reputations through accusations and innuendos must cease.

In this regard, the media could show restraint and leadership. Our intent, therefore preference, is to encourage them to filter through the noise and set a high standard.

We were once asked by Independent Diplomat (ID is a non-profit organization that gives advice and assistance in diplomatic strategy and technique to governments and political groups) why for such a small (population) group of people we always seem at odds since our nation is in dire straits? When we asked how they came to that opinion; the simple answer was researching and observing the people of Somaliland, their politics and media. That kind of response should be considered catastrophic to our cause.

Our purpose here is to awaken our senses and encourage all of us to not only self-reflect but to stop digging ourselves deeper into oblivion. It makes us feel better and righteous to blame a President or someone else, for that matter, for our problems. It will not make a difference who we elect until we (individuals) change.

The first thing alcoholics must do once they realize they have a problem is to utter - out loud - to themselves and others that they are alcoholics. Our assumption? and more so to the point -is that this is done in order to get through the impenetrable human skull.

We find ourselves at a crossroads. Any more time we spend on trivial matters is time stolen from getting clean water to a mother and her children. Any more time spent on which Minister was fired from what job, time is stolen from building a hospital. Any more time spent on which political party is up or down, is time stolen from building schools and fixing our justice system so people are not treated unjustly by their own politicians.

Writer: Muhammad Ali Baranbaro.


Somaliland's peace record said attract foreign investors BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 27 Feb 2013.

As Somalia starts to emerge from instability and chaos, 20 years of relative peace and stability are starting to pay dividends for its close neighbour Somaliland.

This November, it struck its first major oil deal since seceding from Somalia in 1991. Anglo-Turkish company Genel Energy received its license from the Somaliland government in early November to explore and develop oil and gas reserves after pledging almost 40 million dollars for exploration activities.

The independent oil and gas exploration and production company has become the first foreign investor to commit a significant amount of capital to the country's energy sector, after initial investigations demonstrated numerous oil seeps Confirming a working hydrocarbon system, a statement from Genel said.

Genel Energy, headed by erstwhile BP CEO Tony Hayward, is due to start exploration before the end of the year.

The driving force of this Horn of Africa nation's economy has traditionally been livestock. With a livestock population that triples the 3.5 million civilian populations, the livestock trade generates up to 65 per cent of the country's GDP, Somaliland's Minister of Planning Saad Shire said.

With a limited national budget of 120 million dollars the Somaliland government is now starting to receive much-needed revenue from foreign private investors to support its development.

Somaliland's oil and gas reserves attracted the attention of other giant energy companies such as South African-based Ophir Energy, Jacka Resources Ltd of Australia, and Petrosoma Ltd, a subsidiary of British-based Prime Resources all of whom announced their readiness to invest.

Somaliland has suffered from not being internationally recognized for the past 21 years. Its unconfirmed legal identity has hindered its economic prospects of a few insurance companies have been prepared to insure foreign investors here. Subsequently, investors have tended to regard Somaliland as an economic leper.

For these reasons, the country has also been ineligible for financial support from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. However, in 2012 Somaliland's private sector started to progress against the odds.

At the beginning of the year, the first UK-Somaliland investment conference was held to stimulate bilateral trade recognition. And a 17 million dollar Coca Cola plant launched in May by a Djibouti conglomerate made it the largest private investment in Somaliland since 1991.

Investors are seeing Coca Cola's decision to have an operation in the region as a positive statement about the country's stable business climate.

Somaliland's Berbera port is also expected to attract major investment in the coming years. Built originally by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the port currently serves as a major gateway for the country's livestock exports. There is huge potential for it to be a juncture for oil and gas exports coming out of landlocked countries like Ethiopia.

The port manager, Ali Omar Muhammad, is enthusiastic about the potential of expanding the port to make it a regional trading hub between Africa and the Middle East.

"We are strategically located, Berbera is located in a maritime lane 30,000 ships pass by our port every year from Europe, the Middle East and Asia. We can develop Berbera into a major port like Singapore with container terminals, free zones, oil refineries, and services related to maritime businesses," Shire said.

Writer: Muse Ahmad. Somaliland Net website in English 22 Feb 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC


Somaliland's commerce minister inaugurates investment conference in Hargeysa BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 27 Feb 2013. [Unattributed report: "Commerce Minister Inaugurates Investment Conference"]

The Minister of Commerce, Mr Abdirizaq Khalif Ahmed inaugurated a conference to encourage businesses to invest in Somaliland.

The conference was held at Ambassador Hotel in Hargeysa and was attended by representatives from the chamber of Commerce, business firms, USAID, and academics.

Speaking at the conference, the Minister of Commerce Abdirizaq Khalif Ahmed said Somaliland has substantial businesses and capital but business in Somaliland is conducted in an old-fashioned way and needs to be modernized. The minister urged Somaliland's businessmen to combine business with knowledge of modern business practices.

The head of Somaliland's Chamber of Commerce, Muhammad Shukri also spoke at the conference, and he called on Somaliland's entrepreneurs to stop the destructive practice of looking around to see what a businessman has imported and then having ten other businessmen import a similar product. Instead of copying each other, Somaliland's businessmen should pool their resources and go for bigger business, Mr Shukri said.

The Manager of Transparent Solution, Sharmarke Jama, also addressed the conference. He stressed the importance of investment as well as modernization of the way business is conducted.


Police Sweep Hargeisa, Las Anod to Eliminate Security Threats Sabahi. Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Police in Somaliland carried out security operations in Hargeisa and Las Anod over the past few nights to assuage any fears of threats against Westerners, security officials say.

“We are ensuring that the security of Somaliland is stable and everything is okay,” Somaliland Minister of Interior Mohamed Nur Arrale said at a press conference in Hargeisa on Friday (February 22nd). “There have been no kidnappings and no one has been hurt.”

Arrale did not give a specific figure, but said many people were arrested.

The operation follows a warning from the British government on January 27th of a “specific threat to Westerners” in Somaliland. “That fear is no longer in existence,” Arrale said, adding that police were conducting a thorough investigation of the suspects and will release all found to be innocent.

Somaliland police chief Abdullahi Fadal Iman said anyone found culpable would be immediately taken to court. He apologised for any inconvenience resulting from the security operations and asked for the public’s co-operation in maintaining peace in the region.

The handling of the security operations evoked some concerns, however, and complaints that members of the Rapid Reaction Unit damaged private property during the raids, according to director of the Hargeisa-based Horn Human Rights Umbrella Ahmed Yusuf Hussein.

“We will be investigating the complaints that resulted [from the operations] this week,” Hussein told Sabahi, adding that about 250 people were arrested.


Somaliland: Harassment, Detention and Imprisonment of Journalists Reached a Record High in 2012.

Friday, February 22, 2013. HARGEISA TRIBUNE

A Somaliland Journalist Association SOLJA special report Harassment, detention and imprisonment of journalists Somaliland reached a record high in 2012.

In its annual report of imprisonment harassment and detention of journalists, Somaliland journalist Association SOLJA identified 81 individuals behind bars on December 16, an increase over its 2011 tally.

Note: The harassment, detention and imprisonment of Somaliland Journalists are unlawful, and illegal, and do not comply with standards on freedom of media expression, and Somaliland’s media law.

All of these arrests were illegal. Government officials ordered the arrest of journalists without any legal framework.”The press has a huge role to play in improving human rights and democracy across Africa. Hence urgent measures must be taken to uphold the fundamental rights and freedom of expression of Somaliland reporters.”

SOLJA Somaliland Media Report January-December 2012

January 02, 2012 – Abdirahman Ali Duale of HCTV and Abdiqani Hassan Farah of Universal and barkhad cumar abdi Somaliland national tv were arrested in Lasanod.

3–January, 08, 2012 – Yusuf Abdi Ali, a reporter for the Royal TV, was arrested by Borama Police, after being accused of making false allegations about corruption and management problems in local development projects done by Local NGO. It was later released the reporter again without charges.

4 –January, 09, 2012 – Mr. Ali Ismail Aare, a reporter for the weekly Waheen Newspaper, was arrested on 11 January by the Awdal Police, for taking photos of a service station and a building belonging to Somaliland’s vice-president.

5–January, 09, 2012 – Mohamed Omar Sheikh, a reporter for the Saxafi News paper, was arrested the same day for writing articles deemed likely to create conflict in the Awdal region.

6–Somaliland Journalist Association (SOLJA)—an independent, nonpartisan organization dedicated to promoting good practices and freedom of expression on behalf of the country’s journalists and media have succeeded to releases Ali Aare and Mohamed Omar Sheikh on January 18, 2012, after SOLJA demanding to the Presidential Minister Mr. Hirsi Ali their colleague’s immediate unconditional release.

January, 09, 2012- Abdqani Hassan Farah “Gadari”, a Universal TV reporter in Laasaanood, was arrested on a charge of “exaggerating reports of a meeting that created instability in the Sool, Sanag and Eyn regions.” Especially talleh conference”. And later was released after two days detention. 7 January, 13, 2012- Police Chief Commander in Erigavo has ordered the arrest of Abdirisaq Haji Ahmed, Somaliland National TV reporter in Erigavo, on misinformed the public on issues concerning opinion supports Talleh conference, which Somaliland authorities seems its enemy, published on the internet. Abdirisaq is being released after two days spend in custody and no charges have been laid against the reporter.

Mr. Abdirisaq denies the allegations and discuss, There is no need to publish opinions against the Somaliland since he works the Nation’s media.

8 January-14, 2012-Somaliland government has shut down the private Horn Cable TV station in Hargeisa city after the president, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, had described it as a “nation destructor” for broadcasting anti-government propaganda. Police ordered the entire staff to leave and sealed the premises without a warranty.

January-15-2012 22 journalists who demonstrated outside the presidential palace about the closure of Horn Cable TV station in Somaliland were arrested, they were attacked and beaten by SPU forces and were taken to Police headquarter in Hargeisa, who included six women.

30–Somaliland Journalist Association has finally release the journalists, after being held for more than 24 hours. And later the Television on air again.

This is the list of 22 journalists who were arrested on 15 January. 1. Mohamud Abdi Jama, editor-in-chief, Waaheen newspaper 2. Mohamed Omar Abdi, editor-in-chief, Jamhuuriya newspaper 3. Ahmed Aden Dhere, reporter, Haatuf newspaper 4. Mohamed Said Harago, head of news, Berberanews 5. Najah Adan Unaye, director, Hadhwanaagnews 6. Suhur Barre, reporter, HornCable TV 7. Abdiqani Abdullahi Ahmed, reporter, Hadhwanaagnews 8. Mohamed Ahmed Muse, reporter, HornCable TV 9. Mohamed Fayr, reporter, Geeska Africa newspaper 10. Saleban Abdi Ali Kalshaale, reporter, Waaheen newspaper 11. Khalid Hamdi Ahmed, reporter, Waaheen newspaper 12. Nimo Omar Mohmed Sabriye, presenter, HornCable TV 13. Hamsa Ali Bulbul, reporter, HornCable TV 14. Mohamed Ahmed Muse Kurase, reporter, HornCable TV 15. Abdirahman Sheik Yunes, presenter, HornCable TV 16. Ayan Diriye, reporter, HornCable TV 17. Nimo’ Diriye, reporter, HornCable TV 18. Hodan Ali Ajabi, reporter, HornCable TV 19. Safiya Nuh Sheikh Presenter Horn Cable TV 20. Ahmed Abdirahman Hersi, news editor, January 23, 2012 – Borame -Abdiaziz Ibrahim Abdillahi of Subulaha News, a local website, was detained in Borama District, Awdal. He was released January 24

31–February 13, 2012 – Hargeisa-Mustafa Abdikarim Ali (Mustafa Future), Editor of Caalami Newspaper and Director of Gabiley.net. and chairman of caalami newspaper Mohamed Yusuf Omer was arrested

33–February,03,2012- brother of the president of Somaliland ali Mohamed mohammuod (ali digirin ) in hargeisa was arrested two reporters of royal tv that two reporters was called CAWAALE MUXUMED FARAX AND C/FATAAX AADAN CIRO

35–20, February, 2012: Somaliland police arrested the Administrative Director of Ogaal Newpspaper in Hargeisa,Hassan omer Hassan and Mohamed abdi hasssan(boosh) works with the website of ramaasnews and royal tv. linking to the newspaper’s coverage of militia loyal to ONLF landed in Bulo-Addo (a village in the western coast in Salal region near Zaila).

37–February, 22, 2012 Borame-mohamed abdirahman ismail reporter of subulahanews was arrested in borame central station While in custody, Abdirahman was beaten by four police officers with sticks and the butt of a gun until he lost consciousness, local journalists and news reports said. Police took the journalist to Borama Hospital, where he was treated in the intensive care unit for his internal injuries, according to local ournalists and news reports. He was moved to Hargeisa Hospital 28, February, so he could receive more advanced treatment.

38–March, 11, 2012- Adan Abdi Iidle was arrested in Gabiley, after his arrest was ordered by the Gabiley Governor.
39–March, 31, 2012- Laasaanood- ahmed cali farah arrested in laasaanood after the governor of Sool region ordered his arrest ,ahmed was working in Royal tv, and the reason they told why the reporters are reporting to taleex ,or khaatumo state.
40–April, 2, 2012-Laasaanood- abdisamad kayse mahamuud universal TV
41–April 13, 2012 – Caynabo -Mohamed Adam Dirir of Somali Channel was arrested. for reporting food
42–April 15, 2012 – Hargeisa -Abdiqaddir Adam Arab of Waaheen, Mustafa Future of Caalami newspaper and Sacad Musa of Gabiley.net were detained. When they took a photo or picture some people was demonstrating
45–April 19, 2012 – Laasaanood-Mohammed Shaqalle of Universal was arrested.
46–April 20, 2012 –Laasaanood- Ahmed Issa Gutale of BBC was arrested.
47–April 22, 2012 – Hargeisa -9 Soldiers from Somaliland Police forces made illegal inspections to the house of YOOL Newspaper Editor, Mohammed abdi Urad.and arrested few hours in C.I.D Office of hargeisa
48–April 24, 2012 –Hargeisa- Abdifatah Mursal, the Editor-in-chief of Ogaal Newspaper was arrested 2 hours inside the regional court.
49–April 24, 2012 – Abdillaahi Hussien Darwiish of Waaheen and Royal Tv was arrested in Erigavo town of Sanaag Region.
50–May, 01, 2012-burco -2 reporters was arrested in burco mahad faarax c/laahi of geeska afrika newspaper and c/maalik coldoon of somaliset tv burco Working with geeska afrika and Somali sat was arrested in burco
52–May 11, 2012 at 05:29 AM Berbera- Saaxil reporter Mohamed C/lahi Farah(soo-fadhiste) was arrested by the regional governor Ramax for apparently un specified reasons, the governor ordered the arrest of the reporter without a court issued warrant.
53–Tuesday, 15 May 2012- Saxafi Media Network chairman Abdifatah Mahamud Aidid was briefly detained at the Criminal Investigation Department (C I D) headquarters after he was accused during the trial at the trial officials accused of embezzlement, during the recesses as the witnesses said the Chairman of Saxafi Abdifatah took a picture of without any authorization to take the pictures.
54–Wednesday, 16 May 2012 08:00, five journalists are arrested in Somaliland by the police, after several armed militias attacked a military base near the old factory located on the eastside of the capital city of Somaliland .four of them at other hand abdi abokor said was arrested on burao taxi station when he were distributing the newspaper.
59 –1. Maxamed cabdi curad editor of yool newspaper and he was released from custody 2 weeks after he was arrested on 30th of May 2012.
2. Khadar hayaan Hussein reporter of yool newspaper and he was released from custody on 23 May 2012.
3. Cali Hassan sugule reporter of universal TV released after he was detained for several hours
4. Hassan maal dhidar Released also after detained for several hours
5. Abdi Abokor said chairman of xogogaal newspaper after he was detained for several hours.
June, 11, 2012- Mr. Jamal Abdi Muhumed freelance journalist was arrested
60– On 10-July 2012 reporter of gadari was arrested in laascaanood with the police ordered
61–05 August 2012 hodan abokor caafi was arrested and beaten on central police station of the borame to deputy of police commissioner of the regional of borema
62–September On 13 th September 2012, Hashim Sheikh Omar Goth and Mursal Elmi Omar regional correspondents of the Radio Bar-kulan and Somali satellite TVs of SomSat and Bulsho TV respectively, were arrested after they were accused that they published stories about the Somalia’s New elected president. But they were later released without charge.
64–On 19th September: Abdi-Samad Mohamed Abdillahi a Universal TV reporter was arrested.
65–On 23rd September: Ayanle Abdillahi Diriye, A reporter from the Somaliland’s National TV was arrested by Zaila (the capital of the Salal region fawest coast of Somaliland) after the permanent secretary of the local government ordered his arrest.
66–Abdi Malik Mousa Coldon, works for Somsat TV on 26/09/2012, was beaten and arrested in burao.
67–On 28th September: Abdifatah M Aidid former a member of the editorial board of Saxafi Media Network was arrested, linking of a news coverage about the CIA arrival in Hargeisa. The government accused him, that his newspaper published story against the interest of the country. But he was released later without charge.
68–On 9th October 2012, Abdi-Fatah Dheg Ahmed the chairman of Saxafi Media Network has been arrested, after Somaliland’s newly RRU (Rapit Re Action Unit) police attacked his home in Hargreaves, claiming that police wanted people were in the house. But he was later released without charge.
69–On 12th October: Mohamed Shaqale Universal TV was arrested. in laascaanood
70–On 14 October Adnan salax a journalist works for Bocamenews.com was arrested. in laascaanood
71–Also in the same week, Abdikarim Dol from Somali Channel was arrested.
72–The most shocking event in Somaliland since 1991, was the assassination of Ahmed Sakin Elyas Farah on 24/10/2012 in heart of Las-anod
Ahmed was the SOLJA representative in Sool region and a Somali Satellite TV Universal correspondent in the region.
Even though we were expecting the government of Somaliland will react soon. But it is unfortunate that even the regional governor of Sool didn’t participated the funeral of the journalist. On contrary the government started to search the journalists who reported that no one from the government of Somaliland participate the funeral.
73–17 november 2012 faisal jama adan reporter of united nations radio BARKULAN was arrested in las-anod by the order of the governor but he is released next day when Mohamed-rashid muhumed farah the secretary general of solja push to the governor to release the journalists
74–18/November, 2012 Abdiqani Ismail Goox reporter of Somali sat tv was arrested in las- anod
75–13/decembar, 2012 mohamuod abdi jama xuuto chairman of waaheen newspaper was arrested in cid
76–15, decembar, 2012 mahamed adan dirir Somali channel reporter was arrested in caynabo solja released 1pm on 16/12/2012
77–16/12/2012, mukhtaar mursal xiin ,maxamed daauud yuusuf,maxamed axmed muuse kuraase,waliid c/raxmaan cali working horn cable tv was arrested on hargeisa by the order of commander of daloodho police station regarding demonstration that took place today (total of harassment detention and killing journalist Somaliland)

Mohamed-rashid muhumed farah, Secretary General of solja


Somalia: Somaliland Boasts It Has Caught the Most Terrorists in Somalia

19 FEBRUARY 2013. Garowe Online (Garowe)http://allafrica.com/stories/201302200225.html

Hargeisa — Deputy Chairman of the ruling political party stated that Somaliland has apprehended the most terrorists operating in Somalia, days after opposition party chairman Faisal Ali Warabe's son was arrested on terrorism charges, Garowe Online reports.

Following an arrest of 2 alleged terrorists in Las'anod, Mohamed Kahin Ahmed deputy chairman of Kulmiye party - ruling party in Somaliland - stated that Somaliland has arrested the highest number of terrorists compared to the rest of Somalia.

"The majority of terrorists that have carried out of operations [in Somalia] were arrested by Somaliland authorities," said deputy chairman Mohamed to Somaliland media.

A high ranking official in the Puntland intelligence agency who requested anonymity told GO that this is one of the first high profile arrests of alleged terrorists that Somaliland has done.

UCID - Somaliland's opposition party - Chairman, Faisal Ali Warabe's son and a woman were arrested on terrorism charges on Sunday after Somaliland authorities found out that he had fled Hargeisa. The two were captured in Las'anod, capital of Sool region.

After acknowledging that his son was arrested on Sunday, Chairman Warabe shied away from media after the high profile arrest. Somaliland authorities have also kept quiet on the arrest of the chairman's son.

Somaliland's Sool region deputy police chief Abdullahi Saeed Guled told media that police in Las'anod apprehended 2 men, alleged to have a connection in the murder of prominent Islamic scholar, Sheikh Abdiqadir Nur Farah who was killed in Garowe as he was praying in a mosque.

"We arrested two men who left from a village near Garowe. One of the men took part in the murder of Sheikh Abdiqadir and the other was abetting him," said Abdullahi.

Sources in the Puntland security sector, have told GO that the arrest of the two men in Las'anod has come after the captured killer of Sheikh Abdiqadir - who was caught by citizens after shooting the Sheikh - provided information to Puntland authorities.

The source said that the investigation of the killing of the Sheikh has led to many arrests but Puntland authorities have denied commenting on the investigation at this time.

The Puntland government has repeatedly asked for more cooperation and coordination on Somaliland's part in counter-terrorism operations.

"Hopefully the Somaliland government is starting to recognize that coordination with security efforts with Puntland are very much need to ensure the safety of our citizens," said Presidential spokes man Ahmed Omar Hersi.


Somalia: Son of Somaliland Politician Arrested On Terrorism Charges

17 FEBRUARY 2013. Garowe Online (Garowe)(http://allafrica.com/stories/201302170228.html)

Las'anod — Close sources tell GO that Somaliland's UCID political party chairman, Faisal Ali Warabe's son, and a woman were arrested in Las'anod on terrorism charges following an investigation, Garowe Online reports.

Somaliland's UCID political party chairman"Faisal Ali Warabe."

Although it has not been independently verified Chairman Warabe's son who according to sources was from Finland and a woman also from Finland were arrested in Las'anod on Saturday night by Somaliland forces.

Government sources in Hargeisa say that the operation was assisted by foreign security forces. The sources tell GO that the two were affiliated with Al Shabaab and that the two had a connection in recent terrorist attacks in Puntland.

The most recent Al Shabaab attack was of Sheikh Abdiqadir Nur Farah who was shot dead in mosque while in prayer on Friday. Puntland security authorities said that it was too early to comment on the possible link.

Chairman Warabe's son and the woman fled Hargeisa and were attempting to flee Las'anod before they were caught.

"The man arrested is my son; I and the Minister of Interior are following the arrest of the two people. I don't know where they were headed but I want a full investigation so we can find out," said Chairman Warabe who spoke to Somali media on Sunday.

Minister of Interior Nur Arale who spoke at Somaliland parliament on Saturday gave a report on the self-declared independent country's security, and the need for improving security operations with "neighboring countries".

"We need to strengthen security operations with neighboring countries seeing as there are terror threats in and around borders," said Minister Arale at parliament.

Puntland President Abdirahaman Mohamed Farole has gone on record many times requesting that Somaliland coordinate their efforts with Puntland to fight Al Shabaab in and around the Golis Mountains and other areas.

Chairman Warabe was one of the first Somaliland officials to reject this request adding that Somaliland didn't want anything to do with Puntland.

Puntland officials have stated that Somaliland needs to do more to fight Al Shabaab on their soil and has accused some Somaliland residents of harboring terrorists.

Britain late last month warned its nationals living in Somaliland of a "specific threat in Somaliland". The British Foreign office issued a statement telling its nationals to leave Somaliland as soon as possible.

"We are now aware of a specific threat to Westerners in Somaliland, and urge any British nationals who remain there against our advice to leave immediately," read the statement.

Somaliland, located in northwestern Somalia, is a former British protectorate that unilaterally declared independence from the rest of the country in 1991 but has not been internationally recognized.


Investors ready to pump billions of dollars into calm Somaliland Somaliland farmers with their herds of goat wait for buyers at the Sayladah market in Hargeisa. The country has a huge livestock population. Photo/FILE AFP

By MATTHEW NEWSOME Special Correspondent. http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/Investors-ready-to-pump-billions-of-dollars-into-calm-Somaliland/-/2558/1639630/-/hvmy19z/-/index.html

Posted Saturday, December 8 2012

IN SUMMARY

* This November, Somalia struck its first major oil deal since seceding from Somalia in 1991.
* The driving force of this Horn of Africa nation’s economy has traditionally been livestock.
* Somaliland government is now starting to receive much-needed revenue from foreign private investors to support its development.

As Somalia starts to emerge from instability and chaos, 20 years of relative peace and stability are starting to pay dividends for its close neighbour Somaliland.

This November, it struck its first major oil deal since seceding from Somalia in 1991. Anglo-Turkish company Genel Energy received its licence from the Somaliland government in early November to explore and develop oil and gas reserves after pledging almost $40 million for exploration activities.

The independent oil and gas exploration and production company has become the first foreign investor to commit a significant amount of capital to the country’s energy sector, after initial investigations demonstrated “numerous oil seeps” confirming “a working hydrocarbon system,” a statement from Genel said.

Genel Energy, headed by erstwhile BP CEO Tony Hayward, is due to start exploration before the end of the year.

The driving force of this Horn of Africa nation’s economy has traditionally been livestock. With a livestock population that triples the 3.5 million civilian population, the livestock trade generates up to 65 per cent of the country’s GDP, Somaliland’s Minister of Planning Saad Shire said.

With a limited national budget of $120 million the Somaliland government is now starting to receive much-needed revenue from foreign private investors to support its development.

Somaliland’s oil and gas reserves attracted the attention of other giant energy companies such as South African-based Ophir Energy, Jacka Resources Ltd of Australia, and Petrosoma Ltd, a subsidiary of British-based Prime Resources — all of whom announced their readiness to invest.

Somaliland has suffered from not being internationally recognised for the past 21 years. Its unconfirmed legal identity has hindered its economic prospects — few insurance companies have been prepared to insure foreign investors here. Subsequently, investors have tended to regard Somaliland as an economic leper.

For these reasons, the country has also been ineligible for financial support from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. However, in 2012 Somaliland’s private sector started to progress against the odds.

At the beginning of the year, the first UK-Somaliland investment conference was held to stimulate bilateral trade recognition. And a $17 million Coca Cola plant launched in May by a Djibouti conglomerate made it the largest private investment in Somaliland since 1991.

Investors are seeing Coca Cola’s decision to have an operation in the region as a positive statement about the country’s stable business climate.

Somaliland’s Berbera port is also expected to attract major investment in the coming years. Built originally by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the port currently serves as a major gateway for the country’s livestock exports. There is huge potential for it to be a juncture for oil and gas exports coming out of landlocked countries like Ethiopia.

The port manager, Ali Omar Mohamed, is enthusiastic about the potential of expanding the port to make it a regional trading hub between Africa and the Middle East.

“We are strategically located — Berbera is located in a maritime lane — 30,000 ships pass by our port every year from Europe, the Middle East and Asia. We can develop Berbera into a major port like Singapore — with container terminals, free zones, oil refineries, and services related to maritime business,” Shire said.


Somaliland:Hargeisa regional court sentences SMS lady to eight months in prison

13 Feb, 2013. http://somalilandinformer.com/?p=13833

Hargeisa -regional court on Tuesday sentenced Ms. Nadra Mohamed Jama to eight months in prison for sending abusive SMS message to the presidency minister Hirsi Haji Ali who is the complainant in the case and senior minister in the government of president Silanyo.

Ms. Nadra Mahamed Jama dubbed SMS lady was ordered to evaluate her mental status and if she is fit to stand trial by the regional court.

The court announced its verdict and found the woman guilty of the crime she was accused of.

Ms. Nadra has been in custody for about a month and even her relatives claimed that she was tortured while in police detention.

The case between Nadra and Hirsi became the story of du jour and caught the attention of all residents in the capital city. The Horn Africa Human Rights Watch which was the main campaigner for the release of the SMS Lady has so far withdrawn its support for her release though the body shall continue to ensure that she gets a fair trial. The decision for psychological evaluation of the SMS lady came after consultations between her defense lawyer and the presiding magistrate concurred on the need to establish the aptness of the accused mental stability.


Somaliland:A guided tour of Laas Gaal’s mysterious Neolithic rock art

14 Feb, 2013. http://observers.france24.com. http://observers.france24.com/content/20130208-tour-laas-gaal-rock-art-somaliland

An animal painted in one of the Laas Gaal caves. Photo by Mohamed Amin Jibril.

Somaliland has few tourist attractions, but the rock paintings at the Laas Gaal cave complex are becoming increasingly popular with local and overseas visitors. Since a team of archaeologists stumbled upon the paintings in 2002, a modest but growing number of tourists have come to explore Laas Gaal. Mohamed Amin Jibril, who lives in Somaliland, shares his experience of visiting the caves, home to some of the earliest known rock art in the Horn of Africa.

Laas Gaal means ‘source of water for camels’ and is located 55 kilometres northeast of Hargeisa, capital of the autonomous region of Somaliland. Local inhabitants have known about the cave paintings for centuries, but their existence was not known to the international community until the French archaeologist Xavier Gutherz and his team ‘discovered’ them on December 4, 2002. Since then, Somaliland’s authorities have made them a protected site and visitors must be accompanied by a guide.

The paintings depict mostly animals, including cows and dogs, but they also show humans. They are estimated to be at least 5,000 years old, dating back to the Neolithic period. Little is known about the civilisation at the time and which painting techniques were used to create the rock art.

The Republic of Somaliland is a collection of administrative regions in northwest Somalia. Its inhabitants declared independence in 1991, but it has not been officially recognised by the international community.

“The number of tourists has doubled in the last year”

Mohamed Amin Jibril is a journalist who lives in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. He went to Laas Gaal on January 24.

Before the French archaeologists found the cave paintings, local belief held that spirits lived in the Laas Gaal caves. In a nearby village, I met 75-year-old Moussa Abdi Jamac, who’s lived in the area since 1969. He told me an old religious chief, Sheikh H. Juma Buh, warned villagers that the spirits didn’t know humans were living close by, and that it was best not to linger in the caves.

Another local told me people living near the caves sacrificed goats in an attempt to pacify the spirits. Today, some villagers continue to believe the Laas Gaal caves are sacred.

The Laas Gaal cave complex lies beneath this rocky outcrop. Photo by Mohamed Amin Jibril.

There are eight caves altogether. The first is home to the largest number of paintings and is considered the artistic and creative centre of the complex. The second cave is the biggest, and it looks like it may have been used as a meeting room. [Editor’s note: some experts think painted caves in Somaliland could have been meeting points for farmer and herders]. In the third cave, there is a large flat stone which makes you think of a king’s throne. Another cave is partitioned off into smaller spaces with little openings like windows. Prisoners could have been kept here. The rest of the caves look like living quarters.

When you enter the first cave, you see a stunning painting of a cow decorated with what looks like traditional fabrics. Next to the cow, there are paintings of stocky-looking men. The cows have a kind of decorative necklace on their chests. It’s really beautiful. Other animals also appear in the artwork, but these are more rare. [Editor’s note: some paintings show wild animals like jackals, monkeys, elephants, and giraffes].

In the past, no one went to this place. But it’s become the main tourist attraction in Somaliland. An employee at Laas Gaal told me that at first there were only 250 to 300 visitors per year but now there are roughly 30 each week. And according to the Ministry of Tourism, more than 1,000 tourists visited in 2012, double the number of the year before.

Somaliland Pro-Democratic Movements Petition to Hon William Hague,UK

February 11, 2013

We, the undersigned, the pro-democratic movement in Somaliland, comprising non-state actors, professional groups, university students, human rights and civil society organizations, operating under several non-governmental national level umbrellas and networks wish to express our gratitude to the people and government of the United Kingdom for their lions share in support towards developing our country’s education, health, security, livelihoods and democratization process for the last 20 years.

By - Sophira Net
Email: sohira.net@gmail.com Phone: 00252 2 4429552
26 June street, opposite of 26 June Secondary School / Ex-Diana House, Hargeisa, Somaliland
SOHIRA.NET/1/ 135 /13
Date: 11 February 2013

To: His Excellent the RT Hon William Hague
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH
Telephone: 020 7008 1500
Generic Email format: firstname.surname@fco.gsi.gov.uk
Twitter: @WilliamJHague

Date: February 11, 2013

Subject: Democratically elected government led H.E Ahmed Mohamed Mohomoud ‘Siilaanyo’ is the only one that represents the interests and wishes of the people of Somaliland.

Dear Minister,

We, the undersigned, the pro-democratic movement in Somaliland, comprising non-state actors, professional groups, university students, human rights and civil society organizations, operating under several non-governmental national level umbrellas and networks wish to express our gratitude to the people and government of the United Kingdom for their lions share in support towards developing our country’s education, health, security, livelihoods and democratization process for the last 20 years.

Your Excellency, The Republic of Somaliland is a free and peace-loving state, and its democratically elected government led H.E Ahmed Mohamed Mohomoud ‘Siilaanyo’ is the only one that represents the interests and wishes of the people of Somaliland.

In view of this fact we wish to inform that the people of Somaliland are against the on-going trend where an undemocratic elected president of the neighboring Somalia is undertaking negotiations and speaking on their behalf.

Your Excellency Minister, Somaliland though unrecognized internationally is a sovereign nation that pulled out of its fateful union with Somalia, a union it entered after your government granted independence on 26th June 1960,

As you are aware the democratization process that has ensued in Somaliland over the years has not only facilitated the availability of a government led by an elected head of state but has become a good example of democratic principles within Africa and the Islamic world.

The elected presidents have further enable the country to secure its borders, ensure the safety of its citizens but has also enable the active participation of Somaliland in international efforts to eliminate terrorism and piracy in the Horn region. This has been accomplished with the assistance and partnership with neighboring governments of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Yemen as well as with various international governments and organizations.

The enactment by parliament of various bills that has legalized the government’s involvement in stabilizing the Horn of Africa region is testimony to the commitment of the 4.5 million Somalilanders towards sustaining peace, security as well as the democratic principles.

On the other hand the pro-democratic civil society movements in Somaliland including human rights groups are saddened by the recent travel ban and poor security alert for Somaliland issued by your ministry which we believe is not factual considering the evidence on the ground.

Despite its negative impact internationally, the alert is an extra vigilance wake up call for our government as related to its protection of expatriates, citizens and deterrence against terrorists.

Your Excellency, we urge the international community and more specifically the United Kingdom to continue their support to our country and accord it the respect and dignity it deserves.

Finally, we wish to inform the world that the people of Somaliland have full confidence in their elected president H.E. Ahmed Mohamed Mahmud Silanyo and his administration.

Sincerely yours,
CC: Hon Ban Ki Moon, UN General Secretary, New York
CC: Mr John Kerry Secretary of state, US State Department, Washington DC

SIGNATORIES LIST ............................


Somalia - Veterinary Help for 43,000 Livestock Herders in the North

11 FEBRUARY 2013. International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva). PRESS RELEASE. http://allafrica.com/stories/201302111754.html

Nairobi/Geneva — The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), working with the Somali livestock and animal husbandry authorities, has just completed a major animal-health campaign in the north of Somalia.

Around 700,000 head of camels, sheep and goats were examined and if necessary treated for parasites or other health problems in the Togdheer, Nugaal, Sool and Sanaag regions. The campaign benefited over 43,000 people economically dependent on these animals.

Many herders find their livelihoods at risk because a lack of reliable veterinary services, together with conflict-related security concerns and natural disasters, is forcing them to stay on the move.

"Livestock are exceptionally important for communities in these areas, who depend heavily on them for their income and food security," said Patrick Vial, head of the ICRC delegation for Somalia. "Displaced herders have been severely affected by limited access to traditional nomadic routes, grazing areas, water points and veterinary services."

The ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent Society, which together provided the veterinary medicines used by the livestock and animal husbandry authorities to treat the animals, have access to the people in northern areas thanks to their neutral and impartial approach involving dialogue with everybody concerned.

Mohamed Sheikh Ali, who coordinates the ICRC's economic security programmes in the country, explains: "This campaign benefits displaced herders and their host communities. It will help the herders protect the assets on which their livelihoods depend by reducing the incidence of animal disease while at the same time increasing the market value of the livestock, which in turn will improve their economic security."

The ICRC has been working in Somalia since 1977 in close partnership with the Somali Red Crescent Society. It provides emergency and long-term support with the aim of strengthening community self-reliance. In addition, it promotes compliance with international humanitarian law and monitors the treatment detainees receive and the conditions in which they are held.


Somaliland coast guard captures Yemeni fishing boats

February 10, 2013. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2013/02/10/newsbrief-02

The Somaliland coast guard on Friday (February 8th) captured two boats operated by Yemeni nationals fishing illegally off in Somaliland's waters.

In an operation conducted in Karin district, 100 kilometres east of Berbera, the coast guard arrested 32 fishermen, according to Somaliland coast guard chief Admiral Ahmed Osman Abdi.

"They were engaged in illegal fishing in Somaliland waters and we will try them according to the law," Abdi told Sabahi, adding that the men have been transferred to Berbera to face trial.

Even though the Somaliland Ministry of Fisheries has licensed some fishing boats, Yemeni fishermen routinely violate the law, Abdi said. "In the last few years, we have captured several illegal Yemeni fishermen, and they have been convicted in court," he said.

Somaliland is not against foreign fishing boats, but they have to get the legal permits, Abdi said.


New Hargeisa hospital provides 24-hour medical services for children

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2013/02/06/feature-02

February 06, 2013

The opening of the first hospital specialising in paediatric illnesses in Hargeisa bodes well for Somalia, which has the worst child mortality rate in the world according to the United Nations.

An Italian doctor treats a child Feb 4th at the Mohamed Aden Sheikh Children's Teaching Hospital. [Barkhad Dahir/Sabahi]

The paediatric clinic at the Mohamed Aden Sheikh Children's Teaching Hospital opened January 26th, bringing free specialised paediatric treatement to the region for the first time.

The opening ceremony was attended by Somaliland Minister of Health Hussein Mohamud Mohamed, first lady Amina-Weris Sheikh Mohamud Jirde, Speaker of Parliament Abdirahman Mohamed Abdullahi, Minister of Planning Saad Haji Ali Shire, officials from the University of Hargeisa and a delegation from Onlus Somalia Association, a non-profit organisation Sheikh founded in Turin, Italy, in 2002.

A lifelong dream

"Before his death, [Sheikh] had long hoped to build a hospital in Mogadishu, but since the conflict did not recede there, he opted to implement it in Hargeisa," Mohamed said at the opening ceremony. "Even though he died, his idea survived and will endure."

Sheikh, originally from southern Somalia, had been the minister of health and the minister of culture and higher education under the Siad Barre regime, before being elected to parliament in 1980. In 1982, he was arrested for allegedly conspiring against the government of Siad Barre and was jailed until 1989, when he moved to Italy where he spent the rest of his life.

After Sheikh's death in 2010, his wife Felicita Torrielli and his friends from Turin raised funds to establish the hospital, and construction started in September 2011. Their efforts were supported by companies and agencies in Italy, Mohamed said.

Although the paediatric clinic has been opened, the hospital is still under construction and is expected to be completed in March.

"The tremendous need prompted the offering of services before construction was completed, and all the services it offers are free of charge," said Somaliland Deputy Minister of Health Nimo Hussein Ghawdan.

"I believe that it will have a big impact on the provision of healthcare services," she told Sabahi, adding that 60 to 70 children can be treated daily in the clinic.

Onlus Somalia Association will provide funding for the hospital for three years and plans to establish a governing committee, Ghawdan said.

Since its opening, 350 children have been admitted or treated, according to the hospital's manager Abdi Mohamud.

"Patients are accepted between 7:00 am and 12:00 pm, but those in critical conditions are accepted any time," he told Sabahi. The hospital is on a 24-hour schedule with medical and support staff available overnight, he said.

The hospital is being built on 12,500 square metres of land gifted by the Somaliland administration, and is adjacent to Hargeisa General Hospital, formerly Jajabka Hospital. The entire building will cost more than 1 million euros ($1.4 million) to complete, according to the hospital's website.

Rejuvenating the healthcare sector

The Mohamed Aden Sheikh Children's Teaching Hospital will help relieve the burden on the Hargeisa General Hospital, which was built by the British 50 years ago. At the time, Hargeisa had fewer than 50,000 residents, while today it has 1 million, the health minister said.

The hospital will also address serious medical conditions, especially paediatric illnesses, Mohamed said, adding that he expects the mix of local and Italian staff to create new ideas for the healthcare sector in Somaliland.

"This will change the system of healthcare provision, which seems to be suffering, and we hope it will rejuvenate the entire healthcare system and restore its value," he said.

The hospital will also be the first teaching facility of its kind in Somaliland, giving medical students an opportunity to receive specialised technical training.

Mustafe Osman, a 24-year-old medical student at the University of Hargeisa's college of medicine, said he is happy that he will have access to the clinical training site.

"Although the college has an educational partnership with King's College Hospital in London, students who attend the University of Hargeisa are in need of more hands-on clinical training," he told Sabahi.

Osman, who wants to specialise in paediatrics, said he plans to receive his specialised training at the Mohamed Aden Sheikh Children's Teaching Hospital in the next three years while completing college courses.

Treating more children, training doctors

Amina Ahmed, a mother of five, told Sabahi the new hospital would help her save money since she was compelled to take her children to private clinics in the city.

"If children are suffering from non-life threatening illnesses like colds or aches and you take them to the private clinics, it is possible the visit, tests and medicine will cost as much as $80," she said.

Despite the high prices, families struggling economically regularly use private facilities because the public health system in Somaliland has been inadequate or of low quality, she said.

Somalia has the highest child mortality rate in the world, according to the United Nations. For every 1,000 live births in 2010, 180 children died before the age of five.

"Children that had certain illnesses, like cancer, did not have a place for treatment and often died due to lack of medical care," said Dr. Mariam Abdullahi Dahir, a physician at Hargeisa General Hospital.

"It is good progress for the public to have a [clinic] specialising in paediatrics available free of charge, one that can also provide excellent medical care and treatments," she told Sabahi. "It is an added advantage that the centre will help train local doctors that specialise in paediatric diseases."


3 UN employees kidnapped in Somaliland

4 Feb, 2013. http://somalilandinformer.com/'p=13493

LAS ANOD-Gunmen belonging to Khaatumo militia have kidnapped three aid workers in Sool region and are holding them hostage for the second day in the town of Taleh.

Three employees of the United Nations Population Fund were seized in village nearby Taleh where they were conducting census of basic needs. The three kidnapped workers were Somali by birth and A witness says the three were seized by gunmen along with a Somali security guards.

The witness says the three had only been in the village for short period of time when they were seized by the militia. The witness also asked for anonymity for fear of retaliation by the kidnappers.

One of the kidnapped employees was allowed to speak to media outlet that support the rebel movement told that they do not belong to Somaliland National Planning ministry.

He made clear that they are workers for the United Nations Population Fund.


Somaliland: Denmark Allocates $8m towards Economic Growth 4 Feb, 2013. http://somalilandinformer.com/'p=13468

HARGEISA – The Danish government is an active player in promoting improved livelihoods.

The Somaliland Business Fund-SBF is beneficiary to $8 million contributed by the Danish government.

This was revealed by Mr. Zorem Rasmussen, head of the Danish International Development Agency-DANIDA Somaliland during an interview with reporter Mahmud Walaleye of Hornnewspaper in Hargeisa where he also informed that the UK Travel ban for Somaliland has not affected their operations.

Said he “Only Copenhagen has the authority to advice Danish citizens and my participation in this interview, in Hargeisa, means we are neither bothered nor affected by the recent UK travel advisory”.

According to Mr. Rasmussen DANIDA which opened its Hargeisa program office last August, has already allocated $8million to SBF, an amount to be increased gradually over the coming years.

“The allocation of this fund is geared towards fulfilling Denmark’s intentions for promoting local economic growth and creation of employment opportunities.

In response to the when of grants disbursement for the Somaliland business fund that DANIDA is co-funding with the World Bank, Mr. Rasmussen said, “the first phase mostly for small grants applicants shall start next month (March), while phase two applicants screening would be commenced in May, this year.

Apart from promotion of economic growth DANIDA, which comes under the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also engaged in the development of several other sectors among them; Security, Anti-piracy, Governance, and livelihoods throughout Somaliland and Somalia, with over $80million allocated for these activities during a four year plan ending in 2015.

DANIDA, who have above forty partners in Somaliland composing government ministers, local as well as international organization, also supports local council projects called JPLG, Gender, and Democratization process, needed to envision engagement his office doing Somaliland.

On his perception of the local environment for both donors, expatriates and investors, the DANIDA program manager said a conducive environment exists where all stakeholders have a single target, “that is attainment of local development while pursuing the quest for international recognition.

He praised the over 40 local partners that DANIDA is working in diverse sectors among them Government ministries and Civil Society Organizations for their relentless efforts in achieving set objectives.

On Denmark’s participation in the internationally fronted dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia, Mr. Rasmussen said, “Although we are not currently involved at any level, the government in Copenhagen is closely following proceedings and will not hesitate to provide assistance if deemed necessary or upon request”.

In Conclusion the top Danish representative in Somaliland thanked the Geeska Afrika media Group and reporter Mohamud Walaleye, for being the first to ever interview him since arrival in the country.

He promised to ensure that the media group is first to receive support from DANIDA if and when it initiates, in Somaliland, a media capacity building program the Agency currently implements in over 20 countries worldwide. (Horn Newspaper)


Somaliland: Tribalism is becoming a source of security thanks to Mr Silanyo-OPED

4 Feb, 2013

On 30th January 2013 the President of Somaliland Mr Ahmed Mohamed Siraayo gave what appeared to be for his yearly speech in front of both houses of the Parliament. It was a speech that was widely anticipated in the country but was indistinct and there were no much substances in it. In short it was disappointing performance in so many ways for a man who was just elected into office two years.

It was literally as if the President has been in coma after having the worse car crash and he had just regained for his mindfulness. He didn't talk about the real concerns people have about the rising corruption, growing tribalism since he came to office, the injustice that embedded in the heart of his government, the vote rigging, the killing of innocent people on the streets of hargeisa, Boorame and Saylac who were barbarically shot dead in close distance for simply demonstrating against what was widely seen as the most rigged election in the country's history. He didn't say anything to do with the political unrest that engulfed in Saylac region. He did not even comment the political isolation the country is facing under his stewardship.

Further, the President didn't say anything to do with the thousands of people who their votes were stolen from them. Nothing was said for the thousands of people who voted in the last local election for the candidates of their choices but their casted ballot papers were found in the dry river bank in Hargeisa. He has said nothing about Haqsoor party, which their votes were stolen and the entire legal system in the country refused to accept their application to have hearing their case in court. Democracy died in Somaliland when the political entity was refused to have their case in court. We all know that Haqsoor was ready to argue their case in court but it was denied by the government. It was apparent that Haqoor's case was so robust that the government and the election commission were so terrified to face them in the court room.

In short it was whitewash speech. It was certainly far away from the reality that existing in the country today. People were expecting the President to address the nation as their leader and to find remedies for the misgiving people have about his government that is dividing the country for the first time. The President did not address the nation's anxiety. Somaliland was formed to serve for all its inhabitants' but it is apparent that some Isaaq tribes have been dominating the political structure of the country since it was formed in 1991. It is true reflection to say that Somaliland become Isaaq entity or as some call it now Haroland. It is true to say Somaliland will never secure statehood without first embracing and addressing some of the political inequality that existing in the country today.

If Mr Siraayo was succeeded anything since coming to power he has accomplished in dividing the nation further into tribes and sub tribes. One of the most loyal tribe in Somaliland Arab was told in no uncertain term that they are not worthy of having a say the political system of their country. The political structure of Somaliland is so biased and it is only in favoring for certain Isaaq tribes while marginalizing others into be voiceless.

This president was the man who has continually demonstrates in front of the President Palace in Hargeisa during Riyaale's era. In 2008, a young woman was injured by the police while she was demonstrating with this president in front of the Presidential House in Hargeisa. Mr Siraayo then cried so loud. He gave interviews to every Somali channel, newspapers and radios including the BBC. He was accusing then President Mr Riyaale for killing an innocent demonstrator. He accused Mr Riyaale for behaving like Siyaad Bare.

In contrary after two years of being in office, this President has ordered Special Forces to shot innocent school children on the street of Hargeisa who were peacefully demonstrating the vote rigging. The President he has not comment about the killing of these young people for more a week. He was completely silent for more than seven days. He then gave a speech on human right day. He started in his speech 'TODAY IS A BIG DAY'. He went on to say that 'he is ready to defend the country'. People were asking each others who are the people the President is defending the country from. Has he protecting from the people who their loved ones were slaughtered in front of them' Or people who their right to have their vote count is been taken away' Or maybe people who their entire life have been transformed'.

It has to be said that President is suffering dementia and it must be affecting for his memory. The president's nephew Mr Hersi who many see as the man running the country now was given an interview for Hadhwanaagnews few weeks after the demonstrators were killed and he was asked about the people who were killed and injured demonstrating. His response was offensive, rude and very condescending. In truth he came across as someone who did not really understand the fabric of Somali society. You can't killed someone's loved ones and then say that you want to pay blood money without first promising to bring the real perpetrators to justices. Make no mistake, no matter how long it takes, we will never let you kill our children and then get away it without facing the consequences.

Given this uncertain, no wonder why the British government advised its Citizens to leave Somaliland and warn future travelers to go in that country. Previously, the USA stated that they recognized the Somalia government as the true representative of Somalia. It did not exclude Somaliland in this regard. The world knows that the people of Somaliland have lost faith for the government of Mr Siraayo and people are turning into tribes and sub tribes for some form of security. Abdi Adam, abdiqumane@hotmail.com


Investing in Somaliland- Is it Dubai 20 Years Ago?

Posted by Kurt Davis Jr on February 1, 2013. http://www.africa.com/blog/investing-in-somaliland-is-it-dubai-20-years-ago/

Somaliland. Not Somalia. Somaliland has been an independent region of Somalia proper for more than 20 years. Yet, most Westerners do not associate the former British protectorate with 20 years of independence and stability but rather with the instability and chaos of Mogadishu (which is not part of Somaliland if you did not know).

As I crossed the Somaliland border by land, I was quickly reminded of the Kurdistan part of Iraq. In similar fashion, Kurdistan is not far from Baghdad but bears little resemblance to the chaos of the Iraqi capital city. Further, Somaliland similarly bears little resemblance to Mogadishu. Rather it looks like Dubai 20 years ago. The construction and economic activity seemed out of place in Dubai 20 years ago, but now it is the norm and the epicenter of the booming Middle Eastern financial sector.

Somaliland: Emerging Economy in the Face of Contradiction

Due to the lack of official recognition internationally, Somaliland still suffers from the international trade A tailor sews the Somaliland flag, which was introduced in 1996. CC Image courtesy of Alfred Weidinger at Fotopedia. embargo imposed on Somalia. Still, Somalians have made a name for themselves as Africa’s most skilled traders. As keen businessmen working within constrained parameters, Somalians are a driving force in Africa’s informal market.

Sitting down with the Somaliland Central Bank Governor Abdi Dirir, you learn quickly how informal the Somaliland economy is. “The GDP of the Somaliland economy is possibly $1.5 billion,” said Mr. Dirir. In response to my speculation that the Somaliland economy could range from $3 to $4 billion, the governor easily replied “it is possible.” The movement of money throughout the Somaliland economy is a misnomer for modern day economic growth. If you are looking for commercial banks and “visa accepted here” signs, you will be highly disappointed.

According to the Governor, the Somalian Schilling maintains a stable exchange rate except for the minor fluctuations that occur when the diaspora visit this territory usually at the same time for a holiday week. During this time, a huge influx of Somalians brings U.S. dollars into the economy, creating a minor boost in the dollar supply. To say informality characterizes this economy would simply be an understatement.

From Traders to Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship is the second best characterization of the Somaliland economy. If you ask a local Somalian to introduce you to some local entrepreneurs, he will ask if you are staying for a couple weeks. A short visit will not do the country justice.

Somaliland is a country of more than 20 newspapers, more than 15 universities, and several telecom operators. For a republic that has around 4 million inhabitants, these types of numbers are both impressive and concerning. In the world of media, newspapers come and go as the best ones rise to the top and the defunct ones disappear. As one local Somalian described the situation, one day a guy is a newspaper entrepreneur and the next day he is pitching you on a new agribusiness idea.

In the world of education, starting a new university may seem as easy as a hobby in Somaliland. Yet, in reality, it is an area of opportunity where the local population is starving for increased education. At the same time, it is another manifestation of a growth opportunity for government regulation. As the government begins to implement a quality standard around education, the number of universities should shrink and the quality of graduates should improve. Despite all the challenges in sectors, such as news media and education, optimism must be taken from the current situation.

“Free enterprise is Somalia,” according to the Minister of Planning Dr. Sa’ad Ali Shire, “because the prior circumstances of the country required the private sector to do a lot of work.” The private sector effort in creating modern day Somaliland can never be fully appreciated. “It is the private sector building this country,” added the minister. Calling Somaliland the emerging Silicon Valley for its creativity may be an overstatement today but give it time.

Booming Telecom

The Somaliland telecommunication industry is a beacon of the championed free enterprise system in Somaliland. Six telecom operators populate the bandwidth of Somaliland. Some telecom experts speculate that mobile penetration could be as high as 35 to 40 percent as of January 2013. The amount of companies and the accompanying penetration rates are a stark contrast to the estimated 3 to 5 percent penetration rates at the turn of the century. Telesom is the biggest player in the market with more than 85 percent of the mobile subscriber market and the only firm with significant market power. SomTel is the second largest operator with a rapidly growing number of internet users. The presence of multiple operators, despite the imbalance in market share, has made Somaliland one of the cheapest mobile phone environments in the world.

And that’s just one example. Next week we’ll look at the challenges facing the booming telecom industry, and dive into mobile banking, and the import/export business in Somaliland, which is centered around Port Berbera.

Kurt Davis Jr. is a Senior Associate with Schulze Global Investments in its Ethiopia office. He is a private equity professional and early business/start-up consultant with experience in Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa, Asia, Europe and United States. He is an avid traveler who has been to 60+ countries throughout the world in search of new investment opportunities, new people, and a better understanding of the world.


Meeting the challenge of promoting pro-poor investment in Somaliland

Promoting investment presents its own set of challenges, but a flexible approach adapted to Somaliland's circumstances and culture has a good chance of success

Nick Haslam. guardian.co.uk. Feb 1, 2013. http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development-professionals-network/adam-smith-international-partner-zone/adam-smith-international-somaliland-pro-poor-investment

women and goats in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland Photograph: Alamy

A tradesman arriving at the Port of Berbera on the Gulf of Aden will have to pass through a gate marked by a bright sign saying 'Enter' and emblazoned with the flag of Somaliland. The entrance is an apt symbol of the fledgling state's desire, with an acutely Somalilander twist, to attract foreign and diaspora businessmen and their capital into the economy.

As the international community increasingly turns its gaze to the Horn of Africa, this desire is beginning to gain some traction, and development agencies are increasingly eager to capitalise on investment flows for the sake of pro-poor growth. But will Somaliland's way of doing business turn out to be sufficiently compatible with what investors and the development community seek?

A frontier economy

To many the idea of economic activity and investment in such a place may seem anathema. Somaliland is arguably the least recognised, self-declared independent state in the world and is known more for its tempestuous neighbour to the South (of which it officially forms a part) than for any of its own qualities.

However, as is so often the case in the Somali arena, the reality differs somewhat from perception. Given the region in which it lies, its recent history of violent conflict and the complete lack of recognition that followed its declaration of independence from Somalia in 1991, Somaliland can boast an active and successful business community embodying the entrepreneurial spirit for which Somalis are known. It enjoys a lucrative trade in livestock with the Gulf, exporting live camels, sheep and goats from all over East Africa by the million every year. With its advantageous location on the Gulf of Aden, it acts as a gateway to Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa for the exchange of all sorts of goods and services, from logistics to bottled drinks, electronic goods to food aid. In the field of telecommunications it hosts an array of widespread, reliable and cheap mobile phone networks that enhance economic opportunity. Furthermore, via global financial firms such as Dahabshiil it absorbs an impressive $800 million annually in diaspora remittances which feed the consumer economy and boost domestic investment.

The economic opportunities are also not to be sneered at. As a frontier economy with slack capacity for investment, Somaliland presents a high risk, high return profile for those investors willing to try their luck. Recent exploration points to the imminent discovery (risks notwithstanding) of sizeable reserves of oil and gas, and sectors such as fisheries, consumer products and food processing are all relatively untapped. These will be aided by improving infrastructure links by land to Ethiopia and by air from Hargeysa airport (currently being rebuilt with money from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development).

A small but growing number of investors, mainly from the diaspora but also numbering amongst them those from further afield, are making their first, tentative moves. Early in 2012 a Djibouti-based firm (Somaliland Beverages Industry, part of the Osman Guelle Farah Group) invested $17 million in a Coca-Cola franchise and bottling plant – the largest single investment in Somaliland since 1991. UK-based investment fund Invicta Capital and Jacka Resources, an Australian firm, are currently preparing an investment in oil exploration and development. Two further investment funds, based in the UK and Kenya respectively, are considering their options, and Chinese ICT giant Huawei is actively involved in the expanding mobile market.

Investment promotion, Somaliland style

The government is keen to capitalise on these inflows and to attract more, for purposes of fostering economic growth and poverty reduction as well as of encouraging private capital to foot some of the bill of the ambitious National Development Plan. This is doubly appropriate.

Not only can investment create jobs and development but also, with the dispersed nature and limitations of state authority in Somaliland, non-state actors (whether private actors or communities) have traditionally taken responsibility for providing services such as healthcare, education, power and roads – areas that in the Western model are habitually consigned to the state. In this context the private sector has a unique and influential role to play.

In keeping with the government's commitment, a host of investment promotion measures exist, from the foreign investment law which was passed in 2004 and creates incentives and mechanisms to bring in and protect investors to the ongoing reform of tax policy and the new investment climate unit within the Ministry of Commerce. Efforts are afoot to establish the foundation for commercial banks to operate via the central bank act passed in April 2012 and the forthcoming commercial banking bill. The National Development Plan also contains a raft of instruments to support the private sector, such as the drafting of a private sector development strategy that will include amongst other things a public-private partnership platform and further plans for business environment reform.

However, investing in Somaliland predictably presents, as the complement to high returns, its own set of risks, challenges and complications. Many of the problems that a tentative investor would face will be familiar from other frontier and fragile economies. Most business happens on an informal basis, the legal and regulatory framework is unpredictable and inadequately implemented and enforced, and information asymmetries abound. In addition, infrastructure and skills levels are low and, perhaps not surprisingly, accessing insurance is by and large prohibitively expensive.

True to form though, Somaliland presents its own set of characteristics. Firstly, the fact of its non-recognition considerably enhances the perception of risk and raises concerns about the long-term viability of contracts and investments. These are abetted by the uncertainty surrounding Somaliland's relationship with Mogadishu, which continues to assert – in theory if not in practice – its sovereignty over the whole of Somalia, and Puntland, with which Somaliland is currently embroiled in a territorial dispute. Equally importantly, the lack of recognition prevents Somaliland from participating in international institutions, laws and norms, and thereby a host of associated services and benefits.

Secondly, the nation's social and political structures have imposed their own distinct brand of doing business: embedded in these structures are the means to undertake transactions, build trust and mitigate business risk between the parties and allegiances involved. Through such means business takes place both within and across Somaliland's clans and tends to span political and commercial interests. To ensure the safe transfer of goods, trade routes are by tradition jointly run by members of the clans through whose sphere of influence the route runs. Likewise, through traditional shareholding and equity structures (exhibited for example by Telesom and a number of large livestock players), different interest groups, whether based on clan, political affiliation or business interest, are brought into the fold as a means of both raising capital and providing insurance. Commercial disputes are more often resolved by reaching consensus within a private council than within a court of law.

Such distinct ways of going about one's affairs may serve as a drawback or an advantage for investors depending on the circumstances and the inclination of the business in question. But, for a first-time investor unfamiliar with prevalent norms and practices, they will at the very least prove perplexing in their opacity, and may well be too much of a deterrent to proceed.

Thirdly, the bulk of economic activity is concentrated in a small number of sectors and dominated by a handful of large and well-connected players. The Indhadeero Group, for example, is not only the largest animal trader in Somaliland but also has businesses in light manufacturing, food retail and hospitality, whilst the group behind Daallo Airlines, an international airline based in Hargeysa, also owns firms in livestock and logistics. Such monopolistic tendencies hamper competition and new market entrants and weaken market governance.

Development agencies gearing up

There is of course a broader context to this story. Somaliland is a model of relative peace and stability in a region largely devoid of both, and this has not gone unnoticed in Western capitals. Create a stable political and economic environment, provide the infrastructure and regulation and make the market available, and – so the theory goes – investment will come. The jobs, consumer freedom and improved services that this investment will bring will provide a popular mandate for political stability, which will in turn attract further investment.

As a result, concomitant with increased international attention on achieving peace in the Horn of Africa, the world's development agencies are gearing up their involvement in Somaliland. Roughly 60% of the UK's development budget for Somalia is to be spent in Somaliland, and private sector development is a key focus within that envelope. DfID, the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organisation, world leaders at the London Conference on Somalia in February 2012, International Labour Organisation, USAid, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and others are all poised, if not already active on the ground. The usual array of pro-poor activities is on display, from grants and training for small and start-up businesses to value chain and market development to investment climate reform. In addition to such mainstream activities, the British government is also supporting the Somaliland Development Corporation, a specialised public-private partnership between the Somaliland government and prominent British and Somalilander citizens, which is designed to provide a safe platform for international and diaspora investors to engage with Somaliland and overcome inherent risks.

In seeking to promote pro-poor investment, what should development agencies, in tandem with investors and the government, do in continuation of – and in response to – this trend of amplified commercial, political and international interest in Somaliland? The answer is a range of options drawn from the international development manual, all of which are applicable. On the supply side, they could continue ongoing efforts to reduce risk and improve Somaliland's image abroad as an investment destination. They could subsidize inward-flowing funds and provide security for investors, thereby increasing the supply of capital and lowering its cost. On the demand side, they might work with Somaliland's firms and value chains to increase the number and size of investment opportunities. Consideration of cross-cutting issues such as the quality of energy and transport infrastructure may also be necessary.

On a governance level efforts could be made to improve and, perhaps more importantly, enforce existing laws and regulations and to enhance the overarching (and sector-specific) investment climate. This could happen alongside moves to promote transparency and competition and establish a concrete basis for engaging with the government. On a political level, there may well be a need for a solid, long-term commitment from the government, backed up by development agencies, that Somaliland is open for business, together with efforts to allay investor worries about regional instability and national non-recognition.

However, as Somaliland presents its own set of challenges, so it must have its own set of solutions. Somalilanders everywhere have shown themselves to be adept at mixing their own tried and tested ways with Western norms, practices and appearances, dexterously bridging the interface between the two spheres of influence whilst maintaining one foot in each. As evidence, one need look no further than Dahabshiil in the commercial arena and at the set-up of the parliament in the political one. If the welcoming sign in Berbera is to have as many visitors as possible pass beneath it, investors and development agencies ought to follow suit.


Somaliland president "disappointed'" with UK threat alert on break-away region

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 31 Jan 2013.Garoweonline.com in English 30 Jan 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

The president of Somalia's separatist region of Somaliland made his annual address to the two Houses of parliament on Wednesday, where he discussed a range of issues including the British government's warning for Westerners to evacuate Somaliland due to a "specific threat", Garowe Online reports.

President Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo delivered his annual speech to the two Houses of Parliament in Hargeysa, the capital of the separatist region of Somaliland, in northwestern Somalia.

President Silanyo stated that his administration has improved security in Somaliland, saying: "We have increased Somaliland military with 1,800 new soldiers after removing 2,500 ghost soldiers and we have provided training and new vehicles. We also plan to introduce ranking system for 5,000 officers. We have rehabilitated military hospitals in Hargeysa and Burco and built a new training school that has produced successive graduates."

The Somaliland leader said his administration trained 3,900 new police officers, including over 600 women police officers.

He noted that his administration "ensured peaceful local elections at more than 1,800 voting polls", adding that Somaliland paid 33 per cent of local elections cost, an increase to its expected 25 per cent contribution.

He thanked all seven political associations that participated in Somaliland's local elections, held in November 2012. He particularly thanked the leadership of the four political associations that were disqualified for accepting the final results. "In 2010, my administration inherited massive debt and an empty treasury with a 50m dollar annual budget. Today, the Somaliland combined budget for 2013 is 174m," said President Silanyo.

He said that Somaliland produced over 6,600 university graduates last year who need jobs, adding that this underlines Somaliland's commitment to educate citizens, as "there is no greater enemy than ignorance".

President Silanyo noted that the current administration has made achievements in the livestock sector, road rehabilitation and human resource development. "My administration has helped to resolve conflicts, such as in Buuhoodle and Kalshale areas. Today, the leadership of SSC (Sool, Sanaag and Cayn) armed group is a part of the Somaliland government," he said.

On 13 October 2012, President Silanyo appointed former SSC leader Saleban Ise Ahmad Haglatosiye as Somaliland's resettlement minister. However, armed clashes took place in November 2012, with community militia in Huddun District violently opposing Somaliland's local elections to take place in Sool and Sanaag regions, and the Somaliland Election Commission later cancelled local elections in Sool and Sanaag, regions claimed by neighbouring Puntland.

President Silanyo said the US government's recognition of the new Somali federal government in Mogadishu "does not concern Somaliland", saying: "Somaliland restored its statehood in 1991 and has since been seeking international recognition. We do not resent this [US decision] and we welcome peace and development for our brothers in Somalia".

Addressing the UK government's decision, President Silanyo said: "Somaliland has historic relations and cooperation with the UK government, but I am disappointed with the UK Foreign Office's announcement that there is insecurity in Somaliland, as this announcement did not value relations between the two sides, and I view it as a hasty decision."

On 27 January, Britain's Foreign Office issued a public statement, saying: "Terrorist groups operating in Somalia have made threats against Westerners and those working for Western organizations in Somalia, including Somaliland. We are now aware of a specific threat to Westerns in Somaliland and urge any British nationals who remain there against our advice to leave immediately."

After his speech, President Silanyo and Somaliland government leaders walked from Parliament among hundreds of people protesting against the UK government's public announcement warning British nationals and Westerners to evacuate Somaliland due to a security threat.

In the past, Puntland leaders have publicly accused Somaliland government officials of being linked to Al-Shabab terrorist group, which has waged relentless attacks in Mogadishu, other southern towns, and Golis mountains of Puntland, but has largely spared any terrorism attacks in Somaliland, as Al-Shabab's chief Ahmad Abdi Godane hails from Somaliland.

Somaliland, located in northwestern Somalia, is a former British protectorate that unilaterally declared independence from the rest of the country in 1991 but has not been internationally recognized.


Somaliland: exploration in 'Africa's 55th state'

January 28, 2013. by April Yee. http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/energy/somaliland-exploration-in-africas-55th-state

Hussein Abdi Duale

The National - By April Yee - Until 2010, Hussein Abdi Dualeh worked as a simple project manager in Los Angeles overseeing the use of natural gas as fuel for cars. It was a natural progression given his downstream engineering experience and his career start in the UAE as a salesman out of high school, marketing lubricants for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

Those days are past. On a trip back to Abu Dhabi this month, Mr Dualeh was feted at a table of honour, knee to knee with Mohammed Al Hamli, the UAE Minister of Energy, and Tony Hayward, the former BP chief executive, in the heart of the luxurious Yas Viceroy hotel. Later, after delivering one of the keynote speeches of the morning to executives from the world's supermajors, he enjoyed a cruise around the island before retiring to his suite.

Such is the life of the new oil minister of Somaliland.

His rapid rise to power is a product of politics and the reemergence of companies questing for oil and gas in a place that has yet to secure its statehood. Like Greenland and Iraqi Kurdistan, where wildcatters are drilling deep for oil, Somaliland administers itself by and large on its own, yet has not been recognised as a country by the United Nations. Like them, it also hopes hydrocarbons can ease its path to statehood.

"You know what really carries the day is not politics, it's geology," said Mr Dualeh. "If the geology is good, all bets are off."

Somaliland has ample history to overcome. In the late 1980s, Chevron was drilling and Conoco laying airstrips thanks to oil concessions granted by the central Somalian government, which included the former Italian colony that today is known as Somalia and, to the north, the former British protectorate that calls itself Somaliland.

In 1991, militias overtook the capital of Mogadishu and deposed the government, sending Somalia into lawlessness and famine and leading foreign companies to declare force majeure. That year Somaliland declared independence.

"We actually think of ourselves as the 55th state in Africa," said Mr Dualeh, pointing out that companies operating there are publicly traded in London and enjoy ample legal counsel. "If you have a company that has a lot of interests in Somaliland, for the safety of their interests they would rather see a full state that they're dealing with - so it will only hasten the day that we're being recognised."

This time around, three independents have signed up to explore Somaliland, the best known of which is led by Mr Hayward - Genel Energy, the Turkish operator in Kurdistan. Genel is to start surveying next month and expects to drill its maiden well at the start of next year, part of a regional exploration programme that includes Morocco and the Ivory Coast.

"The challenge is given the very high quality assets in Kurdistan, how do you replicate it as you go outside?" said Mr Hayward. "Really the only way to do that is through exploration, so what we were looking for is frontier exploration opportunities where we thought there was a possibility of finding large fields."

No one knows how much oil could be underground, in part because the exploration campaigns under the previous government were so brief. Mr Dualeh estimates that reserves could be in the billions of barrels, although he stops short of imagining a future with million-barrel-a-day output and ascendancy to Opec.

Beyond exploration, he hopes to transform the port of Berbera - a three-berth harbour that today exports sheep and frankincense - into an international fuel shipping hub, taking advantage of its deepwater geology and proximity to the Asian maritime transit route. A road and railway are also planned between Somaliland and Ethiopia, with a pipeline for Ethiopian hydrocarbons under discussion. Hopes are high for international companies such as DP World that could invest millions of dollars to transform Berbera into a world-class commercial port.

The drive to industrialise Somaliland came about three years ago with the arrival of a new president, who Mr Dualeh had served as US campaign manager. (A substantial diaspora in America furnishes votes and campaign funds.) The president then tapped him to lead the energy ministry, where he remains the only petroleum engineer.

Mr Dualeh recalled working in the United States 20 years ago and, from afar, following Chevron and Conoco's short-lived exploration campaign.

"They were drilling and I would read this in the papers and say, 'Oh God, I wish I could be a part of this operation,'" he said. "And guess what? I now have the whole thing in my hands."

Hussein Abdi Dualeh, the oil minister of Somaliland, speaks with The National about pirates and UAE links.

Do you plan to establish a national oil company?

It would be irresponsible of me if I don't put the seeds of that now, because we don't want to repeat the resource curse that some of these African countries have had: profits end up being misused and squandered and the countries in poverty and environmental damage. There is a hope that this new generation that are taking charge of the mining business in Africa really want to learn from those mistakes. We have three countries in Africa that are really doing a great job right now. Ghana is one of them. They have good legal regimes, good legislation, and they even established a sovereign wealth fund to make sure the wealth gets developed in a sustainable way and doesn't get squandered.

Why haven't you awarded more licences?

We don't want to just kind of do it wholesale. We want to see some of the results before we auction off everything else. We want to allocate and award acreage in a measured and calculated way, and we want to do due diligence to make sure that we have qualified and verifiable partners who have the wherewithal and capital, financial and technical, to make sure they're in for the long haul.

How will you deal with pirates?

There hasn't been as much of an issue of piracy as there has been in the past. They're smoking them out of hiding places, they're prosecuting them, they're hunting them down, and the world is waking up to this problem - because it ended up being a US$7 (Dh25.71) to $8bn problem. It got old for everybody and they said, enough is enough. You have some pirates in Somaliland, but they are behind bars doing some very long sentences. It's not fashionable any more to be a pirate. It's all about the economy. If there is hope in their horizon to develop and get opportunities, they will move away from this. Lawlessness in the Horn of Africa is getting less and less because of governments getting control, security beefed up. How can you cooperate with the UAE? We feel the UAE is a really close partner with the people of Somaliland as well as Somalia because there is a long history between the two peoples. There's a lot of them from my country that have worked here in the Emirates or Qatar or Saudi Arabia, so there's a very strong affinity between the two countries.

There is good support from the government of the Emirates in terms of helping us with some development programmes. It's not political at this stage, but there's a lot of sympathy for us, and I think this will lead to economic ties.


Business Survey Shows Surge in Investment in Somaliland

19 DECEMBER 2012 | HARGEISA, SOMALIA.

The 2012 Business Confidence Survey, released this week, shows that investment in medium?sized enterprises more than doubled between 2011 and 2012. The Somaliland Ministry of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture conducted the survey with USAID support.

“This year’s survey shows that businesses and investors are becoming more confident in the economy,” said Somaliland Minister of Commerce Honorable Abdirizak Ahmed Khalif. “We expect that their confidence will continue to grow and that investment will continue to increase.”

The survey found that investment in medium sized?enterprises of $100,000 ?$500,000 had more than doubled in Hargeisa between 2011 and 2012 (from 7.5 percent of respondents to 17 percent).

Nearly 300 local businesses from all regions of Somaliland responded to the annual survey?­including women entrepreneurs and youth?owned businesses as well as investors from the Somali diaspora. The survey queried respondents about the ease of starting a business, perceived availability of skilled labor, the quality of infrastructure, security, and laws and regulations for businesses and investors.

Previous surveys had shown that businesspeople and potential investors were particularly concerned about weak legislation. In response, in 2012 USAID also provided assistance to the Ministry of Commerce to review and amend laws governing commerce and investment.

Support for these activities comes from USAID’s Partnership for Economic Growth program, a $13 million initiative that supports stabilization by investing in the local economy and strengthening the livestock, farming, and energy sectors.


Hargeisa: A Divided Capital City

Published On: Tuesday, January, 29 2013. http://sunatimes.com/view.php?id=2555

Hargeisa is no longer a contiguous city as it used to be before 28 November 2012. The South West bank territory of Hargeisa remains a no-go area for all government functionaries including security forces.

In Somaliland, we appear to have a government. It looks like a government, often talks like a government, and sometimes behaves like a government. But you can't really understand the modus operandi of Silanyo's government until you scratch beneath the surface and reveal that it is not actually a government but a small clique of utterly unscrupulous individuals pulling the strings everywhere in Somaliland.

This clique would go extra ordinary lengths not only to flout the laws of the land but also to wallow in the blood of innocents, if it threatened their best interests as in the case of the massacre that took place at Ahmed Dhagah and further afield.

Hardly anyone would disagree that the recent local council elections held in the country on 28 November 2012 split the country right down the middle. The nation is now more divided than ever before. And these divisions are more broader and have far deeper roots than one might think especially in the capital city, Hargeisa, where there is brinkmanship between supporters of Haksoor political association and the beleaguered government of Ahmed Silanyo.

In Zeila, there is bad blood between the Vice President's clan and the indigenous ESSA people over the 'manipulated results of the Somaliland local council election' which led to ESSA not being able to win enough councilors in order to propel one of their clan members into the mayor's office in the ancient town of Zeila. The Vice President was accused to have directly interfered in the electoral process to tip the scales in favour of his clan. The Vice President did not deny this. As a result, the ESSA categorically rejected the outcome of the local elections. At least one person was killed and dozen others were injured over the results of the local election dispute. Attempts by the government to reconcile the two sides ended with dismal failure, prompting the minister of interior Mohamed Nur Arale to threaten the ESSA by saying, 'We will not be at the mercy of any party as far as the peace and security is concerned'. The minister has been roundly criticized for stooping to a level of such immaturity and contempt.

For their part, the Gadabursi accuse the government of pandering to the demands of ESSA and trying to reverse the outcome of an election it claims to be fair and free.

The same 'cooked' election results led to the complete rupture of relations between the government and Arab supporters of HAKSOOR in Ahmed Dhagah district. The Dhulbahante and Warsangeli are equally up in arms that the majority of their electorate has been deliberately disenfranchised, making it virtually impossible for so many to exercise their fundamental rights to discharge their civic duties. The blame for this loss of fundamental rights has been placed squarely at the feet of the chairman of National Electoral Commission, Essa Mohamed Jama by non other than the president's special advisor on the eastern front, Fuad Aden Adde.

Needless to say, the government lost parts of its capital city after it alienated Arab as a result of the fraudulent election. Hargeisa is no longer a contiguous city as it used to be before 28 November 2012. The South West bank territory of Hargeisa remains a no-go area for all government functionaries including security forces. It remains outside the jurisdiction of the central government following the massacre committed by Silanyo's security forces at Ahmed Dhagah district on 6th December 2012 in which three people lost their lives and scores of others were injured- some of them seriously. The ages of slain children ranged from 13-16.

It is precisely this state terrorism perpetrated by Silanyo's government against its own citizens that led Ahmed Dhagah to become a renegade territory within the capital city of Hargeisa- a stone's throw away from Silanyo's seat of power. Today, Ahmed Dhagah virtually remains a separate enclave within Hargeisa. Tax collection is a thing of the past, people buy plot of lands in droves and build their homes without planning permissions and without the hassle of much of the red tape and/or bribery that are usually associated with such an endeavour. Police stations and government offices are either empty or are manned by familiar faces friendly with the roaming local boys.

It still remains off-limits for government officials. Authorities either sneak in under the cover of darkness or stay out of the area completely depending on how pressing their needs are. Yet, surprisingly as it may sound, there are no reported crimes or anarchy whatsoever which is why so many people erroneously think that it is business as usual for Hargeisa- almost two months after the local election on 26 November 2012 when, in fact, that is not the case.

So angry are Arab young men in Ahmed Dhagah that every vehicle with identifiable government plate number that passes through Ahmed Dhagah or its environs is either impounded or are pelted with hail of stones if it fails to stop.

A group of henna-dyed elders who went out of their way to mend fences with the government was uncharacteristically castigated by fiery young clerics who believe that the elders had gone beyond the limits of the clan-family's tolerance. Spewing out their hatred and anger in every direction, Ahmed Dhagah women came out in force to have their daggers drawn with the government on Tuesday, 1st January 2013. Wearing red bands symbolizing the blood of the murdered protesters in Ahmed Dhagah, the women expressed their disgust at Silanyo's government and its handling of what everyone now agrees to be a 'plainly fraudulent election' as put it by the leaders of the two of the three parties that qualified for national party status. The ruling party, KULMIYE, was the exception, of course.

As if the rest of the Somaliland people are not aware of the brutal murders that took place in Ahmed Dhagah, the women took no prisoners as they spoke uncontrollably in front of rolling cameras, condemning the two houses of parliament for their collusion and connivance with the government.

As if that was not enough, the women and young men vowed to commit themselves not to allow the ministry of sports to hold the yearly Regional Football Tournament in Hargeisa's only Stadium which is situated in Ahmed Dhagah district. Now, the tournament has been postponed to June because the government could not guarantee the security of the teams and spectators. Sadly, what was once a warm relationship between Silanyo and the people of Ahmed Dhagah has unnecessarily turned into a deadly confrontation- a confrontation that seems to be steadily escalating to the point where lasting harm might be done to the country.

Certainly, the government is the guilty party here which is why the government prefers to remain low profile while its already tarnished reputation takes a merciless beating in Ahmed Dhagah.

The government and National Election Commission (NEC) collectively failed to answer until now why out of the so many electoral districts in Marodi Jeh province the ballot boxes from electoral district of Ahmed Dhagah [the stronghold of HAKSOOR] went missing' No one would explain or answer this question.

HAKSOOR's formal ballot papers that have been correctly marked by voters to show their preferred candidates have been dumped and burned in the dry river bed of Hargeisa. It was an obvious criminal offence and an investigation should have been immediately launched but the government reportedly advised the NEC officials to ignore HAKSOOR's complaint.

When supporters of HAKSOOR in Ahmed Dhagah began to protest against these injustices the minister of interior has deployed an-anti terrorist police unit to quell the protest by using live ammunition against the peaceful demonstrators. At least three people have been killed including two teenagers aged 13 and 14. Scores of others have been injured-some of them seriously. No one has taken responsibility for these cold blooded murders and no investigation have been launched whatsoever until now.

HAKSOOR officials took formally their complaints to the relevant chief justices of the district and provincial courts of the country but the justices were clearly instructed by the presidential palace not to entertain any complaints from HAKSOOR.

Hersi Haji Ali, the minister of the presidency, who is widely rumoured to govern the country, went to visit Edna Aden's Hospital on 16th December 2012. Soon he found himself surrounded by nearly 300 menacing young men wielding machetes, sticks and stones. For several hours, he found himself barricaded in the Hospital only to be bundled out of the back door stealthily by the founder of the hospital and former foreign minister, Edna Adan. The president's motorcade was greeted with the sole of shoes which are considered the ultimate insult in Somali culture.

Until now, the clique that runs the government remains in a dangerous state of denial. They acts as if nothing has happened, refusing to acknowledge that these events even took place while Haksoor supporters lodged a complaint against president Silanyo in London for unlawful killing of peaceful demonstrators- mostly school children.

This ostrich like behaviour is not a legitimate option though and represents a gross dereliction of duty. We can't keep pretending everything is fine when it's not. The Somaliland nation is bitterly divided at the worst possible time and a house divided against itself cannot stand. The fact that the British government urged its nationals, including the higher number of Britons with a Somali background who visit relatives in Somaliland, to leave the country immediately because of a 'specific threat' to foreigners is a clear testament to the fact that everything is not fine in Somaliland.

Jamal Madar. London, United Kingdom. adammadar@yahoo.com


Somaliland dismisses Britain's security threat warning

Reuters – 28 Jan 2013

HARGEISA (Reuters) - Somalia's breakaway Somaliland enclave has dismissed as "baseless" a British government warning of an imminent attack on foreigners.

London urged all British nationals to leave Somaliland immediately on Sunday, warning of a "specific threat" to foreigners. Ireland issued the same alert to its citizens.

Somaliland's Foreign Minster Mohamed Abdillahi Omer told reporters on Sunday night that there was no "imminent threat and danger from terrorists" and that the "UK government's presumption of insecurity in Somaliland is baseless."

Even before its latest warning, Britain advised against all travel to Somaliland - an enclave that declared independence in 1991 - as well as to wider Somalia, due to the "high threat from terrorism" and kidnapping. On Sunday it said there was an ongoing danger of "kidnapping for financial or political gain, motivated by criminality or terrorism".

The British and Irish warnings came days after European countries said there was a "specific and imminent" threat to foreigners in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. British Prime Minister David Cameron called North Africa a "magnet for jihadists".

Somaliland has been relatively peaceful since it broke away from Somalia - a country racked by decades of civil war. However, fighting erupted last January after the leaders of Somaliland's northern regions banded together into a new state called Khaatumo.

http://news.yahoo.com/somaliland-dismisses-britains-security-threat-warning-123201642.html


Somaliland : Doing business in Hargeisa 2012

January 26, 2013. The World Bank - comparing regulation for domestic firms in 183 economies (English)

ABSTRACT

Doing Business in Hargeisa 2012 measures business regulations and their enforcement in Hargeisa, Somaliland. It is the first Doing Business city profile in Somaliland. Comparisons with other economies are based on Doing Business 2012, doing business in a more transparent world, the ninth in a series of annual reports published by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation. The indicators in Doing Business in Hargeisa 2012 are also comparable with 335 cities from 54 economies benchmarked in other subnational Doing Business studies. Doing Business investigates the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it. Doing Business in Hargeisa 2012 measures regulations affecting 11 stages of the life of a small or medium-size business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency. Data on the employing workers indicator is available as an annex. The data in Doing Business in Hargeisa 2012 are current as of May 2012.

COMPLETE REPORT IN ENGLISH Official version of document (may contain signatures, etc) Official PDF, 98 pages 6.86 mb


Somaliland forces clash with "territorial fighters"

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 22 Jan 2013.Radio Bar-Kulan website, Nairobi, in Somali 22 Jan 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Somaliland forces have clashed with fighters loyal to Khaatumo regional administration in Huddun, Sool Region in northwestern Somalia.

The clash affected pastoral communities living in the region as sounds of gunshots could be heard inside Huddun, local residents told Bar-Kulan.

Casualties caused by the fighting remains unclear. The confrontation stopped at sunset.

Officials from both sides have so far not commented on the fighting.

There has been sporadic fighting between Somaliland forces and Khaatumo fighters since 28 November 2012.


Website says Somaliland lawmaker "secretly working" for Somali government

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 22 Jan 2013.Haatuf, Hargeysa, in Somali 21 Jan 13/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Somaliland House of Representatives member Abdirahman Hog and other officials have started to secretly work for the government of Somalia, especially Minister of Foreign Affairs Fowsiyo Yusuf Haji Adan and the interior minister, Abdikarim Ahmad Gulled, who are engaged in an anti-Somaliland campaign.

On 11 January, lawmaker Abdirahman Hog went to Berbera airport to see the Somali foreign affairs minister after a plane she was riding in made a brief stopover on its way to Mogadishu. He met her for 20 minutes inside the plane. Tasks to be carried out by Abdirahman Hog on behalf of the government of Somalia were reportedly discussed during the meeting, which appeared to have been planned in advance.

Abdirahman Hog has publicly defended and welcomed the appointment of Fowsiyo Yusuf Haji Adan as Somalia's foreign affairs minister.

The Mogadishu-based government of Hasan Shaykh Mahmud is known to have been contacting Somaliland citizens, among them businessmen, former government officials, and clan chiefs, offering some of them positions and small contracts to carry out such tasks as causing trouble and confusion in Somaliland aimed at undermining its sovereignty and stability.


Somalia: U.S. Recognition of Govt Creates Political Storm in Somaliland

21 JANUARY 2013. Garowe Online (Garowe) http://allafrica.com/stories/201301220059.html

Hargeisa — The U.S. government 's decision to formally recognize the first Somali national government since 1991 has created a political storm in Somaliland, with government officials, parliamentarians, opposition figures and traditional elders publicly voicing their dissatisfaction with the U.S. announcement, Garowe Online reports.

Somaliland Interior Minister Mohamed Nur Arale Duur told reporters in Hargeisa that U.S. recognition of the Somali Federal Government, led by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, is a "slap in the face" for Somaliland's pursuit of independence from the rest of Somalia.

"This U.S. recognition of the Somali Federal Government will not bring anything positive for Somaliland," said Minister Duur.

President Hassan visited Washington, D.C., last week where U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that Washington officially recognizes the Somali Federal Government as the national government of Somalia.

'Silanyo failure'

Mr. Faisal Ali Warabe, chairman of UCID opposition party in Somaliland, told the BBC Somali Service this week that U.S. recognition of the Somali Federal Government hurts Somaliland's ambitions for international recognition.

"U.S. recognition of the federal government in Somalia, as a national government for all of Somalia, damages our [Somaliland] prospects for international recognition as an independent country," Mr. Warabe said.

Continuing, the Somaliland opposition leader suggested that U.S. recognition "will impact the proposed dialogue between the Somali Federal Government and Somaliland".

Mr. Faisal blamed the policies of Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, whom he accused of "failure" in lobbying the international community towards Somaliland's independence cause.

'Withdraw from dialogue'

Mr. Awil Osman Mohamud Dawil, a member of Somaliland's House of Representatives and chairman of the House's social affairs subcommittee, told Somaliland independent newspaper Haatuf that the Somaliland administration should "withdraw" from engaging in dialogue with the Somali Federal Government.

"I call on the Somaliland government to withdraw from dialogue with the Somali Federal Government...Moreover, I call on the Somaliland government to return to Parliament the motion permitting Somaliland participation at conferences for Somalia," said MP Dawil.

In early 2012, Somaliland Parliament passed a motion introduced by the Silanyo administration overruling a decades-old law that banned Somaliland politicians from attending conferences for Somalia. President Silanyo attended the February 2012 London Conference for Somalia, marking the first time Somaliland has attended a conference for Somalia.

U.S. decision 'does not concern Somaliland'

Similarly, the chief of Somaliland's traditional elders, Sultan Mohamed Sultan Abdulkadir told the same newspaper Haatuf that the U.S. decision "does not effect Somaliland", saying: "The Somaliland people's decision is not controlled by the U.S. government, and neither the U.S. nor Somaliland government can change the people's decision."

Sultan Mohamed defended the public comments by Somaliland Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omar, who stated that U.S. recognition of the Somali Federal Government "does not concern Somaliland".

In Puntland, another autonomous region in Somalia, a government press statement welcomed U.S. recognition of the Somali Federal Government. On Monday in Mogadishu, Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon attended a demonstration held in support of the U.S. decision.

Somaliland, located in northwestern Somalia, unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.


Newly elected Hargeisa council aims to address city's garbage problem

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa

January 21, 2013. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2013/01/21/feature-02

Hargeisa residents say they have high expectations of the newly elected municipal council's ability to clean up the piles of garbage strewn in the city's streets.

A truck drives by a dirt road in Hargeisa's Mohamud Haybe district where trash has been illegally dumped. [Barkhad Dahir/Sabahi]

Garbage collection site in Hargeisa's Ahmed Dhagah district. Residents want the city to increase the number of collection sites and pickup days. [Barkhad Dahir/Sabahi]

Construction work begins on Hargeisa-Ina Guha Road Increasing charcoal production worries Somaliland officials Residential and commercial real estate booms in Hargeisa Somaliland celebrates World Environment Day

The recently elected body started work on January 5th, vowing to address residents' needs and complaints, with a focus on public service, said council member Ahmed Siad Muhumed.

"We will focus on sanitation, strengthening public neighbourhoods and district boards that will work with the municipality on peace-keeping and development, as well as improving the beauty of the city," he told Sabahi.

The previous council, which was in power for 10 years, was not effective in addressing the city's garbage problem because it was mired in internal conflicts, said Hargeisa-based analyst Bashir Haji Ismail, adding that the issue has become a public health concern.

"Past experiences must be a lesson for the newly elected representatives so they can address the true needs and grievances of the public," he told Sabahi.

The city has been working with four privately owned garbage collection companies -- Sabowanaag, DHIS, Tabsan and Keeps -- said Khadar Yusuf Ali, director of the Department of Social Affairs and City Beautification of Hargeisa Municipality.

Sabowanaag and DHIS had been the only two companies operating under a public-private partnership since 2007, but when performance issues arose and complaints about garbage continued, Tabsan and Keeps were added in 2012, Ali said.

Using public-private partnerships to collect the city's garbage has sped up collection, strengthened job creation and stimulated the private sector, Ali said. "Up to 70% of our goal has been realised, but the problem of garbage has not been eliminated."

In the last five years, the municipality has created two garbage sites seven kilometres from the city for dumping and burning garbage. As part of its campaign to improve public health, the municipality has also burnt 140 tonnes of expired food, drinks and medicine collected from Hargeisa businesses in 2012, Ali said.

"We are making an effort to preserve public health. We routinely monitor food, drinks and medicine centres in the market so that expired goods are not sold to the public," he said.

Mustafa Mohamed, an inspector with Sabowanaag, said his company services assigned areas twice a week as per contract, collecting 1,000 Somaliland shillings per pickup.

"We collect garbage from residential homes, business centres, offices, the sides of roads and take it to designated dumping sites to be burnt," he told Sabahi. Residents who dump their garbage in undesignated locations without facing legal punishment constitute a recurring problem, he said.

Looking forward

But residents who spoke to Sabahi said the city needs to increase the number of designated garbage collection sites, add more pickup days and monitor the collection companies' performance.

Halima Yonis, who operates an eatery in Wahen market, said she would welcome improved garbage collection services since the companies have failed to come often enough to be effective.

Yasin Alase, a teacher at the University of Hargeisa, said the problem is that the private companies limit pickup in residential areas and focus more on busy markets, where they get more business.

"The companies are delivering services with profits in mind," he said, adding that better public awareness and more oversight from the city would help improve services and keep the city clean.

On Saturday (January 19th), the municipal council met with representatives of the private companies involved in garbage collection and with other city officials to discuss some of the challenges the city is facing.

Council member Ahmed Siad Muhumed told Sabahi the council has not yet made any concrete plans and that it is still consulting with the parties involved to develop comprehensive plans.


Massacre in Zeila, the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland

14/01/2013. http://www.mareeg.com/fidsan.php?sid=27251&tirsan=3

Mareeg.com-Ever since Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo took over the presidency of Somaliland, little over two years ago (the former Northern State of Somalia) - Somaliland seems to be experiencing skirmishes most of their territory: from Sanaag, Sool, Gabiley and now Salal States – where the historical city is located. At least is fair to say that some tribes who are not Issaq: the Daroods (Dulbahante), Gadaboursi and Issa.

Unfortunately, it’s a fact that there has been lots of killing going on inside of Somaliland lately - often committing by their military and some tribal vigilantes (Somaliland Army made up by the former rebels of SNM and, also they have been recruited from tribal Arm groups).

Last Tuesday, January 8th at dawn, the Somaliland Arm Forces carried out a massacre in Zeila. According to the witnesses: they deliberately shoot the unarmed civilians who were simply protesting the fraudulent election concocted by President Siranyo’s vice-president and his agents, few months ago, in order to give his party, Kulmiye, the upper hand - so that they would dominate the Somaliland Parliament and set their agenda; wherever that might be.

Even though, the Police were there to keep the peace as usual – in case that there’s civilian unrest in Town. Yet the Army moved in without informing the local Police, and they started firing the unarmed civilians indiscriminately.

They have severely wounded 12 and killed 2 people. Most of the victims were males; and they were transported to the Republic of Djibouti for treatment - since there are no efficient Hospitals to help these individuals in Saylac and Salal State in general.

It seems that the Somaliland Army are still acting that they are in civil war against with Siad Barre’s Army. They ought to be reminding that their job is to protect their citizens – but not to kill them. They should have warned them first and tried to solve the situation peacefully instead of opening fire to civilians. (Watch the video at www.djibtalk.com and www.harrirad.com)

Some times, though, one wonders if the Somaliland Army yet to learn how to behave as a professional Army. They must be taught how to protect their citizens but not killing them when they are peacefully protesting.

There’s not secret that Somaliland Army needs to be trained; unfortunately, they still act like bunch of thugs. They have to be shown properly how to deal with unarmed civilians. At least this massacre in Zeila explains itself; and the Hargeisa government must consider it if they want to be treated like regular Army and a State.

Somebody in Hargeisa or elsewhere ought to be reminding them that these people are their citizens – not their enemies. And unless civilians were armed with deadly weapons and the lives of Arm forces are threatened; they should never shoot them, period.

Therefore, an independent commission must be created immediately – a commission who will investigate thoroughly with this massacre. If Somaliland wishes to be part of the international community and their neighbors to recognize them as a country! This is their chance to prove themselves worthy. They must find the killers and bring them to justice!

Having said that if the Somaliland government fails to respect the human value or miss the chance to do the right thing. The international community (United Nations and their affiliates) must bring those criminals and their superiors who gave them the orders to justice - the International court, Hague, Netherlands.

In the mean times, the Salal state community must Arm themselves with the help of Djibouti people, Ethiopia and the rest of the world must do their part in order to stop another massacre happening again. This community Salal and Lugaheye must defend their people since Siranyo and his henchman, Seylici (the vice-president of Somaliland) are acting like lunatics fringes.

History repeats itself! The Northern of Somalian brothers are doing exactly what they were complaining over twenty years ago from General Siad Barre’s regime (Former and the last President of Somalia) and his lieutenants.

Mohamed Awaleh. Publisher of Ottawa Monthly newspaper, Safari Post. He can be reached at awaleh@consultant.com


Ethiopia: Somalia, Somaliland to Resume Talks

14 JANUARY 2013. Government of Ethiopia (Addis Ababa)http://allafrica.com/stories/201301142112.html

Somaliland's Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Mohammed Abdulahi Omar has told journalists that the stalled talks between the new administration of Somalia and Somaliland officials will resume soon.

Dr. Omer said the talks would be a follow-up of the earlier talks in London and United Arab Emirates. A similar statement was made by Somalia's Prime Minister, Ali Farah Shirdon, a day earlier. Prime Minister Shirdon told reporters that the talks would resume "soon" and expressed his hopes that they would be fruitful. The talks halted because of the ending of the transitional process in Somalia and the elections of a new Parliament and a new President, as well as a new administration, last year.


New livelihoods bring hope for women in Somalia

Innovative soap and jewellery production creates homegrown businesses in the region

09 JANUARY 2013. http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Stories/Case-Studies/2012/Laying-the-SEED-for-a-better-future/

The Sustainable Employment and Economic Development Programme (SEED), is transforming lives in Northern Somalia.

Swizzer Mohamed holds a finished pack of soap. Picture: FAO

In the business of selling meat, Swizzer Mohamed never thought she would use camel by-products to manufacture soap and jewellery. However, thanks to the UK aid funded Sustainable Employment and Economic Development Programme (SEED), Swizzer has seen the most tangible development product ever initiated, in Hargeisa, Somalia.

Improving livelihoods

The livestock sector employs more than 50% of Somalia's population. Every year Somalia exports livestock valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. However, Somalia's domestic meat production industry is yet to fully exploit the potential value from livestock by-products - tonnes of bones are discarded daily.

With UK aid funding, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) teaches Somali women how to make soap from camels' bone marrow. The soap-making recipe is passed on with the aim to use the valuable livestock by-products and to empower and equip Somali women with skills to improve their livelihoods.

Swizzer talks of her experience with the programme. "I got engaged in the business of selling meat from a very young age as both of my parents were involved. When I joined we used to throw away the bones. Today look at all these people making a living from soap-making."

"This is a miracle, I never thought we could do this, but today we are producing our own soaps, and even jewellery," says Swizzer. "We want to expand this facility to other regions, and we are grateful to UK aid for offering this help through the FAO."

Workers at the Somaliland Meat Development Association soap making plant cut bones in preparation for soap making. Picture: FAO

Hope for a better future

Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world with 73% of the population living on less than $2 per day. It is considered a failed state having had no effective government, affected by prolonged civil war characterised by localised clan-based rivalries. For over 20 years, all political, economic, and social activity has by default undergone a process of extreme decentralization.

The first group of women who have successfully finished their training are already working on setting up their own business from the skills accrued from the soap making plant. After two decades of war, drought and underdevelopment, Somalia has almost no homegrown industries that produce basic commodities like soap. In Somaliland, less affected by recent conflict, the project represents a glimpse of hope and an example that the rest of the country might follow.

Facts & stats:

* The SEED programme has already generated 154,127 jobs of which 56,904 are long term jobs in the regions of Somaliland, Puntland and South Central Somalia.

* More than 3,910 women and young people have been trained on livestock and agricultural production.

Hargeisa livestock and Boroma (Somaliland) meat and Garowe (Puntland) fish markets have been constructed and are managed under public-private partnership, all attributable to the SEED programme.

* SEED is a four year programme, with two components - market development and investment climate - funded by UK aid from the Department For International Development.

* FAO is the lead agency on the market development component which covers – livestock/ crop farming value chain, fodder/ honey, skills development, fisheries. FAO, ILO, SC and UNDP respectively implement the subcomponents.

* The world Bank is the lead agency on the investment climate component. Limited to Somaliland, the component covers; doing business analysis, financial sector, PPP, fisheries and gum, resin value chains and challenge fund.


Somalia's first paper factory opens in Hargeisa

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa

January 11, 2013. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2013/01/11/feature-01

A factory that produces paper, boxes and student notebooks -- the first such industry to be in operation in Somalia in two decades -- opened in Hargeisa this past weekend.

An employee works at the newly opened AADCO Paper Factory in Hargeisa. [Barkhad Dahir/Sabahi]

Employees assemble books, office paper and packaging cartons at the AADCO Paper Factory. [Barkhad Dahir/Sabahi]

Establishing the AADCO Paper Factory has been in the works since 2009, owner Aden Barado said at the opening ceremony on Saturday (January 5th).

"It took so long because we are in a country that was destroyed," Barado said, adding that it is difficult to start a factory in Somalia where there is little support to ease the process.

The factory began construction in January 2012 and finished in December.

The factory has 50 employees, including women, and more people will be hired soon, according to Director of Technology Mohamud Abdullahi Ahmed, who said some of the workers had been trained in China.

Every 16 hours, the plant produces 70,000 books that are ready to be sold in the market, he told Sabahi. The factory is environmentally friendly and uses a system that limits excess noise and smoke, he said.

This is the first factory of its kind to open in Somalia since the collapse of the central government two decades ago, factory General Manager Hassan Nur said. The total cost of the project was about $5 million.

During the first phase, the factory is slated to print exercise books for students, factory General Manager Hassan Nur told Sabahi. Within the first few months of 2013, it will also produce A4 office paper, notebooks and packaging cartons, Nur said.

In an effort to stop importing factory materials from abroad, the company will at the end of the year manufacture its own materials to make paper. "We want to be self-sufficient with the printing materials that our production requires, which we currently buy from China," Nur said.

"Our aim is to sell our products across Somalia and to neighbouring countries such as Djibouti and Ethiopia," he said.

Improving conditions for local manufacturing

The new paper plant will help people in the region save a lot of money that they spend on imported books and office paper, said Mohamed Shukri Jama, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

"It will increase job creation, knowledge and investment, and we welcome it," he said.

From 2000 to 2012, he said his agency licensed 58 factories in Somaliland that produced various goods, but only 18 of them currently operate. He said the defunct factories each received between $1 and $5 million from private investors, but failed to be profitable and eventually closed.

He said negative conditions, such as lack of government support, loan access and technological support, can hinder local production. To support local manufacturing, taxes should be increased on imported products so that people will buy locally produced goods, he said.

Minister of Commerce, Industries and Tourism Abdirizak Khalif Ahmed, who addressed the opening ceremony, said his ministry is planning to do just that. Ahmed said he recently forwarded to the Ministry of Finance a plan to increase taxes on imported products that are similar to locally manufactured goods in order to support and protect local manufacturing.

Somaliland regional President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo cut the ribbon at the ceremony, promising that his administration is committed to promoting investment in the region and increasing job creation through policy and technical support.


Fawzia Adan: Emblem of new hope for Somalia

By MUHYADIN AHMED ROBLE | Friday, January 11 2013.http://www.africareview.com/Special-Reports/Fawzia-Adan-Emblem-of-Somalias-new-hope/-/979182/1663108/-/pga96c/-/index.html

Somalia's new deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs Fawzia Yusuf Adan is seen both as a trailblazer and a controversial figure for her political positions. EMMA NZIOKI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Fawzia Yusuf Haji Adan, the new foreign affairs minister of Somalia and the deputy prime minister, is not a newcomer to politics in Somalia.

On December 2011, an audience in Hargeisa, the main city of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, applauded the tall, well-educated politician as she walked past a group of men and onto a podium.

On this day, Hargeisa, a city of some half million souls, was celebrating the formation of three new political parties, all promising change in how the semi-autonomous region was governed.

Fawzia’s Nabad, Dimuqraadiyad iyo Barwaaqo (NDB) — Peace, Democracy and Prosperity party — was one of these three parties, and she entered the history of this self-declared republic as the first woman to lead a political party in one of the world’s most patriarchal countries.

Since declaring its independence in 1991, Somaliland’s politics has been dominated by three national political parties: The ruling Kulmiye Party, Ururka Dimuqraadiga Ummadda Bahawday (UDUB) — United Peoples’ Democratic Party — and Ururka Caddaalada iyo Daryeelka (UCID) — The Justice and Welfare Party.

But the current president, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, has revised the law to allow the registration of new political parties. As a result, about 20 political parties now jostle for the attention of voters in Somaliland.

As she celebrated the formation of her NBD party in Hargeisa, Fawzia proudly announced to the audience that the very basis of her party was to protect the “secession of the Somaliland Republic”.

Barely a year later, she crossed over to Mogadishu, the capital of a country she wanted to secede from, and was sworn in on November 19 last year as Somalia’s first female deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister.

Volatile politics

Mutating political alliances and shifts are not uncommon in the tumultuous waters of the politics of the former Somali Republic (Somaliland, South Central and Puntland); it has become something of a norm, where political interests hold supreme.

“These shifts are normal for self-interested politicians and it has been like that for the last 20 years,” says Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad of the University of Nairobi.

In October 2012, Somaliland appointed Saleban Isse Ahmed to the Cabinet, a move that might look bizarre given the fact that, till then, he was anti-secession. Ahmed was the leader of unionist militias that fought against Hargeisa’s forces in the Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) region of northern Somalia.

The hawkish man, a former businessman from Ohio, was a candidate in Puntland’s presidential elections in 2009 as well, but he lost to the current president Abdirahman Farole.

Puntland, a semi-autonomous administration in north-eastern Somalia, jostles with Somaliland for control of the border areas between the two regions.

When she initiated her party in December 2011, Fawzia seemed to have learnt that independent candidates hardly succeed in Somali politics.

She ran as an independent in the 2003 Somaliland election and lost. However, she has become, in the process, a taboo breaker as the first female from Somaliland to run for such a high-stakes political office.

When she first entered into politics, Fawzia was hopeful that women would prefer her over men, but that did not happen.

Ten years later, she has become a role-model and an inspiration to many young women, some of whom have joined active politics.

Unfinished mission

The trail-blazing, bespectacled woman, a widowed mother of three children — she was married to the late army General Abucar Mohamed Libanalso — is now back in Somalia to complete the unfinished mission.

Born into a prominent and highly educated family, Fawzia, Somalia’s most powerful woman, is the daughter of Yusuf Haji Adam, the first Somali Ambassador to an Arab state, based in Egypt soon after independence.

A freedom fighter, politician and artist, Haji Adam is also considered to be the ‘father of education’ in the country’s northern part, the current Somaliland.

He also founded the first political organisation, Somali National Society, in the then British Protectorate in the 1940s.

“[Fawzia] is following in her father’s foot-steps…. That is what inspired her to be such a strong and courageous woman,” says Ahmed Ali, a civil society activist in Hargeisa.

Fawzia is also the founder of Hargeisa University, the first university in Somaliland, in 2000, and Ahmed notes that she was a proud secessionist and even advocated for international recognition for the self-declared republic.

“She also hoped to lead Somaliland as the first female president of the unrecognised state,” he adds.

But Fawzia was stopped in her tracks on a technicality; in April 2012, Somaliland’s Political Parties Registration and Verification Committee (PPRVC) disqualified her NDB party, together with eight other parties. That officially ended her dream of ascending to the presidency one day.

“She felt like she was being targeted for being a woman,” says Ahmed.

Handed lifeline

A one-time deputy chief of protocol of Somalia’s foreign affairs ministry in 1970s, Fawzia has continually challenged the Somaliland administration through street protests and by using her ties with media, but had little to show for her activism.

However, when her long-time friend Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a civil society activist and an academician, unexpectedly won the presidential elections in September last year by beating the former president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in parliamentary elections in Mogadishu, Fawzia was thrown a life-line.

In November 3, she was appointed Somalia’s first female deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs in Africa’s smallest Cabinet.

“My nomination as the Foreign minister is historic for Somalia and particularly for the women of Somalia, it turns a new page for the political situation of our country and will lead to success and prosperity,” she said after the nomination.

Abdiwahab Sheikh Abdisamad, author of Somali Conflict: A Somali Problem? — to be released this year — believes that recent history has proved Somali women are more responsible than Somali men, adding that “Fawzia’s appointment is recognition of their [women’s] efforts”.

“It is because of her vision and creative leadership that drove Fawzia to change course and work with Somalia at a time when there was so much need for born-leaders like her to lift the country from its dark history,” says a member of Fawzia’s family who wants to remain anonymous.

As a daughter of northerner (Somaliland) and a wife of southerner (Somalia), Fawzia, whom some people describe as “a breath of fresh air to politics” in this recovering Horn of Africa state, could become a symbol of unity that eventually brings Somalia and Somaliland together.

Nevertheless, controversy stalks her like an unwelcome guest, both in Somalia and Somaliland.

Controversy stalks

In Somaliland, she is perceived as a traitor to the secessionist cause, while in the south her integrity is questioned because of that same secessionist past.

“One thing that is clear is that she is a secessionist-minded person and she never abandoned that cause publicly as far as I know,” adds Abdiwahab.

However, relationships and friendships overcome integrity in Somali politics. It appears President Hassan has come through for his friend Fawzia at a time of great need.

It also appears that her appointment is an olive branch to the Isaaq clan in Somaliland.

However, Fawzia has a tough time ahead with regard to Somaliland. Last April, she supported Somaliland’s decision to withdraw from talks with Somalia because it was thought that then the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was against the interests of Somaliland.

Her former colleague and Somaliland’s current foreign minister, Dr Mohamed Abdilahi Omar, whom she described earlier as “a true son of Somaliland”, is now threatening to put her behind bars should she ever set foot in her house in Hargeisa.

Although Abdiwahab concedes that Fawzia is a veteran diplomat who served Somalia’s mission in the Soviet Union, the US and East Germany before the civil war, he says that there’s nothing that makes her unique for the position other than being a woman.

In her first interview with BBC Somali Service, Fawzia caused a diplomatic faux pas. She was quoted as saying “Somaliland is my country, Somalia is my country, both are my countries and I am for both”.

“It is unfortunate to hear a foreign minister referring to another part of her country as a sovereign country,” says Abdiwahab.

“Somalia is one country and there is nothing like Somalia and Somaliland.”

Many called for her outright dismissal after the BBC interview, but she still holds on.


Somalia: The Quagmire of Somaliland

BY ABDIRAHMAN MOHAMED DIRYE, 10 JANUARY 2013. OPINION. http://allafrica.com/stories/201301111043.html?viewall=1

While global attention is focused on Somalia, the self-declared republic of Somaliland has been independent for 20 years without recognition by the international community. This lack of recognition is an injustice to Somalilander.

Hanna, not her real name, born in 1992 in New Hargaysa the Somaliland capital celebrated her 20th birthday last 18 May, the Independence Day. Twenty years after independence, little has changed in her life. Because her country, Somaliland, neither has real independence nor unity with Somalia, nor effective administration to deliver basic necessities let alone guaranteeing better life for her.

Fleeing from the abject poverty and President Silanyo's government's indifference towards the painful suffering of the people as well as the international blockade in the form of denial of recognition by the international community, Hanna perished in the Mediteranian Sea unnoticed trying to reach to Europe.

The exodus of youngsters aged 18-29 years, of both genders, in attempted escape from hellish conditions back home often turns their journey more or less into mass suicide. But due to inherent uncertainty, many of Hanna's peers worry more about the future and the risky voyage to Europe is the pnly option that always comes to mind.

Somalilanders are law-abiding citizens who think the international laws are based on a concrete basis of conviction and justice. They prevented terror from ithe region and eliminated piracy from their seashore. According to an Aljazeera program, "pirates set up some sort of stock exchange for their companies that has drawn investment from Somali diaspora and other nations.

They started 15 maritime companies and now are hosting 75, not in the capital of Mogadishu but Harardhere Stock Exchange making piracy a community activities. One piracy investor contributed a rocket propeller grenade from her ex-husband's alimony and has made $75,000 in only 38 days.

The growing demand and mounting risks pushed ransom from $2 million to $4 million to satisfy the rising number of shareholders.

In the process, the piracy stock exchange has transformed the once small fishing village into a bustling town that earns a percentage of every ransom to be used on infrastructure including hospitals and public schools". Somalis are doing everything they can to survive or to make money. Why not we? But we uphold the national and international laws and yet there is no appreciation.

Somaliland and Somalia joined together in 1960 as two independent countries. Somalilanders were unable to grasp how the world was led to believe Somaliland was seceding rather than restoring its sovereignty from Somalia, and thus becoming a liability on the region encouraging balkanization of African states. But this is not true. Somaliland is an indispensable factor for the stability of the whole region since 1991 by providing firm intelligence to war on terror.

President John F. Kennedy's inaugural speech, 'We pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty' seems to be failing if not obsolete since the Obama administration is reluctant to extend assistance to hapless people of Somaliland.

The absence of recognition of Somaliland threatens the lives of ordinary nationals because its subsequent economic hardships have led to dramatic exodus of Somalilanders to EU over the past 10 years.

Imagine living in a country without formal recognition and without Taiwan's resources. However, still there's cause for optimism. The Wikileaks revealed how Ethiopia's late Prime Minister Melez was lobbying for Interim Status and had suggested Djibouti should recognize Somaliland.

The world, however, felt compelled to talk about the international isolation upon Somaliland people and its urgency to break. No one can morally justify the unwarranted suffering of so many innocent Somalilanders whose lives have been shackled and devastated by the inadvertent embargo.

More recently, Prime Minister David Cameroon of the UK spoke out and called Somalia and Somaliland to have 'exit' dialogue about their future relations. The little unrecognized country took center stage globally as The New York Times posted a startling, fascinating news article 'The World's Next State'.

The world has moral obligation to save the fleeing masses by changing its attitude towards democratic Somaliland.

- Dirye is Somaliland activist and senior editor at the Democracy Chronicles Africa's News Edition


Transforming Somaliland’s Education Ministry through an innovative retirement scheme

Retirees in Somaliland receive retirement certificate from the Minister of Education and Higher Education.

7 January 2013 - In Somaliland, the lack of a pension scheme has led to staff continuing to work at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoE) well past retirement age – preventing recruitment and management changes needed to revitalize education. However the Ministry is now tackling the problem in an innovative pilot initiative known as the Senior Leadership Succession Plan.

Twenty five retirees from the Ministry of different categories, all with more than 40 years of service, received recently an allowance during a special ceremony attended by the Minister of Education, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, the Head of the Civil Service Commission and other dignitaries.

The initiative, known as the Senior Leadership Succession Plan (SLSP), is part of the Integrated Capacity Development for Somali Education Administration (ICDSEA) Programme which is funded by the European Union, managed by UNICEF and implemented through the CfBT Education Trust.

The seniority of ministry staff was found to be one of the key bottlenecks in building capacity at the MoE. The Plan is expected to rejuvenate the Ministry by encouraging the retirement of ministry staff members that have either reached or passed retirement age. It was developed as part of the Human Resources and Organizational Management reform under the guidance of Magan Abraham, ICDSEA Technical Advisor to the Ministry and Abdirashid Dahir Musa, Education Officer and other staff members.

The retirement allowance is based on the years of service multiplied by the final salary. For example, if a staff worked for 40 years and the last salary was $200 per month, the retiree would receive $8,000.

Together with the Ministry of Finance, the MoE is committed to trying to secure $200,000 to fund the pension scheme over the next ten years.

The scheme is expected to help attract and retain more young talented staff to the Ministry, to ensure that the management is in the hands of energetic and capable individuals who will respond quickly to the needs of the Ministry and deliver improved quality education services. It is also hoped that this pilot Plan will initiate discussions in solving the overall retirement issue of long serving employees on the government payroll.

During the ceremony, the Education Minister Zamzam Abdi Adan thanked all those involved in the project, especially the EU, UNICEF and CfBT Trust Fund for helping the Ministry implement this pilot project which will be completed by the end of January.

http://www.unicef.org/somalia/reallives_12137.html


The final frontier for investment opportunities

African Business Review.

Investors are waking up big time to the opportunities in Africa, but where will they be looking to put their cash in the coming year

Creating opportunities for Africa's young people

Written by Abdirashid Duale, CEO of Dahabshiil, the largest remittance company in the Horn of Africa and one of its largest private employers

As we begin the New Year with Africa’s growth set to continue into 2013 and beyond, one key question is what and where are the opportunities for would-be investors, particularly those from diaspora communities? The world is waking up to the idea of Africa as a centre for economic growth and, in some ways, the final frontier for investment opportunities.

Many have overlooked the potential of the continent, partly because the media has tended to focus on themes such as poverty, famine, conflict and corruption – especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Although these problems still exist, this past decade has also been one of remarkable economic progress for many African countries. The media has in recent times caught up with this fact.

Market sentiment generally revolves around the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and Asian Tigers as being the world’s most vigorous economies. These countries have certainly flourished in the past fifteen years or so and are now significant players in the global marketplace – rightly attracting huge amounts of investment, principally foreign direct investment (FDI).

Fast-growing economy

It may be a surprise to learn that six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies during the last decade have been in sub-Saharan Africa. Overall economic activity in the region rose sharply in 2002-03, and growth has more or less remained above six per cent ever since – an expansion that was only briefly interrupted in 2009 by the global financial crisis. The continent is expected to see 5.4 percent growth this year, and more than six per cent each year for the next decade, approaching or exceeding the growth rate of Asia. Africa, in short, is the world’s next emerging market.

Oil exporters, most notably Nigeria and Angola, have performed exceptionally well as investment has poured in. Metal and mineral exporters such as Botswana, the DRC, Gabon and Guinea have also enjoyed high growth rates thanks to steady infrastructure development and strong demand for those commodities. In East Africa, Rwanda’s agriculture-based economy is expected to grow by eight per cent this year and continue at that rate for the next few years. Investment in sustainable growth through IT and education will support this.

Remittance transfers

Our company, Dahabshiil, takes much encouragement from such developments, particularly in East Africa. Dahabshiil was established in 1970 as a small trading enterprise, and became increasingly focused on remittance transfers during the 1980s. Today, Dahabshiil offers a global remittance service across 150 countries. We handle a significant share of the substantial remittances sent to the Somali territories each year by the diaspora.

It also provides money transfer and other financial services to people in many other parts of Africa, including Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Rwanda. Diaspora investment represents the largest capital inflow for many African countries, often exceeding humanitarian aid. This flow of funding from migrants is a vital source of income that has helped to sustain and grow economies.

Of course humanitarian aid is still necessary, especially in crisis-prone areas. Dahabshiil provides services for many humanitarian agencies working in the Horn and East of Africa. Our company also does a great deal of humanitarian work in its own right. It remains imperative that development work continues.

The lifeblood Somali

Like in some other parts of Africa, the economic life of the Somali territories is dominated by the livestock trade. As is the case elsewhere on the continent, trade and commerce are the lifeblood of the Somalis, who have been remarkably successful business people. Somali livestock – including goats, sheep and camels – are highly prized and are exported to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries each year for the Hajj, as well as during other periods.

Nevertheless, other sectors are also booming. Money transfer and telecoms have both experienced rapid growth and have developed side-by-side. Employing advanced leapfrog technology, Somali mobile networks – like those elsewhere in Africa – are cheap, efficient and reliable. Dahabshiil entered this market in 2008 with the acquisition of Somtel, a mobile telecoms and wireless internet firm.

Natural resources

Other African economies are driven by large reserves of natural resources. Exploiting these assets remains central to Africa’s progress, but it can also cause a country’s industry to become highly concentrated in one sector, making its economy more vulnerable to changing external conditions. Kenya is a good example of a country without any major mineral or fossil fuel endowments that is keeping pace with global trends and pursuing the ideal of a balanced economy.

Energy, construction and manufacturing are rapidly expanding industries across the continent, yet none of these markets would have experienced such growth without continuous remittance-based investment. Diaspora communities are often more willing to invest in what others may regards as fragile markets.

Their knowledge of the local terrain often enables them to better spot opportunities. Equally, diaspora communities are in a unique position to deliver skills training to local people, and to encourage them to stay within the country and aid its development. Finance, skills and knowledge from the African diaspora have been instrumental in the growth of the last few years, and will continue to be in the future.

A familiar presence

FDI underpins Africa’s growth economies, be it investment from the diaspora or countries with vested interests. In the Somali territories, Turkey has been particularly active, pouring cash into construction. Elsewhere in Africa, China is fast becoming a familiar presence, investing heavily in energy and other sectors, the development of which will be critical in the next phase of Africa’s economic rise.

Perhaps the most important of Africa’s resources, however, is its people. The continent is home to the world’s youngest population, with almost 200 million people aged between 15 and 25. The number of these who are pursuing secondary and tertiary education is fast rising.

This vast reserve of human capital will be central to the growth of new productive sectors just as it has been in China and India. Jobs must be created for them however – youth unemployment is currently high in many countries and was a major factor behind last year’s unrest in North Africa.

That experience in particular illustrates how vital it is for education to keep improving and for governments, regional bodies, businesses and investors to work together to create the conditions most favourable for growth and the development of new markets. If we can achieve that, those 200 million young Africans will enjoy opportunities their parents and grandparents could never have imagined.

http://www.africanbusinessreview.co.za/business_leaders/the-final-frontier-for-investment-opportunities


Region could get first foreign branch campus this year

University World News. Sunday, January 06, 2013.By: Maina Waruru. http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20130103105159977

The horn of Africa’s self-declared state of Somaliland may get its first foreign university by mid-2013, if plans by a private university in Kenya to open a branch campus there come to fruition. The rapidly expanding though relatively new Mount Kenya University, headquartered in Thika in central Kenya, is planning to open a campus in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa.

Mount Kenya has been on an ambitious regional expansion trajectory barely 10 years after being founded, and has in the past year opened campuses in Kigali, Rwanda, and in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. The university also has a virtual campus in Nairobi.

“Our goal is to take higher education to all those who need it in this region and beyond. Somaliland is part of our expansion programme,” said University Chair Simon Gicharu.

He said Somaliland – a stable region in turbulent Somalia – was an attractive investment destination, including in the field of higher education.

“This is one place where we think we can succeed greatly if we open a campus of Mount Kenya, because the administration there is receptive to investment ideas and the thirst for education is very high,” Gicharu added.

Somaliland broke away from Somalia after chaos erupted in the country 21 years ago, establishing its own thriving democracy and economy.

But it has faced major hurdles in getting official recognition from the African Union, the United Nations and regional governments, which fear that recognising Somaliland as an independent state could spur breakaways of various Somalia regions and breed chaos. Currently, Somaliland is internationally recognised only as an autonomous region.

Somaliland boasts of 14 tertiary institutions, many of them private and some offering degree courses.

A fairly liberal state that holds regular elections, Somaliland actively encourages the education of girls under a moderate version of Islam and in the absence of the hardline Islamists that hold sway in the rest of Somalia.

Mount Kenya University has been targeting areas that other Kenyan universities have shied away from, and recently opened a campus in the remote northern Kenyan town of Lodwar in Turkana, where there is a strong presence of South Sudanese refugees.

Simon Gicharu said the campus targeted both the pastoralist community and the hundreds of refugees and aid workers operating from Kakuma refugee camp.

Experts said the bold move into Somaliland was due to stiff competition in the East Africa region, mainly from Ugandan universities.

“The Ugandan universities continue to be the most aggressive and attractive to students and parents throughout the region due, among other factors, to low fees,” said Dr Patrick Mbataru of Kenyatta University.

“The room for expansion in East Africa is getting even more squeezed and universities must look further afield if they wish to grow,” he told University World News.

Ugandan institutions such as Kampala International University and the universities of Busoga, Makerere and Kampala have emerged as regional expansion giants, establishing campuses across the entire region and partnering with local colleges.

They have particularly taken advantage of the high cost of postgraduate studies to offer masters and PhD courses at affordable prices, attracting thousands of students who had abandoned hopes of pursuing their dreams because of the high fees charged by many institutions.

With the region now “flooded" with post-secondary institutions, Mabatau said the new frontiers for expansion had become the new state of South Sudan, the stable Somalian states of Somaliland and Puntland – and Somalia itself, if it emerges from turmoil.


Somaliland administration to simplify business regulations

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa. December 31, 2012. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2012/12/31/feature-01

The Somaliland administration is working to simplify policies governing investment and business creation as part of its efforts to strengthen trade and attract foreign and local investors.

Merchants display their wares in Wahen Market in Somaliland's Gaan Libah district. The Somaliland administration is working to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start businesses there. [Barkhad Dahir/Sabahi]

The Somaliland Investment Guide, developed in partnership with the Somaliland Ministry of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, will be a clearinghouse of economic, legal, regulatory and investment information for local, diaspora and foreign investors.

"We will create a website to collect information about investment, available opportunities, where to invest and pertinent information so foreign and diaspora investors and citizens can easily obtain information to help them make decisions any time," said Mohamed Saleban, director of planning and statistics at the Somaliland Ministry of Commerce.

The website will also provide information about Somaliland, licensing procedures, visas needed for foreigners and all associated information, he said.

Work on the Somaliland Investment Guide started in August and will be completed in January 2013, with funding from the US Agency for International Development.

In addition, the government has created a "one stop shop" to ease investment. The initiative, funded by the World Bank, will create a single office that brings together various agencies --including the Ministry of Commerce, the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, the Ministry of Finance, and others -- to simplify licensing processes and provide investors with all the information they need in one location.

This project, which will be implemented in January, will help investors save time by streamlining the registration process, he said.

"It is a good opportunity to get rid of all barriers," said Abdirahman Ismail, head of the sales department at Telesom Company in Hargeisa. "To have one location for licencing systems will eliminate the frustration over the time lost trying to get licenses through the various agencies."

"We welcome its improvement," he told Sabahi. "It will enable any interested individual to easily start working in Somaliland and undertake the long process that was once insurmountable, which will increase the capacity of investors."

Removing barriers to economic growth

Store owner Asha Yusuf, who sells construction materials in Hargeisa, said simplifying the rules and making information more accessible is a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to encourage local residents to open small businesses.

"Their number one need is access to loans that follow Islamic law and do not impose interest," she said.

Some privately owned banks have started to introduce small loans but require borrowers to have 30% of the loan amount as a down payment, a requirement that most prospective business owners cannot meet, she said.

The government must bring forward policies to help businesses access funding for start-up costs, she said. It must also provide guidance and other needed support so that new business owners do not feel alone as they venture into a big investment.

Saleban said the Ministry of Commerce is working on programmes to provide micro-financing for public-private partnerships and will continue to work to ease barriers that hinder economic growth.

"[The government's] aim is to increase investment, which will in turn increase jobs and improve the country's economy," he said. "Once we attain that, the public standard of living can increase."

Recent reforms were prompted by complaints from the business community and preliminary findings from the 2012 Somaliland Business Confidence Survey, which was presented publicly December 18th at the first annual Somaliland Business Conference in Hargeisa.

The survey solicited feedback from investors and the business community on their perceptions of the Somaliland business environment and impediments to investment, and was conducted in November in Maroodi Jeeh, Awdal, Sahil, Togdheer, Sool and Sanaag.

The survey received responses from 273 businesspeople -- 236 from Somaliland and 37 from the diaspora -- including 72 women.

The survey showed that 43% of respondents had invested less than $10,000 to start new businesses in Somaliland and only 2.2% had invested more than $1 million.

Investments were concentrated in Maroodi Jeeh, Sahil and Togdheer, where more than 20% of businesses surveyed invested over $100,000. In Sool and Awdal, however, that figure dropped to less than 8%.

In addition, 58.5% of respondents said the process of registering a business and getting a license is difficult, 43% said business start-up legislation would have a positive effect on future investment decisions, while 21% said it would have a negative effect.


Somaliland announces 3 official political parties

December 27, 2012. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2012/12/27/newsbrief-02

Somaliland's Registration and Approval Committee (RAC) announced Wednesday (December 26th) the three political parties that will be officially recognised in Somaliland and allowed to take part in elections over the next 10 years.

"It has been a steep journey ... initially 18 parties were registered, and in the second phase six parties succeeded, in addition to the three national political parties that existed previously," RAC spokesman Hassan Ahmed Dualeh told Sabahi.

Seven political parties participated in the municipal council election held on November 28th, in which the Justice and Welfare party, Kulmiye and Wadani received the most votes. These three will be recognised as the official parties in Somaliland.

The results were announced at a ceremony in Hargeisa, attended by representatives of the National Electoral Commission and the heads of six of the seven parties that competed -- except Haqsoor, which disputed the results of the election.

According to the Somaliland region constitution, there can be only three official political parties. Umadda, Rays, Haqsoor and Dalsan did not succeed in becoming national parties.

After the announcement, protests began in Axmed-Dhagah district in Hargeisa, with Haqsoor supporters burning tyres in the roads. Police prevented protesters from spreading the demonstration to the city, and there have been no reported damages.


Somaliland’s stable image under threat

Source: EastAfrica. December 26, 2012

Somaliland's reputation as a stable and democratic entity has been shaken by violent disputes over the outcome of local elections held late last month.

Press reports from Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital, say three people were killed last week as demonstrators charged that the local voting was not conducted fairly.

Somaliland’s representative in the US, Rashid Nur, said in an interview that the protests were organised by the leader of a political party that appeared to have fallen short of the local vote total needed to qualify for national recognition.

In accordance with Somaliland law, the three parties receiving the most votes in the local elections will be registered on a national level, Mr Nur explained. Four other parties that ran candidates in the November 28 elections will not gain national standing, he said.

“It looks like the worst is over,” Mr Nur commented on December 11, noting that calm has been restored in Hargeisa.

A team of 50 observers from 17 countries said in a preliminary report on December 3 that the local voting was “a largely peaceful and transparent expression of democratic will.” But the international monitors also cited “weaknesses in safeguards against multiple voting.”

Internal instability is just one of the threats facing Somaliland, which declared itself independent of Somalia in 1991.

Somaliland’s border with Puntland, a self-proclaimed autonomous state to its east, has not been demarcated and could become the scene of armed clashes, warned Mohamud Jama, Somaliland’s representative in Kenya.

Speaking at a recent Africa scholars conference in the US, Mr Jama said that because Somaliland is not internationally recognised as an independent state, it has no hope of gaining donor support for a $1.2 billion “national development plan.”

He described Somaliland as “very poor,” with Nur noting at the same conference that its population of 3.6 million has a per capita annual income of $226.

The newly installed Somalia government in Mogadishu wants Somaliland to be re-incorporated into a single national entity. But re-unification is “off the table” as far as Somaliland is concerned, Mr Nur said.

He argued that Somaliland had achieved peace and democratic governance during a period when Somalia was being torn apart by civil wars. Mr Nur said Somaliland had no intention of risking its gains by rejoining a failed state.

Talks needed

Mr Nur added that Somaliland intends to carry on negotiations with Somalia, even though “the government in Mogadishu does not represent the people of Somalia — it represents those who created it.”

“If there is no talking in that region,” Mr Nur said, “the only thing that happens is shooting.”

There are “many issues” that Somaliland and Somalia can fruitfully discuss, such as economic co-operation, Mr Nur commented in last week’s interview.

But Somaliland is likely to feel growing international pressure to strike a deal with Somalia now that the authorities in Mogadishu are asserting control over growing parts of the country.

Somaliland meanwhile enjoys “very good relations” with neighbouring Ethiopia, while relations with Djibouti, another bordering state, are improving, Mr Nur said.


Somalia: Skirmish Between Somaliland and Khatumo State

BY Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu) 24 DECEMBER 2012. http://allafrica.com/stories/201212241396.html

Las Anod — There was a fire fight between forces from Somaliland and members from Khatumo state, both regional administration in north Somalia, according to an official from Somaliland authorities.

The official from Somaliland, Mr. Mohamed Dhunkal told Shabelle radion in a telephone interview that what he termed as assailants from Khatumo state attacked positions of Somaliland forces in the twon of Hudun in Sool region.

Dhunkal said that Somaliland forces succeeded in rebelling against the attack and arrested three of the assailants while confiscating weapons.

Shabelle tried to contact with Khatumo officials to verify the story on their side but couldn't find them on telephone.

However the official from Somaliland told Shabelle that the town ofHudunis now calm and under their control.

There have been tensions betweenSomalilandand Khatumo state over the control of parts in Sool region and the forces from both sides clashed before.


Reverse brain drain: Heading home to Somalia

“There has to be some point in your life when you go back to look after your relatives and contribute to your country."

Tristan McConnell December 26, 2012. http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/somalia/121221/reverse-brain-drain-somalia

Progress in containing HIV/AIDS masks a threat to the region’s most vulnerable populations, experts say.

British-Somali woman Ayan Hussein stands behind the counter at her newly opened Kulan Art Cafe in Hargeisa. (Tristan McConnell/GlobalPost)

HARGEISA, Somalia — The Kulan Art Café is a bright airy place with murals and framed paintings by local artists, potted plants, fresh coffee and ice cream, homemade cakes and a menu featuring Western staples like pizza and hamburgers.

In Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway state of Somaliland, there is nothing else like it. Nor is there anything like it elsewhere in Somalia, which is attracting increasing numbers of diaspora Somalis as the country gradually emerges from decades of conflict.

Among the returnees is the café’s owner Ayan Hussein, a striking woman in her 40s who decided to return to Somalia two years ago.

Clutching her three young children Hussein fled the capital Mogadishu in 1997. They settled in London, first as refugees then as British citizens. The north London suburb of Hampstead became their home, and her children grew up as Londoners.

With an eye for fashion Hussein worked as a freelance stylist, designing weddings for wealthy clients and advising fashionistas on the right handbags to carry. She often worked at Browns, an uber-trendy boutique in London’s West End.

But after 15 years she decided it was time to return to Somalia. “There has to be some point in your life when you go back to look after your relatives and contribute to your country. It’s a beautiful time to come back,” she told GlobalPost over a cup of Ethiopian coffee at Kulan one recent morning.

The more than 20 years of chaos, warfare and destruction that ripped Somalia apart propelled many of its citizens abroad. Today Somalis constitute one of the largest, most far-flung diaspora communities on the planet, with an estimated 1.5 million in the US, Europe and the Gulf States.

In many cases they were the lucky ones. But although they left they continued to support networks of relatives in Somalia, sending back up to $2 billion a year in remittances according to World Bank estimates.

As Somalia’s war begins to subside, the trickle of returning diaspora Somalis is becoming a tide. The more hardy among them head to the capital Mogadishu, where the beginnings of an investment boom have been discernible since Al Qaeda-aligned militants left in August 2011, but where suicide bombings still threaten.

Others, like Hussein, choose the far safer option of Somaliland — a region that has run its own affairs since declaring independence in 1991, but has yet to be recognized by any foreign state.

“I know Mogadishu is getting better but I have family here and it’s safer,” she said.

Diaspora Somalis often bring with them skills, education, money and new ideas, making them better equipped to profit from Somalia’s fragile peace. But they also face culture shock and resentment from those who stayed behind.

Hussein admitted she finds it easier to identify with others from the diaspora because “they understand the ways of living outside.” Her businesses reflect this.

The inspiration for Kulan Art Café came from watching as her own children struggled to settle into their new home, and wanting to provide something familiar from “our other home,” as she calls London.

“A lot of children from the diaspora, my own included, suffer in the sense that, where do you get pizzas, burgers, ravioli with cheese? There’s no place,” she said.

Hussein’s oldest son Mohamed, 23, refused to leave London but her 26-year-old daughter Sagal, and younger sons Guled, 19, and Gabriel, 5, moved with her.

Sagal and Guled work at the café and also at Hussein’s fashion boutique across the road which stocks imported clothes, accessories, makeup and perfume, but for them the move has not been easy.

“Even though I’m from here I’m also from London so the way things are here, I didn’t expect it. It was a total culture shock,” said Guled, who can understand but cannot speak Somali.

“I tend to make friends with people from abroad,” he said.

In London he was a skater riding the concrete ramps and slopes of Cantelowes Skatepark in Camden, north London. “Here everything is dust. You can’t skate on dust,” he said. The road outside is typical: broken tarmac and dust verges studded with telegraph polls capped by crazy birds’ nests of telephone and electrical wire.

“What I like doing here and what I like doing in London are two completely different things. I had to adapt and change,” said Guled.

Guled misses his skate parks, but for Hussein it’s the green outdoor spaces, running water and reliable electricity that she longs for. And in conservative Somalia she has had to work hard to indulge what she calls “my passions: food and fashion.”

At both her café and shop customers are mostly from the diaspora. They sit at tables chatting in British and American accents drinking $0.50 cappuccinos and sharing $2 slices of homemade carrot cake.

The young women who buy designer jeans from Hussein’s shop have to hide them beneath long abayas.

“It’s difficult because it’s an Islamic country there’s a very thin line and you can easily make a mistake,” she said.


Somaliland local elections: International Election Observers applaud commitment to democracy, but say action is required to ensure future election integrity.

Somaliland Focus press releases and other media coverage of the 2012 Somaliland elections.

Current press releases

December 21st 2012 - Somaliland local elections: International Election Observers applaud commitment to democracy, but say action is required to ensure future election integrity.

With results finally confirmed in Somaliland’s local elections, held on November 28th 2012, the international election observation mission assembled by Progressio, DPU and Somaliland Focus (UK) congratulates the people ofSomaliland and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on a lively and enthusiastic election campaign and voting process.

However, in advance of writing our final report, to be released in mid-2013, we must also report a number of substantial concerns.

The election’s aftermath has been marked by a build-up of tension over the course of a slow counting process. Once results began to be released, the NEC came under extreme pressure over disputes to results from several sides, and was subjected to a shooting attack on its headquarters in the town of Erigavo. Regrettably, post-election protests saw a number of deaths in protests in Hargeisa,Somaliland’s capital.

Although the NEC has now moved to confirm results, and we have been heartened by various political leaders urging their supporters to maintain peace and security when protesting, we recognise that the post-election climate remains tense.

Our post-poll concerns follow those we expressed immediately following polling day, when we noted that observers reported attempts at multiple and underage voting and what appeared to be attempts to mobilise voters to engage in these attempts. While observers also noted polling station staff attempting to prevent such activity, such reports pose concerns for the integrity ofSomaliland’s electoral process.

Now, a month on from voting, it is important that disputes around the election outcome are peacefully settled. Without peaceful settlement of disputes,Somaliland’s admirable democratic tradition may be damaged. We urge all Somalilanders to respect the electoral laws and procedures, so that future elections can be approached effectively and with confidence.

Specifically, we repeat the recommendation we made immediately following polling day: in advance of the next elections, we call for Somaliland to adopt a robust system for voter/citizen registration, in order to improve confidence in the electoral process.

In closing, we would like to highlight the many positives around this election: once again, Somalilanders showed how dedicated they are to the unique democratic spirit they have crafted from their challenging history. In particular, we are delighted to note real progress in inclusion of youth and women in the process: the apparent election of ten female candidates represents a huge step forward, and we look forward to further progress on this front.

Dr Michael Walls, the mission’s joint co-ordinator, said “Somalilandhas made enormous progress in achieving a difficult transition to a form of representative democracy. We have long been impressed with that process, and call on all Somalilanders to maintain their commitment to a peaceful form of democratic and participatory decision-making.”

Notes to Editors: For further information or to arrange an interview with a member of the coordination team, please contact Conrad Heine on +44 7870 642 852 / media@somalilandfocus.org.uk, or Lucy Jenkinson on 020 7326 2011 / lucyj@progressio.org.uk , or Tim Aldred on 020 7326 2003 / +44 7740 543 047 / tim@progressio.org.uk. Somaliland declared unilateral independence from Somalia in 1991 following the collapse ofSomalia’s government. It remains internationally unrecognised.

A team of 50 observers from 17 countries was assembled by Progressio, DPU and Somaliland Focus (UK) to observe Somaliland’s local elections on November 28th 2012. The mission follows on from observations of Somaliland’s inaugural local elections in 2002, followed by the parliamentary elections in 2005, judged by observers as “basically free and fair”, and the presidential election in 2010 http://www.progressio.org.uk/sites/default/files/Somaliland-elections-2010-report.pdf , which saw an orderly transfer of power and was judged “a peaceful expression of popular will”.

The 2012 mission covered almost 20% of more than 1,700 polling stations in 15 of the 21 districts acrossSomalilandin which voting took place.

The mission was invited by Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission (NEC), and funded byBritain’s Department for International Development (DFID). We presented a post-poll interim report to the NEC and donors, and a final report will follow in 2013.

A pre-election assessment of the conditions for the local elections took place in 2012 and can be viewed here: http://www.progressio.org.uk/sites/progressio.org.uk/files/Preparing-for-local-elections-Sld-2012.pdf> For more information about Progressio, please see www.progressio.org.uk and about Somaliland Focus, see www.somalilandfocus.org.uk. December 3rd 2012 – International election observers congratulate Somaliland on a largely peaceful and transparent expression of democratic will in local elections—but concerned at weaknesses in safeguards against multiple voting

The team of 50 observers from 17 countries was assembled by Progressio, DPU and Somaliland Focus (UK) to observe Somaliland’s local council elections on November 28th, 2012. It follows similar missions to previous local and national level elections in 2002, 2005 and 2010.

The mission congratulates the people of Somaliland and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) for efforts to conduct and participate in the elections, which saw 2,368 candidates contest 379 positions across Somaliland’s six regions.

With the tabulation of final results still underway, it is not yet appropriate to provide an overall assessment of the election. A small team will remain in Somaliland to observe post-poll processes, including the declaration of results and the work of the Registration and Approval Committee (RAC) in determining which three political parties go forward to contest national elections for the next decade. A further statement will follow the declaration of results, and our final report will be published in mid-2013.

At this stage, we can cautiously report many positives. Election campaigning appears to have been competitive and pluralistic, with seven different parties and associations fielding candidates. Parties and associations generally respected the requirement to campaign on a specific day in the week, and to desist from public campaigning in the second and third weeks of the campaign.

With the lowering of the age of candidacy we welcome the unprecedented numbers of youth and women candidates. While in 2002 only five women contested local elections, approximately 140 did so in 2012. As for election day, most polling station procedures and staff were evaluated positively by observers. Where problems occurred, the NEC usually addressed them quickly and effectively.

However, we must also report some concerns. The most serious problems stemmed from the absence of a voter registry and weaknesses in related safeguards–primarily the inadequacy of the indelible ink used on fingers of voters–made polling vulnerable to multiple voting. In advance of the next elections, we recommend that Somaliland adopt a robust system for voter/citizen registration, in order to deter fraud and improve confidence in the electoral process.

We are also concerned about the understanding of the parties and the electorate of the implementation of the formula in Law 14, Article 6, which will determine which of the contesting parties and associations become registered parties. While we welcome the agreement prior to the election to adopt a code of conduct in the interpretation of the law, we encourage both the NEC and the RAC to continue to work transparently in the district and regional tabulation process and declare results in a timely fashion.

Dr. Steve Kibble, the mission’s joint co-ordinator, said: “We will be putting forward to the NEC our proposals to address the concerns we have highlighted and look forward to continued fruitful cooperation with them. We will continue to track the electoral process and trust it reaches a speedy resolution that reflects the will of the Somaliland people.”

http://79.170.44.118/somalilandfocus.org.uk/?page_id=117


Charcoal burning destroying Somalian habitat

December 21, 2012.http://www.birdwatch.co.uk/channel/newsitem.asp?c=11&cate=__13333

Despite a long-term ban on exports of charcoal, Somalia is still burning its forests, with a population believing that it has no economic choice.

When African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) forces took control of the port city of Kismayo in Southern Somalia in September, they found an estimated four million sacks of charcoal waiting to be exported. A further four million sacks were stockpiled in and around the city, and at the village of Buur Gabo near the Kenyan border.

Much of the charcoal going out of Kismayo is believed to have come from the Jubba valley, part of an Endemic Bird Area (EBA) shared between Somalia and Ethiopia, which includes six Important Bird Areas (IBAs) on the Somali side of the border, say BirdLife International. All the charcoal at Buur Gabo is thought to have come from the mangrove and acacia forests of the Laag Badaana (Bush Bush NP) IBA, which is adjoins the Boni Forest Reserve on the Kenyan side of the border, part of the East African Coastal Forests EBA. Further stocks of charcoal subsequently found at Badhaadhe to the north of Laag Badaana are also likely to have come from the national park.

Between them the Somalian parks are home to more than 50 bird species not found anywhere else in Somalia, representing nine per cent of Somalia’s recorded avifauna, and their survival in the country is threatened by the scale of charcoal production.

The UN and the Somali government have banned the export of charcoal, which provided the main source of income for the al-Shabaab militants who previously controlled Kishmayo. The Somali government ban on charcoal exports dates back to 1969, and Somalia’s new president has re-emphasised that he does not want either the Somali or UN ban lifted. However, exports have resumed because the port is currently under the authority of forces that the president has no control over.

Now that the charcoal is moving, mangrove and acacia trees are once again being cut down. Reports indicate that many people involved in charcoal production are well aware that the damage to their environment and livelihoods is likely to be irreversible, but see themselves as having no economic alternative.

It is thought likely that the fragile acacia dry forest ecosystems in particular will be unable to recover, while Laag Badana holds the most important remnant of Somalia’s mangroves, which are under extreme pressure elsewhere from exploitation and coastal development.


Somalia: Editor Arrested Over Human Rights Reporting in Somaliland

19 DECEMBER 2012. http://allafrica.com/stories/201212201069.html,PRESS RELEASE

International Freedom of Expression Exchange Clearing House (Toronto)

Source: National Union of Somali Journalists

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the arrest of an editor of a privately-owned newspaper in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

Mohamud Abdi Jama, aka Huuto, the editor-in-chief of Waaheen newspaper, was arrested on 13 December 2012 at the Central Investigations Department (CID) after he responded to a summons.

Jama was detained after officials from the Somaliland presidency reportedly brought an arrest warrant issued by the Hargeisa Regional Court to the CID headquarters. He was informed by CID commander Mohamed Muse Abraar that he was under arrest.

The CID has said Jama was accused of reporting on an unsubstantiated allegation made at a press conference held by human rights defenders regarding human rights violations in Somaliland. The CID further stated that Waaheen newspaper specifically cited in its human rights report that the Somaliland president's son in-law is collecting hundreds of thousands of US dollars from Somaliland Television, a television network controlled and managed by the Somaliland government.

Officers at the CID informed Jama that he has to provide evidence of the allegations against the Somaliland president's son in-law. NUSOJ was, however, informed that the allegations were made by the chair of the Somaliland Human Rights Network, Suleyman Huquq.

Jama was scheduled to appear before a Hargeisa regional court to face charges of publishing unsubstantiated allegations.

NUSOJ fears that the problems with publishing and distributing newspapers, arrests of journalists and defamation legal actions against editors are part of a calculated campaign to silence the print media in Somaliland.

"We are concerned about the arrest of Mohamud Abdi Jama and call on the authorities to release him immediately and put an end to the harassment of journalists" said Abdirisak Omar Ismail, NUSOJ's Supreme Council president, who was visiting Hargeisa.


Somalia: Somaliland Ready to Resume Talks With Somalia, Says a Minister

Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu)18 DECEMBER 2012. http://allafrica.com/stories/201212180399.html

Mogadisho — The self-declared republic of Somaliland in north Somalia has repeated its readiness to have talks with the Somali federal government.

Speaking to the BBC Somali service from Djibouti where both the leader of Somaliland and the president of Somalia are present, the foreign minister of Somaliland Mohamed Abdullahi Omar has repeated that Somaliland is ready to restart the talks with Somalia which began under the transitional government led by Sheikh Sharif.

The minister has said the time and the venue for the resumption of the talks has not been agreed yet.

Somaliland, which is a region in north Somalia, has declared its as a separate republic from the rest of Somalia soon after the collapse of central government in Mogadishu 1991 but no nation in the world has recognized it yet.


Democracy Up Close In Somaliland: Reflections Of An International Election Observer

Published On: Mon, Dec 17th, 2012. By DUSTIN R. TURIN. 2012, VOL. 4 NO. 12 | PG. 1/3

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In May 1991, Somaliland emerged as a self-declared independent state in the aftermath of the failure and subsequent collapse of Siyad Barre’s Somalia. Although ethnically and linguistically Somalilanders are undifferentiated from their counterparts in southern Somalia, the northwestern region of Somalia has achieved an important distinction: while Somalia remains fundamentally anarchic, with no substantial national government to speak of, Somaliland is conversely peaceful, democratic, and remarkably safe by comparison. The de facto state held successful national elections in 2003 (presidential), 2005 (parliamentary), and again in 2010 (presidential). International Election Observers (IEOs), along with Domestic Observers (DOs), participated in monitoring each of these processes, concluding that elections were substantially free and fair. Nevertheless, Somaliland remains internationally unrecognized and is considered under international law to be a province of non-functioning Somalia.

http://www.studentpulse.com/articles/716/democracy-up-close-in-somaliland-reflections-of-an-international-election-observer


Family's plea over Somaliland custody death

15 December 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-20740493

The family of a man who died in police custody in East Africa is demanding answers about his death.

Abdullahi Ibrahim, 43, from Bow in east London, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, died on a visit to an area called Somaliland.

He died on 28 November, hours before he was due to stand trial for running over a police officer.

BBC London has been unable to contact the authorities in the self-declared independent Somaliland for a response.

Mr Ibrahim's family said local officials were looking into the case.

His daughter Khadra, 26, said: "He was the most generous man you could come across.

Faxed medical records

"He helped everybody and anybody. Anyone who knows him in the community would tell you he was a lovely man."

Mr Ibrahim was visiting relatives when his family said his medical condition deteriorated and he was arrested.

His daughter faxed over his medical records hoping the authorities would recognise him as being mentally ill and spare him a possible death sentence.

Mr Ibrahim's daughter claimed he had bruises on his body and his teeth were missing.

"No-one has been arrested, no-one has been accused of anything," she said.

"We want justice for my father."

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said it was in discussions with the British Embassy in neighbouring Ethiopia about the death and providing assistance to the family.



Somaliland : Potential goldmine for fishermen as piracy declines

BERBERA, 14 December 2012 (IRIN) - Rusting hulks of capsized boats decorate the waters around Berbera, a port city in the self-declared republic of Somaliland. Further down Somalia’s coast, pirates raid freighters in the Gulf of Aden.

Efforts are underway to help Somalis make better use of their 3,300km coastline - the longest on the African continent - by increasing fishing and seafood exports to lucrative markets in the Middle East and Europe.

In 2013, the European Union will spend US$6.5 million to help Somaliland pursue its long-term goal of netting 120,000 tons of seafood each year, the sale of which could generate $1.2 billion in foreign currency.

“In Somalia, people have lived for a long time with their backs to the sea,” says Isabel Faria de Almedia, the EU development chief for Somalia. “It’s a country of agro-pastoralists with a strong nomadic tradition. We think there is a huge potential for the consumption and export of fish.”

Until the second half of the 20 th century, few Somalis outside fishing communities consumed fish and the sector was entirely artisanal in nature. This began to change in the 1970s with the development of better cold-storage facilities and the creation, with Soviet help, of an industrial fleet. But, for want of spare parts and maintenance, these vessels quickly fell into disuse. (See here for a detailed, if slightly dated overview of the Somali fishing industry.)

Luring pirates away from piracy

In the middle of the last decade, Somali fishermen complained they were being forced into piracy by foreign trawlers operating illegally in waters claimed by Somalia.

Coastal Somalis recount as a “eureka” moment the time self-appointed coastguards impounded a foreign trawler and levied a fine on its owners; they quickly realized seizing vessels was more lucrative than competing with commercial vessels for dwindling fish stocks.

Amina Farah Arshe, who employs 40 fishermen aboard 11 vessels from Berbera, the main port of Somaliland, says fishing revenues could provide an alternative to raiding freighters far into the Indian Ocean.

“We can stop it by empowering the people. We can stop it by giving jobs to the youth. People would make money, the government would collect tax revenues, and piracy would diminish,” she said. “But we need support. We need training, boats, fishing gear and cold storage.”

For years, the United Nations has said that tackling Somali piracy should involve creating work for the jobless young Somalis who board skiffs, armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, to hunt vessels on the high seas.

But only now has the security situation made this a realistic possibility. Somalia has recently selected its most viable presidentand government in years. Somali and African Union forces have driven Al-Shabab insurgents from major cities.

Out at sea, foreign warships and on-deck private security guards deter piracy. Only 70 raids took place in the first nine months of 2012, compared to 199 in the same period last year, according to theInternational Maritime Bureau.

Logistical challenge

Somalia's new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, says he wants to “increase local food production to end poverty forever”. Some 2.1 million people in the country are faced with hunger, particularly in the turbulent south.

The future of large-scale fishing in Somali waters is tied up in a legal dispute over how far these waters extend from the country’s coastline. While the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which Somalia ratified in 1989, establishes 12 nautical miles from shore as an international norm for states’ territorial waters, Somalia has asserted sovereignty over seas up to 200 nautical miles from the coast. Mogadishu has resisted international pressure to declare these outer waters an exclusive economic zone, a designation which confers numerous rights to the country but which falls short of full sovereignty.

Alan Cole, who runs anti-piracy operations for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, says Somaliland’s Berbera and Puntland’s Bosaso have real potential. But exporting fresh fish from the remote central coast - site of many pirate bases - offers a “logistical challenge”, he said.

The UN agency spends $40 million each year tackling piracy, helping prosecute sea-borne raiders, training and equipping coastguards, creating jobs, and providing refrigerated trucks and storerooms to the fishing industry.

“We need to get the fishing fleets of Somalia back to sea,” Cole said. “One of the challenges for fisherman is that the pirates will steal your fish. So you come back to the same issue of needing wider maritime security for Somalia so that the fishermen can safely make their living at sea.”


Somaliland Court Orders the Arrest of a Journalist for Covering Human Rights Day Events and Reporting on Corruption Allegations against the President’s Son-in-Law Lodged by Activists

Waaheen (Hargeisa) 14 December 2012: The Editor-in-Chief of Waaheen, Mohamoud Abdi Jama, was summoned to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and detained on a court warrant issued by the Hargeisa regional court. CID officials told the editor that the warrant was based on the paper’s coverage of events organized by independent human rights activities commemorating the 2012 Human Rights Day.

At the event the Chairman of the independent human rights activist spoke about rampant corruption by the government of public funds and in particular that funds for the National TV are diverted by the Son-in-Law of the President. Other speakers made similar corruption allegations. CID officials told Mr. Jama that he must prove the allegations made by the speakers and that he will be brought in front of a judge on Saturday 15 December.

Transparency has recently included Somaliland as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.

Mr. Jama has been detained many times and served more than a month under a three-year sentence imposed on him in 2010 for covering an interview by the then police commissioner. He was subsequently awarded the 2011 CNN Africa Freedom of the Press Award. This will be the second time Somaliland courts find fault for reporting on what officials say at public events. (Short URL: http://waaheen.com/?p=55543)


Daughter’s fight for justice after “father murdered by his own country’s government” in Somaliland

Robin de Peyer. December 13, 2012. http://www.london24.com/news/daughter_s_fight_for_justice_after_father_murdered_by_his_own_country_s_government_in_somaliland_1_1741326

A heartbroken daughter who claims her mentally ill father was beaten to death by prison guards in Somaliland has spoken of her fight for justice.

Khadra Ibrahim wants to find out what happened to her father. Picture: Ron Lamb

Abdullahi Ibrahim, who was schizophrenic, died in police custody on the night of November 28, just hours before he was due to stand trial after running over a police officer.

His daughter, Khadra Ibrahim, said she had faxed through medical records of his condition that night in an effort to ensure a fair hearing, and claims prison guards killed her father to ensure his punishment was “an eye for an eye”.

Mr Ibrahim had been receiving medical help for mental health problems since moving to London in the early 1990s. He had stopped taking his medication during a six month visit to Somaliland to administer his father’s estate, and was described by his family as “a very ill man”.

His 26-year-old daughter Khadra, who lives in Bow, said: “My father’s human rights have been violated and justice must be served for him.

The Foreign Office is due to meet with Abdullahi Ibrahim's family this week. Picture: Ron Lamb

“He was murdered by his own country’s government. I want to let the world know what they are doing. We want answers.”

She added that her father, who had eight children, had been a valued member of the community in Tower Hamlets.

Khadra said: “He was such a lovely, lovely father – we couldn’t have asked for a better dad.

“He was the most caring person. Regardless of whether he was ill or not, he was the kindest man.”

Mr Ibrahim was buried in Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia, on Sunday. Foreign Office officials remain in discussions with the British Embassy in neighbouring Ethiopia in an effort to satisfy the family’s demands for justice.

A spokesman said: “We can confirm the death of a British national in Somaliland and are providing constant assistance to family members through the British embassy in Addis Ababa.” Foreign Office officials are due to meet Mr Ibrahim’s family this week to update them on the progress of negotiations.


Opposition party in Somaliland wants region's electoral commission to resign

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 13 Dec 2012.Hiiraan, in Somali 13 Dec 12/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

The chairman of the opposition Rays party in the break-away region of Somaliland has called on the region's electoral commission to vacate office for what he said was the mismanagement of council elections and the death of at least two people in post-poll violence in Hargeysa, privately-owned Hiiraan Online website reports.

Hasan Muhammad Ali "Gaafaadhi" said the commission "failed to perform its duties", adding that his party accepted the results of the council elections "just for the general good".

"It is known that the results of the elections were controversial and caused widespread suspicion. The commission did not at all play its role and should therefore resign," he said.

Most opposition leaders in Somaliland rejected the outcome of the elections, accusing the ruling Kulmiye party of rigging the polls.


An unlikely model of democracy in chaotic East Africa The National. Aly Verjee. Dec 13, 2012

On November 28, for the fifth time in 10 years, the former British protectorate of Somaliland held multiparty elections. With more than 2,000 candidates from seven political parties and associations contesting 379 seats, international observers described the polls as transparent and largely peaceful. But while hundreds of thousands queued patiently to cast their ballots, the election is at best a footnote in the annals of contemporary African democracy.

For Somaliland is in an unfortunate historical position: joined with Italian Somalia in 1960 to form the postcolonial republic of Somalia, the republic's chaotic vacuum of governance over the past 20 years has brought havoc to all parts of the country. In 1991, Somaliland charted its own course: it declared independence from the internationally recognised state of Somalia, formed its own governance institutions from its capital of Hargeisa, and set about rebuilding its infrastructure and economy.

No other state has recognised Somaliland's statehood, although neighbouring, landlocked Ethiopia has extended some diplomatic privileges and uses the port of Berbera as an alternative to the near monopoly of Djibouti. For years, turmoil in southern Somalia made Somaliland's relative calm seem even more remarkable. Recent progress in Mogadishu, including a peaceful transfer of power to a new president, has encouraged some international actors to renew attempts at talks between Hargeisa and Mogadishu about political reconciliation.

Whatever the future of the country formally known as Somalia - one state, two or more - Somaliland's decade of elections has institutionalised local democracy and developed a very different political reality in the north-west Horn of Africa. And notwithstanding more positive trends from Mogadishu, a credible, pluralistic democratic election remains a distant aspiration for south-central Somalia.

Where in 2002 only five women stood for election in Somaliland's local elections, more than 140 did so in 2012, in what is still a conservative, Islamic society. In unprecedented numbers, young people participated as voters and candidates, aided by an age of majority set at only 16. Disputed areas of eastern Somaliland saw much more extensive voter participation than in previous polls, and the emergence of new parties and associations will set the scene for a potentially more representative political class in the future.

Somaliland's electoral democracy hasn't been without challenge: there were some weaknesses in the electoral process, including incidents of multiple voting. Results from the current vote have taken longer than hoped to collate, and there have been a number of protests, some violent, against figures announced so far.

To the disappointment of Somaliland's political elite, an earlier series of successful elections - including, in 2010, the defeat of an incumbent president and a new regime peacefully coming to power - haven't moved Somaliland much further down the path of international recognition, either.

Political uncertainty has slowed business investment in Somaliland, although there are some signs of this changing: Coca-Cola recently licensed a local company to bottle and distribute its drinks. Production has begun at a factory outside of Hargeisa. A number of oil blocks have been awarded to foreign companies for prospecting, although no significant find has yet been made. The bulk of the economy is driven by remittances, and by a successful diaspora returning as entrepreneurs and investors.

Amid some promising signs, Somaliland's future is still uncertain. In financial terms, Somaliland cannot afford its democracy - with a limited base of revenue and almost no tax collection, the government in Hargeisa can only afford to pay about a fifth of the costs of the vote. The rest of the money for this election, as with previous polls, comes from mostly European donor countries.

But Somaliland cannot easily abandon democracy either. The people of Somaliland have become accustomed to being involved in a formal, consultative political process, even if more traditional clan and community structures remain important markers of identity.

Presidential and parliamentary elections are due in 2014 and 2015, but the money to organise the votes is yet to be found. As with much in the Horn of Africa, progress is fragile and vulnerable to reversal. But Somaliland has demonstrated resilience in overcoming a legacy of civil war and destruction, and the difficulties in building a new country on imperfect foundations. In a mostly barren region, democracy has germinated, and further care is needed to ensure it survives.

Aly Verjee, a senior researcher at the Rift Valley Institute based in Kenya, observed elections in Somaliland in 2005, 2010 and 2012

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/comment/an-unlikely-model-of-democracy-in-chaotic-east-africa#ixzz2EsSYVkN8


Giving Somaliland Youth a Voice

Interpeace.org. Dec 12, 2012

12 December 2012 - Interpeace and the Academy for Peace and Development (APD – Interpeace’s local partner in Somaliland) are supporting the Somaliland National Youth Organization (SONYO) in the establishment of a National Youth Voters League (NYVL). It aims to enhance the role of Somaliland youth in the state- and peacebuilding processes.

Despite making up approximately 70% of the Somaliland population, youth under the age of 35 years are vastly underrepresented in local councils and national political institutions. SONYO has already set up Regional Youth Voters Leagues (RYVL) with the support of the United Nations Democracy Fund. RYVLs promote civic and political dialogues at the grassroots level with local authorities on policies affecting youth. The National YVL works as a platform to enhance coordination between these Regional leagues, to strengthen their capacity for advocacy and provide training for their members.

Democracy and the peacebuilding process

The National YVL was formed in November during a workshop in Hargeisa which also served to discuss key issues such as democracy, civil and political rights, youth in politics, and peacebuilding. The workshop was attended by 65 participants – of which 22 were women – including members of the Regional YVLs, youth minority groups, and young candidates for the local council elections.The participants responded very positively to this opportunity and were eager to exchange ideas and to gain knowledge about electoral processes.

“I hope that we will see a capable Somaliland youth contributing to democratic governance for peace, stability and development,” Hamse Mohamed Ibrahim, SONYO programme officer, told the participants. With the 28 November local council elections just two weeks away, the main focus of the discussions was on the standards for free and fair elections, as well as the role of the National Electoral Commission. Another major topic of discussion was peace and conflict management.

Engaging youth in politics

During the run-up to the local council elections, the National YVL engaged young voters in the six regions of Somaliland, encouraging them to participate and to vote for candidates who are capable of addressing young people’s needs. The NYVL members were actively engaged in continuous civic education on an individual level, targeting young people in their neighborhoods.

The 28 November local council elections were a watershed moment for Somaliland youth, as the minimum age limit for candidates was brought down from 35 to 25 years. In the words of one of the participants, “Somaliland has achieved the equivalent of a hundred years of democratic development in only a decade.” Hon. Ali Sa’eed Raygal, Minister of Youth, Sports and Tourism, explained in his concluding speech: “If we bring responsible youth into the local councils, it will be very positive for the future of the country. As Minister of Youth, I will be very happy if the youth participating in these elections become role models for their followers, as active citizens.”

There will soon be more opportunities for the NYVL to pursue its advocacy for active youth engagement in the political process, starting with the 2013 parliamentary elections. The NYVL will also play an important role in educating youth on the structures and decision-making mechanisms of the local councils.

http://www.interpeace.org/2011-08-08-15-19-20/latest-news/389-sonyo


A Notable Peacebuilder: Mohamed Said Gees

06 December 2012 - We are honouring our long-term colleague Mohamed Said Gees, who is now stepping down from his position as Executive Director at the Academy for Peace and Development (APD), Interpeace’s partner in Somaliland. Gees joined APD in May 2004, shortly after the organization underwent restructuring and has since contributed considerably to peacebuilding in Somaliland and to the development of APD.

Supporting an emerging democracy

Gees began his time with APD by supporting Interpeace’s Dialogue for Peace programme and the early phases of the Pillars of Peace programme. Through these initiatives, APD supported the democratization process and the emerging multi-party democratic system in Somaliland.

He has previously made a mark heading up the Ministries of Planning, Finance, and Foreign Affairs in Somaliland and has spent time as a professor of physics. Gees's background, network and leadership contributed to the strengthening and further promoting APD’s reputation as an impartial body. One of the main achievements was the creation of neutral political spaces for the electoral processes in Somaliland.

Matthias Stiefel, Founder and Vice-Chairman of Interpeace and Mohamed Said Gees, outgoing Executive Director of APD. Photo Credit: Interpeace

Under Gees’s direction, APD developed and introduced codes of conduct for political parties and the media. APD has also worked positively with other agencies and international NGOs over Gees’s time with the organization, taking part in substantive studies.

A remarkable impact

Having worked for a broad range of stakeholders, Gees, on APD’s behalf, was able to navigate diverse and changing dynamics and contexts.

Abdirahman Raghe, Director of Interpeace’s Somali Programme explains: “Gees’ wealth of experience is really what made working with him so exceptional. Because of his unique background he could reach out to key members of the political leadership and elite and put himself in the different positions.”

Johan Svensson, Interpeace’s Regional Director for Eastern and Central Africa, adds: “A lot of Gees’s wisdom comes from his humble beginnings. He draws his strength from his family and relationships. I have not only enjoyed working with Gees because he is a competent and reliable colleague but also because he has a great sense of humor.”

We thank Gees for his dedication and commitment to building lasting peace in Somaliland and the whole Somali Region.


Breakaway state to get fast access via microwave and LTE, says Somcable CEO Michael Cothill

12 December 2012. http://www.globaltelecomsbusiness.com/Article/3130537/Regions/25185/Breakaway-state-to-get-fast-access-via-microwave-and-LTE-says-Somcable-CEO-Michael-Cothill.html

More than 20 years after Somaliland set up a democratic breakaway from troubled Somalia, Somcable is connecting it to Africa’s new submarine cables using microwave downlink and LTE uplink. CEO Michael Cothill talks to Alan Burkitt-Gray

Michael Cothill: I’ve had 25 years of telecommunications experience in Africa and my goal is to get unprecedented bandwidth to Africa

Michael Cothill is building a telecoms network in a country that you won’t find on many maps. Somaliland sounds familiar, but it is formed of part of the northern territory of Somalia, from which it declared independence in 1991. Cothill is CEO of Somcable, backed by a local business group, which is using a mixture of microwave transmission and LTE to deliver broadband to companies and residential subscribers across the emergent nation.

“We were awarded the exclusive licence for a fibre optic cable system for Somaliland, the democratically run portion of the region,” says Cothill — who is working on plans for the owner of the company to expand into neighbouring parts of the Horn of Africa.

The company’s Somaliland network is connected into the world’s telecoms systems via the new submarine cables that land at the bordering country of Djibouti on their way along the Red Sea from northern Egypt and the Mediterranean beyond. The very fact of the new cables means that Somaliland potentially has better voice and data access now than most of sub-Saharan Africa did a few years ago, before the new cables were installed. “There are five fibre optic cables coming into Djibouti, virtually at our front door,” says Cothill.

The country is recognised as a nation by very few others, including France and the UK, but not the US. Somaliland’s democratically elected president, Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo, visited London in early 2012 for talks with the UK’s foreign minister, William Hague — but Hague’s ministry tells prospective visitors to the region: “We advise against all travel to Somalia, including Somaliland.” Meanwhile the US Central Intelligence Agency’s online world factbook puts “Somaliland” in inverted commas.

Since June 2012 there has been a glimmer of hope that there will be peace between Somalia and a number of breakaway regions, including Somaliland. Talks in London, Istanbul and Dubai have opened the way to cooperation between the warring factions.

“Somaliland has most of the economic value of greater Somalia,” says Cothill, who joined Somcable in January 2012. It is working with three cellular operators in the region, “mainly GSM services, and a little HSDPA, and a limited number of services offering wifi”, to provide backhaul to Djibouti and to a back-up hub in Berbera, Somaliland’s own port on the Red Sea.

Incumbent provider

“The company is essentially the incumbent backhaul provider,” he says, “but with three operators you can’t just survive on backhaul.” Hence the company has diversified to sign up its own customers so it can offer them direct access. The first customers will be connected in January 2013.

Somcable’s parent company is MSG Holdings, owned by businessman Mohamed Said Guedi, “well respected and personally extremely wealthy”, says Cothill. “One of his companies is Independent Tobacco, a huge state-of-the-art fully automated manufacturer located in Dubai.”

Guedi has set up a new telecoms holding company, Independent Holdings, “to manage the new strategy of serving the entire eastern Horn of Africa”, adds Cothill. “This is currently being capitalised and will feature some prominent operators in the region.”

Cothill is group CEO of Independent Holdings, which includes the assets of both Somcable and a separate entity, GlobalReach, whose website says: “Global Reach Communications was formed to offer customers a full turnkey data and telecommunications solution primarily to the emerging markets of the world.”

Cothill, who is a smaller shareholder in the group, notes: “I expect the details to be available in around three months.” MSG has a controlling stake while “all other parties hold minority shares”, he adds. “The aim is to go public in the very near future as we need a large injection of capital to deploy our plan aggressively. We have hired a branding firm to position our entire group and this is actively taking place.”

What other countries is Independent Holdings looking at? Cothill hints at Ethiopia, southern Somalia and South Sudan — which broke away from its northern neighbour in July 2011 — as well as Kenya and Uganda. All of these can be connected to the world’s telecoms networks through Djibouti, he points out.

Within Somaliland, Somcable — based in the capital, Hargeisa — has built a fibre optic network. “We have trenched 700-800 kilometres of cable. We are digging about 1.5 metres deep and installing armoured cable.” The network is connecting to similar cable across the border in Ethiopia “where they are laying cable like crazy”, says Cothill. “It’s landlocked and they reach the ocean through Djibouti or Port Sudan.”

Or, thanks to the connection with Somcable, potentially to Berbera — which is undergoing renovation with the aim of making it “the biggest deepwater port in the region after Djibouti”. There is the sniff of oil in the area, he says: “Our organisation is well positioned to profit from that.”

Wideband microwave

But the fibre isn’t intended to reach the end customers. What Somcable is doing — with the assistance of equipment provider Bluwan — is building a wideband microwave network, operating at 12 gigahertz, as a “last-mile wireless” network to deliver data signals to customers around each base station.

Each base station is divided into four sectors of 90 degrees each, and each sector transmits at up to 2.5 gigabits a second — making 10 gigabits for the whole tower. Signals reach up to five kilometres in the rain, says Bluwan’s chief commercial officer, Shayan Sanyal.

Somcable is using “different types of LTE” for the return path, operating at 700 megahertz with 20 megahertz of spectrum. Each customer can download at up to 100 megabits a second, and uplink speed is 5-6 megabits, with a maximum of 160 megabits a second per sector.

“We’re calling it ‘fibre-through-the-air’,” says Cothill. “We had to find a way to get service for $10-$20 a customer. Working this way allows us to realise bandwidth to customers in abundance at very low prices. We have to have volume. Without LTE we wouldn’t have volume.”

Somcable’s service will potentially transform telecoms access in the region, which today relies on low-bandwidth microwave and satellite connections. “The average throughput is 64 kilobits a second,” says Cothill. “With the access solution we can provide you’ll be able to get full triple-play services.”

Some of Somcable’s customers will be internet providers based in kiosks that will use wifi to connect with their own end customers in the district. “They will have a dish on the roof and integrated LTE, and the wifi will operate in a 600 metre radius of the shop,” he says. “With backhauling at 100 megabits a second the ISPs will be able to share this between 25, 50 or 100 users at any one time.”

New York switching

The systems integrator of the technology is a Nasdaq-listed US company called Globecomm Systems, based just outside New York City at Hauppauge on Long Island, says Cothill. Customers include US and other government agencies. It built a new telecoms network for Afghanistan in a World Bank-backed project.

Globecomm announced its contract with Somcable in September 2012, when it valued the contract at $2.7 million to install “new broadband wireless system technology” in order “to deliver voice, internet, TV and video communication services to [Somcable] subscribers with the goal of developing a framework of a carrier class communications service provider”. It will install only the radio equipment in Somaliland, says Cothill, using microwave kit from Bluewan with LTE from both Ericsson and ZTE. The core network will be hosted in Hauppage, which means traffic will travel from north-east Africa to be routed and switched in the US. “That gives us economies of scale,” he adds.

One of the biggest challenges to the network installation is the lack of reliable electric power. “We use a mixture of solar power, local generators and the grid. In all the regions we work in we provide power plants and we also work with neighbouring countries to import power.”

Following the planned January 2013 switch-on of customers in Somaliland, Cothill will start looking at the next stage. “We want to replicate this across the eastern seaboard of Africa. I’ve had 25 years of telecommunications experience in Africa and my goal is to get unprecedented bandwidth to Africa.”

The new submarine cables have come to Africa — and more are expected. Now there are serious moves to increase the bandwidth connecting to the rest of the world to 25 terabits by 2015. The next vital step — the inland links from the landing stations to real users — has started.


Somalia: ‘Ballot fraud in Somaliland district elections’ says opposition leader

10 Dec 10, 2012 - http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Ballot_fraud_in_Somaliland_district_elections_says_opposition_leader.shtml

HARGEISA, Somalia Dec 10 2012 (Garowe Online) – Somaliland Haqsoor political party leader alleges that there is “video evidence” of corruption in Somaliland’s district elections, which international observers said occurred “transparently”, Garowe Online reports

Hassan Isse, Chairman of Haqsoor political party talking to BBC Somali service on Monday, said that he was unhappy with the Somaliland National Electoral Commission’s (NEC) decision to recount votes in Hargeisa district elections only.

“Our issues with the district elections are not limited to Hargeisa but across the Somaliland districts, we have requested before and are requesting now that any wrongs and mistakes are corrected,” said party chairman Isse.

The chairman went on to add that the election commission’s decision to recount votes in Hargeisa was “not enough for my party and for the people of Somaliland”.

On Monday morning speaking at Human Rights day event in Hargeisa, Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo - who shied away from speaking on the disputed district election results - described the elections as peaceful.

“The district elections that occurred in Somaliland transpired peacefully, however the results that were released caused deaths and injuries,” said President Silanyo, adding “the electoral commission the people of Somaliland are waiting for you, the responsibility of the elections rests on your shoulders, and people are awaiting a response which appeases them.”

Somaliland’s NEC Chairman Isse Yusuf Mohamed issued a press release Monday afternoon stating that the district elections occurred “transparently according to Somaliland’s electoral law” and that “international observers were monitoring the process.”

The Somaliland district elections which began on November 28 did involve international observers who after the elections stated that the process occurred transparently.

Abdihakim Ali Mohamed a student in Hargeisa who spoke to GO said that he felt that the electoral commission gave an answer that satisfied government officials not the people of Somaliland.

“I believe that the electoral commission did not ensure that the elections occurred transparently, nor did they show any effort when requested to. The answer from the commission on Monday did not satisfy the distraught citizens of Hargeisa,” said Mr. Mohamed who spoke to GO via telephone.

Haqsoor Chairman Mr. Isse stated in the BBC Somali interview that there is “video evidence and eyewitness reports of ballot box rigging and fraud,” continuing “some districts were not even delivered ballot boxes.”

There were protests for two days in Hargeisa after preliminary results were released from Hargeisa’s district elections. Police sent to disperse the demonstrators in south Hargeisa, clashed with the protestors resulting in 3 deaths and 7 injuries.

After the deadly protests The National Electoral Commission stated on Saturday that they would review some of the ballot boxes in Hargeisa district elections.


Somalia: Somaliland election results lead to violent protests in Hargeisa

7 Dec 7, 2012 - http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Somaliland_election_results_lead_to_violent_protests_in_Hargeisa.shtml

HARGEISA, Somalia Dec 7 2012 (Garowe Online) – A protest over election results in the breakaway region of Somaliland in northwestern Somalia turned violent leading to casualties, Garowe Online reports.

The BBC Somali section reported that 3 people were killed and 7 others were injured after protests in south Hargeisa erupted over announcement of preliminary results for district elections in Somaliland.

People block the road with rocks in south Hargeisa

The protests sparked Thursday night in south Hargeisa’s Ahmed Dagah neighborhood after youth supporting Haqsoor political party protested about the district election results clashed with Somaliland police. The protests continued Friday morning.

Thursday night’s preliminary district election results for Hargeisa district's 25 seats, set off the demonstrations that turned violent in Somaliland.

Mr. Mohamed Nur Arale Duur, Somaliland's interior minister, sent condolences to the families of the deceased and told reporters that a ministerial-level committee was appointed and was engaging in meetings with local elders and Haqsoor party supporters, adding that the situation was "calm".

Chairman of Haqsoor political party Hassan Isse, a former vice president in Somaliland in the 1990s, told the BBC Somali section on Friday that there was "mismanagement" in the election and called on the violent protests to stop immediately.

“Youth, who are primarily the supporters of Haqsoor clashed with Somaliland police after district election results and I am regretful over this clash,” said Chairman Isse.

Continuing Mr. Isse said that upon hearing the clashes in Hargeisa that resulted in deaths and injuries late Thursday and Friday, they had rounded up supporters and reiterated to them that violence is not the solution.

During the interview, the chairman voiced the youth's view and his of the Somaliland’s district elections that he alleged were “prejudice and corrupt”.

“The youth protested the same way those in Egypt protested about being denied their right to a free and fair election. There is evidence of outright ballot forgery and ballot misplacement in many districts,” said Chairman Isse.

He continued saying that he has taken the complaints to the National Election Commission and is awaiting a response.

Protestors burned tires and setup roadblocks, and according to local sources frequent gunfire could be heard in Hargeisa Thursday night and Friday morning. Business in south Hargeisa stopped Friday afternoon after police issued a curfew in the area.

Somaliland’s district election results are early as election officials are still tallying votes.

Somaliland's district elections in the contested regions of Sool and Sanaag occurred in only two districts. Puntland and Somaliland have been locked in a territorial dispute over Sool and Sanaag region boundaries.

Somaliland's separatist administration unilaterally declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.


Clashes over municipal council election results kill 2 in Hargeisa

December 07, 2012. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/newsbriefs/2012/12/07/newsbrief-01

Two people were killed and six others wounded after supporters of Haqsoor party clashed with security forces in Hargeisa on Thursday (December 6th), officials and witnesses said.

The clashes broke out around 7:30 pm after the results of last week's municipal council elections were announced in Hargeisa. Violence erupted after some protesters opened fire on police officers controlling the crowds demonstrating in the 26 June neighbourhood, according to Mohamed Nur, an eyewitness.

Nur told Sabahi the standoff continued for about three hours until security forces took control of the situation.

Haqsoor party chairman Hassan Essa Jama urged party supporters gathered at the Hargeisa Stadium on Friday to halt the demonstrations and avoid further loss of life. However, as supporters left the stadium in Ahmed Dhagah district, a second fight broke out between party supporters and police, which lasted for a few hours.

After Friday's skirmishes, the number of wounded increased to nine, Somaliland's Minister of Interior Mohamed Nur Arrale told reporters at a press conference. He said police have arrested several individuals involved in the unrest and called on citizens to ensure public safety.

According to official results announced by the National Electoral Commission, Haqsoor won four out 25 council seats in Hargeisa. Ruling party Kulmiye won seven seats, UCID and Wadani won four each, Umadda won three seats, Dalsan won two and Rays won one seat.

According to Somaliland law, the three parties with the most votes will be legally recognised and allowed to take part in elections for the next ten years.


Somaliland: Investment Increases Twenty-one Years After Declaring Independence

http://www.unpo.org/article/15229

After struggling for 21 years to overcome the barriers to private investment set by lack of international recognition, the prospects of Somaliland’s economy have increased considerably.

Below is an article published by Newstime Africa:

As Somalia starts to emerge from its quagmire of instability and chaos, 20 years of relative peace and stability are starting to pay dividends for its close neighbour Somaliland, as this November it struck its first major oil deal since seceding from Somalia in 1991.

Anglo-Turkish company Genel Energy received its licence from the Somaliland government in early November to explore and develop oil and gas reserves after pledging almost 40 million dollars for exploration activities. Genel told IPS “Somaliland provides an exciting geological opportunity, and we look forward to starting work in the region.”

The independent oil and gas exploration and production company has become the first foreign investor to commit a significant amount of capital to the country’s energy sector, after initial investigations demonstrated “numerous oil seeps” confirming “a working hydrocarbon system,” a statement from Genel said.

Genel Energy, headed by erstwhile BP CEO Tony Hayward, is due to start exploration before the end of the year.

The driving force of this Horn of Africa nation’s economy has traditionally been livestock. With a huge livestock population that triples the 3.5 million civilian population, the livestock trade generates up to 65 percent of the country’s GDP, Somaliland’s Minister of Planning Dr. Saad Shire told IPS.

With a limited national budget of 120 million dollars, the Somaliland government is now starting to receive much-needed revenue from foreign private investors to support its development.

Somaliland’s oil and gas reserves attracted the attention of other giant energy companies such as South African-based Ophir Energy, Jacka Resources Ltd of Australia, and Petrosoma Ltd, a subsidiary of British-based Prime Resources – all of whom announced their readiness to invest.

Somaliland has suffered from not being internationally recognised for the last 21 years. Its unconfirmed legal identity has hindered its economic prospects – few insurance companies have been prepared to insure foreign investors here. Subsequently, investors have tended to regard Somaliland as an economic leper.

For these reasons the country has also been ineligible for financial support from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

However, in 2012 Somaliland’s private sector started to progress against the odds.

At the beginning of the year, the first United Kingdom-Somaliland investment conference was held to stimulate bilateral trade recognition. And a 17-million-dollar Coca-Cola plant launched in May by a Djibouti conglomerate made it the largest private investment in Somaliland since 1991. Investors are seeing Coca-Cola’s decision to have an operation in the region as a positive statement about the country’s stable business climate.

Somaliland’s Berbera port is also expected to attract major investment in the coming years. It is considered the jewel in the country’s economic crown. Built originally by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the port currently serves as a major gateway for the country’s livestock exports. There is huge potential for it to be a juncture for oil and gas exports coming out of Africa’s landlocked countries like Ethiopia.

“We are strategically located – Berbera is located in a maritime lane – 30,000 ships pass by our port every year from Europe, the Middle East and Asia. We can develop Berbera into a major port like Singapore – with container terminals, free zones, oil refineries, and services related to maritime business,” Shire said.

The port manager, Ali Omar Mohamed, is irrepressibly enthusiastic about the potential of expanding the port to make it a regional trading hub between Africa and the Middle East.

“This port can be as big and as successful as Djibouti. It is only a matter of time before it attracts investment to modernise and expand it so that we can have the increased capacity we need to realise its full economic potential,” he told IPS.

Shire is confident that if Somaliland produces a stronger commercial legal framework, with proper safety measures to increase private investor confidence, it will attract investment to transform the country into a prosperous flourishing democracy like Singapore. “We have stability and access to a port, we have what investors are looking for. If Singapore can do it, I think we can,” he said.

The lack of insurance available to investors is the biggest barrier to the country’s development according to J. Peter Pham of the Michael S. Ansari Africa Center, which was set up to help transform United States and European policy approaches to Africa.

“Without international recognition and the consequent access to international financial institutions, Somalilanders face serious obstacles to achieving the economic development which would ordinarily accrue to a state with their record of political stability and democratic governance,” he told IPS.

“It is not just a matter of accessing development assistance and international credit, but also of having a legal framework whereby potential private-sector partners could obtain insurance and otherwise secure their investments,” he said.

According to Pham, Somaliland will never be in a position to fully benefit from the natural resources it is endowed with as long as it is refused nationhood status.

“The potential natural resources of Somaliland – including hydrocarbons, minerals, and fisheries – cannot be really tapped in the absence of a resolution of the sovereignty question.”

The urgent need for foreign investment was highlighted in a 2012 to 2016 national development plan produced by the government in December 2011. It outlines the need for overdue investment in the country’s infrastructure such as road building and waste disposal. The total capital required to fund this plan is 1.19 billion dollars.

According to Shire, the bulk of the investment for this is expected to come from external sources like aid donors and foreign investors.

However, there is a danger that without prompt recognition from the international community, development will be too slow and may cause sections of the population to become disaffected and vulnerable to groups like Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab.

According to Pham, the international community’s inertia in responding to the issue of Somaliland’s nationhood is placing the country in clear and present danger and making it vulnerable to influence from the Islamist terrorist group.

“What the international community needs to understand is that unless something is done to spring Somaliland from the limbo to which it has been consigned, things may not remain all that smooth.

“A growing population of young people whose prospects are limited by the constraints on economic development may find themselves a receptive audience for voices very different from the farsighted leaders who built Somaliland from the ruins of the former Somalia,” he said.


Allithwaite man's help in Somaliland democracy

6th December 2012 in News By Hannah Upton. http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/10092555.Allithwaite_man_s_help_in_Somaliland_democracy/

Campaigning in the run-up to the Somaliland elections - photograph by Kate Stanworth

A FURNITURE maker from Allithwaite had a unique hand in democracy when he volunteered to help oversee an election in the Horn of Africa.

Robin Le Mare of The Square spent two weeks in Somaliland as an international observer, incorporating his experience from 20 years of working for the charity Action Aid.

With the voting system in the country only in its infancy, and with just a handful of presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections under their belt, the electorate are still finding their feet when it comes to polling day.

“It was very different from what you would see here, mostly because it is something we do so regularly, and something we have been brought up with,” Mr Le Mare said.

“But it is quite a new way of doing things there.

“Traditionally in their clans they would not use a balloting system as we know it to elect someone; it would be done through debate.”

In his former career as a desk officer for Action Aid, his speciality was Somaliland and Ethiopia.

He visited Somaliland several times between 1994 and 2006 and said it was a great experience to return to a land and people he knows well.

“I have never done any election observation before but when I heard they were looking for volunteers I jumped at the chance.

“There were 55 volunteers from 15 different countries, including native Somalis who have left the county, so it really was an international operation in that sense.”

After flying out to Somaliland a week prior to voting, Mr Le Mare and the other volunteers spent a week in briefings on the history of the country and its elections.

Somaliland declared its independence 20 years ago but is not recognised internationally.

In the municipal elections, 2,368 candidates contested 379 positions across the country’s six regions.

For his part, Mr Le Mare travelled to the town of Boroma where his team would observe voting at four polling stations.

“At the end of the day we oversaw the sealing of boxes and the vote count,” he said.

“It all went very well; I was impressed with the skill and professionalism of the leader of the particular polling station we were at for the count, a young man who was a student at a nearby university.

“He was assisted by an older man who was a teacher in a local school. It was conducted very, very well.”

After voting, each man and woman dipped a finger in indelible ink to prevent them returning to vote again.

“The electorate there are hugely engaged in the political process, which is great,” he said, “But it is almost to the point of spoiling the process.”

Progressio, a charity which helped assemble the observer mission, also reported great advances in the participation of women in the election.

While in 2002 only five women contested the local elections, but approximately 140 did so this time round.

Mr Le Mare said: “In some ways it is opening up for females, though society is still very much dominated by men and the clan system.

“For the election the men and women lined up in separate queues, and there were roughly equal numbers in each.

“But there is more of a problem with low representation at the higher political level, like in the House of Representatives.”

A spokesman from Progressio paid tribute to the team of international volunteers who gave up their time for the election.

“Because they have got these international observers, in a young democracy like this they have got some external verification about how free and fair their process is.

“This helps in a very difficult part of the world to make the country more stable. The observers really do make a difference to people’s lives.”


Increasing charcoal production worries Somaliland officials

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa December 06, 2012. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2012/12/06/feature-02

After years of continued deforestation in Somaliland due to charcoal production, officials and environmentalists say they are worried that parts of northern Somalia could turn into desert-like wastelands.

Environmentalists say Somaliland could become a huge desert unless deforestation is stopped. Trees are being cut down in the hundreds and burnt to make charcoal. [AFP] Play Video

Hassan Hussein and Abdi Musa cut down a tree to make charcoal in the village of Jalelo in Hargeisa on October 31st. [Simon Maina/AFP]

The practice of cutting and burning trees has significantly increased in the past seven years, and could eventually create an uninhabitable environment, according to Ibrahim Ali Hussein, acting director of the Flora and Fauna Department at the Ministry of Environment and Rural Development.

"When deforestation occurs in an area, erosion resulting from floods and wind removes the fertile topsoil and water flows directly over it making it unsuitable for pasture growth," Hussein told Sabahi. "This results in complete desertification, whereby animals have nothing to eat and it cannot support human life."

Many people cut down trees to turn them into charcoal for lack of better economic opportunities, said Muhiyadin Omer Jama, an environmental officer at Hargeisa-based non-profit organisation Candlelight for Health, Education and Environment. "When the drought killed off their livestock, and without another vocation, they resorted to cutting trees to earn their livelihood," he told Sabahi.

About 95% of charcoal producers are between the ages of 17 and 30, and they cut trees to make money and compensate for the loss of their livestock, according to a joint study conducted in 2004 by the Somaliland Ministry of Environment and Candlelight.

But up to half of the income generated by charcoal producers goes to qat consumption, while less than 30% goes to household needs, according to the study, which examined the impact of charcoal production on the environment and the economic patterns of rural Somaliland.

Of the charcoal brought to Hargeisa and Berbera, 65% comes from cutting down live trees. The trees are mainly burned in the Salahley, Adadley and Sabowanaag districts located to the south and southeast of the Hargeisa in the Marodi Jeh regions, the southern Sheikh district in the Sahil region, and western Odweyne district in the Togdheer region, the study found.

Exporting charcoal is uncommon in Somaliland, but areas in the eastern regions use the Puntland-administered port of Bosaso for export, Hussein said. "The exported charcoal is taken to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, but we fight hard against its exportation," he said.

Eight to 10 trucks carrying up to 1,600 sacks of charcoal enter Hargeisa daily, said Ministry of Environment and Rural Developments Marodi Jeh regional co-ordinator Jama Hussein Muhumed.

When loggers ran out of dry, dead trees a few years ago, they began cutting live trees, he said. Nonetheless, domestic production has not been sufficient and charcoal is now being imported from neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia to meet market demand, he added.

The cost of charcoal is rising too. In January 2012, one sack of charcoal cost 35,000 Somaliland shillings ($5.50), but now costs 60,000 shillings ($9.30), according Sulekha Yusuf, a trader who has been selling charcoal for ten years at the Wahen Market in Hargeisa.

Solving the environmental problem

Due to economic constraints, the Somaliland administration does not have the capacity to immediately halt environmentally harmful actions, Hussein said. Instead, the government is considering economic support plans and technology for coal mining.

Jama, however, said he believes such a plan is impossible at this time, and it is necessary to find other viable solutions. "It is important to hold awareness campaigns to educate people on the problems that result from cutting trees," he said.

Other solutions might be to cultivate other employment skills for charcoal producers, create alternative income streams and purchase livestock for them, he said.

Next month, Candlelight plans to distribute 500 charcoal-conserving stoves in the Togdheer region as part of its environmental preservation efforts, Jama said.

The Ministry of Environment and Rural Development also plans to address this matter in 2013, with programmes such as using sandbags to halt water runoff so pastures can recover and grow, Hussein said.


Energy Juniors Eye Somaliland Oil Potential

5 Dec, 2012. http://horn.so/energy-juniors-eye-somaliland-oil-potential

Three foreign oil juniors are set to begin exploration in Somaliland by next year, as the rush on East African hydrocarbon largesse extends to the riskiest venues of the Horn.

There’s one small problem, though: Somaliland has not been recognized since it declared independence from Somalia in 1991. That, however, is a minor detail as far as Turkey’s Genel Energy, Australia’s Jacka Resources, and the UK’s Ophir Energy are concerned. All three have announced they will launch exploration in early 2013.

Somaliland officials are of course euphoric.

The big name here is Genel Energy Plc (GENL), headed by former BP CEO Tony Hayward. The Turkish company hopes to drill its first well in Somaliland in 2014.

Genel said it would buy a 50% interest in the Odewayne block in Somaliland from Jacka Resources Ltd. (JKA) for $657,000. Genel will operate the block and assume the costs of seismic work and drilling an exploration well.

It’s the geology that’s got everyone excited, drawing comparisons to Yemen, which has some 9 billion barrels of proven reserves—and enough conflict to make extraction, production and getting product to market a major challenge.

Genel is sure the resources are there, leaving only commercial viability to determine.

Everyone might have been a bit surprised at Genel’s interest in Somaliland. The Turkish company has never previously shown any interest in Africa. Now it is ready to dump $40 million in investment into Somaliland next year alone. Over the next three years, Genel reportedly plans to invest around $400 million in Africa.

In August, Genel acquired rights to two blocks in Somaliland, and made similar acquisition elsewhere in Africa—in Morocco and Côte d'Ivoire.

Somaliland is now courting more investors for the rest of its onshore and offshore blocks.

Investing in an unrecognized country is a bit challenging, however. Insurance is a major question, and international financial institutions—necessary for economic development—can’t touch a nation that has no sovereignty.

Sovereignty aside, the rest of the package is fairly attractive. There is relative stability and Somaliland’s Berbera port—located along a fairly busy maritime lane--makes it a potential strategic hub between Africa and the Middle East. Somaliland officials are already eyeing the potential for refineries and export terminals.

War-torn Somalia and semi-autonomous Puntland—Somaliland’s neighbors—are also benefitting the rush of interest from foreign oil companies. Canada’s Africa Oil began drilling wells in Somalia in January. This is the first oil activity Somalia has seen in over two decades.

Some of the security optimism stems from a largely US and Kenyan offensive against al-Shabaab militants in Somalia, which has wrong-footed the militant group and put them on the run. Everyone seems to feel there is some breathing room in Somalia now, but this should not be translated into stability. Al-Shabaab may be down, but it’s not out, and there is evidence that it is regrouping in Puntland, which will be bad news for Somalia and its neighbors.


Somaliland: Human Rights Groups Condemn Home Invasion

Qarannews. 3 December, 2012. http://www.hargeisatribune.com/somaliland-human-rights-groups-condemn-home-invasion-of-journalistss-home/

The Association of Independent Human Rights Groups in Somaliland have condemned the illegal home invasion of YOOL newspaper editor Mohamed Abdi Guleed (Urad).

Members of the Somaliland Police Force forcibly entered the editors home on Sunday December 2nd, 2012 and conducted a room to room search without presenting a warrant from the courts.

The police officers had hoped to arrest the editor of YOOL newspaper at his home, but left empty handed. At no time did police officers present a warrant those present in the home.

YOOL newspaper has not come of the press in the last two days due to fear of indiscriminate arrest by the Somaliland Police Force on the part of the editor and his staff.

This is not the first time that YOOL newspapers and its staff had been faced by the kind of unlawful transgression by the Somaliland Police Force acting, allegedly, on behalf of the administration of President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud “Silaanyo”


Illegal migration on the rise in Somaliland

December 03, 2012

Asha Abdi, some of her children and other immigrant Ethiopian women on a street in Hargeisa. Somaliland immigration officials have expressed concern over the increase in the number of illegal Ethiopian, with claims that up to 90 people are arriving daily, against 50 in 2008

HARGEISA, 3 December 2012 (IRIN) - More youths from the self-declared republic of Somaliland are illegally migrating from the region, mainly due to a lack of jobs, traveling through Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya on their way to Europe, say officials.

“There is no exact data, but we estimate that in the last three months of 2011, only 150 youth [illegally migrated], compared to this year's last three months, [in which the number was] 300 to 350 persons," Sa'id Omar, youth department director at Somaliland's Ministry of Youth and Sports, told IRIN.

About 150 Somaliland youths were repatriated back between January and November 2011, after Ethiopian authorities captured them along the Ethiopian-Sudan border; by comparison, 200 youths were repatriated in the first 11 months of 2012, according to Somaliland immigration officials in the border town of Tog-Wajale, along the Ethiopia-Somaliland border.

“We don't [encourage] any illegal migrants to cross the border, but sometimes they cross the open border between Somaliland and Ethiopia and continue on their way to the Sahara Desert to cross the Mediterranean [Sea]," said an immigration official in Tog-Wajale.

Mohamed*, now in Norway, illegally migrated there in early 2012. “I started my journey on 13 March, [travelling] through Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya at a cost of US$5000 for the whole journey. We were connected to brokers in Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya,” he said.

“As soon as we reached the Libyan border town of Sabha we were handed over like animals to a Libyan man who earns $800 per individual, but he beat us and tortured us using electric wires. Later, we were taken by a Land Cruiser pick-up to Tripoli, where we found some Somali-Arab brokers who rented for us the boat [to Europe].”

Few opportunities

Joblessness is fuelling the illegal migration, even though the journey carried inherent risks such as abuse, debt, deportation and imprisonment.

“The high rate of unemployment is Somaliland is considered the main factor that encourages youths to [undertake] illegal migration," said Mohamed-Rashid Muhumed Farah, the secretary general of the Somaliland Journalists Association. "For example, I was in Addis Ababa [Ethiopia's capital] in 2011 when we met about 30 Somaliland youths who wanted to go to Europe, and they told us that the main reason they were going was lack of employment in the country.”

According to Ali Osman Abdi-Liba, a political scientist, youths with higher educations are also more likely to leave Somaliland.

“University students feel proud, and they have high hopes. In the first two years, [they are] interested in studying, but in the last two years of university [their] hopes decrease because [they] know former university students [who] are in the town without jobs. For this reason, as soon as they finish university, if they don't get jobs, they will [be] frustrated and [undertake] illegal migration,” he said.

Abdi-Liba called for the creation of technical schools, as these skills are needed in the market.

The Somaliland government is set to establish a youth employment fund, to be funded at about US$130 million initially, which will be raised from the privatization of former government buildings, according to Bashe Yusuf Ahmed, the director general in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

“We hope that international donors will also contribute, and about 50,000 jobs will be created in the coming years to decrease the unemployment rate from 80 percent to 20 percent,” said Ahmed.


Polls in breakaway Somaliland 'transparent': observers

Source: AFP. December 03, 2012

NAIROBI — Local elections in the self-declared nation of Somaliland were "largely peaceful and transparent", international observers said Monday, but noted concern at "weaknesses in safeguards against multiple voting."

Council elections across the northern Somali region, a rare area of relative stability compared to war-torn southern Somalia, took place on November 28, with over 2,300 candidates contesting for 379 positions.

"We can cautiously report many positives," the report read from the 50-strong international team of observers, organised by the British aid agency Progressio.

"Election campaigning appears to have been competitive and pluralistic, with seven different parties and associations fielding candidates."

However, the team said there were some concerns, the most serious being an "absence of a voter registry, and weaknesses in related safeguards".

That included inadequate indelible ink used to stain fingers of those who voted, making polling "vulnerable to multiple voting."

Results are due in coming days, with the observers to release a further statement after that.

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, won independence in 1960 but days later joined with Somalia. In 1991, after years of bitter war with the government in Mogadishu, it declared independence from the rest of the country.

While anarchic southern Somalia has been riven by years of fighting between multiple militia forces, Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace.


Somaliland rises from the rubble of Somalia

December 2 2012. http://www.iol.co.za/business/business-news/somaliland-rises-from-the-rubble-of-somalia-1.1434153#.ULu71eRLUbA

Hargeisa currency traders wait for business at a stand set up in front of rubble left over from the Horn of Africa's years of civil war. Unheard of in Somalia to the south, these traders are able to display cash out in the open with little fear of robbery. Their self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland has become one of Africa's fledgling success stories. But it is a success the outside world is reluctant to recognise or help because of the fear of encouraging other break-ups.

Matthew Newsome Hargeisa

As Somalia starts to emerge from its quagmire of instability and chaos, 20 years of relative peace and stability are starting to pay dividends for its close neighbour Somaliland, as this November it struck its first major oil deal since seceding from Somalia in 1991.

Anglo-Turkish company Genel Energy received its licence from the Somaliland government in early November to explore and develop oil and gas reserves after pledging almost $40 million (R352m) for exploration activities.

Genel told Inter Press Service (IPS): “Somaliland provides an exciting geological opportunity, and we look forward to starting work in the region.”

The independent oil and gas exploration and production company had become the first foreign investor to commit a significant amount of capital to the country’s energy sector, after initial investigations demonstrated “numerous oil seeps”, confirming “a working hydrocarbon system”, a statement from Genel said.

Genel Energy, headed by erstwhile BP chief executive Tony Hayward, is due to start exploration before the end of the year.

The driving force of this Horn of Africa nation’s economy has traditionally been livestock. With a gargantuan livestock population that tripled the 3.5 million civilian population, the livestock trade generated up to 65 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, Somaliland’s Minister of Planning Dr Saad Shire said.

With a limited national budget of $120m, the Somaliland government is now starting to receive much-needed revenue from foreign private investors to support its development.

Somaliland’s oil and gas reserves attracted the attention of other giant energy companies such as London-based Ophir Energy, Jacka Resources of Australia, and Petrosoma, a subsidiary of British-based Prime Resources – all of whom announced their readiness to invest.

Somaliland has suffered from not being internationally recognised for the last 21 years. Its unconfirmed legal identity has hindered its economic prospects – few insurance companies have been prepared to insure foreign investors there.

Subsequently, investors have tended to regard Somaliland as an economic leper. For these reasons the country has also been ineligible for financial support from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

However, in 2012 Somaliland’s private sector started to progress against the odds.

At the beginning of the year, the first UK-Somaliland investment conference was held to stimulate bilateral trade recognition. And a $17m Coca-Cola plant launched in May by a Djibouti conglomerate made it the largest private investment in Somaliland since 1991.

Investors are seeing Coca-Cola’s decision to have an operation in the region, as a positive statement about the country’s stable business climate.

Somaliland’s Berbera port is also expected to attract major investment in the coming years. It is considered the jewel in the country’s economic crown.

Built originally by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the port currently serves as a major gateway for the country’s livestock exports. There is huge potential for it to be a juncture for oil and gas exports coming out of Africa’s landlocked countries like Ethiopia.

“We are strategically located – Berbera is located in a maritime lane – 30 000 ships pass by our port every year from Europe, the Middle East and Asia. We can develop Berbera into a major port like Singapore – with container terminals, free zones, oil refineries and services related to maritime business,” Shire said.

The port manager, Ali Omar Mohamed, is irrepressibly enthusiastic about the potential of expanding the port to make it a regional trading hub between Africa and the Middle East. “This port can be as big and as successful as Djibouti. It is only a matter of time before it attracts investment to modernise and expand it, so that we can have the increased capacity we need to realise its full economic potential,” he said.

Shire is confident that if Somaliland produces a stronger commercial legal framework, with proper safety measures to increase private investor confidence, it will attract investment to transform the country into a prosperous flourishing democracy like Singapore.

“We have stability and access to a port, we have what investors are looking for. If Singapore can do it, I think we can,” he said.

The lack of insurance available to investors is the biggest barrier to the country’s development according to J Peter Pham of the Michael S Ansari Africa Center, which was set up to help transform US and European policy approaches to Africa.

“Without international recognition and the consequent access to international financial institutions, Somalilanders face serious obstacles to achieving the economic development, which would ordinarily accrue to a state with their record of political stability and democratic governance,” he said.

“It is not just a matter of accessing development assistance and international credit, but also of having a legal framework whereby potential private-sector partners could obtain insurance and otherwise secure their investments,” he said.

According to Pham, Somaliland will never be in a position to fully benefit from the natural resources it is endowed with, as long as it is refused nationhood status. “The potential natural resources of Somaliland – including hydrocarbons, minerals, and fisheries – cannot be really tapped in the absence of a resolution of the sovereignty question.”

The urgent need for foreign investment was highlighted in a 2012 to 2016 national development plan produced by the government in December 2011. It outlines the need for overdue investment in the country’s infrastructure such as road building and waste disposal. The total capital required to fund this plan is $1.19 billion.

According to Shire, the bulk of the investment for this is expected to come from external sources like aid donors and foreign investors.

However, there is a danger that without prompt recognition from the international community, development will be too slow and may cause sections of the population to become disaffected and vulnerable to groups like Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab.

According to Pham, the international community’s inertia in responding to the issue of Somaliland’s nationhood is placing the country in clear and present danger and making it vulnerable to influence from the Islamist terrorist group.

“What the international community needs to understand is that unless something is done to spring Somaliland from the limbo to which it has been consigned, things may not remain all that smooth.

“A growing population of young people whose prospects are limited by the constraints on economic development may find themselves a receptive audience for voices very different from the farsighted leaders who built Somaliland from the ruins of the former Somalia,” he said. – IPS


Tension high in disputed regions following Puntland, Somaliland officials' visit

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 29 Nov 2012.Text of report by privately-owned, pro-opposition Somaliland daily newspaper Haatuf

Somaliland is well positioned to clear one of its final crucial democratic test hurdles this week as first local elections are now underway.

Since reversing a voluntary union with Somalia and shedding authoritarian rule two decades ago, Somaliland held a number of successful local, parliamentary and presidential elections.

Polls have opened across the country on Wednesday, 28th of November, in more than 1,700 polling places in six regions. Election officials from the National Electoral Commission (NEC) are in the final stages to deploy ballot boxes in four districts in Awdal region (Zeila, Lughaya, Baki and Borama), four in Maroodi Jeeh region (Gabiley, Hargeysa, Baligubadle and Salahley), two in Sahil region (Berbera and Sheikh districts), three in Togdheer region (Burco Odweyne and Buuhoodle), three districts in Sool region (Ainaba, Laas Canood and Hudun) and five districts of Sanaag region (Garadag, El-afweyn, Erigavo, Badhan and Dhahar).

Hundreds of candidates are running in the election, representing two political parties and five political organisations. The present constitution permits the formation of new political parties in every ten years. This year voters saw the list more than triple from the existing Kulmiye and UCID parties.

UDUB, the former ruling party collapsed following an internal strife that left the former party in two fragments. The rift affected their political echelon failing to meet requirements for this week's election. NEC qualified only UCID and Kulmiye as political parties upon maintaining their status they inherited after surviving the 2002 cut.

Dalsan, Haqsoor, Rays, Ummada and Waddani entered Somaliland's political landscape just months ago after fulfilling the required benchmarks set by the electoral body. The criteria included but not limited to: That 25,000 US dollar fee for party registration be paid to the NEC [National Electoral Commission], that they register more than 1000 members in all six regions and open offices in all regions.

There is no solid favourite and in a country where winners have been previously decided by mere 50 votes, the public is gearing up for a potential bitter fight. All seven will play every card to survive the upcoming cut. The constitution permits only three political parties to run for parliamentary and presidential elections.

While flourishing democracy has taken root in this unrecognised state, it is still a rocky soil in the midst of turbulent region.

It is a democracy that is not free of all kinds of hurdles. Conflict in eastern regions, namely eastern Sanaag and Sool regions, has emerged as a major stumbling block for Somaliland's slowly maturing democracy, security and political process.

This week the NEC revealed it was ready to deploy polling stations in the hot spots of Badhan and Dhahar districts in eastern Sanaag. The districts are part of a large dispute between Somaliland and Somalia's semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

The electoral body plans to open 18 polling places in Badhan district while it will also deliver 21 to Dhahar.

According to reports on the ground, a delegation is already on its way to the district of Dhahar that includes Suleiman Ise Ahmad 'Haglatosiye', the ex-rebel commander and newly appointed minister of Rural Rehabilitation and Resettlement. He will be accompanied by intellectuals from the region, ministers, MPs and military officials including the regional commander Col Muse Jama. They will be escorted by more than 40 army trucks and further 700 soldiers are already on the ground. 300 of them are already inside the town of Dhahar and are preparing welcoming reception for the delegation ahead of the arrivals of the ballot boxes. Eyewitnesses reported more Somaliland troop movement in the village of Booda Ade, about 35-km north of Puntland's Gardo town.

Meanwhile, delegation from Puntland region has also arrived in the area headed by Abdijamal Muhammad Osman, deputy security minister, and four armed pick-up trucks. In total Puntland has deployed five battle-wagons and less than 50 troops. It has assigned about 200 soldiers to the region since 2010 but most of them are currently in the Galgala mountains where they fighting Sheikh Ataam.

Local reports said on Sunday, the local elders have requested Mr. Osman and his forces to leave the town. The Warsangeli elders and Mr. Osman are at odds ever since his troops shot dead two civilians in Dhahar just three weeks ago.

A separate delegation headed by Somaliland's defence minister Ahmed Haji Abdi Adami is expected in Badhan and the coastal town of Las Qorey on Tuesday. Security will be tight and hundreds of already deployed forces will receive more reinforcement from bases in Shinbirale, Damala and Biyo Guduud. Their number is not yet known but Puntland is said to have very small forces in the area. Puntland media reported they will be unable to put up a fight or resistance.

Tension is high in these disputed regions as Puntland and Somaliland delegation visit these areas. According to reports, in 2011, Somaliland outspent at a brisk pace in the region to win support. It carried out development programmes in the region worth 350,000 US dollars and Puntland spent zero in the same period. This spending was partly fuelled by an increase of 63 percent in Somaliland's annual budget in the last two fiscal years to 120 million dollars compared to Puntland region's 30 million dollars.

Warsangeli tribes such as Adan Said changed alliance and witnessed many of its previously unemployed young men recruited into the Somaliland armed forces. The likes of Haglatosiye inserted himself into mainstream politics and switched his former SSC [Sool Sanaag and Ceyn rebel group] allegiance for Somaliland. Hundreds of former rebel fighters have been integrated into the national forces in the last year.

Politically, militarily, financially and democratically Somaliland is slowly becoming an influential player in the region. The election observation team, 55 in total, has been drawn from 15 countries. The election monitors are from seven EU members including UK and Sweden, four African states (namely Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya and Uganda), two from North America led by the United States and the countries of New Zealand and the Philippines.

This year for the first time teams from Mogadishu and Puntland region will tag along the election monitoring teams to oversee the electoral process in Somaliland. Somaliland hopes other Somali region would learn from its unique democracy and state-building process.

The people of Somaliland will have the opportunity to test their democratic ideals this week during the local elections. Wednesday's vote, second municipal council vote, is also be the fifth election to take place in the country since 2002. In the 2005 parliamentary elections that involved 76 foreign observes, they summed up their conclusion unanimously as: the freest and most transparentdemocratic exercises ever staged in the Horn of Africa.

The NEC and its leadership has been praised time and time again and was invited to elections in Kosovo, Kenya, Botswana, Ghana and South Sudan's referendum vote.

This week political activist urged Somaliland to uphold fundamental principles of transparency and pluralism. Whatever the obstacle might be, Somaliland is the most experienced democratic movement in the entire Horn of Africa. No region has thus far held five successful elections in the two decades. Djibouti has held four while Ethiopia has three while Somalia is yet to even draft an election bill.

Credit: Haatuf, Hargeysa, in Somali 27 Nov 12. Haatuf, Hargeysa, in Somali 27 Nov 12/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC


Somaliland: Democracy Taking Root

http://www.interpeace.org/2011-08-08-15-19-20/latest-news/384-somaliland-democracy-taking-root

29 November 2012 - Yesterday was a historic day for Somalilanders. Following relatively peaceful parliamentary elections in 2005 and presidential elections in 2010, this year’s local councilor elections were yet another important step towards consolidating democracy in the Somali Region. Preliminary reports from international observers suggest that yesterday’s elections were free and fair. Interpeace congratulates the people of Somaliland for coming out to vote in what appear to be record numbers.

Yesterday’s elections not only determine local councilors but also decide the three political parties that will compete for parliamentary and presidential elections. Interpeace celebrates the homegrown democracy that Somaliland embraced in its local councilor elections yesterday, demonstrating once again that democratic practices are alive and well in the Horn of Africa.

Interpeace is proud to be the technical advisor of the Somaliland National Electoral Commission (NEC) and congratulates the commission on their effective running of local council elections yesterday.


Somaliland gets high-speed fiber optic cable

Three companies have launched a project to provide Internet access to the African country, with expansion plans for other nations

By Rebecca Wanjiku | 29 November 12. http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/network-wifi/3413848/somaliland-gets-high-speed-fiber-optic-cable/

Three international companies have launched an ambitious project aimed at connecting a million people in Somaliland with high-speed Internet access.

Somcable, Bluwan and Globecomm systems will connect businesses and homes in Somaliland with up to 8Gbps capacity through FTTA (fiber through the air) access. The project is set to start in the capital, Hargeisa, and will later be deployed to other towns such as Burco, Borama and Berbera. Somaliland broke away from Somalia and is considered fairly stable.

"We have set a target to provide 1 million subscribers with access to high-speed broadband by 2015, our target market is primarily focused on the cities of the horn of Africa; residentials (affluent or middle class), small-medium enterprises or corporate customers and we have several business models that are adapted to each segment of the market," said Somcable CEO Michael Cothill.

To deliver capacity to the mass market, kiosks will be fitted with an omnidirectional Wi-Fi antenna and strategically positioned within each city to deliver a replacement service for current under-performing Internet cafés. The kiosks enable customers to purchase prepaid vouchers with a wide range of different services to suit the various markets.

(The kiosks with act as bandwidth hubs with the ability to provide up to 8Gbps of capacity within a 5 kilometer radius, peaking to speeds of 100Mbps to thousands of customers at a time.

Somcable originates from the landing station in Djibouti and Somcable will subsequently extend this service to land-locked countries such as Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, and South Sudan.

The horn of Africa country has rocky terrain, no legacy infrastructure and most communities are nomadic, but Somcable and Bluwan said they have worked up a business model that will ensure return on investment.

"The combination of various business models, along with the technology deployed (FTTA, Long Term Evolution) allows us to get a sub $10 per subscriber connection fee and still be profitable with a good return on investment," said Cothill.

Somcable will become the latest fiber optic cable to join the African coastline. The combination of available fiber optic cables has increased the international Internet bandwidth serving African countries from 1.21Gbps in 2001 to 570.92Gbps in 2011, and 25Tbps of submarine capacity is expected to be in place by 2013, according to market researcher TeleGeography.

Read more: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/network-wifi/3413848/somaliland-gets-high-speed-fiber-optic-cable/#ixzz2DdsbElW0


Somaliland Farmers Learn Math, Reading, and Agricultural Skills

November 26, 2012

(NOTE: We believe this article is important and warrants publication because of its value highlighting the plight of East African farmers. GoodFood World does not endorse the use of conventional pesticides or the testing of genetically engineered seeds promoted by Monsanto. We are aware of the challenges in this part of the world and we prescribe traditional organic and ecologically sensitive farming practices.)

(By Nicholas Parkinson - Good Food World )-Ferhan, 33, was still a young man when he dropped out of school to help his father in the family’s fields. He quit the third grade and instead of learning to read and write, he learned to plow and harvest.

Ferhan shows off his kale from his farm in Ruqi.

Ferhan’s father passed down traditional methods of agriculture to his son, techniques that Ferhan’s father had learned from his father. For example, in the Awdal region of Somaliland, when a farmer finds his crop infested with pests, he takes the first pesticide he comes across and applies it. “My father didn’t have much understanding of pests and diseases. When he saw something strange, he sprayed it,” Ferhan explains.

Ferhan (center) stands with fellow farmers from Ruqi who are learning new techniques on the demonstration plot. When Ferhan’s father reached retirement, Ferhan inherited the five-hectare farm and supported his wife and three children by planting tomatoes, onions, peppers, and kale among other crops. Thanks to the groundwater supply and a nearby well, Ferhan and other farmers in the village of Ruqi can coax three harvests from the rocky soil every year.

In December 2011, USAID Partnership for Economic Growthprogram conducted a community discussion in Ruqi to get local farmers involved in an agriculture project in partnership with nearbyAmoud University and the Somali Agricultural Technical Group (SATG).

The program has two goals: First, to test several varieties of seeds for six crops in order to find the best seed varieties suited for the Awdal region; second, to increase the farmers’ agricultural skills and identify gaps in their traditional farming methods.

“I was interested because I wanted to compare what they say with what I am doing. Plus I wanted to learn and develop new techniques,” he explains.

But before that could happen, Ferhan needed to gain a basic understanding for reading the Somali language. Before moving forward, Partnership for Economic Growth sponsored basic literacy and numeracy classes for the illiterate farmers in the group. The classes made Ferhan realize that basic reading skills were useful for drawing on Amoud University agricultural manuals.

In February 2012, the Partnership program’s agriculture extension workers established three demonstration sites in the towns of Amoud, Ruqi and Baqi. Twenty-five local farmers from each town volunteered to participate, including Ferhan. Together, farmers and extension workers built shaded seed beds for several varieties of five crops including tomato, onion, hot pepper, lettuce, cabbage and watermelon.

A month later, the trainers and farmers met again and transplanted the seedlings into the ground. In the process, Ferhan learned about crop spacing, soil fertility, furrow planting, and crop rotation. After each session, Ferhan went home, thought about his crops and wrote down new ideas or applied the techniques to his gardens.

Jama’s garden near Amoud.

“First, I selected a better site for my nursery. This time in the shade and closer to my water source,” he says. “Before, I never measured the spaces between plants. I thought if I placed them closer together, I could get more land for more crops,” he explained.

In July 2012, the farmers harvested the demonstration site’s crops and took them to the market to sell, sharing the names of each variety with vendors and traders. By harvesting, transporting and selling the crops, the farmers and agricultural extension workers have a better idea about what varieties are best acclimated to the Awdal region’s heat and soil.

“These farmers sometimes buy seeds from far off places in the market. They don’t know if the seed is suitable for this climate or whether it will work. If we produce these seeds that have been tried and tested, we can give local farmers a guarantee for their crops,” explains Abdirashid Jama Abdullah, the project coordinator from Amoud University, located in nearby Borama.

By March 2013, the farmers will have gone through three harvest cycles at the demonstration site. Then together with the agriculture extension workers, the farmers will select the best seed varieties of each crop. “We observe the crops in various seasons to factor in the change in temperatures throughout the year. Somaliland can be very hot in the summer,” Abdullah said.

Ferhan hopes to increase his yields and save enough money to expand his farm. He says that if he can increase his yields high enough, he can send some of his children to school in the city of Borama. (http://www.goodfoodworld.com/2012/11/demonstration-farm-pilot-project-advances-skills-of-somaliland-farmers/)


One killed in violent protest in Lughaye, Awdal region

SUNANEWS, Published On: November, 27 2012. http://sunatimes.com/view.php?id=2396

At least one person has been killed and two others injured when clashes erupted between Somaliland police and angry residents of Lughaye town, near the border with Djibouti.

Angry residents reportedly attacked a police station where the regional electoral commission has stored ballot boxes for the upcoming grass-root elections. They were allegedly angry of few polling stations compared to the large number of local population in the area.

Police used live bullets to disperse the angry residents, killing one protester and injuring three others.

Area regional police boss Ahmed Abdirahman Ilkaase confirmed the incident, saying that police dispersed locals trying to loot ballot boxes in the station. He said normalcy has now returned to the area.

Somaliland is due to hold grass-root elections and political temperature is said to be souring in the region ahead of the Wednesday elections.


Somalia: 6 killed as local militia clashes with Somaliland over elections

28 Nov 28, 2012 -http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_6_killed_as_local_militia_clashes_with_Somaliland_over_elections.shtml

GAROWE, Somalia Nov. 28, 2012 (Garowe Online) - At least six people were killed Wednesday in Huddun district of Sool region in northern Somalia in armed clashes between Somaliland security forces and local militias who have rejected Somaliland's elections, Garowe Online reports.

Local sources have reported that 4 Somaliland soldiers were killed while the local militias lost 2 fighters in pitched battles, where the two sides used heavy weapons including artillery.

At least 5 others were wounded during the fighting, with local sources reporting that all 5 wounded persons were civilians.

The fighting erupted on Wednesday morning as Somaliland security forces attempted to place ballot boxes in Huddun district of Sool region, as part of Somaliland local elections. Yesterday, gunmen loyal to the Somaliland-appointed mayor of Erigabo town in Sanaag region attacked the local offices of the Somaliland Election Commission in a dispute over the number of voting stations.

In recent days, local populations in Sool and Sanaag regions have staged protests rejecting participation in Somaliland's local elections, which occurred only in Las Anod, which is under Somaliland military control.

Reports of fighting with casualties in Huddun district on Wednesday took up major headlines in Somali media, including websites and satellite TV stations such as Universal TV, but VOA Somali Section that provides national coverage in Somalia did not report Wednesday's election related violence involving Somaliland forces.

In Sanaag region, Puntland security forces accompanying Puntland Deputy Security Minister Abdijamal Osman Mohamed deployed in most parts of Sanaag region and compelled Somaliland forces to withdraw back to Erigabo town.

Somaliland forces were aiming to bring ballot boxes for voting in towns in Sanaag region, but local populations staged anti-Somaliland protests. Somaliland Election Commission later announced that Wednesday's local elections have been "cancelled" in Sanaag region due to "security reasons", with the exception of Erigabo town.

Earlier this week, Puntland Information Minister Mohamud Aideed Dirir warned that Somaliland is "destabilizing regional security" by deploying its forces in parts of Sool and Sanaag regions.

Puntland and Somaliland administrations have battled for control over Sool and Sanaag regions since 2002.


Somaliland: Proof That Democracy in the Horn of Africa Is Possible

Morgan Lorraine Roach. November 28, 2012

Today, citizens of Somaliland head to the polls to elect their local municipal council representatives. While the dysfunctional Somalia gets most of the attention in the Horn of Africa, its northern neighbor Somaliland has stood out as a success story.

This election is the fifth direct vote in Somaliland since 2002, but is the first election of local councilors, a move that the International Republican Institute (IRI) says coincides with the central government’s initiative to decentralize government.

The election will also determine the government’s three major political parties. According to law, only three political parties are allowed to govern, as this lessens the prospect of the population dividing itself according to clan and/or region affiliation. Somaliland’s three dominating political parties are the UDUB, UCID, and KULMIYE. However, they will have to compete with UMADDA, DALSAN, RAYS, WADANI, and XAQSOOR. While the UCID and the KULMIYE are favorites, the UDUB will not be participating. In September, the UDUB accused the National Election Commission of partisan bias and withdrew its candidacy.

The election is not without its pitfalls. As IRI notes, there will be no voter roll, increasing the chances of voter fraud. Somalilanders will also vote for candidates on an open-list system rather than a political party. This raises practical challenges, as the ballots will list all of the candidates by name, number, and (as has traditionally been used) a symbol for Somaliland’s largely illiterate population.

The U.K.-based charity Progressio notes that in Hargeisa District alone, there could be up to 225 candidates on the ballot. Furthermore, in the counting process, if a ballot is rendered void (e.g., two candidates are selected for the same position), the vote will still count—but for the candidate’s political party.

The law stipulates that the victorious parties must garner at least 20 percent of the vote. As this is unlikely to happen (because there are seven parties competing), a ranking system will be used. The results of the percentages that the parties have gained in each region will be given ranking numbers, and the three winners will be selected through the ranking system of the votes cast in the six regions based on proportional results.

Neither Somaliland’s election system nor the government as a whole is perfect. But 10 years after its first referendum, the government has proven itself effective, and more importantly, Somalilanders approve overwhelmingly of the democracy they helped put together. According to IRI’s June 2012 public opinion survey, 86 percent of people think Somaliland is headed in the right direction, and 80 percent of respondents stated that they considered Somaliland a “full democracy” or a “democracy, but with minor problems.”

Somaliland’s access to the governing process via free and fair elections has unified its diverse communities in a way that numerous governments in Mogadishu have failed to achieve. Moving forward, Somalia’s new leaders have a lot to learn from their northern neighbor. (http://blog.heritage.org/2012/11/28/somaliland-proof-that-democracy-in-the-horn-of-africa-is-possible/)


A school census has collected crucial data to help Somalia achieve quality education for all

UNICEF. November 28, 2012. By Ban Dhayi

HARGEISA/GAROWE, Somalia, 27 November 2012 - UNICEF and the Ministries of Education in Puntland and Somaliland have put education reform in the spotlight through the launch of the School Census Statistics Year Book 2011/2012.

Realizing a milestone

The education system in Somalia has been decimated by over two decades of violence and conflict. Prior to the 2011 school census, the last time such data had been collected in Somalia was in 2006. Effective educational planning has been hampered by the lack of accurate and reliable data, including Educational Management Information System (EMIS) and enrolment data, while regular monitoring in insecure areas has been difficult and often fraught with risk.

The School Census is a milestone in the history of education in Somalia. For the first time, the Ministries of Education in Puntland and Somaliland, with the support of UNICEF, have collated data from primary schools and alternative education centres using ministry personnel.

In October 2011, the Education Ministries in Puntland and Somaliland conducted the 2011/2012 Primary School Census with technical and financial support from UNICEF and the European Union. EMIS software was donated by Australian aid program AusAID.

Data collected from schools across seven regions in Puntland and 13 regions in Somaliland cover child enrolment, schools and teachers, disaggregated by gender and region, and, where possible, by grade. The census also provides an estimate of the primary school gross and net enrolment rates, using United Nations Development Programme population projection estimates for 2011.

Mobilizing ministry staff, collecting crucial data

The 2011/2012 census was led by the staff of the Puntland and Somaliland Ministries of Education. A training programme was designed to empower ministry staff through cascade training on how to complete the Primary School Census questionnaire.

Some 167 Regional Education Officers, District Education Officers, Regional Education Supervisors and school mentors and mobilizers joined a four-day ‘training for trainers’ course conducted by a team of four ‘super trainers’ from the ministries in the two zones. The trainers had, in turn, been trained with the support of the European Union-funded ICDSEA programme. Training teams then held training programmes in different regional centres. In total, training was delivered to 1,394 identified head teachers.

The data collected through the census are expected to close a major gap in much-needed planning figures. The new statistical system is meant to provide up-to-date information on key aspects of the primary education system and to establish baseline data against which progress and standards can be assessed and various plans of action can be developed by education partners in Puntland and Somaliland – as well as to create reliable databases through EMIS units at the two Ministries of Education.

“Establishing a functional Education Management Information System (EMIS) unit at the Ministry of Education and conducting the annual school census is a significant gain for planners and educationalists in the region, as well as our development partners and donors,” says EMIS Coordinator in Puntland Mahmood Ali.

Head of the EMIS Unit at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Somaliland Ubah Du’ale is upbeat about the future of education through the utilization of data generated by EMIS: “For the first time I feel standing on a solid ground if I am to generate a statistical report or provide a snapshot of the education landscape in Somaliland.”

Toward quality education

The data collected in 2006 through the UNICEF Primary Education Survey indicated that fewer children attended school in Somalia than almost anywhere else in the world. The 2011/2012 data show notable increases in the number of pupils, enrolment rates, number and qualifications of teachers, formal schools and gender parity. However, entrenched regional and rural and urban disparities remain significant, as does the gender gap. Much more needs to be done to support quality education in Somalia.

“The findings of the Primary School Census are encouraging and showing that our effort is paying off. But it also shows that we have a long way to go before the aspired quality standards are realized. When we invest in Somali children’s education, we create opportunity for them and prosperity for their families. Education has a vital role in empowering women, safeguarding children from exploitation and hazardous labour,” says UNICEF Somalia Representative Sikander Khan.


Somaliland: After Two Decades the Armed Forces Come to Age

Posted On : November 27th, 2012. “Officer Rankings to establish formal Chain of Command”Defence Minister

By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA – The ministry of defence has finalized plans to establish a formal chain of command within the national army.

The ministry of defence has announced that the long awaited plans to create a formal chain of command within the armed forces are complete two decades after the defence force was established in 1992.

During an exclusive interview with the Horn newspaper and Somalilandsun.com the defence minister Ahmed Haji Ali ‘Adami’ informed that all arrangements for the issuance of ranks within the armed forces are complete.

The defence chief further informed that two officers are currently in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa for the purpose of collecting the array of insignia that will be given the various cadres of service ranks for both Non Commissioned Officers-NCO (corporal & Sergeant) and Commissioned officers-CO (Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel, Brigadier & Generals). The insignias are under production by an Ethiopian military factory.

Commandos Trooping their colours”Implementation of the ranking exercise which will take one month to complete shall commence on the 15th December 2012 thus end on 15th January 2013? Said Adami

Despite being in existence for two decades, the military has operated devoid of the normal ranks one will find in a modern military unit. For instance, there are no titles such as corporals, sergeants, lieutenants, captains, majors, and colonels etc

Current development in grading military personnel are as a result of a committee of military experts chaired by the defence minister which was established by the president Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo immediately he assumed power in mid 2010 thus fulfil one of his presidential campaign promises.

According to the defence minister The committee mandated to look into the issue of a formalized chain of command within the armed forces has completed its work and handed over its findings to the president who then mandated the minister of defence and the military commander, with implementation its recommendations.

The committee is reported to have reached conclusions of its duties upon entering upon a broad based investigation of all army personnel in the country as pertains to Education, Military training, experience, current/past responsibilities held, and skills etc thus subsequent recommendations that are now under implementation.

As per this development the ministry of finance has shelved the planned 40% civil service salary rise due to what the finance minister Mr Abdiaziz Samale attributes to the imminent increase in salary payments within the army where remuneration shall be based on ranks as opposed to prevalent status that see a two uniform pay scales for officers and servicemen respectively.

MIGHT

Current personnel including civilians in the Somaliland military is estimated at 35,000Tank Battalion with several divisions based within all the regions of the country while the bulk of the top brass and various divisions are at the military headquarters in the capital, Hargeisa under the overall command of General Ismail Shakale, a former officer of the defunct Somali Army.

Up until 2009, when cases of piracy grew at the Somaliland coastline and led to hostages being held at the waters, which geographically fall under Somaliland, the Somaliland military was composed entirely of army personnel. The surge in piracy and illegal fishing at Somaliland coast led to the formation of a navy unit, which operates from BulaHar and Las Qoray areas. The unit, which is still in its infancy, has succeeded in apprehending hundreds of suspected pirates, who were later arraigned in Somaliland courts and sentenced to jail terms.

The navy unit has also benefited considerably from support ranging from provision of equipment and training from the British government. Among the equipment they received include speed boats mounted with guns, brand new pick-ups and trucks that can withstand the harsh conditions in the Somaliland coastline.

Based at the port town of Berbera is a diving centre run by foreign divers with the primary goal of training the Somaliland navy. The centre has been in operation for nearly two years.

NO AIR POWER

The Somalia Air Force base which was based at the Hargeisa Airport collapsed immediately after the civil war in 1990. Its pilots and technicians, majority of whom were foreigners, mainly from South Africa fled and the remaining aircrafts all of which were Russian-made remain in a state of disrepair or were vandalized.

As a reminder of the atrocities committed by former Somalia ruler, Mohamed Siyad Barre, a downed MIG-21 fighter jet was mounted in the middle of Hargeisa town. By international standards, the Somaliland military can be considered as a rudimentary outfit, which continues to use outdated equipment. All of its army personnel are from Somaliland.

But by local standards, the military in Somaliland stand above those of it neighbour. The Puntland and Somalia in terms of cohesiveness, organization and command structure as well as the ability to win hearts and minds within local communities.

Equipment

When the former ruler Barre was ousted in 1990, Somaliland inherited or took over all the military equipment, hardware and facilities that were within the territories of present day Somaliland. They include tanks, armed personal carriers, transport trucks and water tankers. Also taken over were missile launchers, a cache of ammunitions that included grenades, F1s and missiles.

However, the equipment has outlived their usefulness and either they need a replacement or a major facelift.

Somaliland is still under the UN Arms embargo, partly because it is considered part of Somalia, and therefore is not permitted to purchase firearms. Due to its lack of international recognition, the country cannot be supported formally with military hardware, like some of her neighbours, including Djibouti. As such, it is only left with the option of repairing and modifying the arms that are in its possession.

As from last month this trend is set for reversal after the EU officially incorporated the country into the EUCAP NESTOR program, which is geared towards strengthening the maritime capacities of Horn of African Countries the EUCAP NESTOR program in which the coast guard shall receive training and equipment after an ongoing assessment is complete.

Among the divisions within the Somaliland military include the artillery brigade, infantry and mechanized brigade as well as the tanks brigades. All the equipment at the brigades are Russian-made and they include BM-21 mobile rocket launchers, BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles, BTR-50 armoured cars, T-34 medium battle tanks and few T-55 main battle tanks.

There are several new and old transport trucks and water tankers in use, and most recently, the business community in Somaliland donated a number of civilian transport trucks such as Isuzu FSR, which were modified to carry soldiers and foodstuffs.

Analysts estimate that every year about 30% of Somaliland meagre budget goes into paying and maintaining the Somaliland armed forces and incoming rankings are set to see this figure grow to around 35%. (http://indepthafrica.com/somaliland-after-two-decades-the-armed-forces-come-to-age/#.ULVSJuRLUbA)


Genel wraps up Somaliland farm-in

Somaliland farm-in: the Odwayne PSC lies to the west of Genel’s SL10B/SL13 Block

Josh Lewis. 27 November 2012. http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/article1299605.ece

The government of Somaliland has given the green light for Genel Energy to take a 50% operated stake in the Odwayne production sharing contract.

Genel entered the farm-in agreement earlier this month with Australia’s Jacka Resources which will see the London-listed company fund the exploration programme over the Odwayne Block, including the acquisition of 500 kilometres of 2D seismic and the drilling of one well.

Tendering for the 2D seismic contract is scheduled to start during the first quarter of next year.

Jacka said the total cost of the work programme for the third and fourth exploration phases of the PSC was estimated at about $50 million.

“All the parties are very pleased with the early approvals of the transaction by the government of Somaliland which allows for a quick and smooth transition of the operator role to Genel,” Jacka chairman Scott Spencer said in a statement on Tuesday.

He added that work on the exploration programme had started, with an airborne gravity and magnetic survey already underway which will be completed by Genel.

The completion of the farm-in will see Jacka’s stake in the Odwayne PSC reduced to 30% while Petrosoma’s 20% equity remains unchanged at 20%.

The Odewayne Block covers about 22,000 square kilometres in the south-west of Somaliland, directly to the west of Block SL10B/SL13 which Genel also recently farmed in to.


Somalia: Mayor attacks Somaliland election commission office in Erigabo

27 Nov 27, 2012 - http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Mayor_attacks_Somaliland_election_commission_office_in_Erigabo.shtml

ERIGABO, Somalia Nov 27 2012 (Garowe Online) – Gunmen attacked the offices of Somaliland Election Commission in Erigabo town in Sanaag region on Tuesday, Garowe Online reports.

According to local media, the attack occurred around midday Tuesday in Erigabo, there were no reports of injuries or deaths.

Somaliland political parties have been conducting campaigns in towns and districts under control of Somaliland authorities.

Somaliland officials have pleaded for peaceful campaigns although the process has been marred by political infighting between political parties.

Sources in Sanaag region say Erigabo Mayor, Ismail Haji Nur a member of the former ruling UDUB party, was suspicious of Somaliland’s administration to minimize voting polls in Erigabo. Mayor Nur demanded the same number of polling stations of previous elections in Erigabo in previous elections.

The sources say that Kulmiye party officials - currently led by Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo - was worried that Mayor Nur a member of the Wadani party could be reelected as mayor of Erigabo.

According to Hargeisa sources, Mayor Nur sent a group of gunmen to “fire on office of Somaliland Election Commission in Erigabo”.

The attack is not only a political skirmish but is being fueled by clan power struggles in the district, Hargeisa sources say. Somaliland authorities reportedly agreed to Mayor Nur’s demand to install more polling stations, in order for hostilities to cease.

Similarly there was a shooting at a voting poll in Lughaya town in the region of Awdal in Somaliland.

According to media reports, armed forces fired shots in the air after voters crowded polling stations in the town, resulting in 1 person being killed and two injured.

Somaliland government and neighboring Puntland government have been locked in a territorial struggle that could have implications on both Somaliland’s current elections and Puntland upcoming elections.

On Monday, Puntland warned Somaliland of encroaching on Puntland territory after Somaliland forces leading delegation of Somaliland Electoral Commission attempted to setup polling stations in Sanaag region. However Somaliland forces and election officials withdrew immediately after Puntland sent a clear warning through international media and mobilized ground forces.


Somaliland and democracy­ —Relentless perseverance pays off

November 26, 2012. http://www.arabnews.com/somaliland-and-democracy%C2%AD-%E2%80%94relentless-perseverance-pays

ABDULAZIZ AL-MUTAIRI

- “Democracy is in the blood of Muslims, who look upon complete equality of manhood (mankind) … (and) believe in fraternity, equality and liberty.” — Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Democratization process in today’s Somaliland had many sweet and sour experiences. Through these experiences, the modern and unique democracy of Somaliland becomes beautiful. But it does not mean that it is a bed of roses. There will always be thorns and ups and downs in the process. However, the process rises despite the odds.

The application of democracy to Somaliland as new political system was not a difficult process as it is in the blood of the people. The culture of the people is based on consultation and negotiation against obstacles without use of force. Such culture was prevalent in Somaliland much before the arrival of the colonial powers in late 19th Century. I. Lewis underscored such culture in his books “A Study of Pastoralism and Politics among the Northern Somali of the Horn of Africa” and “The Democracy of Sultan Diriye.”

In 1936, the first democratic political party — Somali National Society (SNS) — was announced in Somaliland, followed by a multiparty system adopted by creating three more political parties: SNL, USP and NUF. SNS vanished due to the emergence of the three new political parties.

After pro-liberation activities started in mid-20th century, both SNL and USP wanted to unite with Italian Somalia — a territory under UN trusteeship — while NUF was pro-independence of Somaliland. Somaliland won independence from the British on June 26, 1960 and was registered as an independent nation and recognized by more than 35 countries. However, Somaliland united with Italian Somalia on July 1, 1960.

In Somaliland’s pre-independence election of late 1950s, SNL and USP won majority of the seats in Parliament; they sustained their agenda of uniting with Italian Somalia. Statesman Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal was nominated as the first elected prime minister of Somaliland. On July 1, 1960, Egal was the first African elected leader to resign in favor of a cause — formation of Somali Republic.

Somali Republic was a combination of British Somaliland and Italian Somalia. Somaliland’s culture of democracy flourished into Somali Republic until a military coup by Gen. Mohamed Siyad Barre in 1969. The authoritarian military regime turned into mass-murderer and was ousted through an armed struggle by Somaliland people (former citizens of British Somaliland and Somali Republic) that lasted more than a decade. Somalilanders later encouraged Gen. Mohamed Farah Aideed to start a similar struggle in Mogadishu.

May 18, 1991 was a historic day — the rebirth of Republic of Somaliland (known as British Somaliland from 1884 to 1960). The people of Somaliland decided to withdraw from the 1960 unity with Italian Somalia, today’s Somalia. Again, Somaliland rebuilt democratic institutions and multiparty system was inaugurated in Somaliland where many political organizations contended for becoming national party. The three organizations KULMIYE, UDUB and UCID were recognized as the political parties of the Republic of Somaliland (2002 – 2012).

Somaliland hosted four free and fair elections, including presidential elections that brought opposition party KULMIYE to power in 2010. Today, former President of Somaliland Dahir Riyale Kahin is the opposition leader and the former opposition leader Mohamed Ahmed Siilaanyo is the president of Somaliland. Such democratic and peaceful power transfer caught the eye of the international community, and earned appreciation and respect for Somaliland worldwide.

Every 10 years, municipal elections serve as primary elections because only the three winning parties contest in Parliament and presidential elections. However, municipal elections take place in Somaliland every five years, and upcoming elections are scheduled for Nov 28.

Somaliland constitution permits formation of new political organizations every 10 years. However, the first face of registering the organization with the National Election Commission (NEC) will require the organization to register at least 1,000 of its supporters in every district across Somaliland; it must pay $25,000 as party registration fees to the NEC; it must open offices across the region. The political organization that fulfills the above criteria is allowed to participate in municipal elections.

Hereafter, the top three political parties, in terms of voters, will be recognized as Somaliland’s political parties for the next 10 years.

President Siilaanyo vowed to open the formation of political parties during 2010 presidential elections. Today, the ruling party KULMIYE and the opposition UCID are facing a heated campaign from the newly formed political organizations, in order to maintain their status as political parties. Five political parties are contesting the elections except UDUB that stayed away from elections due to an internal party rift.

Such healthy and mature democratic system could be an example to many African states because it will reduce political violence that follows presidential elections like in Kenya, Congo, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast etc.

Somaliland’s homemade election system gives citizens, including young ones, political ambitions and a chance to launch a party or participate in elections. Majority of the African political parties are one-man shows, where old politicians don’t allow fresh blood to be injected in the parties. The Somali system avoids political monopoly, where one man dominates the leadership of a country for many years. The system leads people to trust the transparency of democracy. Another amazing advantage of the system is that all parties have supporters across the country, which leads to fair power distribution. Recently, the Somaliland president issued a decree prohibiting the use of the government properties in the election campaign, after members of the ruling party KULMIYE misused the government vehicles. Such a step ensured complete transparency.

However, Somaliland democracy is facing complications from the newly nominated government of Somalia — the Mogadishu regime. The latter is employing angry leaders from the political parties who lost in the current nomination process under the terms of Somaliland constitution like former leader of the NDP and current Deputy Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs Fawziya Haji Adam. She led the NDP in current Somaliland municipal elections, but failed to get 1,000 supporters and open an office in every district and region as required by the constitution.

The NEC disqualified the NDP, and she defected to Mogadishu where the current President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud nominated her as Deputy Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs. There are many other Somaliland politicians who fled to Mogadishu after they failed in the challenging politics of Somaliland.

This is a direct threat to Somaliland democracy, and such recruitment of politicians with Somaliland-origin is a clear violation of the Somaliland constitution. This has angered the public and current leadership of Somaliland.

The Mogadishu regime short-circuited the London Communiqué that prohibits any interference into each other’s politics (Somaliland and Somalia). The international community requested both Hargiesa and Mogadishu to cooperate positively and talk about their future relationship. However, the move of appointing Somaliland-born politicians undermines possible healthy relations in the future.


SOMALIA: Ambassador Mahiga sets the record straight with M. Silanyo

Nov 25, 2012. http://www.raxanreeb.com/2012/11/somalia-ambassador-mahiga-sets-the-record-straight-with-m-silanyo/ Abdisamad Mooge “Kayse”. Kaysejapan@gmail.com. OPINION

“I am no regional president,” Ahmed Silanyo of Somaliland region proclaimed after receiving a letter from Augustine P. Mahiga, the United Nations Special Representative for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), this weekend.

This is probably one of the worst news to receive when you have convinced yourself for two long years that you are the head of a country – a state similar to the virtual online world of SimCountry. The letter has infuriated the veteran politician after Ambassador Mahiga told him there was no country other than Somalia.

“Mr. Mahiga, your insinuations that I am the president of an administrative region of Somalia are not only disgusting and detestable but undignified because my motherland of Somaliland is an independent country,” he cried in his protest letter posted on the Dutch native owned SomalilandSun website. Silanyo must be one of those addicted to SimCountry. It is only in that world that average people are encouraged: “Become the president of a country or set up an empire with many countries.” In 2005 a 28-year-old man died in South Korea after playing online games for 50 hours straight. Silanyo outperformed him and should thank God for being alive after two straight years creating his online country. After two years even the most normal person will start showing symptoms of hallucination.

This explains why he must have thought that Mahiga’s office was one of the empires that had relations with his virtual country that no single entity in the world recognizes. “On behalf of citizens of this country, I hereby like to correct a number of erroneous insinuations made in your letter as pertains to the being of Somaliland, as discerned by your address to my office terming the office of the president of the northern administrative region of Somalia,” he protested. Sorry Mr. President, the United Nations should immediately dispatch a high-level delegation to your virtual office immediately. We hear you Mr. President but perhaps URL and coordinates would help so the UN can locate your office. Mr. Mahiga must have accidently switched on Age of Empires instead of SimCountry. You know mistakes happen; all it takes is one finger striking the wrong key.

As stated by SimCountry: “As president you are responsible for the population, the defence and the economy.” Veteran Silanyo is merely doing his duties and thus he has every right to speak on behave of the “citizens.” I just hope they are standing behind him with virtual signs of support.

“I further wish to inform you that your inference to my country as a region of Somalia is tantamount to igniting fires that might infringe negatively on prevalent peace in the horn of Africa,” he threatened with his virtual army. We can only imagine him right-clicking the mouse to place his highly trained virtual troops on Red Alert. The Ambassador must have been terrified. I hope this does not mean the recall of the UN mission in DR Congo and redeploying them in SimCountry Somaliland.

For those who are new to Somali politics, I apologize. You must be lost. Now imagine Governor Rick Perry of Texas declaring the southern US state of Texas secession from the rest of the country. He does not think neither invites creative minds. He simply decides to name the “new” country the United-States-of-America-land. This is the case with Somali politician Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud “Silanyo” who believes he is the head of state called “Somaliland” inside Somalia’s internationally recognized borders.

Ever since the collapse of Somalia’s last central government more than two decades ago a minority group has been actively holding part of the country’s north hostage. Mr. Mahiga, like many regional and international statesman have always termed the leader as “the president of the northern administrative region of Somaliland.”

All these years, different leaders have been feeding the population in the three triangular towns of Hargeisa, Burao and Berbera with all kinds of bald-faced lies. They shamelessly claimed the UN had diplomatic ties with Somaliland on many occasions. The United Nations remained silent and hoped the leaders of the region would come to their common sense one day. That wishful hope never arrived and the UN should have known better that “the leopard doesn’t change its spots.”

This week things even got intensified when the unpopular Somaliland minister of “foreign Affairs”, Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Omar declared they had the UN corned. In his press release he claimed he “requested that the UN deal with Somaliland directly and not through its offices in the region.” [2] Mahiga’s office said otherwise. Local media reported a totally different story. The UN visited the region on a fact finding mission and held various talks with different establishment. That’s all it was and the intension behind the letter was to reiterate that. Silanyo was caught off guard. He was riding high on his pony in the imaginary Utopia – Garadagland.

The virtual country ruler noted: “To put you back in the proper frame of the picture, Amb Mahiga be reminded that Somaliland, though yet to be recognized, is an independent country, as per the wishes of 97% of the population who voted for separation following it had won reclamation of independence from Somalia that ensued through loss of life, property and livelihoods.” I am sure Mahiga was not aware that even in the virtual games, animated figures had access to referendum votes.

Maybe he means the ten residents of Garadag virtual village voted 97 percent yes to his Sim state. The region he is talking about does not have access to water let alone voter registrations and census. For now we have to say this is one of those imaginary numbers. All Silanyo is trying to say is = 97 percent = country. If we simplify that formula, somehow Silanyo came to the conclusion that it means international recognition for his country. Only if the Palestinian authority knew this formula, today Israel would not be blackmailing the same institution Silanyo is also threatening. It is not too late for Palestinian authority to adopt this Silanyo formula after all he borrowed the “two state solution” phrase from them. It is a fair trade in my opinion.

The president of the northern region is most infuriated because he does not want to share podium with other self-style tribal enclave presidents in Somalia such as Puntland’s Abdirahman Farole, Galmudug’s two warring leaders, the Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’ah’s and many others. He wants a more dignified title but time and time again he forgets Somalia has one president, one prime minister and ten ministers. Furthermore, he forgets to contribute to Somalia’s wellbeing so his political status might be elevated. There is no dignity neither dignified titles for one who contributed to the country’s many ills.

He is now threatening to further isolate the already isolated region and hold them hostage for longer. It is okay for him and his ministers to travel with foreign passports but he does not care about the ordinary civilians he is isolating. He recently banned the usage of Somali passports but all of his ministers have access to European, American and Canadian documents. He should give his British passport away and see how that feels.

It was about time someone told him the truth. The lies and deceptions have came to an end and it is time to pack up the protest tents on the premises of Somalia’s former general and wanted criminal’s residential home, General Hirsi Morgan. We will wait for the next lie from either Silanyo himself, his alleged al-Shabab affiliated lieutenant Hirsi Ali Haji Hassan or Dr Mohamed Abdullahi Omar. They must dig deep and try to pull a rabbit out of the green, white and red hat that they borrowed from Gambela region of Ethiopia. Ambassador Mahiga, the United Nations, Somali people, the international community, other regional governors including Farole and Somalia’s foreign minister Fowzia Yusuf Haji Aden will be observing. Make an impression that lasts for another two decades of isolations.

[1] http://somalilandsun.com/index.php/politics/government/1854-somaliland-is-reviewing-the-usefulness-of-unops-as-a-prelude-to-terminating-co-operation. [2] http://somalilandpress.com/somaliland-press-statement-from-the-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-37648 By Abdisamad Mooge “Kayse” Kaysejapan@gmail.com


International election Observation team assembled by progression, DPU and Somaliland Focus (UK) Reports good progress towards Somaliland’s Local council election scheduled for November 28th 2012.

November 26th, 2012. http://waaheen.com/?p=54042

The 55-strng team has assembled in the capital city of Hargeisa, ready to deploy to all six Somaliland Regions, where voters will turn out at more than 1,700 Polling stations on November 28th, the mission follows previous observations of elections in Somaliland in 2002, 2005 and 2010.

Once again, somaliland’s Wide Diaspora has a strong presence in the team, which draws on 15 countries including Canada, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, the Netherlands, Neww Zealand, The Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Uganda, The United Kingdom and the United States of America.

This year, for the first time, representatives from civil society organizations in Mogadishu in Somalia and Garowe in Puntland are accompanying the observer team to review the technical process of managing an election. So far, the team has been pleased to observe lively and largely peaceful campaigning and a noticeable lack of serious tension, discussions with civil society, Local organization and key players including somaliland’s president have gone smoothly, underlining out sense of Somalilanders’ broad commitment to the political process.

The elections come at a significant stage in somaliland’s political development, Following on from the 2005 and 2010polls, both of which observers were able to judge free and fair. The 2010 presidential polls was especially notable for the peaceful and smooth transfer of power on the defeat of an incumbent.

This year’s poll will determine the shape of somaliland’s future political terrain. Seven different political grouping are competing, and results will determine which three political parties, as determine under somaliland’s constitution, get to compete in national elections over next decade. With the stakes so high, potential for post-poll disputes is real.

However, the team is happy to note that somalilanders’ abilities to resolve crises using long-established traditions of discourse and negotiation have been put to the test during the campaign.

And proved effective. In the cities of burao and berbera, disputes over polling-station allocation threatened to undermine stability. These where successful resolved.

Yet serious grounds for concern remain, with the rejection by one party of the electoral code of conduct on the eve of the poll. The team hopes this late development will not undermine the good work done so far. Dr micheal walls of UCL, the mission joint ccoordinator, said “the code has been signed by all parties and threats by any party politicians to unilaterally abandon seem to show little regard for the responsibility of those making them. Complaints shall be made through established channels. We call on all politicians to exercise their responsibilities with caution and to avoid threats or accusations that risk undermining somaliland’s hard-won stability. “ Fellow joint co-ordinate Dr steve kibble of progressio said “we are pleased to be in a peaceful environment where issues are resolved by negotiation and discussion and relevant institutions are working towards a free and fair election. We hope this situation continues”.


Somalia: Somaliland destabilizes regional security, Puntland warns

26 Nov 26, 2012 - http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Somaliland_destabilizes_regional_security_Puntland_warns.shtml

GAROWE, Somalia Nov 26 2012 (Garowe Online) – Puntland’s Minister of Information warned against Somaliland’s military encroachment into Puntland constituencies in Sanaag and Sool region, Garowe Online reports.

Puntland Minister of Information Mohamud Aideed Dirir gave a press statement in Garowe on Monday describing Somaliland’s deploying their military forces near Dhahar located in Haylaan region in Puntland as “naked military aggression”.

On Sunday, residents of Dhahar protested against Somaliland’s encroachment from Erigabo towards to Dhahar.

According to the press release, the Somaliland incursion into Puntland jurisdiction began earlier this month when Somaliland forces arrived in Huddun district in Sool region.

The press release also stated that the Somaliland government is trying to forcefully intimidate citizens to vote in the Somaliland elections.

The Puntland government gave a stern warning to the Somaliland authority to withdraw from Puntland territory.

“Puntland Government demands the immediate pullback of Somaliland forces from Puntland regions, as Somaliland’s latest military action destabilizes the region and undermines the prospects of peaceful resolution through dialogue,” the statement concluded.

Somaliland and Puntland have been locked in armed clashes over territory since 2002.


Campaign for Somaliland Elections Coming to Close Peacefully

Published: November 26, 2012. http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/11/26/4439267/campaign-for-somaliland-elections.html By Somaliland Mission in USA

WASHINGTON, NOV. 26, 2012 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Somaliland Municipal elections will take place on November 28, 2012. There are seven political parties who are contesting and nominated candidates in this election; it is the second time the Municipal elections will take place in Somaliland, the first Municipal election took place in 2002, and that started very successful democratic progress in Somaliland. Since then there has been a Parliamentary election in 2005, and two Presidential Elections in 2003 and 2010; according to the International Election Observers who monitored those elections; the Somaliland elections were conducted freely and fairly based on the International Election standards.

The 2012 Municipal election is significant for Somaliland people in many ways; it determines the Mayors and City Councilors for Cities, it also determine who are the three parties who will be certified as National Parties based on the number of votes received and those three parties will qualify to contest in the future Parliamentary and Presidential elections over the next ten years, and most importantly this will further strengthen and complete the democratic progress in Somaliland that started in 2002.

There is a 55-member strong team of the International Election Observers in Somaliland who are ready to deploy at 1700 polling stations to monitor the 2012 Municipal election on November 28. Dr Steve Kibble of Progressio who is the IEO Coordinator said "We are pleased to be in a peaceful environment where issues are resolved by negotiation and discussion and relevant institutions are working towards a free and fair election. We hope this situation continues." The International Election Observers represent 15 countries including Canada, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Uganda, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo who was elected in 2010 and won against an incumbent President Dahir Rayale has called on Somaliland citizens to exercise their right as citizens and cast their ballots to elect local leaders peacefully; and he said "to do so will make our democracy stronger and will protect our liberty, which we have sacrificed so much to obtain."

Somaliland is an independent sovereign nation, but has not been recognized by the International community yet. Somaliland has achieved peace and stability, democratic progress, and vibrant economy that are improving the standard of living for its people; all of it without any help from the International community. Somaliland contributes to the International efforts to fight piracy and extreme elements in the Horn of Africa.

Somaliland will face another test on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 to conduct municipal election peacefully, freely and fairly.

Somaliland Mission in USA is confident Somaliland will pass this test on Wednesday again, and they call on all political parties to follow the rules agreed upon, respect the law and order, and accept the results of the election as has been the Somaliland tradition for the past ten years. It is time for the International community to support Somaliland.

Rashid Nur Somaliland Mission in USA rashidnur@somaliland.us Phone: 703-745-2199 http://www.somaliland.us. This press release was issued through eReleases® Press Release Distribution. For more information, visit http://www.ereleases.com. SOURCE Somaliland Mission in USA (http://www.heraldonline.com/2012/11/26/4439267/campaign-for-somaliland-elections.html#storylink=cpy)


You Think You Know Somalia? Meet Somaliland

John Ford. Nov 26, 2012. http://www.policymic.com/articles/18992/you-think-you-know-somalia-meet-somaliland

When people think of Somalia, they think of Mark Bowden’s Black Hawk Down. They think of South Park’s “Somalian Pirates We” episode. They even think of (sigh) Pirates of the Caribbean. What they don’t usually know is that Somalia has three extremely different regions, and that one of those regions is a fully functional unrecognized state.

The first region, Somalia, is the southern half of the former Italian Somaliland colony. This is the area most people think of, with Mogadishu and Islamic warlords and perpetually failing transitional governments (we’ll see about the new government formed in August 2012 in a few years). The tip of the country, to the north of the old Italian colony, is Puntland. Puntland is autonomous, governing itself with a central government, but it is not seeking independence.

The third section is Somaliland, the former British colony part of Somalia. It is a fully functioning state in all but name. They have an innovative legislature, a successful democratic system, an army and navy, and a presidency that has gone through several peacefully transfers of power. Sure, it is poor, but it conducts itself better than most states at its level of development. Its current development is actually being held up by the lack of recognition, as it cannot gain access to international loans or support for its currency.

Somaliland fits the definition of a state: it is a politically unified group of people that share a territory. Plus, it handles its own national defense – dealing with pirates and disarming militant tribal groups – effectively. It provides for public goods, and enables the private sector to do so when it cannot afford to. It has a strong shared history and common identity; they were a separate colony from the rest of Somalia, they were once before their own independent recognized country for a week in 1960, and they fought together against the dictator Siad Barre through the 1970s and 80s. Finally, it acts like a state on the world stage, with a foreign minister and multiple foreign delegations that have traveled to the U.S., Ethiopia, the UK, and elsewhere seeking recognition.

So why isn’t this nation recognized by any government or intergovernmental organization in the world? Mostly, they are all holding off for the regional IGO, the African Union (AU) to recognize them first. There are two reasons that the AU cites for not recognizing Somaliland: that it goes against the tradition of respecting original borders, and that it will encourage other unrecognized nations to try to attain statehood.

First, not recognizing Somaliland goes against the tradition of respecting original borders. OK, I should explain a bit. No African state wants anyone to reexamine their old colonial borders, even though those borders are often arbitrary and cut through traditional ethnic lines. Why not? Because their colonial borders are overreaching, and if the borders are reexamined, the current states will lose more territory to new countries than they would gain. However, Somaliland and the rest of Somalia were separate colonies. They were even separate countries for a brief time before voluntarily uniting. When the united country concentrated all power in the south, then was taken over by a dictator, Somaliland decided they wanted out of that union. They then had to fight a war to get out, which they won. Now the international community won’t recognize that independence.

As to the other point – that it will encourage other unrecognized nations to try to attain statehood – Somaliland’s situation is a unique one. As explained above, their history and the completeness of their national institutions make their case a hard one to duplicate. Even then, what about when Eritrea and South Sudan gained independence? Besides, this is a classic slippery slope argument; they’re the ones with the power to decide exactly which states are recognized, so even if it is a slippery slope, they’ve got pretty solid climbing spikes to stop the slide.

This is not to say there is no reason we should be cautious in supporting recognition. Vast cash flows will flow through the country as aid and loans pour in after recognition. Many theorize that this will strain the democracy and create incentive for factions to seize power in the government. I believe they can take it, however. They have surprised the West before with their tenacity. The Somaliland people have gone through extremely close elections, reluctant lame ducks, tribal divisions, armed militants, and piracy over the last 20 years without losing touch of their democracy. Let’s not doom them to failure before we give them a chance.

If I can suggest something to you, the American people, it is to pay attention to what is happening in Somalia. It is a complicated and fascinating area, and it deserves attention. Oh, and part of it happens to be a huge Al-Qaeda stronghold (ah, so now you pay attention).


On the eve of Somaliland elections : International observers press release

Press release - SF-UK. Sunday, November 25, 2012. http://79.170.44.118/somalilandfocus.org.uk/?p=514

Press conference dates - all held at Maan Soor Hotel, Hargeisa. 26 November, 4pm. 29 November, 11am. 1 December, 9am.

International election observation team assembled by Progressio, DPU and Somaliland Focus (UK) reports good progress towards Somaliland’s local council elections scheduled for November 28th 2012

The 55-strong team has assembled in the capital city of Hargeisa, ready to deploy to all six Somaliland regions, where voters will turn out at more than 1,700 polling stations on November 28th. The mission follows previous observations of elections in Somaliland in 2002, 2005 and 2010.

Once again, Somaliland’s wide diaspora has a strong presence in the team, which draws on 15 countries including Canada, Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Africa, Sweden, Uganda, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

This year, for the first time, representatives from civil society organisations in Mogadishu in Somalia and Garowe in Puntland are accompanying the observer team to review the technical process of managing an election.

So far, the team has been pleased to observe lively and largely peaceful campaigning and a noticeable lack of serious tension. Discussions with civil society, local organisations and key players including Somaliland’s president have gone smoothly, underlining our sense of Somalilanders’ broad commitment to the political process.

The elections come at a significant stage in Somaliland’s political development, following on from the 2005 and 2010 polls, both of which observers were able to judge free and fair. The 2010 presidential poll was especially notable for the peaceful and smooth transfer of power on the defeat of an incumbent.

This year’s poll will determine the shape of Somaliland’s future political terrain. Seven different political groupings are competing, and results will determine which three political parties, as determined under Somaliland’s constitution, get to compete in national elections over the next decade. With the stakes so high, the potential for post-poll disputes is real.

However, the team is happy to note that Somalilanders’ abilities to resolve crises using long-established traditions of discourse and negotiation have been put to the test during the campaign, and proved effective. In the cities of Burao and Berbera, disputes over polling-station allocation threatened to undermine stability. These were successfully resolved.

Yet serious grounds for concern remain, with the rejection by one party of the electoral code of conduct on the eve of the poll. The team hopes this late development will not undermine the good work done so far. Dr Michael Walls of UCL, the mission’s joint co-ordinator, said “The code has been signed by all parties, and threats by any party or politician to unilaterally abandon seem to show little regard for the responsibilities of those making them. Complaints should be made through established channels. We call on all politicians to exercise their responsibilities with caution and to avoid threats or accusations that risk undermining Somaliland’s hard-won stability.”

Fellow joint co-ordinator Dr Steve Kibble of Progressio said “We are pleased to be in a peaceful environment where issues are resolved by negotiation and discussion and relevant institutions are working towards a free and fair election. We hope this situation continues.”

A PRESS CONFERENCE WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE HOTEL MAAN-SOOR, HARGEISA, ON NOVEMBER 26TH 2012 AT 4PM

Notes to Editors 1. For further information or to arrange an interview with a member of the coordination team, please contact Conrad Heine in Somaliland on + 252 2 486 5255 / media@somalilandfocus.org.uk, or in London Lucy Jenkinson on 020 7326 2011 / lucyj@progressio.org.uk , or Tim Aldred on 020 7326 2003 / tim@progressio.org.uk.

2. Somaliland declared unilateral independence from Somalia in 1991 following the collapse of Somalia’s government. It remains internationally unrecognised.

3. The joint mission follows on from similar missions to observe Somaliland’s inaugural local elections in 2002, followed by the parliamentary elections in 2005, judged by observers as “basically free and fair”, and the presidential election in 2010 http://www.progressio.org.uk/sites/default/files/Somaliland-elections-2010-report.pdf , which saw an orderly transfer of power and was judged “a peaceful expression of popular will”.

4. The mission has been invited by Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission (NEC), and funded by Britain’s Department for International Development (DFID). It will follow up with a post-poll interim report to the NEC and donors, with the final report to follow in early 2013.

5. A pre-election assessment of the conditions for the local elections took place in 2012 and can be viewed here: http://www.progressio.org.uk/sites/progressio.org.uk/files/Preparing-for-local-elections-Sld-2012.pdf

6. For more information about Progressio, please see www.progressio.org.uk and about Somaliland Focus, see www.somalilandfocus.org.uk.


Somaliland: Talks Between Elders

Interpeace. http://www.interpeace.org/2011-08-08-15-19-20/latest-news/383-somaliland-talks-between-elders

22 November 2012 – Recently, elders from the Dhulbahante and the Haber Je’lo clans of Somaliland initiated a dialogue process in Meygagle. National and local government officials requested support from Interpeace and its partner, the Academy for Peace and Development (APD), which was promptly provided.

The need for dialogue

In August 2012 a peace accord was signed in Hargeisa between the government of Somaliland and representatives of the Sool community. The initiative received support from both sides. However, some segments of that community see the Somaliland government as largely an extension of the Haber Je’lo clan. As a result, people from the Dhulbahante clan who were opposed to the initiative reacted to it by kidnapping four persons from the Haber Je’lo clan. It was this incident that precipitated the talks between the elders of the two clans.

The setting

It was agreed upon that the talks would be carried out between the elders of the Dhulbahante and Haber Je’lo clans without government involvement. It was also decided that they would be held in a neutral meeting space so as to avoid issues over contested land. The location that was settled upon was Meygagle, an area outside of the contested land and recently vacated by Somaliland forces.

Once these two points were agreed upon, preliminary discussions began over the phone. Initially some difficulties in deciding on a fixed time to meet emerged. However, the heavy seasonal rains provided incentive to begin the talks as swiftly as possible due to the pressing need of the nomadic communities to gain access to water and pasture for their livestock.

The talks

Over 20 elders from the two clans were provided with transport and other support to attend the talks that began on the morning of 17 October. The three main issues on the agenda were the release of the four abducted persons, the issue of dias or mugg (reparations for casualties from previous violence) and access to grazing land and water.

Despite tense talks, agreement was eventually reached on the first point, resulting in the abducted persons being released. The second issue of dias proved to be complex due to disagreement over the number of casualties suffered and it was decided that it was best that discussions on this issue be postponed to a later date.

It was the final point on the agenda that emerged as the most important breakthrough of the talks. Both parties quickly agreed that there was an urgent need to remove an element of fear and apprehension faced by pastoralists. “This fear is currently quite pervasive and needs to be addressed,” commented one of the participants in the talks. As a result of this point of discussion, the elders went together to the various villages concerned to deliver a unified message: access to grazing land is a traditional right and movement within the area should not be impeded in any way by anyone.

Beginning of a process

The talks yielded agreement on pressing issues and brought together previously conflicting clans to discuss issues of mutual concern. Both parties were appreciative of the assistance and support from APD and Interpeace. With a few important issues still outstanding, they have indicated that these talks were just the start and expressed an interest in continuing discussions with the hope of bridging more gaps in the future.


Dirty Dreams Of Somaliland

Nov 23, 2012. http://somalilandinformer.com/?p=10971

The morning mist on the flowers is my shed tears; and the whispering of the trees is the wailing of my devastated heart. They are twisting my heart, but I am too old to cry. They are expert only, on how to divide us. Implanting seeds of hatred and malice among family and friends. But we want, what binds us, not what divides us. From – Looya Addo to Eelaayo. How they are punishing us with our own mistakes is almost unreal to believe. It is not dark yet, but it is getting too late. Mr.Silanyo, a dog has four legs but does not run on four roads. Lack of National purpose of direction and political strategy is the symptoms of my killing disease. Good guys have to shoot, so the evil must not win.

We need a messiah with a gimmick – stick to intervene. Just an appropriate school for my betrayed child, an affordable electricity, and a healthy water to drink. That is all for my demands right now. Until my favorite Hero, Mr.Six, restores back life and returns back from his Self – Imposed – Exile. My sweet dream of tomorrow turned in to a sweet sorrow and dirty dreams. Because our politicians are blinded by the Gold – Dust. They can read neither our lips nor our hearts. History begins with writing a simple commenting note. Mr.Mohamed Hashi Elmi, life is a theater where the worst people of the society, sometimes get the best seats. As Somalilanders, it is our manner born to hang honest leaders, and take off our hats to greet big jerks and thieves, as a salute and respect. But for a good leader, the journey is never too long.

Mr.M.White, a running river never freezes. At the end of the rally, justice will prevail. Bear in mind that Mr.Silanyo’s holy Bible is his Bank Book, but your faith and your Guidebook is the Holy Quran. Alas! ingratitude is Somalilander’s nature. We must take a friend for what he does, a wife for what she has, and goods for what they are worth.

Referring to your relationship to Mr.Silanyo, you forgot that a reconciled acquaintance is a double enemy. And a friend won with a feather, can be lost with a straw. But don’t worry, tomorrow is another day. All serious Somalilanders are rallying behind you but a little scared. Cunning and dishonesty are the weapons of the weak. Dear reader, three things drives a man out of his country. Poverty, bad ruler, and a broken love. One generation plants the trees, other generation enjoys the fruit, and another sits under the trees with empty stomach and a broken heart. Mr.M.White, don’t worry, fish and African politicians stinks in three days. We are conquered by wild mosquitoes hungry for pain and taking revenge.

In November instant, the ruling Junta of Mr.Silanyo held a fairy tale exhibition of fashion – show to display how elegant – dancers in politics and stylish in appearance they are. Claiming that they have painted the sky with beautiful rainbows, and have planted the barren – desert with fruits and flowers. Inviting to their Fairy Tale Show, some fasting – audience with dry lips, empty – stomach, and wearing frowning, gloomy faces. Declaring a manifest – destiny to the masses, the Government’s – Bankruptcy in brain and pocket. Attending the ceremony while wearing black suits, white shirts, and red neck – ties, that are smeared with a cold blood. Boasting, and declaring achievements with indulgent pride and satisfaction. Dear reader, sometimes you wish Allah to speak as an early Day of Judgment. So that the truth that crushed to death, will rise again on the earth. A tax – payer old lady that sells tomatoes and ground – nuts on the street exclaimed . Just like father, like son. Nothing new but repeating the same trash – talk of the past.

Ended their disgusting Opera, reciting those old songs of the late dictator: You are the sun, you are the moon. Starting from day one, when Mr.Silanyo told us to sweep the streets. I have realized that he is visionless. They have just filled our ears with wax. This regime believes that the Self – Absorbed – Act of taking is a worthy quality. But giving without expectation of reward, regarded as eccentric one. Who knows where it might lead to ? In a country where all mired in poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, and disease. While some of special – interest – group jealously hoarding good amount of fortune of the nation’s treasury. They are nothing but a bandit of parasites that promotes corruption, and kick – back payments for illicit profit. And yet , they are baffled by the resentment their ill action generates. Slamming the door on our face, in this age and time. It is just another wasted four years irreversible time, deductible from our life – span. A saga typifies the fruitless Era of the old Vampire.

Indeed, Our Orange Revolution turned in to ash and dust. The old lady ended in her painful remarks.

Dear reader, our Government claiming that it is having a peaceful political dialogue with the Paper – Tiger President of Somalia. A Dialogue that have no bonds, obligation or strategic agenda. That is why the president of Mogadishu illegally fishing our Gold – Fish in our coast basin, while our big brother is tongue – tied and can’t defend himself. Because, he is holding a water in his mouth. Mr.Silanyo, a dog has four legs but does not run on four roads. Secondly, why you buy the cow if you can get the milk free? It is an ill bird that fouls it’s own nest. It is not in your jurisdiction to nominate sultans and chiefs that are loyal to you. That is why he is disintegrating the society in to clans, and tribes that have no a common goal. Implanting the seeds of hatred, among families and friends. Interfering the private affairs of the society.

Mr.Silanyo, the Government has no right to trespass in to our bedrooms. Mind your own business. Above that, Prices of the local consumption commodities are sky rocketing, inflation is in the highest rate, and unemployment is in the highest peak. Our future generation from universities, are still under baby – sitting by their parents at home. Sitting – hand – in – chin in disbelief to what is fated to them. Or endorsing an illegal immigration in between the devil, and the dead – sea. Your election – Commission is filibustering the election process by introducing kick backs, and illegal restriction in the polling – stations. For the purpose of rigging the election. As a result, the safety and the security of the country is shattered and the masses are feeling unsafe, and worried about the coming tomorrow.. Experiencing disappointment and a future – shock. The country is in the cliff of a Civil – War.

That is why all clairvoyant somalilanders like Mr.Ibrahim Mead are sending an Alarm – Siren. Urging the people to be fully alert and conscious about what is going on. The Country is running in a path full of land – mines and explosives. Mr.Silanyo, your mirror is your best friend, not your flatterers.

Obsession in power and megalomania shortens the ruling term of the dictator. The air hung thick and cold around your table. The deceased Hero, Mr.Gariye the Great once said: I hate to say I told you, but I did. ”Dadna Waa Hangoolkii Nin Marku Dan Leeyahay, Dalmaro La Tabi Jiray”.

Yusuf Deyr. Edmonton, Alberta/Canada


UK Government urges Somaliland to hold free and fair elections

http://somalilandinformer.com/?p=10956. Nov 23, 2012

London-The UK Government announced that it urged Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo and the Interior Minister Mohamed Nour Arrale that the Local Council Elections must be free, fair and that the election results should not be disputed.

The British parliament put questions to the UK government and proved that it supported in a wide range of areas in conjunction with six donor countries that facilitated the elections will take place with the agreed date.

Andrew Richard Rosindell is English Conservative politician and Member of Parliament MP for the Romford Constituency n Greater London put questions to the International Development Secretary about the measures that the office she is in charge took to provide an incentive to the good governance in Somaliland.

Justice Greening, UK International Development Secretary told the parliament that DFID under the auspices of six donor countries support the local council elections that will take place at the end of Nov.

She revealed the department of international development supported and earmarked budget that is expected to be spent on the elections, campaigns, awareness programs, and training the youth and women candidates.

The Secretary said that her supported that the Electoral Commission get the experience in order to execute their national duty.

She said that the UK government supported the Civil Society organizations that were in favor of the formation of Code of Conduct and held training for members of Parties/Associations that will observe the elections.

The Secretary further remarked that the UK government urged the incumbent president of Somaliland Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo and the Interior Minister to take every step that will ensure holding free, fair, transparent and democratic elections. She said that the democracy in Somaliland is developing once Somaliland successfully held five previous elections and she the UK international Development Secretary hopes this elections will go well.

Finally, She ended her speech with few remarks by saying that DFID is in the middle of preparing project of rebuilding Somaliland police Force and launching programs intended to raise awareness that the police force and the community must forge cooperation that will end up improving the country’s National security and that the police force must be held accountable for them.


Somaliland: The Unrecognized Country That Could

By Robleh M. Lafcanbe. Nov 23, 2012. http://somalilandinformer.com/?p=10973

The Republic of Somaliland is holding its second municipal election and sixth democratic election since breaking off and declaring independence from the war-ravaged nation of Somalia in 1991. In 2002, then-President Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal opened the registration of new political organizations. The constitution of Somaliland states that the country is to have only three political parties. In order to achieve party status, new political organizations compete in the next scheduled municipal election. The top three parties/organizations who gain the most votes end up as the official parties of the nation.

Six political organizations competed in 2002 and only three made the cut. The other three political organizations disbanded and made alliances with the party that was most ideologically equivalent to theirs. The three parties, UDUB, Kulmiye and UCID, went on to compete in the 2003 presidential election and the 2005 parliamentary election.

The most recent election, the second presidential election in 2010, saw Incumbent president Dahir Riyale Kahin of the UDUB party handing over power to Kulmiye party leader Ahmed Silanyo after losing by a wide margin. It was a milestone that rarely happens in East Africa – let alone Africa as a whole. Dictators and Presidents in Africa are known to cling on to power, even after losing elections. Citizens were ecstatic, members of the Diaspora remained hopeful and election observers from sixteen different countries praised the successful occasion.

This time around, there are 5 political organizations and two political parties competing in the 2012 municipal elections. UDUB was recently disqualified from competing after failing to meet the requirements for the upcoming election. UCID and the ruling party Kulmiye achieved party status in 2002. Although they are recognized as official parties, they need to survive the cut like they did back in 2002 in order to hang on to their official status. Ummada, Dalsan, Xaqsoor, Wadani and Rays are the five new political organizations that are also competing for party status.

The elections were originally scheduled for earlier this year, but due to lack of funding and support the National Election Commission put off the election until late in the year. After receiving funding from the EU and other international donors, the election was called for November 28th and preparation started to take place. The campaign started on October 29th and ends on November 25th.

Each party/organization has been assigned one day of the week to campaign – a strategic move by the NEC to combat conflict with supporters of different parties/organizations.

Somaliland has come a considerably long way, and its Cinderella story is uplifting. So what exactly is the world waiting for?

When will the recognition come? When will they stop being seen as an autonomous region of Somalia?

Down south in Somalia, terrorist group Al-Shabaab and local warlords battle the government daily for control, government corruption is high and Pirates are still rampant off the coast. Although one could argue that the recent Presidential Election in Somalia was a sign of progress, there were still many downsides to it. The New Parliament of Somalia – which elected the President – was handpicked by a technical committee. Seats were distributed by favoritism. There were even reports of seats being sold ranging anywhere from $40k to $100k.

Take a look at other East African countries. Eritrea is a one-party state. Ethiopia has been dominated by the EPRDF since 1991. Djibouti has been controlled by one family since 1977. President Hassan Aptidon held the seat from 1977-1999 and then transferred power to his nephew Ismail Omar Guelleh who has held it ever since. Kenya has had its share of election violence and election fraud, most recently in 2007 and Uganda has been under the tight grip of President Yoweri Museveni since 1986.

The unrecognized nation that could is still determined to make its mark on the international stage. Somaliland’s municipal elections will take place on the 28th of November and will be observed by over 600 domestic and 50 international observers. The democracy in Somaliland will continue – even if the nation and its achievements continue to go unnoticed.


Somaliland journalists express concern over draft security law

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 21 Nov 2012.Credit: Horn Cable TV, Hargeysa, in Somali 1900 20 Nov 12/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

A union of journalists in northern Somalia's break-away region of Somaliland has expressed concern over a new draft security law in the self-proclaimed republic that they say will restrict media freedom, privately-owned Horn Cable TV reported on 20 November.

Somaliland Journalist Association (Solja) said the provisions of the new security bill "will affect the press freedom and journalists' work and therefore rejected it", the TV said.

The union set up a seven-member committee to "discuss the bill with Somaliland president" Ahmad Muhammad Mahmud Silanyo.

Several opposition parties have also protested against the security bill, describing it as a threat to press freedom and freedom of expression.

The draft law on national security is awaiting President Silanyo's assent. As in the rest of Somalia, journalists in Somaliland face many difficulties regarding safety and freedom of expression.


Increased educational opportunities in Somaliland lead to greater professionalism

By Keyse Yusuf in Hargeisa. November 20, 2012. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2012/11/20/feature-02

Unlike her older siblings, Amran Yonis, a 22-year-old business administration student at Golis University in Hargeisa, said she had plenty of options available to her when she was looking to enrol in higher education in 2008.

Technical Veterinary School students take part in a field activity April 18th in the Somaliland town of Sheikh. [Tony Karumba /AFP]

"My elder siblings who finished before me had to wait three years because there was only one institute of higher learning, the University of Hargeisa," she told Sabahi.

Yonis is part of a rising generation of Somali students eager and able to further their education.

Saeed Ahmed Hassan, president of Golis University, said enrolment at his university has increased dramatically. "Three years ago, we had 500 students, but now there are 3,000," he told Sabahi. "In 2012 alone, we admitted 1,200 students."

He added that business administration, engineering, sharia law and medicine are among the most popular programmes.

According to the Somaliland Higher Education Board, more than 60% of college students in Hargeisa are women. To accommodate the influx of new students, the school has rented three additional buildings and constructed a fourth. In addition, the need for more qualified teachers has prompted the university to recruit from Kenya.

The impact of war

The protracted civil war that began in 1991 and the lack of strong government institutions able to uniformly regulate schools mean that degrees from local universities are often not recognised internationally, according to Mohammed Nur, a retired school administrator who consults with the government on education matters.

"The requirement to open colleges or universities is minimal," he told Sabahi. "Important things such as facilities are not checked and [universities] admit students regardless of what they scored in secondary school."

Addressing these concerns, the government says it began implementing measures to regulate higher education when it set up the Higher Education Board in 2010.

According to Khadar Ahmed Diriye, the board's director, 16 universities have been established across Somaliland in the past 20 years.

"We found most [universities] were easily registered previously without proper procedure," Diriye told Sabahi. To establish a regional standard, the board recently required all universities to re-register and issued them with temporary charters while their credentials are reviewed.

Diriye said the government brought in senior officials from Kenya's Higher Education Commission to help re-organise the education sector in Somaliland.

Partnering with universities in neighbouring countries Universities in neighbouring countries are partnering with local colleges on a wide range of specialised programmes.

For example, thanks to a partnership with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi, Golis University now offers a master's in business administration.

In addition, Ethiopia's Admas and Alpha Universities, and Uganda's Fairland University have opened campuses in the region.

Hassan of Golis University said these collaborations provide local universities with the opportunity to adopt best practices in management and curricula development, strengthening Somali universities' capabilities and credibility.

Challenges and opportunities ahead

University graduates are expected to boost the highly depleted employment pool in Somaliland, said Mohamed Dahir, a manager at Somaliland Civil Service, the recruitment arm of the regional administration.

College graduates hired by the administration in the past two years have already helped transform government institutions, he told Sabahi. He said these professionally trained employees have helped streamline the administration's revenue collection system and improve efficiency at airports and other ports of entry.

"We have employed trained accountants, clerks and immigration officers, among others, who are technology savvy," he said. "We have recently witnessed very good results. Previously, virtually all our personnel lacked proper education or training, which affected service delivery."


Somalia's livestock may save its economy

Tristan McConnell | GlobalPost.com | Nov 21, 2012. http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/somalias-livestock-may-save-its-economy

HARGEISA, Somalia — To the outsider, haggling for sheep in the livestock market here might look like an elaborate secret handshake.

Two men lay a piece of cloth over their grasped hands and begin negotiating the price in silence, their eyes fixed on one another.

Sequences of squeezes, pinches and clasps of fingers, knuckles and hands — all hidden from public view under the cloth — indicate the buyer’s offer and the seller’s price. Deals worth hundreds or thousands of dollars are concluded quickly, often without exchanging cash. Payments are transferred between mobile phones.

Semi-nomadic animal herding, or pastoralism, is the Somali way. But while it is a cultural practice with deep historical roots, it also may have a place in Somalia’s economic future, helping it emerge from decades of civil war.

“Livestock is what people really know,” said Cyprien Biaou, a livestock coordinator in the Somalia office of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO.

It is already the bedrock of the economy of Somaliland, a breakaway northwestern region of Somalia, which will this year export more than 4 million sheep, goats and camels, accounting for about 80 percent of Somaliland’s $120 million annual budget.

Last month alone, 1.6 million sheep were exported from Somaliland’s port of Berbera to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. They were destined for ritual slaughter, which marks the end of the annual Muslim pilgrimage, the Hajj.

“This Hajj season was really very good,” said Omer Abokor Jama, the deputy port manager in Berbera.

Fat wooden dhows from Oman and Yemen tie up alongside towering steel cargo ships from Saudi Arabia and Egypt at Berbera’s deepwater port. The port’s 650-meter long dock reflects Somalia’s Cold War past: the first 300-meter section was built by the Soviets in the 1960s. When the country switched sides in the 1980s, the US — never to be outdone — built a 350-meter extension.

At the dock, workers unload everything Somaliland cannot produce, which is to say pretty much everything: cars and trucks, shrink-wrapped palettes of fizzy drinks and bottles of mineral water, flour and pasta, petrol and diesel, cement, timber, washing machines and television sets.

They leave with livestock, and not much else. Some of the larger vessels take as many as 100,000 sheep and goats on a single six-day voyage to Jeddah, the biggest market for Somali livestock.

Ali Guled, a government vet in Berbera, said the livestock industry has grown rapidly since 2009, when Gulf States lifted an 11-year ban on the import of Somali animals. Regional governments had feared the spread of Rift Valley Fever, a virus that can pass from animals to humans.

But relative peace and stability allowed Somaliland to establish a quarantine program where animals are inspected and, if necessary, vaccinated before export, giving buyers peace of mind.

The growing trade in livestock has been good for both Somaliland’s economy and for people like Mohamed Aden, a 78-year-old animal trader.

Aden is the chairman of Hargeisa’s livestock market association, and a 20-year veteran of Somalia’s livestock trade. “Livestock is our life,” he said.

Mohamed Musa, a city tax collector, said the market alone accounts for up to 60 percent of the Hargeisa’s entire tax revenues. As in Berbera, traders at the Hargeisa market sold twice the number of sheep and goats during this year’s Hajj season than in the other 11 months of the year combined. The 39,000 sheep and goats exchanged every day during the month earned the government $200,000 in taxes.

One of the biggest livestock traders here is Dhamac Barud, 52, who said he makes $1 million a year from the animal trade. That dwarfs the income he earns from his other businesses, which include a construction company.

Barud buys sheep and goats by the thousands from pastoralist herders along the Ethiopian border for $50 to $70 per animal. He then ships them off to be sold to Arab merchants — “our traditional trading partners,” he said — in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Yemen for $90 to $100 per animal.

In a bid to increase the value of each animal, the Somaliland Meat Development Association has been established with the support of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. At the association’s office in Hargeisa, discarded camel bones are ground and carved into jewelry. Marrow and fat is boiled to make soap.

Switzera Yussuf Mohamed, the group’s chairwoman and a mother of 11, said the new income was making life easier for her and the 40 other workers.

“So many of us were jobless before. But now we have the opportunity to work, to earn something to live on,” she said.

People give a variety of reasons for the popularity of Somali animals. Some point to the animals themselves: they are “free range and organic,” smaller (“family-sized,” as one man put it), and taste sweeter.

Others say the explanation is more spiritual: that the herders are Muslim like the buyers, or that the Somali sheep is prized because its distinctive black head bears a symbolic connection to the ancient tale of Abraham, who was willing to follow God’s orders in sacrificing his son.

Whatever the reasons, exports are growing and that is good news for Somalia’s struggling economy.


In Defence of Somaliland Democracy

Posted On : November 19th, 2012. By somaliword.blogspot

“It is difficult to understand these people who democratically take part in elections and a referendum, but are then incapable of democratically accepting the will of the people” (Jose Saramago).

Since the Somaliland local elections were announced and some of the parties were disqualified, there have been proliferations of articles which are critical about the Somaliland democracy. In any democracy elections bring negative campaigning from the competing parties. However these articles have been propagated by disgruntled individuals who are associated with the disqualified parties and others with sinister agendas to exploit the tensions created in the country by the upcoming election. In African countries elections are fraught with difficulties and it is even more so in an unrecognised country with internal and external ill-wishers hopping for its downfall.

Somaliland has held a number of successful elections before and the same attempts were made to destabilise the country through an attack on its democratic institutions and on the National Electoral Commission (NEC), which were all proven unfounded. As it has been noted by numerous scholars, Somaliland combines western democracy with tradition and it is this contextualisation of Somaliland democracy that these Somali writers are failing to understand. To back up their allegations, they approach the problem from purely western perspective and ignore the context in which Somaliland democracy is embedded. Normally, local elections do not determine the national political parties but this election will establish the three national parties who will compete in the next parliamentary and general election so the stakes are very high. This short essay aims to put things in perspective.

This is just the way things have always been.

In every election time, the country appears to be moving towards fragmentation. Clans organise their own meetings, tribal leaders become more visible and vocal and the atmosphere becomes very charged. To the untrained eye or the outsiders, it looks like a country of clans with no cohesive identity who are all fighting for political influence. The government becomes shaky, susceptible to attacks and the impartiality of the NEC is questioned. In short, there seems to be crises of highest magnitude – a reverse to the politics of the camel (dominance of clan interest over the national interest). However, this is taking place at the back drop of a societal social structure that cannot be explained by text book of unadulterated western democracy. This is because democracy is probably affected by all the forces which shape the social structure of a country, particularly it is even more so for a country that is constant refining and modernising its democratic institutions whilst accepting the limitations/constraints placed upon the system by the very nature of its society.

In modern democracies, constituencies determine the outcomes of elections and these constituencies have well marked boundaries where the number of the population of each constituency able to vote is known. There is cohesive data and a clear census on the size of each constituency, its social and dynamic groupings as well as their attitudes and their voting behaviour, which is mainly about class. Prospective candidates appeal to these social dynamic based needs of the population to win votes.

These necessary components to ease the process of the election for all those involved are absent from Somaliland social structure and indeed from that of Somalia. The population of Somaliland is heavily concentrated in the countryside where the people are populated or lay claim to different areas in accordance with their clan dominance. To complicate the problem, the population is not settled or confined into those areas in all seasons as the force of nature may cause them to move to other areas in search for water and grassing land for their herds. Because of the harsh realities in the Horn of Africa, this segregation on clan lines has been a feature of the Somali social structure for centuries. People took the same outlook of organisation to the cities and began inhibiting different areas and by definition created clan based constituencies. For Somaliland elections, this kind of social organisation gives the appearance of disjoint society for three reasons;

1. As each constituency is dominated by a certain clan, the political party gatherings therefore bears a resemblance to a clan mobilisation instead of a multitude of individuals that are bonded together by social class as it happens in the west.

2. The composition of the candidates of each constituency will mainly be selected from the clan/clans of that particular constituency.

3. The candidates will be forced to appeal to the needs of the respected clans of each constituency.

Those who are not so well-versed in those intricate relations between the electorate and the candidates can easily conclude that the system is crumbling and that tribalism is taking over the country. This form of social grouping coupled with the absence of a census is also making the job of the NEC challenging. Without proper census to know the size of each constituency, the NEC is forced to do a guess work, which is not appreciated by the clans as they are not willing to accept disadvantage in numbers, bearing in mind that the claim to a bigger number is often based on self-certified statistics. To fault the NEC or the ruling party for these short-comings in the system is unfair. Also, it is a reflection of lack of understanding about the underlining issues to conclude the democratic institutions of the country are failing. It is true that they are not robust enough to hold the government to account but Somaliland democracy is certainly thriving.

Somaliland people know the defects of the system and from the beginning they sought to remedy it by limiting the number of national political parties to three. Although it may be inevitable that the politics may be dominated by constituency clan based localities at a local level, they wanted to ensure to harmonise these constituency interests at national level through the three national parties. The idea was as each national party will have representatives from each constituency, it will give them a broad based representation in which each constituency can identify with and see its interest in these parties. This is exactly what happened in UDUB, UCID and Kulmiye. They all became truly national and representative. Anyone who suggests that any of these parties is or was tribal based is just having problem with the heads of these parties instead of looking at the actual structure/composition of these parties.

This is akin to one of these childish allegations that accuse those in authority of corruption on the bases of someone from their sub-tribe or tribe is awarded a contract. In the west, a declaration of interest is normally restricted to those who close to you but not to those who may share the same genealogy ancestry. This classification of corruption is not only insane but it is inherently unjust as it may disenfranchise not only thousands of people but hundreds of thousands from seeking business with the government once someone who shares the same sub-tribe as them becomes a president. What is needed is equal playing field with proper checks instead. This requires proper Audit Commission with full investigative powers to scrutinise, monitor and follow up allegations of corruption.

Somaliland democracy may have the appearance of tribalism at a local level but it is undoubtedly democratic. The elections are free and fair, there is no intimidation of voters and the system is resilient and evolving into mature democracy. For example, the disqualification of UDUB from the upcoming election and the subsequent politicians of the UDUB party and its supporters not to resort to rioting is a testament to the political maturity of the Somaliland politicians. Political misfortunes do happen but it is how you react to it that writes history.

Conclusion

A good start for a writer is first to admit what is going well for the country and the things the government is doing right. This is important as we Somalis have a habit to come up with polemical stuff that only puts blame on others or ignores the primary source of the problem. For instance, time and time again you will see writings attributing all the ills of Somalia to international interventions or to neighbouring countries. When actually these are secondary issues and the primary source of the problem is tribalism. These writers do not grasp the simple basic idea that if you had a long running feud with your neighbours and you leave all the windows of your house open with all the goods lying there, it is inevitable that you will invite unwanted guests. Similarly, if you cannot safe yourself from yourself and on top of that you manifest yourself as a threat to others through piracy, terrorism and territorial ambitions, you are opening yourself to intervention, especially at a time when you are extremely weak.

Somaliland people have always been good at identifying their problems and seeking solutions for it. So far it has worked and our democracy has been rock solid. Any writer should take into account the social structures that shape our country. These have always been there and we created a democratic system which is compatible with it. The problem of the census has already been identified by the government as the Minster of National Planning has announced that they trained people for conducting national census. Who knows these maybe in place for the future elections. The introduction of multiparty system will reduce the identity of the parties with the people, as they will struggle to create a loyalty base due to the risk factor of having a short lifespan. Nevertheless, the three national parties that will emerge will be inclusive and representative.

Those parties who decide to be part of these democratic elections must abide by the rules and accept the results when it goes against them. (http://indepthafrica.com/in-defence-of-somaliland-democracy/#.UKwNIuRLUbA)


Somaliland civil group to support national electoral commission

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 18 Nov 2012.Text of report in English by Somali newspaper The Somaliland Times website on 10 November

[Unattributed report: "Somaliland Civil Society Election Forum Backs Election Commission"]

The Somaliland Civil Society Election Forum (SCISEF) would like to extend its support to the National Electoral Commission (NEC) for its decision dated on 5 Nov 2012, which instructed that parties/associations should not hold campaigns and rallies in public arenas including the Liberty Garden and Kheyria areas until the fourth round of the election campaign has begun.

SCISEF would like to reiterate that the NEC decision should be adhered to for it appears that the decision has not been respected as some parties/associations continue campaigning in public roads thereby creating traffic jams, which may escalate election tension.

SCISEF would like to add that voters should avoid provocative and inflammatory language that connotes tribalism as a few such remarks have been noted recently. It is essential that political parties/associations provide their supporters with orientation sessions aimed at sensitizing supporters to the dangers inherent in provocative and inflammatory language.

SCISEF Coordinating Committee, which represents 47 civil society/NSAs has been observing and monitoring election campaigns and will continue doing so in the future.

Finally, SCISEF welcomes the presence of the international observers who-along with the body that coordinates the international observers-have attended SCISEF Coordination Committee forums which were held recently.

SCISEF Coordination Committee.Hargeysa, Somaliland. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 10 Nov 12/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC


Hargeisa : Culture shock awaits Somali returnees

November 18, 2012. http://news.kuwaittimes.net/2012/11/18/culture-shock-awaits-somali-returnees/

By Boris Bachorz (AFP) |HARGEISA, Somaliland — Two years ago, fashion designer Ayan Hussein left the high-end stores of Britain's capital for a stab at promoting fashion that was in line with Muslim tradition in her Somali homeland.

Hussein has just opened a coffee shop that has become the rendezvous point for Hargeisa's affluent class (AFP, Simon Maina)

Her clothes stock is now limited only to long flowing robes as per Muslim custom (AFP, Simon Maina)

But she and her family, along with thousands of other Somalis who have returned in the hope of drumming up business or out of nostalgia, often find themselves facing culture shock.

"It is not the same as in London... not the slightest," says Hussein's 18-year-old son Guled, who does not speak a word of Somali.

"There is dust everywhere. You can't skate here," he says in impeccable English.

It is Somaliland, an autonomous territory of around four million people in the north of Somalia along the Gulf of Aden, that has played host to many returnees in recent years.

The region, which declared self-rule in 1991, has provided a haven of relative peace and stability in a land otherwise known for decades of brutal war.

Ayan Hussein was only a young woman when she left Mogadishu in 1997. Now in her late thirties, she decided to return to the land of her birth in 2010 to look after her ailing mother as well as to venture into business.

But in making the switch from Britain's high-end fashion industry to a boutique in Hargeisa, the worldly and sophisticated Londoner had to make some sacrifices.

Her clothes stock is now limited only to long flowing robes as per Muslim custom, albeit in loud colours.

"We have to convince our clients that they are not obligated to be in all black," she explains to AFP recently, her hair neatly tucked under a flaming red head scarf. Directly opposite the clothes shop, on the noisy and dusty main street, another new business venture is trying to establish itself.

Hussein has just opened a coffee shop that has become the rendezvous point for Hargeisa's affluent class, who come complete with sunglasses and smartphones to sip on their cappuccinos while exchanging gossip in English.

And indeed the differences between those who stayed in Somalia and the returnees go beyond the language used.

"It is like we have two different societies here," explains one returnee from Britain, who came back to work at a recently opened soft drinks plant.

"Because we are Somali, they expect us to be like them," adds another young woman on condition of anonymity. "This poses some difficulties."

Twenty doctors and health workers have taken from six months to one year off work in Finland, their country of exile, to work in Hargeisa's public hospital and provide training to local staff.

"This was an opportunity for me to give back to my country and also show my gratitude to Finland," says Ahmed Abukar, a nurse.

But the first month of interaction between the local staff and the returnees was sometimes tense.

"At the beginning there was a bit of an issue because we needed to get to know each other," says Abukar.

"Of course there is always a bit of a clash, the locals fear they (diaspora members) are taking over... they feel threatened," says Ayan Rabi, who is in charge of the programme, backed by the International Organization for Migration. "But they are all Somalis and after a while, all this goes away," Rabi adds.

The trip home has also offered some interesting lessons for the returnees too. "Appreciating the simple life is one of the things you learn here," Abukar says.

For the new general manager of Somaliland's state television Ali Hassan Khader, coming back home has allowed him to better understand the importance of the clan dynamics that form the base of traditional Somali society.

"In one way it is an insurance policy in a country where there is none," he says. "If I injure somebody, if I have a car accident, I know the clan will step in."

However, even with a boom in returnee numbers, Somaliland's much coveted status of being an island of peace in a tumultuous country is slowly being challenged by an emerging Mogadishu, the capital in southern Somalia.

Once a byword for anarchy, the war-ravaged seaside capital has enjoyed a degree of relative stability since Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab insurgents fled from fixed positions there in August 2011.

Ibrahim Chama, 32, left his job as a government employee in the Welsh capital Cardiff to set up and manage a grocery store in Hargeisa.

"We are trying to settle down before it becomes too crowded and businesses stop doing well," says Chama, who left in 1988. "Now Somalia is getting better, maybe we might try to set up something in Mogadishu as well," he adds.


Refugees return home armed with pizza and designer jeans: The Somali diaspora is being lured home but it's not an easy move, writes Tristan McConnell in Hargeisa

The Times [London (UK)] 17 Nov 2012: 51.

Abstract:Bringing skills, education, money and new ideas, returning Somalis are better equipped to profit from the country's fragile peace but face both the culture shock of return and sometimes resentment from those who stayed behind.

Ayan Hussein fled Mogadishu 15 years ago, clutching her three young children.

They settled in London, first as refugees, then as British citizens. Hampstead became their home and the children became Londoners.

Ms Hussein worked as a freelance stylist, designing weddings for wealthy clients and advising fashionistas on the right handbags to carry. She often worked at Browns, the uber-trendy boutique in South Molton Street.

Two years ago she decided that it was time to return to Somalia. "There has to be some point in your life when you go back to look after your relatives and contribute to your country. It's a beautiful time to come back," she said.

The chaos, warfare and destruction that tore through Somalia for more than two decades propelled many of its citizens abroad. Somalis constitute one of the largest, most far-flung diaspora communities, with an estimated 1.5 million in Europe, the Gulf states, America and elsewhere. They left but continued to support relatives, sending back more than Pounds 1 billion a year.

As Somalia's war begins to subside, the trickle of returning Somalis is becoming a tide. The more hardy head to the capital, Mogadishu, where a miniinvestment boom is under way but suicide bombings still threaten. Ms Hussein wanted somewhere a little safer and chose Hargeisa, capital of the breakaway region of Somaliland that declared independence in 1991. Despite remaining unrecognised ever since, it has become Somalia's most stable corner. Bringing skills, education, money and new ideas, returning Somalis are better equipped to profit from the country's fragile peace but face both the culture shock of return and sometimes resentment from those who stayed behind.

Ms Hussein finds it easier to identify with others from the diaspora because "they understand the ways of living outside".

Her businesses reflect this. A few weeks ago, she opened the Kulan Art Cafe. It is a bright, airy place with murals and framed paintings by local artists on the wall, pot plants, fresh coffee and ice cream, homemade cakes and a menu featuring Western staples such as pizza and hamburgers. Her inspiration came from seeing her children struggle to settle into their new home and wanting to provide something familiar from "our other home", as she calls London.

"A lot of children from the diaspora, my own included, suffer in the sense that where do you get pizzas, burgers, ravioli with cheese?" she said.

Ms Hussein's oldest son, Mohamed, 23, refused to leave London but her 26-year-old daughter Sagal (whom everyone calls Sage) and younger sons Guled, 19, and Gabriel, 5, moved with her. Sage and Guled work at the cafe and at Ms Hussein's shop across the road, which stocks imported clothes, accessories, make-up and perfume.

The move has not been easy. "Even though I'm from here, I'm also from London, so the way things are here I didn't expect it, it was a total culture shock," said Guled, who understands but cannot speak Somali.

In London he was a skater riding the concrete ramps and slopes of Cantelowes Skatepark in Camden. "Here everything is dust. You can't skate on dust," he said.

Ms Hussein said that she missed public parks, running water and reliable electricity. She has had to work hard to indulge what she calls her passions -- food and fashion.

At her cafe and shop, customers are mostly from the diaspora. They sit at tables chatting in British and American accents and sharing slices of homemade carrot cake. The women who buy designer jeans from Ms Hussein's shop hide them beneath long abayas. "It's difficult because it's an Islamic country, there's a very thin line and you can easily make a mistake," she said.


Corrupt Commission Pushes Somaliland to the Brink of Political and Security Crisis

Published On: November, 17 2012.http://sunatimes.com/view.php?id=2367. Author: Mohamed A. Abdullahi.October 2012, Hargeisa

The looming political crisis has started in June 2010 when the National Electoral Commission (NEC) literally high-jacked and railroaded the presidential elections in favor of the KULMIYE Party. Motivated by self-interest and perhaps by clan-allegiance, the NEC members hastily conducted the elections with the help of the Somaliland Military Forces who provided them with unconstitutional protection from the local authorities, and so as to enforce their manipulation of the election process.

1.Introduction

As seemingly eternal conflicts and unrelenting insecurity engulfed central and southern regions of Somalia for more than 2 decades, Somaliland has been enjoying relative peace and stability since 1998. Despite the deeply clan-segmented nature of its population, Somaliland managed to survive under weak administration and has successfully conducted 2 presidential elections in 2003 and 2010, one local government election in 2002 and one parliamentary election in 2005. However, many political observers are very concerned about the ominous signals and rising tensions that are emanating from the upcoming local council elections scheduled for 28/11/2012. Those concerns are real because all the ingredients of clan-based violence are vividly present on the ground. To see the big picture and realize the threat that is hovering over the peace and stability in Somaliland due the upcoming elections, we have to consider what had transpired in the political landscape of Somaliland since 2010 and reflect on the chronology of the events that took place.

2.The Salient Causes of the Imminent Crisis

The looming political crisis has started in June 2010 when the National Electoral Commission (NEC) literally high-jacked and railroaded the presidential elections in favor of the KULMIYE Party. Motivated by self-interest and perhaps by clan-allegiance, the NEC members hastily conducted the elections with the help of the Somaliland Military Forces who provided them with unconstitutional protection from the local authorities, and so as to enforce their manipulation of the election process. Consequently, some prominent high officials of the newly elected administration high officials consolidated their powers to form a clan dominated government that has close relationship with the supposedly independent National Electoral Commission. This created an atmosphere for gang mentality and a link of favoritism between the high profile government officials and the NEC. With their buddies in power, the greed and money-grubbing activities of the NEC members quickly grew exponentially. They discharged the institutional professional employees without pay and without severance packages in order to save the salaries for diversion. As a glaring example of the prevailing get-rich-quick scheme, the NEC signed a contract in 2010 with a local construction company to execute the construction of the institution’s new multi-storey building without tender. Amazingly, the Commission Chairman hired himself as the consulting engineer for the project with the mandate to supervise and monitor the progress of the construction works!

Secondly, the new administration in collaboration with the NEC enacted a new election laws to replace the long standing three party monopoly system. The new laws were intended to open up the political arena and allow new political organizations to be formed and compete in the local government elections. In the new legislation, 3 political parties will come out after the local government elections and would subsequently compete for the parliamentarian and presidential elections for the coming 10 years. Unfortunately, the political party of the former president (UDUB) who gracefully handed the power to the current administration in 2010 was systematically eliminated in the process. Now, we have 5 new political organizations (ururo) and two former political parties (UCID and KULMIYE) to compete for seats in the local councils throughout the districts of the country. But none of the competing 7 political organizations has broad based support and wide spectrum of membership across all the regions. In reality, they are nothing more than 7 clans gathering under 7 different flags and the members of each clan are bracing to do everything, including armed violence to protect the interests and the prestige of their clan. This is the recipe for stirring tension between the adjacent clans who traditionally contend for the limited resources available in their respective localities. Undoubtedly, these conditions can lead to the eruption of armed confrontation with the possibility of immersing Somaliland into renewed clan-oriented combat and eventual turmoil.

To exasperate the situation, the members of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) have already demonstrated their lust for corruption and their moral decay to the public and to the international community. They have recently awarded 3 profitable service contracts in relation to the upcoming elections (Supply of Stationary, Voter Education and Transportation of Election Materials and Staff) to local companies and they failed to comply with the standards of fair tendering process in all the cases. Shamefully, the NEC has awarded all the contracts to some companies and individuals that would repay them in the form of political leverage and financial gain, disregarding the local tender laws, procedures of donor institutions, and the image of the institution in terms of public trust. Therefore, if the National Electoral Commission has corrupted the tender of all the service contracts in the open, we can certainly come to the conclusion that they will not hold free and fair elections. As they did before, they are likely to use fraudulent scam to manipulate the votes in exchange of cash payments or clan implications.

In fact, the NEC has already published the locations of the polling stations along with new number of ballot boxes for each polling station. The new numbers are substantially different from the numbers of registrants in the latest voter registration, indicating clan disparity. According to the NEC officials, the number of ballot boxes and ballot papers allotted for each polling station is based on the number of persons voted in the latest presidential elections. This has reaffirmed the suspicions of some clans who immediately boycotted the elections. They reasonably feel that the NEC is punishing them for not voting for the president in the last election.

3.Conclusion and Recommendations

The potential emergence of armed conflict and possibility of sudden flare up of fighting can be avoided with the implementation of effective counter measures. Apparently, the responsibility for the continuation of the relative peace and stability that has been prevailing in Somaliland rests with the elected president of Somaliland. But I will take a shot and make my humble suggestions as follows:

1. Dismissal of the entire commission and replacing them with carefully selected members. The selection should be based on education, integrity, and high moral values instead of loyalty. This society has thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of competent and honest intellectuals but the politicians always look elsewhere. Now is the time to utilize them and let them make contributions to the social wellbeing of their country.

2. Delaying the election of the local councils and allowing the new NEC to set another schedule. Delaying the election may annoy some ambitious politicians and their supporters. But the alternative is to let 7 clans masked as political parties to clash under the supervision of irresponsible and unreliable commission.

3. The Somaliland government in collaboration with the international donors can engage an open dialogue with the leadership of the 7 competing political organizations/parties in an effort to make coalitions and forge the formation of fewer political organizations that have broad based support across the regions. A real political party should accommodate members of all the clans and its membership must include citizens of every region in Somaliland, with particularly attention on the minority clans and citizens from the clans on the west and east borders of the country.

In conclusion, we have to wait and see whether President Silaanyo has the courage and the political will to sack his NEC and save the nation from backtracking to 1994. More importantly, if the European Union and other donors keep pouring substantial financial resources into the National Electoral Commission without monitoring and continue watching the development of events on the sidelines, the aid that was intended to promote democracy may stimulate and set off the beginning of dangerous warfare and foster lawlessness in Somaliland.


Crime up 30% in Somaliland, police pledge to increase force

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa. November 13, 2012

Somaliland is experiencing a significant uptick in crime, with about 5,000 more crimes reported in the past year than in the previous 12 months, according to an annual police report released this month.

Police officers patrol in Hargeisa in 2010. With crime up 30% in the past year, local officials have pledged to increase the police force. [Barkhad Dahir/Sabahi]

"There have been 18,989 reported crimes [from November 2011 to October 2012], of which 4,514 were prosecuted in court while 7,990 were resolved using mediation," said Mohamed Duale, operations chief of Somaliland police. He said 2,963 cases were dismissed and 3,522 are still under investigation, 1,500 of which were in Hargeisa.

Duale presented the police force's annual report on November 3rd at a ceremony held at police headquarters in Hargeisa commemorating the 19th anniversary of the force's formation.

He said the number of crimes reported in the past year has increased 30%, up from 14,506 during the previous 12 months.

Duale said common crimes in Somaliland include assault, gang violence, rape, robbery, theft, embezzlement and murder. There were 77 murder cases in the past year, Duale said, adding that police arrested 70 suspects in the deaths of 79 people, while nine suspects have evaded arrest.

The number of rape cases dropped by 26% in the same period (131 compared to 176 in the 2011 reporting period). Duale said 150 of the 162 accused rapists have appeared in court.

Car accidents as a result of traffic violations also went down by 105 cases in the past year, with 2,875 accidents resulting in 150 deaths and 1,440 people injured.

Somaliland police confiscated 20,045 litres of alcohol smuggled into the country to be sold on the black market, Duale said, adding that the region has experienced an influx of drugs smuggled in from neighbouring countries.

Police also seized counterfeit currency in the amounts of $10,250 and 2,700 Somaliland shillings, and arrested 14 suspects in connection to the crime, he said.

Statistics do not show full picture

Despite the high number of recorded crimes, retired police officer Obsiye Haji Abukar said the statistics do not give the full picture. "There may be other crimes that are not investigated by the police or are not reported to them, especially in rural areas," he told Sabahi.

Mohamed Abdullahi Odowa, director of the Observatory of Conflict and Violence Prevention (OCVP), a Hargeisa-based agency that monitors conflict and the prevention of violence, said Somaliland needs more police.

"The police force has to increase to meet the population increase and the expansion of cities," Odowa told Sabahi. He said poor education and high unemployment among youth, who are particularly at risk of criminal behaviour, are some of the underlying causes behind the spike in crime.

"If the problem is coming from the youth, rehabilitation programmes should be created for them such as keeping them busy with educational and sports activities and creating youth recreational centres," Odowa said.

In September, OCVP released a report on a study conducted in several cities, including Burao, Las Anod, Bosaso and Mogadishu, that recommended public engagement through community policing.

"Community policing groups will have to be registered with the local police and will help authorities provide coverage in underserved areas," Odowa said. "[Community policing groups] should be trained and the police should provide oversight and have open communication."

Curbing crime and strengthening peace

Somaliland Minister of Interior Affairs Mohamed Nur Arale reiterated the importance of communication between police and the public at the police force's anniversary ceremony.

"Somaliland does have enemies, but it is highly stable," Arale said. "Any [danger that] exists can be overcome by co-operation between the police and the public."

The administration plans to increase its efforts to strengthen and increase the police force, he said.

This year saw the highest number of high school graduate recruits with 365 young men trained at Mandera Police Training Academy, according to Arale. "Currently, 150 women are in training to fulfil their role in peace maintenance efforts," he said.

Police are ready to fulfil their obligations day and night so the public can live in peace and stability, said Somaliland Police Chief Abdullahi Fadal Iman.

"The police currently operate in 75 stations and 91 substations throughout the regions of Somaliland," Iman said.

He said that this year the police destroyed 4,150 explosive devices and held public awareness rallies about peace attended by about 25,000 citizens.

http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2012/11/13/feature-02


Somaliland gets fibre-through-the-air connectivity

November 13, 2012 Written by Dawinderpal Sahota

Somaliland’s Somcable is deploying FTTA access offering download speeds of up to 100MBps

In a bid to provide high speed broadband access to a million people in the regional market of Somaliland, Somcable has struck a deal worth over $3m to offer high speed access to subscribers, using fibre-through-the-air (FTTA) technology. Somcable, traditionally a wholesale backbone operator deploying fibre across Africa, has moved into the market of providing network access to consumers as a result of the deal. The firm is using a multi-gigabit wireless solutions provider Bluwan’s FTTA technology for the last mile of connectivity, providing download speeds of up to 100Mbps. It is using LTE technology to provide upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.

“Previously in Somaliland, internet speeds were very slow. Most people in the country could only use the internet during the daytime, quite often at peak times the whole system would just shut down,” explained Michael Cothill, Somcable CEO. “There was around 400Mbits throughput and providing this to a sizeable population was a challenge; the average person was experiencing speeds of around 64Kbps.”

To provide broadband services to the market, fibre-optic cables are laid from the Northern region of Africa to nearby Djibouti. Deploying fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) access to customers in Somaliland from there presented a real struggle, as roads in the region are not constructed in a way that allows infrastructure providers to deploy a full fibre grid. Therefore Somcable had to look at an alternative technology to provide access speeds that made the most of fibre technology.

The Bluwan FTTA Access solution uses line of sight technology in the 12GHz spectrum. It is comprised of small outdoor antennas that receive wireless broadband transmissions from a central transmission hub. The solution will be delivered and integrated by Globecomm Systems, a global provider of managed network communication solutions. The solution beams microwaves from the transmission hub wirelessly to antennae on the rooftops of premises, and then uses a cable connection from the antenna into the home through a Bluwan box. The Bluwan box delivers wifi and LAN connectivity within the home and also carries and native satellite TV signals, which can also be redirected to a satellite TV set top box.

Each transmission hub is able to provide up to 8Gbps throughput in a 360-degree 5km radius, delivering average constant speeds of 2Mbps, peaking at speeds of 100Mbps to thousands of consumers. This allows consumers to experience advanced broadband applications such as HDTV. Business users will also benefit from the broadband services by being able to work from home, use cloud applications, and exploit ecommerce and video conferencing opportunities, Somcable said. “We have set a target to provide one million subscribers with access to high-speed broadband by 2015, to help move Somaliland into the knowledge-based economy,” said Cothill. “The lack of high-capacity backbone networks in the Horn of Africa means that wireless technologies are an important part of our strategy.”

The delivery of next generation broadband in Somaliland will mean that the market surpasses many other countries and regions in Africa and many places in the world, added Shayan Sanyal, chief commercial officer at Bluwan.

http://www.telecoms.com/52808/somaliland-gets-fibre-through-the-air-connectivity/


Somaliland's electoral commission warns against violations of poll rules

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 12 Nov 2012.Text of report in English by Somali newspaper The Somaliland Times website on 12 November

The Committee that ensures adherence to the election code of conduct has warned political parties in Maroodi Jeeh about their violations of election regulations that could also hurt law and order.

Sheikh Abdiqair Arab Warsame (Sheikh Jabir) told Haatuf Newspaper about the concerns that the Code of Conduct Committee has about the way political parties have been campaigning. More specifically, Sheikh Abdiqair Arab Warsame warned political groups about the practice of mounting loudspeakers on automobiles then driving around town with incendiary music blaring from those loudspeakers which could result in conflict. He also raised objections to allowing youngsters on top of vehicles. Furthermore, he urged political groups not to play political music at night when people are asleep and to stay away from schools and hospitals.

Credit: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 3 Nov 12.The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 3 Nov 12/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC


Somaliland's media organizations sign code of conduct for local election

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 12 Nov 2012. Text of report in English by Somali newspaper The Somaliland Times website on 12 November

Media organizations in Somaliland signed a code of conduct that they will follow during the local government elections.

The signing took place after a great deal of discussion at Hargeysa's Mansoor Hotel and was attended by the Head of Somaliland's Election Commission, Isse Hamari, the Director General of the Ministry of Information Abdirashid Jibril, and the media organizations SOLJA, SSJW, WIJA, and USJ.

The code of conduct is also expected to make it easier for the media and the Election Commission to do their jobs during the election.

Credit: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 12 Nov 12.The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 3 Nov 12/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC


Somaliland: A country that does not exist

Written by Indepth Africa. Nov 12, 2012

From as far back as the 1960’s, the people of Northern Somalia (Somaliland) have always felt marginalised by the rest of Somalia, preferably South-Central Somalia. Some would say it’s because South-Central Somalia had the more dominant tribe of Somalia, Hawiye for example. But that’s not completely true.

Back in the 1960’s tribes were not as influential and important as they are in the 1980s-present. Them days, Somali people respected one another and used tribe in a more positive light, looking back at the past clan leaders and relating with one another, not competing. Under the rule of Aden Abdulle Osman Daar, people of Somalia, even Northern Somalia were relatively happy and didn’t have much to complain about. He, the first president of Somalia Republic, somehow persuaded the British Protectorate, Somaliland to join in with the rest of Somalia in becoming one republic, and they did join.

Many people now regret it, but they cannot go back in time and change things. Siad Barre and his regime did terrible things to the people of North Somalia (Somaliland) and this is something the International community needs to reflect on when Somaliland ask for their recognition. You cannot refuse Somaliland’s recognition because they think it’s all about tribes and clans, it’s much more than that and only the people of Somaliland will know. Northern Somali’s have always been regarded as the outsiders to Southerners and it has been well reflected during Siad Barre’s reign as Somalia president.

From as early as the 1960’s Southern Somali’s always felt indifferent to Northern Somali’s and this has had its toll. You only have to look at Hargeisa and Mogadishu in the 1970s-mid 80s and you can pretty much see what I am on about. Even though Hargeisa was the second capital, just because of its size, it wasn’t as well established as Mogadishu. Then-president Siad Barre literally isolated Northern Somalia during his reign; refusing investors to build beautiful structured buildings in Hargeisa, Burco, Berbera etc… it came to a point where Northern Somali people were denied permission by the government to build brand new structured houses on their own land. This infuriated many Northern Somali’s but there is nothing they could really do.

The international community believes Somaliland and Somalia need to discuss things, work on getting back together and sorting the relationship between North and South, but it’s not that simple. Somalilanders will not ever forget the past and that’s very understandable, considering around 50,000 Somalilanders were killed by Faqaah soldiers on Siad Barre’s orders. Somalilanders believe that the people from the South (Mogadishu, Hiiran, Gedo etc…) didn’t do anything to stop what Siad Barre was doing; it comes to a point where people from the South supported what Siad Barre was doing against Isaaq people. There are some people from the South who stood up against what Siad Barre was doing, and they as well as many Isaaq’s were killed (Hawiye and some Warsangali’s) but his war against Hawiye and Warsangali is a different case also. People from South Somalia seem so bitter towards many Somalilanders for breaking free, but little do they understand what they had to go through. The torture and massacre, it was mass-genocide.

Since all this pain and destruction to the people of Somaliland ended, 1991, they have been pleading for international recognition and independence from Somalia. They have already broke away from Somalia and have a self declared government, but they have not won the international recognition and are unfortunately still looked at as Somalia, a territory within it. They have their own currency, government and president. Even though they haven’t yet been recognised, their people are the core of its country, working together to make everything possible. Then you look at neighbouring country Somalia who is yet to have a stable government since 1991, and terrorism on another scale, as well as piracy.

Somaliland allows people from South Somalia who seek asylum to come to Somaliland and refuge until things get better back home for them. The same way Britain and America offered Somali people asylum when war broke loose in Somalia. Yet the people of Somalia will not allow Somaliland to be independent from them. The people of Somaliland hold little bitterness towards people of Somalia, yet the people of Somalia, who pretty much went through half of what Somalilanders went through feel they have the right to believe Somalilanders did something wrong to them. There is no reason at all for Somalia to refuse Somaliland independence.

Somaliland had one of the most peaceful elections in 1st July, 2010 which gave the whole world an indication that Somaliland deserves its recognition. Somaliland has established itself as a beacon of peace in the whole of Africa, much of the western world has said many countries need to take example from Somaliland, a country that isn’t even recognised. Somaliland has also been entering the world of business and recently agreed a deal with a Turkish firm worth to be around $40 million. All you have to do is congratulate the people of this country and award them with international recognition for such achievements. From being part of Somalia and being so isolated, to becoming independent, rebuilding the cities that were demolished by Siad Barre, having peaceful presidential elections, having a stable government and tying deals with international businesses worth around $40 million is a transformation that would take some countries maybe 50 years, but all this was done in 21 years. That is probably one of the best news you would hear coming out of Africa in the last 50 years, yet they receive no international recognition.

Somalia and Somaliland’s history cannot be erased and that’s what the world needs to know before they want them to build relations again with Somalia and become one nation they once was, because that’s also history and should be left in the past. Somaliland’s people should be looked at as an example to all African countries and should be allowed what they deserve, recognition.

Allin Nuh

Photo: A Russian made mig fighter jet that was used in 1989 seen hanging in Hargeisa as a monument of reminder to the people of Somaliland of atrocities done by former dictator Muhamed Siad Barre, who was later toppled in 1991. (Photo credit should read SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images)


Stock exchange plan marks new chapter for Somalia

Written by African Business Review.Nov 10, 2012

As a new phase of investment and growth is heralded in by the Somali territories, the foundations are already being laid for the country to have its own stock exchange. The plans are welcomed and discussed here by Abdirashid Duale, the Chief Executive Officer of Dahabshill Group

Like many in the Somali business community, I was heartened to hear last month that the Somalia Stock Exchange Investment Corporation (SSE) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), laying the foundations for Somalia's first ever stock exchange.

This is a resounding endorsement of the Somali private sector’s past achievements and even greater future potential.

A well-functioning, formal stock market would boost investors’ confidence and help to drive business growth and job creation. While the Somali territories still have some way to go before it can become a reality, as a long term goal I think the idea of a national exchange is of great value.

The signatories to the MoU cited the example of existing bourses in East Africa, and stressed the Somali business sector is now strong enough to warrant from its own exchange. For now, the plan is for it to be located in Nairobi until conditions are favourable for the transfer of operations to Mogadishu.

The NSE’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Mwangi said the Kenyan exchange would be responsible for the technical development of the Somali bourse, providing expertise and identifying suitable partners.

Mwangi also pointed out the NSE’s central role in developing and integrating the region’s capital markets. Working with the East African Securities Exchange Association (EASEA), its aim has been to facilitate investment and distribute efficiency gains throughout East Africa’s growing economies.

Political unrest

We hear a great deal in the international media about political unrest in the Somali territories, and there is no doubt that this proposal raises important questions about whether the existing financial and legal infrastructures are ready for such a step.

But provided the economy continues to develop along with foundations for good governance, we should be optimistic about a formalised Somali market for securities.

I use the word ‘formalised’ because an informal market for shares, on which major companies’ stock is routinely traded, is already active.

The Somali people’s natural commercial flair, assisted by remittance income from the global diaspora, has enabled remarkable growth in several sectors despite the upheavals of the last two decades.

Livestock, money transfer, telecoms and, increasingly, energy have all seen the emergence of dynamic and competitive firms that have underpinned the resilience of the economy.

Our company, Dahabshiil Group, which spans money transfer, telecoms and import/export, is the largest private employer in the Somali territories and includes one of Africa’s largest remittance businesses – Dahabshill Money Transfer.

Somtel, a telecoms firm acquired by Dahabshiil in 2008, specialises in advanced mobile telecoms and mobile internet as well as high-speed broadband technology.

As a fast-growing firm within a burgeoning sector, Somtel is a company that we would consider floating on an official Somali exchange.

Capital gains

Before 1989, there were just eight stock exchanges in Africa – today there are 29. Market reforms have been a major factor in this development, as has the increasing integration of global capital markets.

To what extent liberalisation has benefited poorer African nations is the subject of debate, but there is strong evidence to suggest that capital markets can accelerate the growth of developing economies, and that they have had a positive impact in sub-Saharan Africa.

Functioning stock markets can be effective conduits for investment by mobilising savings and allocating them more efficiently. The higher the volume of trade, the more liquid a market is and the easier it is to sell shares.

Reaping the benefits

Due to the high costs of issuing and listing securities, the common experience of the less established African stock markets has been large firms reap the benefits while smaller firms find it harder to participate.

As a result, most of the newer exchanges list only a few large companies. Although returns have often been very good, many bourses – particularly those of the East African Community (EAC) member states – struggle with low market capitalisation and low liquidity.

Through the EASEA, the EAC countries have worked to overcome these difficulties via increased regional integration. With a 58-year history and over 60 listed firms, the NSE has been the main force behind this process.

Under its guidance, the exchanges of Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda have taken steps to align their regulatory and market infrastructures with Kenya’s in an effort to deepen East Africa’s capital markets and encourage investment.

Somalia, of course, is not an EAC member (although an application was made earlier this year) and the formation of a Somali exchange will present unique challenges.

But the fact that the NSE has committed itself to the project from the start is a positive sign. Like Nigeria and Johannesburg, Nairobi lies at the centre of a regional market and is the dominant force behind capital market integration in East Africa.

Provided they are part of that harmonising process, smaller exchanges can enjoy many of the benefits that follow – including increased trading efficiency and reduced barriers to cross-border financial flows – regardless of their countries’ membership status.

I am encouraged by assurances that the exchange will be open to all investors, local and international, and will serve as a bridge between Somalis and the rest of the world.

Changing landscape

It is this, ultimately, that will drive success in this venture. The Somali diaspora will play a crucial role in the proposed stock exchange. Diaspora investment accounts for around 80 percent of the start-up capital of Somali businesses and has been the main force behind 20 years of economic development.

The Somali territories are changing. A genuine proposal to form a stock exchange is a hugely positive step that feeds into that narrative.

Mogadishu, so often the focus of negative coverage, is entering a new phase: people are buying houses, industries are growing, and the number of visitors is rising.

If successful, the Somalia Stock Exchange would be a triumphant new chapter in that story and would do much to showcase the huge investment potential of the Somali territories.

My hope is that a vibrant and dynamic stock exchange will be operating on Somali soil in the not-too-distant future, promoting growth, jobs and opportunity for all Somalis, regardless of where they come from and wherever they live in the world.

Abdirashid Duale is CEO of Dahabshiil, the largest remittance company in the Horn of Africa and one of its largest private employers. He is rated as one of the 50 most influential Africans by the Africa Report. For further information please visit www.dahabshiil.com.


Somaliland Immigration Department Headquarters Opens

Posted on Tue, Nov-06-2012. http://www.iom.int/cms/en/sites/iom/home/news-and-views/press-briefing-notes/pbn-2012/pbn-listing/somaliland-immigration-departmen.html

Somalia - IOM has inaugurated a newly-constructed Somaliland Immigration Department Headquarters building in the capital Hargeisa. The opening ceremony was attended by senior government officials led by the President of Somaliland, H.E. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Siilaanyo).

The project will enable the Administration of the Somaliland Department of Immigration to better deliver integrated border management services.

The USD 250,000 building, which was funded by the Government of Japan, will also house a central database for a passport registration and data collection system. The system, known as the Personal Identification and Registration System (PIRS), was installed by IOM.

Mr. Atsushi Yonezawa, First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Nairobi said: “Japan is ready to contribute to the nation building of Somalia, working with all the partners including the newly established Federal Government, Somaliland and Puntland, who are willing to make concerted efforts for the future of the Somali people. It is our wish, that the recent political developments in Mogadishu will lead to peace, stabilization, reconstruction and human security - in short, a better future for the whole of Somalia.”

IOM has been working with the Somaliland authorities to improve essential migration management capacities through practical training of hundreds of immigration, security and civil aviation officers, provision of equipment and IT systems for passenger inspections and the rehabilitation of four selected ports-of-entry, including Hargeisa, Wajale, Borama and Berbera.

The Somaliland Immigration Department was also provided with five base stations and repeaters, as well as 48 VHF radio handsets, to secure communication between Immigration Headquarters in Hargeisa and major ports-of-entry. Walkthrough and hand-held metal detectors and new uniforms for 100 immigration staff were also provided.

Apart from the capacity building for migration management initiatives in Somaliland, which form part of an overall USD 6 million dollar programme funded by the Government of Japan, IOM has also provided similar assistance to important key ports-of-entry in all three regions of the country.

The porous border situation seriously affects ordinary Somalis and thousands of migrants as it allows for trans-national crime, including trafficking and smuggling of human beings, smuggling of goods, arms trafficking and terrorism.

For more information please contact: Simona Opitz, IOM Nairobi, Tel: +254 738561175, Email: sopitz@iom.int


New transmitter allows Radio Hargeisa to be heard worldwide

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa. November 08, 2012. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2012/11/08/feature-02

Radio Hargeisa can now be heard across Somalia and beyond after the station acquired a shortwave radio transmitter with a 100-kilowatt capacity.

Radio Hargeisa was the first radio station established in Somalia, broadcasting its programmes since 1944. [Barkhad Dahir/Sabahi]

Radio Hargeisa broadcasts in Somali, English and Amharic ten hours per day. [Barkhad Dahir/Sabahi]

The government-owned radio station, which was established in 1944, was the first radio station in Somalia. It was badly damaged in the late 1980s but was rebuilt in 1992 after the collapse of the Somali central government.

For the past 20 years, the radio station has operated on an FM frequency with a broadcasting capacity limited to Hargeisa. But now that has changed.

"The new radio transmitter, which has a capacity of 100 kilowatts, was officially opened on October 18th, and that has for the first time enabled Radio Hargeisa to be heard all over the world," station director Said Aden Egeh told Sabahi.

The older transmitter had a radius of only 40 kilometres, whereas the new antenna can reach audiences worldwide if the right frequency is used, he said.

Hargeisa-based Brothers Trading Company was issued the contract to import the new radio transmission equipment, according to Somaliland Ministry of Information Director General Abdirashid Jibril Yusuf.

The equipment was purchased from and installed by BBEF, a Chinese technology company, at a cost of about $1.4 million to the Somaliland administration, Yusuf told Sabahi. Importing and installing the equipment began in April and took about six months to complete.

"For more than ten years, the government has wanted to complete this task, and we are happy that we finally reached our goal," Yusuf said.

Resource for citizens

"People [outside of the city] can for the first time listen to the sound of Radio Hargeisa," Egeh said. "That will give them an opportunity to listen to the news, announcements, programmes and also the entertainment we broadcast."

Egeh said the new radio transmitter is important to help citizens stay informed about the laws, announcements, decrees and services of the regional government. The radio station broadcasts in Somali, English and Amharic ten hours per day.

As preparations are under way for Somaliland local council elections, the station's expanded reach is important so that citizens can keep up with political campaigns, he said.

Egeh said the radio station tries to be neutral in its coverage of political parties and candidates. "We have allocated equal time for the political parties so they can inform the public on their political agendas," he said.

The government-owned radio station is the only radio station currently operating in Hargeisa.

Ibrahim Ahmed Shine, a 30-year veteran technician of Radio Hargeisa, said the government has not done enough to allow private radio stations to enter the market.

He said the ruling party Kulmiye promised in the 2010 election campaign to allow the opening of independent stations, but it has not kept that promise, even though private radio stations are proliferating in the rest of Somalia.

"The law permits their opening, but the government refuses to issue independent radio station licences," he told Sabahi.


Turkish Firm to Drill for Oil in Somaliland

Written by VOA News. Nov 07, 2012

A Turkish company says it will explore for oil in the breakaway republic of Somaliland beginning next year.

Tony Hayward, the CEO of Genel Energy, met with Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo in Hargeisa on Tuesday to finalize the deal.

Speaking to reporters, Hayward outlined the company's plans.

"Through the course of next year we will conduct a major series of seismic programs, investing some $40 million, and we have a plan to drill the first well in the heart of the country in the middle of 2014," he said.

Hayward, a former chief of the British oil company BP, resigned after the huge of Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. His venture firm merged with Genel last year.

Somaliland is not recognized by any other nation but has enjoyed relative peace and stability compared to Somalia, from which it broke away in 1991.

At least two other oil firms, Australia-based Jacka Resources and British-based Ophir Energy, have said they will explore for oil Somaliland.


Somalia floods displace thousands in Somaliland

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 06 Nov 2012. Text of report by Nairobi-based online news service of UN regional information network IRIN on 2 November. [Unattributed report: "Somalia: Floods Displace Thousands in Somaliland"]

Heavy rains have displaced thousands of people in the mid-eastern regions of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, says a senior official.

"More than 3,000 to 4,000 families in nine villages of Togdheer Region displaced by heavy rains last Friday [ 26 October ] need immediate assistance," Abdo Aayir Osman, the governor of Togdheer Region, told IRIN by telephone from the regional capital Burao. He added that at least three people had died after their homes flooded.

The floodwaters have also damaged foodstuffs in stores in Qori-Lugud District and areas such as Daba-Qabad, Tallo Buuro, Bali-Alanle and Gubato. Some 7,000 to 9,000 heads of livestock drowned, Osman said.

The chairman of Somaliland's Environment Research and Disaster Preparedness and Management Authority, Mohamed Moussa Awale, however, estimated a lower number of displaced families: about 600 families in the regions of Sahil and Togdheer. In Sahil Region's capital Berbera, several old buildings collapsed, and some traditional Somali huts were also destroyed, Awale said, noting that Somaliland's Red Crescent Society had distributed tents to the affected people there.

Qori-Lugud mayor Said Mohamoud Sheikh Abdi told IRIN that most of the houses in the district were destroyed after a water storage dam there was breached, flooding settlements from 26 to 27 October. Floodwaters reached about two feet above the ground level.

About 2,800 people there are now in need of shelter, food and non-food items, according to the district's officials.

The eastern and mid-western regions of Somaliland have received erratic rains in past couple of years. "It is the first time such rains [have been] received in the last 12 years," said Mayor Abdi.

Nimo Mohamoud Mohame, a mother of nine, was among those whose families have been forced out by the flooding. "After several hours of rain, our house [a traditional Somali hut] was filled with water, and we sought refuge near the near hills," she said. "Now we are at a hill called Bali-Hassan [ 5km north of Qori-Lugud], and we need food, shelter and household items because all of our households were [destroyed] by the floods."

Officials are also concerned about possible outbreaks of waterborne disease. "[A] number of toilets collapsed, and there is fear of the outbreak of cholera if we do not act now. The displaced need water chlorination, water pumps, plastic sheets, utensils, blankets and foodstuff," Omar Jama, chairman of the local NGO Taakul Somaliland Community, told IRIN.


Residential and commercial real estate booms in Hargeisa

By Keyse Yusuf in Hargeisa. November 05, 2012. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2012/11/05/feature-01

Situated behind Hargeisa's Freedom Square is the city's first ever housing subdivision where a team of builders is putting the final touches on 36 new multi-bedroom homes.

New commercial buildings are a common sight in Hargeisa's city centre. [Keyse Yusuf/Sabahi]

A housing subdivision of 36 homes is the first of its kind in Hargeisa. [Keyse Yusuf/Sabahi]

This housing venture is the latest among a number of residential and commercial properties popping up in Hargeisa and to a lesser extent in Burao, Borama and Berbera.

Data on the number of new houses and properties across Somaliland are hard to come by since the regional administration lacks a land ministry and a regularly updated land registry.

Nonetheless, Rabile Omar, director of land and planning at the Hargeisa Municipal Council, said in the past couple of years there has been a surge in the construction of both residential and commercial properties in the city.

"In the past nine months alone, the number of properties developed across the municipality has surpassed the number of properties developed in 2011 by 20%," Omar told Sabahi.

He said that due to increased demand for land, the municipality has in the past year expanded and created three new districts on the periphery of the city, bringing the total number of districts in Hargeisa to eight.

"The increase in construction of houses is across all districts," Omar said. "For instance, in Koodbur and Ahmed Dagah districts, 315 residential housing units were created in nine months, as well as 688 in Morodhi Jeh and Ga'an Libah districts."

Hassan Jama Yey, director of Lucky Star, a leading construction company in Somaliland, said most of the new construction has been concentrated in the city centre. More office buildings and retail shopping centres have been built in the past two years than at any other time in the city's history, he said.

"Hargeisa has not seen this before," he told Sabahi. "The demand for commercial buildings has increased and [orders] come with styles and specifications we are trying to meet."

Most of the property developers are Somaliland natives, while some are from the Somali diaspora taking advantage of the relative stability and real estate boom.

Hassan Ahmed Bahsaney, a Hargeisa-based developer who has been in business for more than two decades, said investors have enjoyed strong returns in Somaliland.

Residents who bought land immediately after the civil war have particularly benefited from the real estate boom because they had purchased below market cost, he said. "A [30 square metres] piece of land I bought for $300 in 1992 now is valued at $60,000," Bahsaney told Sabahi.

Lots now come at a high premium, especially in the city centre, where the limited supply has inspired developers to bid on old buildings that can be demolished and rebuilt, he said. "There is an old building in the city whose value two years ago was $600,000, but now I am told its asking price is $1,000,000," he said.

Attracting foreign investors

Despite the investment opportunities, many international investors remain hesitant to enter a market that has witnessed instability for so many years. But for local investors, construction is the safest and best proven way to make a profit, said real estate agent Nassir Hussein.

"You see we do not have Citibank or Barclays and the only safe venture for locals to invest in is land and property," he told Sabahi.

Ahmed Abdi, an economist who teaches at the University of Hargeisa, says Somaliland provides a multitude of opportunities for any foreign investor armed with the right information.

The region is blessed with natural resources such as coal and raw materials to make cement, yet the outside world is unaware of the substantial profit margins that could be gained, he said.

To woo investors, the government should publicise these opportunities and Somaliland's trade policies more aggressively, Abdi said.

"[For example], all cement currently used in Somaliland is imported from Asia and Middle East countries and it is becoming expensive because of the boom," Abdi told Sabahi. "If an investor revives the cement factory in Berbera, he will be guaranteed of recouping his investment and making profits because the demand for cement is so high and he will not face competition locally."

But Salad Abdi Ige, director general at the Ministry of Industries, said the administration has already embarked on a number of measures to attract investors, including targeted tax breaks.

"We have eased the process of obtaining licences to invest and all the paperwork involved," he told Sabahi. "We will also help the investor find land to build a factory."

He said the administration is targeting investors from the Middle East because of their geographical proximity, which can facilitate the transport of any needed equipment or labour force.

Ige said new foreign capital could help expedite the creation of new jobs and ease the unemployment rate, which is especially high among youth.


Somalia: Floods Displace Thousands in Somaliland

2 NOVEMBER 2012. http://allafrica.com/stories/201211021092.html

Hargeisa — Heavy rains have displaced thousands of people in the mid-eastern regions of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, says a senior official.

"More than 3,000 to 4,000 families in nine villages of Togdheer Region displaced by heavy rains last Friday [26 October ] need immediate assistance," Abdo Aayir Osman, the governor of Togdheer Region, told IRIN by telephone from the regional capital Burao. He added that at least three people had died after their homes flooded.

The floodwaters have also damaged foodstuffs in stores in Qori-Lugud District and areas such as Daba-Qabad, Tallo Buuro, Bali-Alanle and Gubato. Some 7,000 to 9,000 heads of livestock drowned, Osman said.

The chairman of Somaliland's Environment Research and Disaster Preparedness and Management Authority, Mohamed Moussa Awale, however, estimated a lower number of displaced families: about 600 families in the regions of Sahil and Togdheer.

In Sahil Region's capital Berbera, several old buildings collapsed, and some traditional Somali huts were also destroyed, Awale said, noting that Somaliland's Red Crescent Society had distributed tents to the affected people there.

Qori-Lugud mayor Said Mohamoud Sheikh Abdi told IRIN that most of the houses in the district were destroyed after a water storage dam there was breached, flooding settlements from 26 to 27 October. Floodwaters reached about two feet above the ground level.

About 2,800 people there are now in need of shelter, food and non-food items, according to the district's officials.

The eastern and mid-western regions of Somaliland have received erratic rains in past couple of years. "It is the first time such rains [have been] received in the last 12 years," said Mayor Abdi.

Nimo Mohamoud Mohame, a mother of nine, was among those whose families have been forced out by the flooding. "After several hours of rain, our house [a traditional Somali hut] was filled with water, and we sought refuge near the near hills," she said. "Now we are at a hill called Bali-Hassan [5km north of Qori-Lugud], and we need food, shelter and household items because all of our households were [destroyed] by the floods."

Officials are also concerned about possible outbreaks of waterborne disease. "[A] number of toilets collapsed, and there is fear of the outbreak of cholera if we do not act now. The displaced need water chlorination, water pumps, plastic sheets, utensils, blankets and foodstuff," Omar Jama, chairman of the local NGO Taakul Somaliland Community, told IRIN.


Progressio to lead observation mission during Somalia elections

Nov 1, 2012, http://www.indcatholicnews.com/news.php?viewStory=21346

Progressio, DPU and Somaliland Focus to lead international observation mission to Somaliland's district and council elections scheduled for 28 November 2012

International development agency Progressio, the Development Planning Unit at UCL and Somaliland Focus (UK) are pleased to, once again, contribute to the building of a stable system of democracy in the Horn of Africa.

The three organisations have been invited by Somaliland's National Electoral Commission (NEC) to act as coordinators of the international observation mission to the district and council elections in the internationally-unrecognised Republic of Somaliland.

Voting has been set for 28 November 2012.

The mission's leaders will arrive in Hargeisa in early November, with the full team to be in place a fortnight before polling day. The mission will follow up with a post-poll interim report to the NEC and donors, with the final report to follow in early 2013.

The invitation follows previous missions to the parliamentary elections in 2005 and the presidential election in 2010. As in 2010, the mission will be led by Dr Steve Kibble (of Progressio) and Dr Michael Walls (of UCL). The mission is funded by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID).

In issuing the invitation, Eng. Essa Yusuf Mohamed, the NEC's chair, said: "Somaliland has long demonstrated a commitment to the consolidation of the democracy which has been in place since 1991. We welcome a diverse range of international observers." The mission shares this commitment, and observers will come from a wide range of countries and backgrounds.

Despite earlier concerns that the scheduled date left little time for effective preparations, the high level of commitment on the ground means the date is likely to stand. With seven political parties contesting the polls (as opposed to the three which previously participated) and a vast field of candidates, this poll presents additional logistical challenges to those faced in 2005 and 2010.

As with previous polls, this one takes place against a tense background, with fears that radical elements could attempt to disrupt the voting process. Delays in getting the voting process going and disputes over which political parties are permitted to participate have sharpened tensions among local stakeholders. Changes to rules mean the poll is likely to see increased participation by younger Somalilanders and women, both as voters and candidates: while these are positive developments, they are likely to test established social structures.

While there remain outstanding logistical issues to be resolved around the mission, especially around the security of observers, the team is confident these will be resolved speedily. Dr Michael Walls said: "These elections are an important next step in the institutionalisation of a system that brings together representative democratic institutions with traditional social organisational structures. Not only will they decide the personnel who will be responsible for municipal councils in the coming years, but they will determine the three political parties who will contest parliamentary and presidential elections for the next decade."

He continued: "Somaliland has established a remarkable record of peaceful elections, and that record is attracting ever greater levels of interest from governments and investors internationally. Successful 2012 local elections will provide another substantial milestone on that path."


Somalia: Government of Somaliland Announces New Phase of Extensive Hydrocarbons Exploration Activities

31 OCTOBER 2012

Somaliland Government (Somalia) PRESS RELEASE. http://allafrica.com/stories/201210311136.html

Hargeisa — Hussein Abdi Dualeh, the Minister of Mining, Energy and Water Resources, will today announce that exploration and production companies operating in Somaliland - Genel Energy, Ophir Energy and Jacka Resources - will soon start extensive exploration activities. These will include the acquisition of high-resolution airborne gravity and magnetic, and/or 2D seismic data on their respective concessions.

Furthermore, the Ministry is announcing the offering of open acreage for exploration covering both onshore and offshore blocks. The Ministry will initiate an Open Door Policy for petroleum investment in Somaliland.

Speaking at the 19th Africa Upstream Conference in Cape Town, Hussein Abdi Dualeh, the Minister of Mining, Energy and Water Resources, says:

“International exploration and production companies are taking their activities in Somaliland to a decisive next stage, operating on a scale not seen since the country regained its independence 21 years ago.

“At the same time, the Government is initiating a new ‘Open Door Policy’ to potential energy investors in the country. These are exciting times for Somaliland, and the Government is sending a clear message that we are open for business.”

Somaliland presents an unusual opportunity to discover proven exploration concepts, where key elements for generation and entrapment of hydrocarbon are present in a variety of geological settings. A working petroleum system is known to be present within Mesozoic to Tertiary sedimentary section.


Somalia: Somaliland Set to Drill for Oil by 2014

BY ELEANOR WHITEHEAD, 31 OCTOBER 2012. http://allafrica.com/stories/201211010363.html

The unrecognised nation of Somaliland starts major oil exploration by next year, minister says

Three oil companies are set to begin exploration in Somaliland, making it possible that the break-away state will drill its first well as early as 2014, oil minister Hussein Abdi Dualeh says.

Australia-based Jacka Resources, London-listed Ophir Energy, and Genel Energy, which is headed by former BP chief executive Tony Hayward, will all start extensive exploration activities by early next year.

"There was very low activity for years and now three groups are starting a major exploration programme all at once. 2013 is going to be a big year for us, ushering in the biggest exploration programme that this country has seen in the past 21 years," Mr Dualeh told This is Africa in a telephone interview. "By 2014 we are hoping to drill our first exploratory well," he added.

Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991 when the central government collapsed, is not internationally recognised as a country, despite operating its own political system, government institutions, and currency. However, investors have been attracted by the country's geology and a string of hydrocarbon discoveries across East Africa.

"The geology is very similar to that of Yemen, and Yemen has proven reserves of between 7bn and 9bn barrels, depending on who you listen to," Mr Dualeh explains. "We have early indications that there are working petroleum systems present in Somaliland, it's just a matter of finding commercial quality."

The three oil groups operate seven blocks between them through the country's central and south-western regions. This is the first foray into Africa for Anglo-Turkish Genel Energy, which announced in August that it had the rights to two blocks in Somaliland, amongst others in Morocco and Côte d'Ivoire. "This is their first entrance into the African continent and they are starting big. They are investing almost $30m dollars [in Somaliland] next year," Mr Dualeh says, adding that the group's delegation, headed by the former BP boss Tony Hayward, will be visiting the country on November 6.

A spokesperson for Genel declined to comment on capital expenditure in Somaliland, but said that it will invest $400m in its African activity over three years.

Somaliland is looking to give out its remaining onshore and offshore blocks and is in negotiation with unnamed groups, while still courting new investors. "We have not yet closed any deals, but we are in talks with some," Mr Dualeh says. "We are looking for viable oil and gas companies that have a proven track record and the technical and financial capacity to deliver."

In the mining sector, unnamed private equity firms backed by Chinese, Korean and Indian investors are also developing coal, manganese and iron ore projects, he says: "We have several licenses that have been issued there are good prospects to start mining iron ore in the coming year."

Firms operating in unrecognised states encounter difficulties in the insurance sector. However, investors do not see a lot of above ground risk, Mr Dualeh argues. "We fully control the territory and have a working government. We've been a planning, governing country for 21 years, and we have gone through four democratically elected governments. We have very good access to markets, and a very conducive environment for investment."

East Africa is experiencing a resource bonanza. In March this year, Tullow Oil hit oil in the north-western Turkana region of Kenya, while global oil and gas producer BG Group announced a huge gas find inTanzania. Hydrocarbon fields have been discovered across Uganda and Mozambique. Somaliland's semi-autonomous neighbour Puntland has also been accelerating oil exploration. The Canadian firm Africa Oil began drilling two wells in January - Somalia's first in 21 years.


Somaliland: oil first, recognition later

Written by Financial Times. Oct 31, 2012 at 11:51 AM. http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2012/10/30/somaliland-oil-first-recognition-later/

It’s not a country recognised by anyone other than its own government, but that doesn’t seem to phase three oil companies scaling up exploration in Somaliland.

UK-listed Genel Energy and Ophir Energy, and Australia-listed Jacka Resources, are starting to explore for oil in earnest in the breakaway state, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991.

“We are embarking on the largest and most significant exploration this country has seen since it became independent 21 years ago,” oil minister Hussein Abdi Dualeh told beyondbrics from an oil conference in South Africa, hopeful the first drilling will start in 2014 following seismic surveys this year. “They are starting in a major way – it’s going to be a massive year.”

The three explorers cover seven blocks between them and Dualeh insists they have nothing to fear from old claims on some of the blocks issued under the former Mogadishu administration before it collapsed.

“The old companies from way back when Somalia was together have long gone. These contracts don’t last forever, they are long expired. I’m not worried they’ll have problems – I have no idea who had what,” says Dualeh. “We have had full control of the territory for 21 years. We have stability and access to the port – we have what any investor would like to have.”

Under the former Somalia regime, oil blocks were previously concessioned to Chevron, BP and Conoco before they declared force majeure more than 20 years ago when the state collapsed. A new donor-backed government in Mogadishu faces pressing concerns such as fighting al-Shabaab Islamist militants, holding off piracy and establishing a nationwide administration in the failed state.

The new explorers are no strangers to disputed and semi-autonomous states. UK’s FTSE-listed Ophir Energy, which owns 75 per cent of two Somaliland blocks, also has assets in western Sahara, while Turkey-based, London-listed Genel, which has 75 per cent of another two blocks, is developing assets in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and will start exploration in Somaliland in December.

Dualeh says about a third of 24 blocks – which cover the entire country – have so far been given out but that the prospects look good. Yemen, just across an expanse of water, has 9.8bn barrels and Kenya to the south has recently discovered likely commercial quantities of oil.

The self-declared state of Somaliland, internationally recognised as a semi-autonomous region, is agreeing individual contracts as it has yet to release its own petroleum code. The only existing code dates back to the days of unity.

“The geology is just very very exciting; the whole of east Africa has woken up and Somaliland is right at the spearhead of that,” says Mohammed Yusef, chairman and CEO of Petrosoma, whose 50/50 joint venture with Australia’s Jacka Resources will start the first aeromagnetic survey of their southern Odewayne blocks on Thursday. He says exploration is likely to run to $45-50m in the next two years. Yusef acquired the blocks in 2005 and spent years searching for co-investors to develop the acreage before agreeing a 50 per cent deal with Jacka Resources in March this year.

“What’s changed is that the investor sentiment is more positive. It’s not an accident that it’s an Australian company,” says Yusef “They went into Uganda against conventional wisdom and found the biggest monster in Lake Albert and that kicked off the whole east Africa oil revolution,” says Yusef of Jacka’s management team, who spearheaded exploration into Uganda’s oil potential, which has so far yielded reserves running to 3.5bn barrels.

“In Australia and Canada and to some extent in South Africa where they’re used to investing in natural resource investing in anything that makes sense and is viable, they can find money and they are quick to understand risk in places like Somaliland.”

Unlike other blocks, there are no former claimants on the 22,000 sq km of the Odewayne area licensed to Petrosoma and Jacka, which covers parts of three blocks.

“It’s like discovering an undervalued share. We’re not a fragile state any more after 21 years; we’re undeveloped but we’re a very, very resilient state. When the oil is discovered Berbera [the port] will be shipping oil rather than camels,” he adds.


Three UK based organisations to monitor Somaliland's district and council elections

(Source : Progressio) October 30, 2012

Press Release - Progressio, DPU and Somaliland Focus to lead international observation mission to Somaliland's district and council elections scheduled for 28 November 2012

International development agency Progressio, the Development Planning Unit at UCL and Somaliland Focus (UK) are pleased to, once again, contribute to the building of a stable system of democracy in the Horn of Africa.

The three organisations have been invited by Somaliland's National Electoral Commission (NEC) to act as coordinators of the international observation mission to the district and council elections in the internationally-unrecognised Republic of Somaliland. Voting has been set for 28 November 2012.

The mission's leaders will arrive in Hargeisa in early November, with the full team to be in place a fortnight before polling day. The mission will follow up with a post-poll interim report to the NEC and donors, with the final report to follow in early 2013.

The invitation follows previous missions to the parliamentary elections in 2005 and the presidential election in 2010. As in 2010, the mission will be led by Dr Steve Kibble (of Progressio) and Dr Michael Walls (of UCL). The mission is funded by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID).

In issuing the invitation, Eng. Essa Yusuf Mohamed, the NEC's chair, said "Somaliland has long demonstrated a commitment to the consolidation of the democracy which has been in place since 1991. We welcome a diverse range of international observers." The mission shares this commitment, and observers will come from a wide range of countries and backgrounds.

Despite earlier concerns that the scheduled date left little time for effective preparations, the high level of commitment on the ground means the date is likely to stand. With seven political parties contesting the polls (as opposed to the three which previously participated) and a vast field of candidates, this poll presents additional logistical challenges to those faced in 2005 and 2010.

As with previous polls, this one takes place against a tense background, with fears that radical elements could attempt to disrupt the voting process. Delays in getting the voting process going and disputes over which political parties are permitted to participate have sharpened tensions among local stakeholders. Changes to rules mean the poll is likely to see increased participation by younger Somalilanders and women, both as voters and candidates: while these are positive developments, they are likely to test established social structures.

While there remain outstanding logistical issues to be resolved around the mission, especially around the security of observers, the team is confident these will be resolved speedily. Dr Michael Walls said "These elections are an important next step in the institutionalisation of a system that brings together representative democratic institutions with traditional social organisational structures. Not only will they decide the personnel who will be responsible for municipal councils in the coming years, but they will determine the three political parties who will contest parliamentary and presidential elections for the next decade."

He continued, "Somaliland has established a remarkable record of peaceful elections, and that record is attracting ever greater levels of interest from governments and investors internationally. Successful 2012 local elections will provide another substantial milestone on that path."


Rebel Somali enclave sees drilling by 2014

By Ed Stoddard | Reuters – 30 Oct, 2012. http://uk.news.yahoo.com/rebel-somali-enclave-sees-drilling-2014-130916268.html

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - The break-away territory of Somaliland sees drilling for oil as possible by 2014 as three companies start exploration activities, the country's mining and energy minister said on Tuesday.

Hussein Abdi Dualeh told Reuters the three companies are Ophir Energy Plc, Australia-based Jacka Resources and Genel Energy, which is headed by former BP chief executive Tony Hayward.

Somaliand is not recognized internationally and declared independence from Somalia in 1991.

"Last year we were seen as a frontier because nothing was happening. But now the biggest exploration activities in 21 years are about to start," Dualeh told Reuters on the sidelines of an African oil conference organised by Global Pacific & Partners.

"We will be hosting Tony and his team on November 6. Ophir will have boots on the ground by December and Genel in February or March," he said.

He added that he expected drilling to commence by 2014.

The drilling and exploration at the moment will all be onshore.

The initial investments will be small change for the oil business and amount to tens of millions of dollars. But Somaliland will welcome the inflow as it has not had an easy time attracting investment.

Aside from the uncertainty that comes with its stateless status, the country is in a region known for piracy and lawlessness.

But the region is rapidly emerging as an exciting oil and gas province after discoveries in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique.

"In the oil business we don't care about politics, but about geology. Where ever the geology is good, we're here," Dualeh said.

He also said a Kenya-based private-equity firm backed by Chinese and Indian investors was developing iron ore and coal projects in its territory but he declined to name the company.

"We are hoping to start mining iron ore and coal in about 12 months time," he said. (Reporting by Ed Stoddard; editing by Jason Neely)


Turkish oil giant buys petrol license in Somaliland enclave

Today’s Zaman, 30 Oct, 2012

Turkish oil giant Genel Energy PLC announced on Monday that it had purchased a license to search for petrol in Somaliland, an enclave of Somalia that has been independent from the failed East African state since 1991.

The oil firm, which has extensive investments in semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, cited in a Monday press release “geographical similarities” between the breakaway territory and the nearby resource-rich Arab Peninsula. The bulletin suggested that Genel Energy would begin a survey of the self-declared enclave in the near future and projected that prospecting for oil and coal in the region would require one to one-and-a-half years.

Lacking international recognition, Somaliland nevertheless enjoys a degree of governance, security and economic development wholly absent in the broader Somalia, from which it declared independence in 1991.

Genel Energy PLC, which is owned by Turkish billionaires Mehmet Emin Karamehmet and Mehmet Sepil as well as British investors, said in the Monday announcement that it would draw on its experience drilling in northern Iraq as it launches its Somalia project. This year the company broadly expanded its presence in the northern Iraqi territory through the purchase of majority stakes in the Bina Bawi and Miran blocks, two of the region’s largest and potentially most valuable oilfields.

The company reports that the Somaliland license has secured it an area half as large as its holdings in northern Iraq. While it did not specify the extent of the investment it is planning in Somaliland, it suggested that the firm has roughly $1 billion in cash on hand for new investments.

The remote enclave has seen a flood of attention from international oil firms this year, with Australian oil firm Jacka Resources, London-listed company Ophir Energy, unlisted British Oil explorer Asante Oil and Jersey-registered Prime Resources signing survey deals with the Somaliland government this year. A World Bank report recently judged the region as sufficiently stable for private investment projects.

Genel Energy merged with British oil firm Vallares — a British venture owned by former British Petroleum (BP) CEO Tony Hayward and financier Nat Rothschild — in November 2011 and became Genel Energy PLC, the first and only Turkish firm that is traded on the London Stock Exchange. Aside from the seven oil exploration licenses it holds in northern Iraq and its newly acquired Somaliland license, it also has licenses to drill in the territorial waters of the Mediterranean island nation of Malta and in Ivory Coast.


Turkish oil firm Genel to explore in Somalia from 2013

Tue Oct 30, 2012. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/30/somalia-exploration-somaliland-idUSL5E8LUDPU20121030. By Kelly Gilblom

* Plans to drill 2 wells in Somaliland by 2015

* Company is moving forward despite political disputes

* Genel will spend $400 mln to drill 5 wells in Africa

NAIROBI, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Turkish oil and gas company Genel Energy Plc plans to conduct seismic work in northwestern Somalia early next year and drill its first well in the second quarter of 2014 and another well in 2015, company officials said.

The London-listed explorer said in August it had the rights to two blocks, Block 13 and Block 10B, in the country's semi-autonomous Somaliland region.

The area shares the same geological structure with oil producer Yemen and could have 1 billion barrels of oil, the company said. It plans to spend about $400 million drilling five wells in Africa overall over the next three years.

"Somaliland provides an exciting geological opportunity, and we look forward to starting work in the region," said company spokesperson Andrew Benbow, in an email to Reuters on Tuesday.

East Africa has recently become a major hub of oil and gas exploration activity, but Somalia has largely missed out due to violent conflicts that have made the Horn of Africa country unstable.

In September, Somalia elected a new federal government, its first permanent government since 1991.

Somali technocrats have said they now must sort out a tangle of overlapping oil and gas exploration licences issued over the past few decades by the former federal government and the semi-autonomous regions of Puntland and Somaliland.

Genel Energy declined to comment about the political situation in Somalia but said it planned to move forward with exploration, despite speculation the new federal government might upend agreements made after 1991.

The Somaliland licences are Genel's only exploration acreage in the region, although it has a number of contracts in west and north Africa. (Editing by George Obulutsa and Jane Baird)


Dahabshiil 'Honoured' to Sponsor Somali Week Festival

LONDON, October 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Dahabshiil, the largest money transfer company in the Horn of Africa, has sponsored the 2012 Somali Week Festival in London - a week during which the diaspora community celebrated and honoured its heritage.

Dahabshiil, which is also the largest private sector employer in the Somali region, joined the diaspora community in paying homage to Somali arts and culture. Kayd Somali Arts & Culture, in collaboration with the Redsea Online Cultural Foundation hosted this year's festival which officially began on 19 October and concluded on 28October following a week-long exhibition of Somali heritage and traditions. The Somali Week Festival was designed to showcase artistic excellence and to foster relationships between Somalis in the Horn of Africa and the diaspora community, as well as engaged non-Somalis.

A number of high-profile guests attended to lend their support to the festival, including notable author Cabdalla Mansuur, poet and songwriter Mahamed Ibrahim Warsame 'Hadraawi', inventor Hussein Sheikh Ahmed 'Kaddare', composer Evan Christopher and politician Abdidhuh Yusuf. The festival, held in Bethnal Green in east London was attended by thousands of people from the UK, US, Europe, Somaliland and Somalia.

Abdirashid Duale, CEO of Dahabshiil, said:

"The Somali Week Festival in London is an important celebration for the diaspora community throughout the UK. Over the years the festival has become an internationally recognised and anticipated event. It redefines Somali culture and pays homage to our storied heritage - we are honoured to have sponsored such an occasion.

"The Somali diaspora is vital to the continued development of the Somali region. Our diaspora community help to drive the economy through remittance finance and are often willing to invest in what others may regard as fragile markets. The diaspora community is also in a unique position to act as a bridge between the Somali territories and the outside world - ambassadors, and arguably, guardians of the region's future. It is imperative that the diaspora community remain engaged with the issues and culture in the region."

According to a 2010 ONS estimate, there are 108,000 Somali-born immigrants living in the UK, while the London Somali diaspora is believed to be the largest of the Somali communities around the world. The Somali Week Festival - which falls within Black History Month, an annual remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora - primarily focuses on engaging communities with Somali history and values through the arts. The 2012 festival offered a diverse mix of events including poetry, literature, panel discussions, documentary film screenings, music and theatre from both Somalia and Somaliland. The theme of this year's celebration was 'courage' to mark the challenge that the Somali territories face in challenging the status quo to rebuild and rebrand the region following decades of instability.

Some of the highlights of the festival included:

- A commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Somali script. In 1972, Somali, which had until then been an oral-only language, was first transmitted and preserved in textual form

- A live performance by New Orleans-based clarinettist Evan Christopher

- A panel debate on Investment and Development in Somaliland. Speakers included Mohamed

Yusuf, Chair and CEO of Invicta Capital and UN representative Sarah Metcalfe

Award-winning poet and songwriter Mr Hadraawi said: "My poetry is designed to inspire and educate, literature used as a vehicle to promote change. Through different artistic forms, the Somali Week Festival explores a variety of socio-cultural themes.

"The festival is a platform to exchange ideas and to experience the richness of Somali history and celebrate hopes for the future. The theme for this year's festival was courage, and the hopes of peace and development that we have for the region. It is truly fantastic that Dahabshiil continue to recognise the importance of this week as we reach out to our kin and kith in the diaspora who are integral to fulfilling such aspirations."

Kayd Somali Arts & Culture and the Redsea Online Cultural Foundation were supported in their efforts by a number of high profile British organisations, including Index on Censorship, the Poetry Translation Centre and the Royal African Society, as well as local Somali and Somaliland organisations and students. The end of the Somali Week Festival marks the beginning of Eid al-Adha, an important three-day religious holiday celebrated by Muslims. Eid al-Adha, also known as 'Greater Eid' is the latter of the two Eid holidays.


Somaliland troops seize four suspected Al-Shabab members in northwestern region

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 29 Oct 2012.Horn Cable TV, Hargeysa, in Somali 1900 28 Oct 12/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Security forces in the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland have seized four Al-Shabab Islamist suspects in Sool Region Region, northwestern Somalia.

According to the TV, The suspected Al-Shabab members have been seized while driving a small car on the long road that connects Sool and Togdheer Region, northwestersn Somalia.

The governor of Togdheer Region, Abdi Mohamed, has confirmed the arrest of the Al-Shabab members, saying that they have been taken by the security forces to Hargeysa, the capital of Somaliland.

Al-Shabab has in the in recent past claimed to have more power in Puntland territory (northeastern Somalia) as regional security forces seized weapons haul in Qandala District which is believed to have belonged to Al-Shabab Islamic Movement.


Programme summary of Somaliland's Radio Hargeysa news 1700 gmt 29 Oct 12

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 29 Oct 2012.

1. Headlines.

2. Somaliland's vice president returns from trip to the United Arab Emirates after talks on foreign investment initiatives in Somaliland.

3. Somaliland National Election Committee holds news conference in Hargeysa on launch of election campaign period which begins today.

4. Somaliland Information dissemination, culture and mediation minister launches a two day meeting for journalist on their role during election in country.

5. Supporters of UMADA political party attend political campaign rally in Erigaabo, ahead of council elections.

6. UMADA party officials, politicians and supporters hold campaign rallies in Burco town, present contestants for region's council election.

7. UMADA political party holds campaign rally in Berbera town stadium ahead of local council election.

8. Deputy chairman of UMADA party appeals to residents of Borama town, Awdal Region to vote for the party's candidate in the upcoming council election.

9. UMADA politician in Laas Caanood town, provincial capital of Sool Region, presents his plan of action for the region if elected in council race.

10. Meeting on needs of disabled people in Somaliland, held in Hargeysa urging for rights of disabled person in Somaliland.

Credit: Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 29 Oct 12.Radio Hargeysa in Somali 1700 29 Oct 12/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC


Programme summary of Somalia's Horn Cable TV news 1900 gmt 28 Oct 12

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 29 Oct 2012.

19:02 U'id political party of Somaliland holds party's fifth conference in Hargeysa, northwestern Somalia. Party announces candidates for the next council elections. Video footage shows chairman of the party addressing party supporters.

19:07 Somalia's Puntland President Abdirahman alias Farole, opens parliamentary session in Garowe, northeastern Somalia. Video footage shows President Farole making the opening remarks.

19:25 Somalia's national police kill an Al-Shabab fighter in Mogadishu, declare massive security operations to crack down Al-Shabab. Video footage shows police commander telling media how the man was shot dead.


Somaliland: The Kenyan Syndrome

The following is a chapter from a book titled “Somaliland: The legacy of Non-Recognition” that I am currently writing. The daily indignities which Somalis suffer almost uniquely in Kenya have impelled me to preempt the book’s publication by offering this chapter for early release. It chronicles the untold misery the Kenyans inflict on the Somalis in their country on ordinary basis. By: Ahmed I. Hassan

Full article


Field School: Unearthing Evidence of Barre-era War Crimes in Somaliland

October 28, 2012. http://cja.org/section.php?id=86

Join the Somaliland Field School: Deadline is November 15! Posted by Kathy Roberts

This week the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team (EPAF - epafperu.org), in partnership with the government of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, completed the first phase of an international forensic training program in Hargeisa, Somaliland. The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA - cja.org) is a proud sponsor of this program, which will help determine the universe of missing people through a systematic approach, ante mortem data collection and research of mass and clandestine graves.

EPAF is accepting applications until November 15, 2012 to join the second phase of this project, which will run from February 5 to March 3, 2013.

Applicants from all disciplines are welcome: Participation in the field school represents a fundamental experience for anybody interested in post-conflict studies, peace studies, human rights, forensics, transitional justice, memory, gender, or any related subject.

From 1969 to 1991, president and military dictator Siad Barre oversaw a campaign of widespread atrocities that decimated Somali civil society. To quash separatist movements in the 1980s, the Somali Armed Forces targeted civilians in the northwest, modern-day Somaliland, culminating in the bloody 1988 siege of the regional capital Hargeisa, which claimed at least 5,000 civilian lives.

This past August, U.S. Federal Judge Leonie Brinkema awarded $21 million in compensatory and punitive damages against former Somali General Mohamed Ali Samantar for his role in the slaughter. This judgment marks the first time that any Somali government official has been held accountable for the atrocities perpetrated under that regime.

» For more information, click here. » For an application, click here. About the Center for Justice and Accountability

The Center for Justice and Accountability is an international human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world and advancing the rights of survivors to seek truth, justice and redress. CJA uses litigation to hold perpetrators individually accountable for human rights abuses, develop human rights law, and advance the rule of law in countries in transition from periods of abuse.

About the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team: The Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team (EPAF) is a non-profit organization that promotes the right to truth, justice, and guarantees of non-repetition in cases of forced disappearance and extrajudicial execution. EPAF seeks to contribute to the consolidation of peace and democracy where grave human rights violations have taken place by working alongside the families of the disappeared to find their loved ones, gain access to justice, and improve the conditions affecting their political and economic development.


Genocide on the Isaq People by Siad Barre - The Combat Genocide Association

http://www.cga.org.il/english/?page_id=150. Oct 20, 2012

Location: Somaliland, Northern Somalia

Year: 1988-1989 The Perpetrators: Somali Government and Ogaden Tribe

The Victims: Isaaq Tribe

Number of People Murdered: 100,000 – 400,000 (estimates vary)

Somalia is comprised of four main tribes. Throughout the reign of Ziad Bare the Isaaq tribe has been suppressed and segregated from Somalia. In 1988 Bare gave orders to annihilate the tribe, and his army began to bomb their cities and murder tribe members.

Background:

In 1960 Somalia declared independence as a union between provinces which until then had been colonies of Britain and Italy. In 1969 a military coup was led by the Chief of Staff Siad Barre. Barre abolished Somali democracy and led an Islamic communist regime in close partnership with the USSR, which sold him weapons to use against internal and external enemies. In 1977 Somalia declared war against Ethiopia in an attempt to conquer the Ogaden Desert where Somali nomads from the Ogaden clan (to which Barre’s mother belonged) lived.

Somalia was defeated. The defeat led to a massive economic crisis and one million refugees from the Ogaden Desert fled to Somali territory, mostly to northern Somalia where the Isaaq tribe dwelt. The relative stability of the Barre regime was undermined. In 1979, after two difficult years of crisis, Barre turned to the West and turned his back on the USSR which had supported him until then. The Barre regime began to crumble: members of his party began to plot against him, members of his tribe and other tribes which had been subject to discrimination began to oppose his regime, the opposition parties (from other tribes) established military forces, and a civil war began.

During the years of his rule, Barre promoted members of different tribes in order to stabilize his power. He would initially promote the interests of a certain tribe and oppress another tribe, but then afterwards promote the tribe he had previously oppressed and oppress the tribe he had promoted. Only the Isaaq, a large tribe which lived in the nation’s north, were never promoted in any way or involved in the mechanisms of government whatsoever.

Barre’s efforts to control Isaaq merchants’ trade in cattle and khat, and settle Ogaden refugees on Isaaq lands, worsened the conflict between the Isaaq tribe and the ruling southern tribes. A number of tribes, led by the Isaaq, established an armed underground called the Somali National Movement. In response, the Somali government armed the Ogaden refugees in order to use them as soldiers against the Isaaq tribesmen. In addition, the government encouraged the refugees to claim ownership of land and to expel Isaaq. The barely-equipped guerillas from the SNM attacked a number of Ogaden refugee camps and government facilities in northern Somalia in 1988. Barre responded with great brutality.

The Extermination:

On May 27, 1988 Siad Barre gave instructions to exterminate all members of the Isaaq tribe. Military forces under the command of Mohammed Said Hersi began aerial and artillery bombardment of the three cities in which the Isaaq lived: Hargeisa, Berbera and Bur’o. They also attacked villages and nomadic encampments where tribe members lived. Infantry forces exterminated those fleeing from cities, and after the cities were completely destroyed, went in on foot to complete the killing work directly. Many bodies were buried in mass graves.

General Said Hersi reported to Barre that he could not wipe out all of the Isaaq, as they were too numerous. It was then that his troops began forced marches of Isaaq tribesmen across the desert towards the Ethiopian border. Many perished of hunger and thirst along the way. The city of Hargeisa, which held some 350,000 inhabitants before the attack, was completely abandoned. The whole area was laid waste – animal herds were confiscated, agriculture destroyed, and mines laid everywhere. Various estimates give the number killed in less than one year at between 100,000 and 400,000 Isaaq. More than half a million Isaaq fled to Ethiopia; some half a million more lost their homes and became internally displaced persons in the northern region.

After the Slaughter:

After the three main cities of northern Somalia were destroyed and abandoned, they were resettled by members of the Ogaden tribe and other tribes close to the government. 300,000 Isaaq remained in refugee camps in Ethiopia and thousands more fled Africa entirely. In 1989, in response to significant pressure from Amnesty International and other human rights organizations, the US government reduced its support and arming of the Somali government. In 1990 as a result Siad Barre’s government fell and he fled to Nigeria. Since that time there has been no stable government in Somalia; hundreds of thousands of Isaaq returned to northern Somalia and declared the independence of Somaliland, a piece of land about one-third of the size of Somalia. Somaliland functions as a distinct state with democratic elections, its own currency and governing institutions located in the capital city of Hargeisa, but it has not gained official recognition by any country.

The United States and the Genocide of the Isaaq:

In 1998 the US Department of Defense made an official statement regarding the Somali government’s policy towards the Isaaq tribe. The statement opens with the question of whether the Somali government is carrying out genocide against the Isaaq tribe. It explains the balance of forces in the Somali civil war, presents the reasons for war between the Ogaden and Isaaq tribes, and reports on the artillery attacks and aerial bombings of the cities of Hargeisa, Berbera and Bur’o, including a description of the total destruction of Hargeisa and Bur’o. It reports that between May 27, 1988 and December 1988, 5,000 Isaaq people were killed. In the statement, the concept of genocide is never mentioned apart from the opening question and it explicitly spells out that Somalis, including those of the Isaaq tribe, are not eligible for refugee status.


Somaliland journalist Ahmed Farah Ilyas killed

BBC October 24, 2012- A journalist in the breakaway republic of Somaliland has been killed by gunmen as he returned home from work.

Ahmed Farah Ilyas was a reporter in Las Anod, the main city of the volatile Sool region, for UK-based Somali station Universal TV.

Before he was shot, he had been covering the story of a land mine explosion blamed by the authorities on al-Qaeda-aligned Islamist militants.

Ilyas is the 16th journalist to be killed in Somalia this year.

Since the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991, Somalia has seen clan-based warlords, Islamist militants and its neighbours all battling for control of the country.

Somaliland declared independence in the wake of Mr Barre's ousting - and has been a a far more peaceful part of Somali territory, although Sool is in an area also claimed by the autonomous Somali state of Puntland and has experienced some unrest.

The BBC's Hagar Jibril in nearby Burao says witnesses told him that Ilyas was shot by two gunmen on Tuesday evening about 10m from his house.

Earlier on Tuesday, four people were wounded by a landmine which Sool governor Mahamed Mahamud Ali said was laid by al-Shabab militants.

Our reporter says a trial of suspected al-Shabab militants also opened in Las Anod on Tuesday.

"We condemn the killing of Ahmed Farah Ilyas. Journalists are being targeted for their work, and they are performing their duties under the most trying times," Omar Faruk Osman, from the National Union of Somali Journalists, said in a statement. Earlier this year, a UN report noted that al-Shabab was expanding operations further north, and last week a large consignment of arms destined for suspected Islamist militants was seized in Puntland.

Al-Shabab has been under pressure from African Union peacekeepers and Somali government army in central and southern Somalia.

It has lost some of the major towns it once controlled over the last few months but still control large areas of land, especially in rural areas.

There has been progress on the political front with the election by MPs last month in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, of a new president.


Assailants shoot dead a journalist in Somaliland

In first for Somaliland, gunmen kill journalist

CPJ.Org

TV journalist Ahmed Farah Ilyas was killed in Somaliland on Tuesday.

Nairobi, October 24, 2012–Unidentified gunmen killed a journalist in the Somaliland town of Las Anod on Tuesday, the first work-related fatality CPJ has documented in the semi-autonomous republic.

Ahmed Farah Ilyas, a correspondent for the private, London-based Universal TV, was killed while walking home from work at around 9 p.m., according to local journalists andnews reports. The gunmen fled the scene before the Somaliland police arrived, news reports said.

Dahir Adan, a local police official, told Agence France-Presse that police were investigating the murder, but had not yet confirmed a motive. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Ahmed, 25, had worked as a journalist for more than eight years and was the Las Anod representative of the Somaliland Journalists Association, a local press freedom group. Hours before his death, he had reported on a bomb blast that authorities blamed on Islamic insurgents, according to local journalists and news reports.

Police had briefly detained Ahmed, along with two other journalists, on October 12 in connection with their coverage of Las Anod residents expressing their support for the new Somali prime minister, Abdi Farah Shirdon, according to local reports. “It’s a sad day when journalists are targeted in Somaliland, a region that has been relatively secure amid a country riddled with violence,” said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. “We call on Somaliland authorities to ensure this trend does not continue and urge Las Anod authorities to determine the motive in this murder and do their utmost to find the perpetrators.”

The restive town of Las Anod straddles the border between Somaliland and the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, where skirmishes between forces loyal to both regions occasionally occur, according to local journalists. Local journalists said Somaliland authorities often consider the private press in Las Anod to support the opposition to the Somaliland government. CPJ has recorded 12 cases of authorities arbitrarily detaining journalists in Las Anod this year, including three Universal TV journalists on separate occasions.

At least 10 other journalists have been killed in Somalia so far in 2012, according to CPJ research. This is one of the worst years for the press in the country. CPJ ranks Somalia as the deadliest country for the press in Africa and the second deadliest in the world.


Dahabshiil Works with Diaspora Community to Raise $100,000 for Somali Relief Campaign in the US

Press Release: Africa Business – Mon, Oct 22, 2012. http://news.yahoo.com/dahabshiil-works-diaspora-community-raise-173700729.html

MINNEAPOLIS, October 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

Dahabshiil has helped raise $100,000 to provide health care, clean water and employment opportunities in Somalia as part of a diaspora-led campaign in the US.

Led by former 1500-metre World Champion, Abdi Bile, Minnesotans undertook a three-mile sponsored run in the 193-acre Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis. The run, dubbed 'Run to Unite' was part of the I AM A STAR campaign - a sustained redevelopment drive to aid Somalia in its recovery following two decades of violence, displacement and hardship.

Run to Unite set out to build the world's longest paper chain for Somalia. For each dollar donated, a link was added to the chain - with each dollar then matched by Dahabshiil. The chain, a symbol of hope for Somalia's recovery, was also used to determine the eventual length of the sponsored run - as fundraisers urged the diaspora community to help provide an essential lifeline for families in Somalia.

Abdirashid Duale, CEO of Dahabshiil, said: "The Somali diaspora have and will continue to play a fundamental role in the process of rebuilding Somalia. The proceeds will help to provide life-saving care and assistance to more than 175,000 people in Mogadishu.

"Émigrés in the United States, Britain, Sweden and the Gulf help thousands of families across the Somali territories every year through the provision of remittances. Dahabshiil is there on the ground, so we physically see the incredible difference that this money does make. The effort of the Minnesotans to help us raise $100,000 in cash aid is simply remarkable."

Handling international money transfers of under $200 on average, Dahabshiil is in effect a provider of micro-remittances. Initiatives to improve access to finance for poor communities are increasingly at the forefront of international policy, and Dahabshiil is now looking to partner with leading international NGOs - to expand its offer to include other microfinance products.

Globally, money sent home by migrants constitutes the second largest financial inflow to developing countries - a vital source of income that outweighs donor aid. Remittance income is particularly important for communities in more remote regions within the Somali territories, and helps to bolster the funding of humanitarian organisations operating in those locations. The United Nations estimate that remittances worth approximately US $2 billion are sent to Somalia every year. In addition to Somalis, Dahabshiil also works with other communities including Ethiopians, Sudanese, Rwandans and Ugandans and the company has several outlets in the United States.

The Minnesota-based American Refugee Committee(ARC) founded the I AM A STAR campaign in 2009, to unite large Somali diaspora communities from San Diego, Columbus, London and other cities to keep aid flowing into the region. Since its inception, I AM STAR has raised over $1 million to support efforts in Somalia - as well as providing food aid, developing mobile health clinics and even facilitating employment through cash-for-work programs. As the largest private sector employer in the Somali region, Dahabshiil has worked closely with ARC to supplement and foster its humanitarian aid efforts.

Daniel Wordsworth, President & CEO of the American Refugee Committee, said: "As one of the only humanitarian aid organisations operating in Mogadishu, we're doing everything we can to help people access the care they need. The support we received from Dahabshiil through Run to Unite will enable us to implement basic, yet critical programs which will save lives.

"Run to Unite was not only about fundraising for Somalia, but also about shining a light on the incredible contributions of the Somali diaspora. Minneapolis is home to one of the largest and most successful Somali expat communities in the world. Diaspora members gathered to share Somali culture and foster community ties in our own neighbourhoods so this is a powerful and I believe more symbolic representation of the Somali community."


Terror suspects arrested in Somaliland lose UK appeal

By Steve Swann and Dominic Casciani.October 19, 2012: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20007530

Two men accused of being part of a "prolific extremist network" have lost their appeal against control orders. The men, referred to at the High Court as CC and CF, are accused of fighting in Somalia with the al-Qaeda-linked insurgent group al-Shabab.

They were arrested in January 2011 in Somaliland, a breakaway Somali state.

The judge said the national security case against CC was "overwhelming" while CF had "played a substantial role" in the jihadist network.

The judgement reveals the men claim UK agencies colluded in their alleged mistreatment before their return home. The Home Office neither confirmed nor denied publicly during the case whether the UK authorities had been involved in an overseas operation against the men.

The court heard how CC and CF had been assessed by MI5 to be "linked to a group of six British nationals who received terrorist training from Al Qaeda operatives" in Somalia. They are said to have facilitated the travel of several people from the UK "to enable them to take part in terrorism-related activity".

MI5 claims they bought weapons and plotted to attack Western interests in Somaliland.

The court heard that the home secretary approved a control order for CC the day before he was arrested by the authorities in Somaliland. He and CF were held for three months in Hargeisa Prison where they say they were interrogated and that "UK personnel provided questions, shared evidence and may have been present on or nearby the prison site".

CC claims MI5 "participated actively" in his interrogation "despite knowledge that he had been abused and that he remained exposed to a risk of further abuse".

The two men were then flown back to the UK and served with control orders which severely restricted their movements. In the case before the High Court, the men argued their arrest, detention and subsequent deportation was unlawful and that the control orders imposed on them should be quashed. Following the abolition of the control order regime, the men were subjected to replacement controls, known as Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM's).

But Lord Justice Lloyd Jones rejected their appeal, ruling that "the national security case against CC is overwhelming". On CF, who is also accused of attempting to travel to Afghanistan to "engage in suicide operations", he found that he "played a substantial role" in the jihadist network.

The judge threw out their claim of an abuse of process against the British agencies. The detail for his reasons is contained in a separate "closed" judgment which cannot be released on grounds of national security.

In his open judgment, Lord Justice Lloyd Jones ruled that "for present purposes, I have assumed that the arrest, detention and deportation of the Respondents (CC and CF) were not in accordance with Somaliland law", but this was not an abuse of process. BBC.


Terror suspects arrested in Somaliland lose UK appeal

By Steve Swann and Dominic Casciani. Friday, October 19, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20007530

Two men accused of being part of a "prolific extremist network" have lost their appeal against control orders. The men, referred to at the High Court as CC and CF, are accused of fighting in Somalia with the al-Qaeda-linked insurgent group al-Shabab.

They were arrested in January 2011 in Somaliland, a breakaway Somali state.

The judge said the national security case against CC was "overwhelming" while CF had "played a substantial role" in the jihadist network.

The judgement reveals the men claim UK agencies colluded in their alleged mistreatment before their return home. The Home Office neither confirmed nor denied publicly during the case whether the UK authorities had been involved in an overseas operation against the men.

The court heard how CC and CF had been assessed by MI5 to be "linked to a group of six British nationals who received terrorist training from Al Qaeda operatives" in Somalia. They are said to have facilitated the travel of several people from the UK "to enable them to take part in terrorism-related activity".

MI5 claims they bought weapons and plotted to attack Western interests in Somaliland.

The court heard that the home secretary approved a control order for CC the day before he was arrested by the authorities in Somaliland. He and CF were held for three months in Hargeisa Prison where they say they were interrogated and that "UK personnel provided questions, shared evidence and may have been present on or nearby the prison site".

CC claims MI5 "participated actively" in his interrogation "despite knowledge that he had been abused and that he remained exposed to a risk of further abuse".

The two men were then flown back to the UK and served with control orders which severely restricted their movements.

In the case before the High Court, the men argued their arrest, detention and subsequent deportation was unlawful and that the control orders imposed on them should be quashed. Following the abolition of the control order regime, the men were subjected to replacement controls, known as Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM's).

But Lord Justice Lloyd Jones rejected their appeal, ruling that "the national security case against CC is overwhelming". On CF, who is also accused of attempting to travel to Afghanistan to "engage in suicide operations", he found that he "played a substantial role" in the jihadist network.

The judge threw out their claim of an abuse of process against the British agencies. The detail for his reasons is contained in a separate "closed" judgment which cannot be released on grounds of national security.

In his open judgment, Lord Justice Lloyd Jones ruled that "for present purposes, I have assumed that the arrest, detention and deportation of the Respondents (CC and CF) were not in accordance with Somaliland law", but this was not an abuse of process. BBC.


Terror suspects arrested in Somaliland lose UK appeal

By Steve Swann and Dominic Casciani. Friday, October 19, 2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20007530

Two men accused of being part of a "prolific extremist network" have lost their appeal against control orders.

The men, referred to at the High Court as CC and CF, are accused of fighting in Somalia with the al-Qaeda-linked insurgent group al-Shabab.

They were arrested in January 2011 in Somaliland, a breakaway Somali state.

The judge said the national security case against CC was "overwhelming" while CF had "played a substantial role" in the jihadist network.

The judgement reveals the men claim UK agencies colluded in their alleged mistreatment before their return home.

The Home Office neither confirmed nor denied publicly during the case whether the UK authorities had been involved in an overseas operation against the men.

The court heard how CC and CF had been assessed by MI5 to be "linked to a group of six British nationals who received terrorist training from Al Qaeda operatives" in Somalia. They are said to have facilitated the travel of several people from the UK "to enable them to take part in terrorism-related activity".

MI5 claims they bought weapons and plotted to attack Western interests in Somaliland.

The court heard that the home secretary approved a control order for CC the day before he was arrested by the authorities in Somaliland. He and CF were held for three months in Hargeisa Prison where they say they were interrogated and that "UK personnel provided questions, shared evidence and may have been present on or nearby the prison site".

CC claims MI5 "participated actively" in his interrogation "despite knowledge that he had been abused and that he remained exposed to a risk of further abuse".

The two men were then flown back to the UK and served with control orders which severely restricted their movements.

In the case before the High Court, the men argued their arrest, detention and subsequent deportation was unlawful and that the control orders imposed on them should be quashed. Following the abolition of the control order regime, the men were subjected to replacement controls, known as Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM's).

But Lord Justice Lloyd Jones rejected their appeal, ruling that "the national security case against CC is overwhelming". On CF, who is also accused of attempting to travel to Afghanistan to "engage in suicide operations", he found that he "played a substantial role" in the jihadist network.

The judge threw out their claim of an abuse of process against the British agencies. The detail for his reasons is contained in a separate "closed" judgment which cannot be released on grounds of national security.

In his open judgment, Lord Justice Lloyd Jones ruled that "for present purposes, I have assumed that the arrest, detention and deportation of the Respondents (CC and CF) were not in accordance with Somaliland law", but this was not an abuse of process. BBC.


Somalia: 20 years of anarchy: Somaliland Non-Existent country!

October 17, 2012.By Zeinab Badawi, BBC News, Somaliland. Source: BBC World News.

Freedom Square reminds people of the struggle to break away from Somalia.

When you land at the clean, tidy airport in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, you feel you could have arrived in any small African state.

The police are courteous and wear freshly-pressed uniforms, the Somaliland flag flutters gently in the hot morning breeze, and you move briskly through the airport security.

The taxi you take into town is paid for in Somaliland’s currency, the shilling.

But do not get carried away – despite the outward trappings of statehood, this is a country that does not officially exist. Somaliland unilaterally declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in May 1991, after the fall of the country’s military strongman, Mohamed Siad Barre. He fled the country exactly 20 years ago on Wednesday, after two decades in power.

Monument

I made my way to Freedom Square in central Hargeisa to see the monument, which reminds those here of the bitter battle they fought to break away from the rest of Somalia. Around 50,000 people died.

The actual fighter jet used by Barre’s forces to bomb the city is on a dais, underneath the figure of a woman holding the green, white and red of the Somaliland flag, looking skywards in hope.

There, I spoke to a local journalist, Albdelhakim Mohamed from the Jumhuriya newspaper. “We want our independence here in Somaliland,” he told me.

Somaliland facts and figures

“We have a country. We have a parliament, a free press, and businesses just like London and New York.” At the base of the monument, a body lay wrapped in cardboard.

At first I was not sure if it was part of the display, then I realised it was just a homeless man who had spent the night at its foot.

Around the monument is also a market where goods of all kinds are readily available.

Traditional spices mingle with the ubiquitous plastic of Chinese imports, brightly coloured sandals, plastic buckets and hair decorations.

Vital remittances

I walked through the market with Abdirashid Duale, the head of Dahabshiil, Africa’s largest money transfer company.

Abdirashid Duale admits Somaliland’s unofficial status affects business with abroad Tall, elegant and expensively clad – his company makes a lot of money here – he was reticent to commit to whether Somaliland should be recognised as independent; after all, his business interests extend all over Somalia.

When I ask him whether Somaliland’s unofficial status affects business, he admits it is a challenge.

But Dahabshiil, like other financial corporations in the 21st Century, can base its headquarters anywhere in the world these days. Mr Duale spends most of his time in neighbouring Kenya.

From the people I chatted to informally in Hargeisa, I was left with the overwhelming impression that they would find it hard to re-integrate into the rest of Somalia.

Though with the Somaliland government so intent on independence it is hard to know if some were reluctant to speak their minds too freely.

People use money exchange centres to retrieve the funds sent to them by wire transfer

According to the World Bank, the Somali diaspora as a whole sends about $1bn (£632m) to their relatives back home every year.

Here in Hargeisa, with no official help from the outside world and no recognition as a state, most official aid is closed to them. So the remittances are a vital source of income.

People use the many money exchange centres dotted around Hargeisa to retrieve the funds sent to them by wire transfer. I went into one office with Mr Duale.

Some people recognised him as the big boss, and I had no trouble being escorted into the back office where money was being counted.

Despite the scene, often money does not actually change hands – many transactions are carried out over the internet. ‘On our guard’ Somaliland seems a world away from the chaos and violence of south and central Somalia, which includes the capital Mogadishu.

Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo says he hopes for independence

The country is divided. Puntland in the north is a semi-autonomous state and Somaliland is a functioning state in all but name.

But Somaliland is not immune from the militant brand of Islamism that afflicts other parts of Somalia.

In 2008, suicide car bombings left dozens dead in Hargeisa, as well as in Puntland.

The leader of the main Islamist group al-Shabab, Ahmed Cabdi Godane – who is himself from Somaliland – was blamed for the attacks.

“We are on our guard,” President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo told me.

“We are doing our level best to encourage young people through education and work, and to engage them in useful activities instead of going to extremist groups like al-Shabab.”

Somaliland is seen as a transit route for militant groups going into Somalia proper, and the government here is keen to assist international efforts to tackle this.

Although Mr Silanyo has been applauded for his efforts since taking office in July, this has not given him the international recognition he craves.

Referendum hopes

On a recent trip of Western capitals to press Somaliland’s case, he told me that it deserved to be seen as an independent country.

Somaliland is relatively free from the violence plaguing the rest of Somalia

Historically, it was a different country from Somalia, which was divided by the French, Italian and British colonial powers, he explained.

Somaliland was British and was independent for five days in 1961, before it opted to join the rest of the country. Those five days though are crucial in legal terms to the government and gives it a basis to claim it was once an independent state.

Ethnically, the people I encountered in Somaliland are no different from their brethren elsewhere, but their lives in the last 20 years have been relatively free from the violence and divisions that have plagued the rest of Somalia.

Now President Silanyo feels that with Southern Sudan likely to become independent, the people of Somaliland cannot be denied the chance of their own referendum to vote for secession.

The key question for the intentional community is whether it should be allowed to go it alone, or be forced to remain part of Somalia to help bring greater peace and prosperity to a country that has known only war for two decades?


SOMALIA: Somaliland journalists under fire

http://www.irinnews.org/Report/96570/SOMALIA-Somaliland-journalists-under-fire

Journalists in Hargeisa are being compelled to self-censor to avoid detention

HARGEISA, 17 October 2012 (IRIN) - Journalists in the self-declared republic of Somaliland are increasingly being harassed and arrested by security forces there, say officials.

“More than 60 journalists were arrested in the first six months of 2012 compared to less than 20 journalists in the last six months of 2011,” Mohamed-Rashid Muhumed Farah, secretary general of the Somaliland Journalists Association (SOLJA), told IRIN.

“For example, a national TV reporter has been harassed. [There have been] midnight attacks on media offices and residences by the newly established rapid reaction unit of the police. Torturing of journalists in the police stations [is] now taking place.”

The concern is shared by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). “Somaliland had an unprecedented number of detentions of journalists this year. In the first half of the year, we've seen over 50 journalists arbitrarily arrested and detained briefly by authorities. The fact that these detentions occur without warrants or often any reason demonstrates how the ruling party misuses its position to silence critical voices,” said Tom Rhodes, CPJ's East Africa consultant.

“Many journalists in Hargeisa [the Somaliland capital], told me that they are compelled to self-censor to avoid such detentions, not a good sign for democracy,” said Rhodes. “On the other hand, the level of detentions of journalists decreased dramatically in the second half of 2012, so there is hope that this practice will diminish and the Kulmiye party will stick to its original democratic principles.”

The Kulmiye - or Peace, Unity and Development - party of Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud “Silanyo” came into power in 2010.

“The increasing arrest of journalists has two consequences: The independent media is the place where people monitor the reality of their country and evaluate their leaders’ job performance; for this reason, if they [journalists] are arrested or [harassed], people will lose their right to information. If the people don't get the information they need, the consequence will be the start of a new dictatorship,” said Khadar Nour, the chairman of the Community Centre for Research and Training, a local NGO.

A need for training

Ahmed Suliaman Dhuhul, the Somaliland president’s spokesman, said that the government is not aware of the arrests of ‘more than 60 journalists’. “Sometimes, media practitioners may claim that they were arrested if they were called for [questioning] by the police,” said Dhuhul. “All the citizens, including journalists, have equal rights before the law and each one of them can be arrested [if they are under suspicion] for questioning. Also we believe that no one is arrested without [a] warrant.”

“Journalists should respect the country's security and credibility, which is in the interest of everybody,” he added.

A lack of proper journalistic and legal training could partly be to blame.

“Both the government and the journalists [don’t] have enough knowledge. For example, the journalists sometimes mix news and [opinions]; it is not their fault, but they need to be trained more. Also, the government officials don't seek legal ways to sue journalists but they take the law into their hands and order arrests,” Mohamed Mohamoud Kastam, who has been practising journalism for 30 years, told IRIN.

Article 32 of the Somaliland constitution guarantees the freedom of expression and the independence of the media. Somaliland also has a law that regulates the press, but neither the incumbent Kulmiye government nor the former government of Dahir Riyale Kalin implemented it, said SOLJA’s Farah.

Under threat

Somaliland’s journalists have been under threat since 1991, when the government of the late President Abdi-Rahman Ahmed Ali Tuur arrested and imprisoned the editors of more than six daily newspapers.

“These journalists were the first people imprisoned [at the] Hargeisa prison, but the situation got better and the media continued to work independently,” said Mohamed Rashid, SOLJA’s secretary general. “But this government of Kulmiye, which campaigned to respect the independent media, now seems the worst government [for the press].”

Somalia is becoming increasingly dangerous for journalists, with at least 15 killed his year alone. Since 2007, at least 22 journalists there have been killed, according to CPJ.


Doing Business in Hargeisa 2012[pdf]

Author: Subnational Doing Business. IFC and World Bank. Published: October 10, 2012

Download Now Overview

Doing Business in Hargeisa measures business regulations and their enforcement in Hargeisa, Somaliland. It is the first Doing Business city profile in Somaliland. The report measures regulations affecting 11 stages of the life of a small or medium-size business: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and employing workers. Data on the employing workers indicator is available as an annex. The ease of doing business in Hargeisa can be compared to the ease of doing business in 183 other economies measured annually by Doing Business.

Main Findings

* The government has made strides setting up some of the institutions and rules necessary for businesses to operate. Yet challenges persist, including implementing key business regulations, and putting into place a formal banking system.

* Compared to the 183 economies measured by Doing Business in 2012, Hargeisa would rank 174 on the ease of doing business. Behind this aggregate ranking, Hargeisa’s performance varies from topic to topic (see figure below).

* Hargeisa ranks 175 on the ease of starting a business. The process is fast but expensive, with 60% of the cost stemming from the cost of business licenses.

* On the ease of dealing with construction permits, getting electricity and registering property, institutions governing these areas are relatively efficient. Hargeisa ranks 86, 84 and 79, respectively, ahead of the averages for Sub-Saharan Africa and the fragile and conflict-affected states.

* On the ease of trading across borders, Hargeisa would rank 127. Importing and exporting a standardized container of cargo through the port of Berbera is faster and cheaper than the Sub-Saharan Africa average. * On the ease of protecting investors and getting credit, Hargeisa would rank 181 and 184, respectively. These rankings reflect an incomplete regulatory framework.

http://www.doingbusiness.org/reports/subnational-reports/hargeisa


Somalia: Former militia leader joins Somaliland cabinet

14 Oct 14, 2012 - http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Former_Militia_leader_joins_Somaliland_cabinet.shtml

HARGEISA, Somalia Oct 14 2012 (Garowe Online) – The president of Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo has named Saleban Isse Ahmed (Haglatoosiye) as Minister of Resettlement and Aid, Garowe Online reports.

A decree from President Silanyo named Haglatoosiye as Minister on Sunday.

Minister Haglatoosiye a former militia leader played a fundamental role in resolving the Somaliland government conflict with Buhodle community earlier this year.

The region disputed by Puntland, Somaliland and clan militia had been a scene of conflict during late 2011 and early 2012.

In June 2012, the new Resettlement Minister met with Somaliland President Silanyo in Dubai to discuss how to resolve the conflict in the disputed Ayn region.

He then met with President Silanyo in Hargeisa that led to the Somaliland army's withdrawal of 50km from the outskirts of Buhodle.

Newly appointed Minister Haglatoosiye met with Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole in August 2012 to discuss how to resolve the conflict in the Ayn region, where Buhodle town is located along the Somalia-Ethiopia border.

Haglatoosiye a businessman from Ohio was a candidate in the Puntland presidential elections in 2009 ultimately conceding victory along with other candidates to President Farole

Minister Haglatoosiye replaces Abdirasak Ali Osman who was named to the newly created Ministry of Industry.


Somaliland: Drought leaves nothing untouched

Source: Save the Children. OCT 14. 2012

The village elders are quick to tell me that Boodhlay, the name of this village, means dusty. A quick glance around shows that this name is very apt indeed.

There is hardly any vegetation here at all. No grass, just pockets of dry scrub, spiky acacia trees and dust as far as the eye can see. Unusually for this part of Somaliland, I can’t see a single camel.

Almost everyone in the village is a pastoralist. This means that they are largely reliant on their herds of camels, goats and sheep to provide food, milk and income for their families. When there is not enough rain, the pasture soon disappears and people are forced to move in search of food and water for their animals.

“It is affecting every aspect of life”

Yusuf, one of the village elders tells me: “There have been droughts here for a long time now. The situation is very difficult. It is affecting the food and water supply, our incomes and the children’s education. It is affecting every aspect of life.”

When the drought came last year many people lost animals. In a place where your livestock are your livelihood, some families lost everything.

Recently, the humanitarian situation in Somaliland has modestly improved. The rainy season – known in the region as the Gu rains – was not as meagre as predicted this year. But there are many pockets of land, like Boodhlay, where the rains have been both late and insufficient. In these areas pasture remains extremely limited and water – both for livestock and human consumption – is scarce.

As Yusuf told me: “People think that because we have had some rains recently everything is OK. But they are wrong. Ten days ago it rained for two days. We’ve had nothing since. These two days of rain will not fix things. It takes a long time to recover. Nothing has changed.”

Our response

Unless assistance is provided, these factors could lead to destitution for many of the pastoral communities that call eastern Somaliland home. We’re calling for urgent funding to contribute towards sustainable early recovery in these areas. We have also have launched an emergency intervention to address the lack of water in villages where we are already working, such as Boodhlay.

The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) component of our response is already underway, and we’re aiming to provide immediate access to safe water for more than 7,000 families. This is being achieved via emergency water trucking, the restoration of water sources (berkads), or a combination of both.

In total we’re targeting 21 villages in eastern Somaliland. To date, we’ve reached 13,557 people, including 6,110 children in the area through our WASH intervention.


Somaliland: Government, global experts team discovers mass grave at Badhka

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 13 Oct 2012. Text of report in English by Somali newspaper The Somaliland Times website on 6 October

A mass grave was unearthed by a combined team of Somaliland government experts and international experts at Badhka in southern Hargeysa. The mass grave contained 42 people who were killed in 1984, during Muhammad Siyad Barre's military regime.

Addressing the discovery of the mass graves, the Minister of Justice, Husayn Ahmad Aydid said although some people had doubts before digging the location about whether a mass grave would be found, he had no such doubt, and the discovery of the mass grave has proven him and his department correct. He also added that there are signs by which victims of executions are identified which has to do with bullet scars, physical blows, being tied with ropes, and signs that the bodies were buried without adhering to proper rituals.

The Chairman of the War Crimes Committee, Khadar Ahmad Likee, said this was not the only location that was being dug and that they have a five-year project to investigate mass graves. He also stressed that the investigation of war crimes is not directed at specific clans but is being pursued for the sake of recording the true history of this country and for answering the questions of living relatives of victims who disappeared during the military regime's brutal era.

Somaliland is dotted with a large number of locations that have been identified as mass graves and many more suspected mass graves that have not been dug and formally marked as mass graves.


Self-Determination and Secessionism in Somaliland and South Sudan: Challenges to Postcolonial State-building[pdf]

Bereketeab, Redie

Publisher:Nordiska Afrikainstitutet

Pages:35

Year of publ.:2012: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:nai:diva-1573

Full-text

Abstract(en) : This paper analyses the notion of self-determination and secession by adopting acomparative perspective on two case studies, namely Somaliland and South Sudan. Somaliland declared its independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Somali state. Since then, Somaliland has been making relentless efforts to secure recognition from the international community. South Sudan successfully negotiated the right to exercise-self-determination, a right that was formalised in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). The people of South Sudan held a referendum and voted overwhelmingly for secession, with formal independence being achieved on 9 July 2011. International law may better qualify Somaliland for statehood than South Sudan for three reasons: (i) it was created by colonialism, (ii) it has already been recognised, albeit only for a few days, as an independent state in 1960, and (iii) it has proven to be stable, functional and relatively democratic. Yet Somaliland has failed to achieve international recognition. This paper interrogates this discrepancy. It concludes that the existence of a partner ready to accept the right of self-determination, and geostrategic concerns about security as well a seconomic and political interests, determine international recognition.

http://nai.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:559415


Somalia: Somaliland Police arrest 15 women in Las anod

October 12th, 2012. http://www.raxanreeb.com/2012/10/somalia-somaliland-police-arrest-15-women-in-las-anod/

Hargeisa (RBC) At least fifteen elderly women and journalists were arrested in Las anod of sool region on Friday night by the Somaliland police accused of organizing rally and a ceremony in support of the newly appointed Somalia’s Prime Minister Abdi Farah shirdon.

Local journalists confirmed to Raxanreeb, the police have on Friday night detained about 15 women and number of journalists and are currently held at las anod central police custody and were all blamed for the mobilization of a supportive party and demonstration for the appointment of PM Abdi farah Shirdon of Somalia.

A mother who was one of the organizers of the party and declined to be named for her safety told VOA that she is in hiding and confirmed to VOA the detention of the other women.

"all my colleagues are in custody and I am in hiding. I can’t recall the exact number of the detainees but I guess they are more than 10 women", she said.

Somali land officials and police in the town could not reach for comment.

It is not the first time that Las anod police and Somali land administration in general make such crackdown on supporters of Somalia’s dignitaries and those keen on reunification of Somalia it self.

Last year the administration banned all activists and politicians in the region as well as all people with Somali appearance and made number of arrests owing to their support for Somalia.


International companies to begin oil exploration in northern Somalia

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa.October 11, 2012. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2012/10/11/feature-02

Genel Energy and other international firms are moving ahead with plans to explore for oil in Somaliland, a development that officials hope will lead to prosperity and job creation in the region.

International oil companies will begin taking aerial photos of Somaliland to look for oil deposits. Above, an archaeologist at Laas Geel, Somaliland. [Tony Karumba/AFP]

In early December, Genel Energy will start taking aerial pictures of Somaliland's Togdheer region to look for oil deposits, according to Somaliland's Minister of Mining, Energy and Water Resources Hussein Abdi Duale.

"The aerial search will be followed by oil exploration work, which will start in the beginning of 2013," Duale said October 3rd as he welcomed a delegation from Genel Energy, which is headquartered in Turkey.

The company will use seismic vibrators to explore for oil and will then drill wells, he said. "This will be the first time oil is drilled in the country in 20 years."

Duale said Genel Energy reached a working arrangement with Britain-based oil company Asante Oil, which had an initial agreement with the ministry to search for oil.

"Genel Energy's role in this work will be 70%, and we are happy they will start this work in Somaliland ... We hope that oil will be discovered in our country so we can prosper," he said.

The delegation visited Burao, capital of the Togdheer region, on October 4th to assess the security situation for Genel Energy's future office there.

Australia-based oil company Jacka Resources, Ltd. will also work with Petrosoma, Ltd., based in the United Kingdom, to begin aerial exploration at the end of October and will photograph 10,000 square miles, said Petrosoma's information officer in Hargeisa Mohamed Elmi Abdalle.

Abdalle told Sabahi they will transition to ground exploration in January, with the initial phase of the project costing $10 million.

Said Mohamed Elmi, chairman of the parliamentary sub-committee on environment and natural resources, told Sabahi that a bill on Somaliland oil exploration will be presented to parliament in December.

The Ministry of Mining, Energy and Water Resources has reached agreements in the past few years with four other foreign companies that work in the mineral and oil sectors, Elmi told Sabahi, adding that the constitution requires parliament to approve these kinds of projects, but the ministry has neither forwarded nor approved them.

"If the law governing oil has not yet been created, it is not appropriate to cut deals with companies that prospect, explore or drill... Before parliament approves them, these agreements are illegal," he said. "The ministry has been stubborn in submitting those agreements."

Opportunities for job creation

Abdirahman Aden Aar, an economics professor at Hargeisa's Civil Service Institute, said he hopes oil production will help reduce Somaliland's unemployment rate.

"It will enhance the country's economy and will create jobs for unemployed youth," he said. "This will in turn enhance the living conditions of society."

"Not many people are educated in oil matters in the country now, so production will result in bringing in foreign experts from whom the few local skilled workers will be able to learn from," Aar told Sabahi.

About 1,700 young people recently graduated from national and private universities and are now looking for work, Aar said. "There is an imbalance each year in the number of work opportunities and those seeking work," he said. "So [oil exploration] can be an opportunity for job creation."


IRI Poll: Poverty, Unemployment are Most Important Issues Facing Somaliland

11 October 2012. Source:IRI

Hargeisa, Somaliland – IRI’s most recent Somaliland poll (PDF)found that 56 percent of respondents believe that poverty and unemployment are the most important issues facing Somaliland. The poll, conducted June 16-24, 2012, is a comprehensive analysis of attitudes regarding the current Somaliland economic, social and political landscape.

Optimism among Somalilanders is strong, with 86 percent of respondents stating they think things in Somaliland are headed in the right direction. The two most favorably viewed entities in Somaliland are religious leaders at 96 percent and the president at 84 percent.

In addition, 80 percent of Somalilanders think that Somaliland is either a full democracy, or a democracy with only minor problems.

IRI has been conducting polls in Somaliland since 2011. The data collected in this poll is intended both to gauge public opinion and to assist IRI’s parliamentary and political party partners with pursuing policies based on issues most important to the Somaliland people.

The randomly selected sample of 1,266 men and women of voting age was collected nationwide. Analysis, supervision and execution of the poll was performed by Opinion Research Business (ORB) and was fielded by local polling firm Data and Research Solutions under the supervision of ORB and IRI. The poll had a response rate of 64 percent and the margin of error for the national sample does not exceed plus or minus 2.75 percent.


Doctors from Kuwait Conduct Surgeries at Hayatt Hospital, Borama[video]

Sep 25, 2012. http://www.amoudfoundation.com/news.html?hash=600659ca31aee5d5c61f7908aaa47e3c&mnid=10&page=1

Seventeen doctors from Kuwait arrived in Borama, Somaliland on September 20, 2012 to conduct surgeries at Hayatt Hospital. They were welcomed to Somaliland at a reception attended by the Somaliland Minister of Health, Dr. Hussein Mohamoud, Minister of Agriculture Farah Elmi Geedoole, Awdal Governor Ahmed Xadi Sidci, and other officials. The delegation of doctors was arranged and sponsored jointly by Amoud Foundation and DirectAid of Kuwait.

In the first four days, the visiting doctors saw over 500 patients and completed 40 surgeries. They will continue seeing patients and conducting surgeries through September 26, 2012.

for video please click the link below. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNRvyz4Z8DI&feature=related


Somaliland : Relative peace and security in Hargeisa allows a vibrant private sector to develop

http://www.starafrica.com/en/news/detail-news/view/ifc-and-world-bank-report-finds-strength-256358.html. Provided by PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, October 10, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Relative peace and security in Hargeisa in the past decade have allowed a vibrant private sector to develop, despite conflict and fragility in the surrounding region, says a new World Bank Group report.

Released today, Doing Business in Hargeisa 2012, for the first time provides micro-level data for business regulatory framework for domestic small and medium businesses in Hargeisa, the largest economic center in Somaliland. The report is produced by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank.

Following the civil war in the 1980s, Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but it still lacks international recognition.

Results show that the government has made strides setting up some of the institutions and rules necessary for businesses to operate. The judiciary system is being rebuilt, and legal professionals are returning from abroad or graduating from local universities. Yet challenges persist, including implementing key business regulations, and putting into place a formal banking system.

The report examines 11 regulatory areas: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, obtaining electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and employing workers.

“Hargeisa's performance varies from topic to topic,” said Pilar Sánchez-Bella, co-author of the report. “In the ease of dealing with construction permits, getting electricity and registering property, institutions governing these areas are relatively efficient. But Hargeisa needs to improve its legal framework to foster a healthy environment that encourages local entrepreneurs to start businesses, which in turn can help generate jobs and growth.”

The report makes four general recommendations for regulatory reform in Hargeisa: completing the legal and regulatory framework; streamlining administrative procedures for business registration, construction permits, and property registration; reducing costs across the indicators measured; and improving compliance with regulations.

The study was produced at the request of the Ministry of Planning and Development of Somaliland and financed through a World Bank-executed trust fund, with contributions from the U.K. Department for International Development, the Danish International Development Agency, and the World Bank's State and Peace-Building Fund.

For more information, please visit www.doingbusiness.org/hargeisa and www.doingbusiness.org. Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DoingBusiness.org.

About the World Bank Group: The World Bank Group is one of the world's largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world. For more information, please visit www.worldbank.org, www.miga.org, and www.ifc.org.


Somalia Somaliland: Abdi – a serious boy

Report— Save the Children. 09 Oct 2012, http://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/somaliland-abdi-%E2%80%93-serious-boy

by Mark Kaye

Abdi is one of the most serious boys I’ve ever met. In fact, in the hour we spend together talking, I only see him smile once – when I take his picture.

Abdi is 14 years old and lives near the village of Boodhlay; a small pastoral community we’re supporting in the eastern regions of Somaliland.

Like most people in this village his family are dependent on their livestock to provide them with food, milk and income.

He is one of ten children and the only of his brothers and sisters to go to school. All the rest stay at home and help to look after the family’s animals.

Every day he walks for an hour and a half to get to school and then the same again to come home. He has an appreciation of the power of education that would have shamed my 14-year-old self.

“My education is very important to me,” he tells me. “I don’t think that anything else would matter to me so much that I would make this journey over and over. Nothing is more important. I need to be able to help my family. When I grow up and finish my education I can do this.”

Struggling to recover

Abdi’s village is currently suffering the effects of poor seasonal April to June rains. Pasture for animals to graze on is extremely limited and water for both livestock and human consumption is scarce.

Already vulnerable as a result of last year’s drought, villages like this all over eastern Somaliland are struggling to recover and return to normal life.

“When there is no rain we move a lot,” Abdi says. “We move to different places in search of food for our animals. I worry a lot about having to drop out of school. If my family moves again we might not come back and I will have no chance of finishing my studies.

“One day I hope to be a teacher myself. But if the rains do not come again my family will move and I will have to follow them.

“Things are hard now. It is difficult to get food and sometimes our water is dirty. I never have any food during break time at school and so concentrating in class is hard. Sometimes when I get home there is nothing to eat either so I try to go to sleep so that breakfast comes sooner.

“There is no one else to look after me if my family has to leave. I would have to go with them and drop out of school. I wish we had a school where I could eat and stay. That way no one could ever take me away.”

Little to smile about

Abdi is one of the most serious boys I have ever met, and not without good reason. A 14-year-old shouldn’t have to worry about being able to complete his primary education. This is his right.

We’re already on the ground, working in a total of 21 villages across eastern Somaliland where we currently support schools.

We’re trucking in water and rehabilitating local water sources so that families, like Abdi’s, have immediate access to safe water in these difficult times.

Origin notes: http://blogs.savethechildren.org.uk/2012/10/somaliland-abdi-a-serious-boy/


SOMALILAND: Grappling with road-accidents toll

Photo: IRIN. http://www.irinnews.org/Report/96498/SOMALIA-Grappling-with-road-accidents-toll

HARGEISA, 9 October 2012 (IRIN) - The self-declared republic of Somaliland is grappling with an upsurge in traffic accidents, and officials say the trend will likely continue unless the government puts in place measures to curtail them.

“About 1,251 road accidents [occurred] in 2004 compared to 2,199 in 2011, causing 75 and 142 deaths respectively,” said Abdi Moussa, the Commander of Somaliland's Traffic Police department.

“Several factors cause the increasing road traffic accidents, including poor driving knowledge, poor roads, overloading passengers and goods, high speeds and lack of road signs,” Mouse told IRIN. Officials say truck drivers ferrying khat, a popular narcotic, are the biggest violators of traffic laws.

According to Horn Watch, a local NGO, passengers account for 90 percent of road accident victims, while the rest are pedestrians and drivers.

Hospitals see daily toll

Officials at Hargeisa Hospital, the country’s largest health facility, told IRIN that traffic accidents are arguably the country’s largest cause of death.

“We receive an average of 15 to 20 victims of road accidents each day,” Bashi Mohamed, the head of the hospital’s emergency department, said.

Children are particularly vulnerable to road accidents. “A high number of paediatric surgeries done here are due to road accidents,” said Asha Omar, a nurse at the hospital’s paediatric ward. “For example, 70 percent of the children we receive in this ward are the victims of the accidents.”

“I was in Mansor area of Hargeisa. While I was running to cross the road, a car hit me and I fell on the ground, but I couldn't stand up again,” said Mukhtar Ahmed, a nine-year-old road accident victim recuperating in the hospital.

Enforcement

There are plans by the police to rein in reckless drivers and enforce traffic rules.

AFRICA: Urgent drive to act on road safety

ETHIOPIA: Government moves to address road-accident toll “The [police] are struggling to [reduce] the problem [by] imposing fine on drivers without driving licenses, and [they are] also setting up road signs on the roads,” police commander Moussa said.

“Also, we are now in the process of imposing speed limits in the urban centres. For example, no car is allowed to drive in the urban [centre at] more than 15km per hour,” he added.

The government estimates there are 46,000 motor vehicles in Somaliland. Officials say the country’s road network cannot cope with the high number of motor vehicle imports.

“Every month, hundreds of cars are imported into the country, and the roads are not enough to accommodate the increasing number of transport imports,” an official at the Ministry of Transport told IRIN anonymously.

Traffic accidents are responsible for an estimated 322,000 deaths in Africa each year, according to the World Health Organization, reducing national GDPs by an estimated 1 to 5 percent annually.

Globally, just 42 percent of countries have a road safety strategy.

At a 2007 summit in Ghana, African governments’ transport and health ministers signed the Accra Declaration in which they pledged to halve road deaths by 2015.


In Somaliland, what’s the text message everyone waits for?

Written by Oxfam America. Oct 05, 2012: http://firstperson.oxfamamerica.org/2012/10/04/in-somaliland-whats-the-text-message-everyone-waits-for/

Imagine tightening your belt so you can set aside a few extra dollars for your kin threatened by famine and conflict, while knowing in the back of your mind that a bank can shut down the transfer service at a moment’s notice.

In August, Oxfam America’s Scott Paul traveled to Somaliland to research a money transfer system that helps support countless families in the region. A senior humanitarian policy advisor, Paul discusses how remittances provide a lifeline to Somalilanders and people all across the Somali region. This is the second in a series of three blogs on the topic.

People wait in crowded lines to receive money transfers in Somaliland. Photo by Scott Paul

On my first day in Somaliland, I traveled to the operations center of Dahabshiil. In case I didn’t drive the point home strongly enough yesterday, Dahabshiil is a significant presence in Somaliland. The operations center now occupies two older buildings, but it’s scheduled to relocate to a new building, which, when completed, will be the biggest in all of Somaliland.

I asked Abdirashid Duale, Dahabshiil’s chief executive officer, what most threatened the free flow of remittances from the US to Somalia. Without hesitation, he replied, “Banks, banks, banks.”

Traditional Islamic money service businesses like Dahabshiil have agents to collect and distribute money transfers, but they can’t actually send money from the US to Somalia themselves – they need banks to do that. But US law requires banks to devote a ton of resources to monitoring the transactions and to subject themselves to additional government scrutiny.

As a result, only a few small banks still work with the Somali money transfer companies. And those banks could decide at any moment to discontinue service – even if the companies go above and beyond their legal obligations.

Many Somali-Americans are scared and frustrated, and I can understand why. Imagine tightening your belt so you can set aside a few extra dollars for your kin threatened by famine and conflict, while knowing in the back of your mind that a bank can shut down the transfer service at a moment’s notice.

It’s no wonder the Somali-American community in the Twin Cities in Minnesota has organized town hall meetings, protests, and boycotts this year in order to force banks and government officials to find a way to keep remittances flowing.

All of this trouble is not necessarily the fault of the banks, though. US law asks them to monitor and regulate systems they may not fully understand and which are widely believed in the industry, rightly or wrongly, to be insecure and risky. For my part, I didn’t fully understand them either. So I decided to see for myself how Somalis receive money from abroad – and how Somali money transfer companies guard against money laundering and fraud.

My good friend Kate, always up for an adventure, agreed to send me $60 from Minneapolis . She presented her driver’s license and phone number, together with my passport number and Somaliland cell phone number, and paid $63 (including $3 commission). Fifteen minutes later and nearly 8,000 miles away, I received a text message on my cell phone: “You have a message from Dahabshiil.”

To millions of Somali families, messages from money transfer companies like this one means the support they need to survive has finally arrived. To me, it meant a window into a poorly understood facet of Somali life was beginning to open.


Somalia Successful girls' school needs funding

Report— Norwegian People's Aid. 04 Oct 2012; http://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/successful-girls-school-needs-funding

A Somali girls’ school is fighting the stigma that girls are inferior to the boys, but struggles to get teaching materials for its students because of lack of funding.

Author: Tine Johansen

Hanaqaad primary school in Las Anod started its work in the year 2004 by umbrella women groups. Its establishment was necessitated by lack of education among school going age girls from poor and destitute families that could not afford to educate of their girls. The school gives free lower primary education to young girls who are orphans, those from poor families and more importantly those young girls that are denied the chance to see the door of class by their families because of their gender. Furthermore they are considered inferior to the boys, therefore based on that perception parents see, sending them to education means wasting resources.

This school is unique in that it is the only girls’ school in the whole region where girls’ education is prioritized. Since it was formed the school, which is a lower primary school, uplifted girl child education in the region.

The school started with only one room. But later in collaboration with Norwegian People’s Aid Somalia (NPA) Programme four classes, two latrines and office for teachers has been added to the school.

The school now holds 170 Pupils and has four teachers and a headmistress.

– The school has contributed to the reduction of negative perception towards girl’s education and eradication of stigma that girls are inferior to the boys, says Ahmed Farah, programme manager for NPA Somalia.

He says that the school also has become a resource centre for young women, who missed their childhood education, to participate the literacy, numeracy and skills training programmes offered to them as well as other programmes that concern their life such as gender issues.

– This year the school and NPA are undertaking a skills training programme for 200 girls from poor, minority and IDP families (aged 17 – 24 years) in various skills. The programme is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Farah adds.

He says that despite the success the school is still facing several challenges due to lack of finances.

– They lack of enough classes to enable the pupils complete their primary education up to standard eight, they lack recreational facilities like play-grounds and games-kits, and there isn’t enough funds to pay the teachers, purchase teaching materials like text books and converting the school in to a boarding school in order to allow girls to concentrate solely to their education, he explains.

Hanaqaad School hopes for cooperation with individuals and other agencies in order to improve the education for the girls.


Frankincense and Gums Umbrellas in Somaliland : Complaint about Inaction

Republic of Somaliland : Frankincense and Gums Umbrellas ; Subject: Complaint about Inaction

To: The president of Somaliland

To: The World Bank

CC: The Ministry of Commerce

CC: The Ministry of Internal Affairs

CC: The Ministry of Planning

CC: The Ministry of Environment

CC: The House of Elders of Somaliland

CC: The House of Parliament of Somaliland

CC: Somaliland Anti corruption and Good Governance Commission.

CC: Department for International Development (DFID) UK

CC: Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA)

We, the united umbrellas of Frankincense and Gum producers of Somaliland, do herby lodge our deep dissatisfaction against the World Bank in the following points:

1- On October 2006, we got a request from the then Minister for Planning of Somaliland to travel to Hargeisa to meet the World Bank representatives there. The aim was to discuss ways of developing the Frankincense and Gum (F&G) production in Somaliland.

2- We were received in the Ministry of Planning on arrival and met with World Bank officials

3- An agreement has been reached to raise all the needs of the F&G sector in order to revive the production which collapsed during the war.

4- In February 2007 our needs assessment was completed and submitted to the World Bank

5- From 2006 and up to now we have been called for meeting at the rate of twice a year in Hargeisa, although we are domiciled in the most distant areas of Somaliland.

6- This resulted us to collect a high burden in costs and debts, from accommodation, travel etc with a set back to our meager activities at home. Waiting time was always too long.

7- With 14 meeting (2006-2012) so far being convened, not a single step was taken forward.

8- At the same time, those lost years were called Phase One and Phase Two, and huge funds running into millions were consumed. Not a single penny has ever reached where it was intended to and what it was intended for.

9- In the last meeting which was held at Hotel Mansour Hargeisa on 22nd September 2012, when we tried to express our views, we met with harassment and threat from the organizers.

10-We lodged numerous complaints over the years with the ministries of Planning, Commerce, Environment and with the judicial system of the country, but no action has been so far taken.

For that reason, we appeal to the President of Somaliland and to all those concerned to look deeply into this matter so that Somaliland Frankincense and Gum producers get all the funds intended for them without wasting huge sums on air travel, leisure accommodation, vehicle hire and useless seminars and meetings, which has so far exhausted large sums of the tax payers money.

Signatories:Frankincense and Gums Umbrella (The Star Umbrella)

1- Saalah Guure Amalle

2- Mohamed Abdulahi

3- Ahmed Omer

4- Mohamoud Boss

5- Abdirahman Farah

Anbar Gobane Umbrella Durdur Umbrella

1- Mohamed Omer Ismail 1- Farah Mohamed Hassan

2- Aden Tarabi 2- Suldan Ibrahim Cige ismail

3- Abdi Burale Mohamed 3- Hassan Hiirad Yonis

4- Musa Abdi Aralle 4- Said Mohamed Hassan

5- Garad Suleiman Ahmed 5- Abdulqadir Jibril Dualeh

unionsomalilandgum@yahoo.com. http://somalilandinformer.com/?p=8867


Somalia: Somaliland Police Detain Journalists in Borama

2 OCTOBER 2012. Committee to Protect Journalists (New York) PRESS RELEASE. http://allafrica.com/stories/201210030834.html

Police from the semi-autonomous republic of Somaliland detained two journalists without charge on September 13 and released them four days later, according to local journalists.

Police arrested Hashim Sheikh Omar and Mursal Elmi for interviewing local residents in the northwestern town of Borama about the appointment of a new prime minister in the republic of Somalia, local journalists told CPJ. The government considers Borama a center of opposition since the former president comes from the town, local journalists said.

Hashim works as a correspondent for the Nairobi-based U.N.-backed radio station Bar-Kulan and the private U.K.-based Somalisat broadcaster, local journalists said. Mursal is a reporter for local broadcaster Bulsho TV and the news website Xariiradnews, the sources said.


From Refugee to IDP in Somaliland

October 1, 2012. Mark Leon Goldberg. http://www.undispatch.com/from-refugee-to-idp-in-somaliland

Ed note. This is a special guest post from Mark Yarnell of Refugees International

(Hargeisa, Somaliland) “What we need most is to have our own land.”

This is the message I heard during my recent visit to a displacement settlement in Hargeisa, Somaliland. The people I met have spent the last 20 years in the ‘State House’ settlement for returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). There are several thousand households living here in makeshift shelters, crammed only a few feet apart. The shelters are built on land owned by the Somaliland government, and surround the crumbling edifice of the once grand State House headquarters, built during the colonial era when Somaliland was a British protectorate.

Many of the residents of this camp were once refugees in Ethiopia. In the late 1980s, they were among the hundreds of thousands who fled fighting between forces of the Siad Barre regime, based in Mogadishu, and those of the Somalia National Movement in Somaliland. When the Barre regime collapsed in 1991, Somaliland declared its independence from its southern neighbor (although that independence is not formally recognized by the international community).

With peace restored, those who fled began returning to Somaliland. But many had lost access to their land or were unable to return to their pastoralist livelihoods and were relegated to squatting on public land in Hargeisa. They went from being refugees in Ethiopia to IDPs in their home country. Many IDPs (or, more appropriately, returnees) have established firm roots where they settled and have integrated themselves into the local economy. But they live under the constant threat that the government will seek to reclaim the land under their feet. The ever-temporary nature of their residency limits their ability to establish permanent structures, while also making it difficult for donors and aid agencies to invest in infrastructure projects.

The existence of the State House camp is a stark illustration of the reality for many displaced returnees throughout the region who lost access to their land upon their return. Hargeisa’s displaced have been unable to escape the uncertainty and restrictions that prevent them from being truly settled, in spite of the fact that they – unlike many Somalis – live in a region that has been relatively stable for the past two decades. Although the Somaliland government has its flaws, the level of stability and governance that exists in Hargeisa cannot be found in most other parts of Somalia.

To the east and south, pervasive conflict and food insecurity in Somalia has forced around a million people to seek refuge in neighboring countries, and another million to be displaced within the country. But now, as African Union peacekeeping troops make gains against Al-Shabaab and political developments in Mogadishu continue to advance, there are more and more discussions among donors and host governments about the possibility of large-scale returns. The Kenyan government, for example, has been particularly aggressive in pushing for Somalis in the country’s Dadaab refugee camp to return to Somalia. It is critically important that any returns of displaced populations must be safe, voluntary, and dignified. But for those who do want to return home, the current reality in Somalia presents a major challenge. Even if stability does return, will they have access to their land? Will they be able to restart their livelihoods? Or will they go from being refugees in one country to IDPs in another?

To be clear, there are opportunities for small-scale returns in Somalia, especially for those who fled their homes due to the most recent drought and famine. But as the State House settlement in Hargeisa clearly demonstrates, without secure access to land or the possibility of pastoralists to re-start their livelihoods, returning “home” can lead to a very uncertain future.


Vote for Peace II: Report on 2010 Somaliland Presidential Election Process[PDF]

The Academy for Peace and Development (APD) has produced new report document on the 2010 Somaliland presidential election process. The document analysis the political and social dynamics that shaped the electoral process of Somaliland that lead up to and aftermath of the 2010 presidential election in Somaliland.

Document type: Report PDF (English).Size: 2.01MB

To Download click here A Vote for Peace


Somaliland: Displaced for Days, or for Decades[photos]

By Michael Boyce. Created 09/20/2012 - Published on Refugees International (http://refugeesinternational.org)

Photos

Somaliland neighbors Somalia, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. It considers itself an independent state, although it is not officially recognized as such. There are an estimated 85,000 internally displaced people in Somaliland and the majority live in and around the capital, Hargeisa. Some of these people have been living in IDP settlements for more than 20 years – victims of several forced displacements throughout those two decades. Others have arrived more recently, due to last year’s drought and the ongoing violence in south central Somalia.

[1] Many of the people in Mohamed Moge are nomads who lost their animals – and thus, their means of livelihood – in last summer’s drought.

[2] Darajo travelled to the settlement with her husband and ten children. Like the others in this camp, Darajo and her family often make the long walk into the city center to try to find odd jobs, or to beg.

[3] Children in the camp have little opportunity for education. They collect gravel and firewood to sell for food

[4] The inhabitants of Mohamed Moge live in makeshift shelters with limited access to the most basic of services, such as water, sanitation, and health care.

[5] Hakimo fled to Hargeisa from Mogadishu. One year ago, Hakimo lost four of her children in a mortar attack in the Somali capital.

Refugees International (RI) advocates for lifesaving assistance and protection for displaced people and promotes solutions to displacement crises.

Refugees International. 2001 S Street NW, Suite 700. Washington, DC 20009.

Source URL: http://refugeesinternational.org/blog/photo-report/somaliland-displaced-days-or-decades


Women Who Inspire: Edna Adan’s Maternity Hospital is Saving Somaliland’s Women and Their Babies

September 27, 2012 By culture-ist. http://www.thecultureist.com/2012/09/27/inspirational-women-edna-adan-maternity-hospital-somaliland/

Many of Somaliland’s women die each year due to complications with childbirth. Easily treatable maladies such as anemia, preeclampsia and prolonged labor often cause serious complications or death among pregnant woman. In recent years, the country has seen a drop in the number of midwives, mainly impart due to an aging generation of women who can no longer provide the necessary medical attention needed during childbirth.

Edna Adan knew of the critical concerns surrounding maternity healthcare in her country. As a women who was given the opportunity to attend school and later earned a coveted scholarship to study in Britain where she pursued midwifery, nursing and hospital management, Adan wanted to help other women in Somaliland have the same opportunities by providing them and their soon-to-be-born children with healthcare.

Upon her return from Britain, Adan became the first qualified nurse-midwife and the first woman in her country to drive. She married Somaliland’s prime minister, Ibrahim Egal, but eventually the two got divorced and Adan moved on to join the World Health Organization where she fought against the traditional practice of female genital mutilation.

Having gained the respect of her nation and human rights organizations around the world, Adan retired from the WHO and set out to accomplish her childhood dream to one day open a hospital. She sold all of her possessions and purchased a piece of land that was used as a trash dump in the capital of Hargeisa after negotiating with her ex-husband who was president at the time.

In 1997, Adan began building the hospital and five years later the 50-bed private facility opened its doors. Her goal is to train 1,000 midwives who will eventually return to their communities and provide pregnant women with the treatment they need. Thus far, Adan has trained 150 female high school graduates who are currently making a difference in the lives of women all across Somaliland.


Somaliland: Global Citizen Movement Award to Honour Edna Adan for Dedication to Service

Awards Recognize Outstanding Leaders in the Fight Against Extreme Poverty

By The Global Poverty Project

NEW YORK, /PRNewswire/ -- The Global Poverty Project (GPP) announced today the winners of the Global Citizen Movement Awards, recognizing four outstanding leaders in the fight against extreme poverty. The Awards, made possible by the generous support of KOZMINSKY Jewelry, will be presented at the Global Citizen Festival 2012, on the Great Lawn of New York's iconic Central Park on September 29, 2012.

The awards will be presented to four outstanding individuals who embody the diversity of efforts and resources that are needed to achieve our generation's common goal: the end of extreme poverty.

Wifrid Macena, Community & Leadership Award. An amputee in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, Wilfrid is recognized as a man who through tremendous pain and hardship had the courage of a relentless smile and the boundless spirit to see opportunity in the challenges he faced and act upon those opportunities to help others in his community.

Edna Adan, Dedication to Service Award. Edna has committed her life to improving the health and well-being of the people in Somaliland – an area in Africa, which experiences one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world. She is an advocate for women and girls, men, families and communities in Somaliland.

Urmi Basu, Commitment to Justice & Systemic Change Award. Urmi fights gender inequality in India, and is working to empower women, against a void of legal and social protections that exist in her country. Her goal is to support women who are victims of trafficking and forced prostitution empowering them with rights that have been long denied.

Dr. Peter Salk, on behalf of his father Jonas Salk, Technology & Innovation Award. Dr. Peter Salk will accept on behalf of Jonas Salk, Albert Sabin and all medical scientists who pioneered vaccines to immunize against polio and other preventable diseases. Their innovation and discovery has saved the lives of millions of children and greatly reduced the number of preventable deaths worldwide.

THE GLOBAL POVERTY PROJECT: The Global Poverty Project is an international education and advocacy organization working to catalyse the movement to end extreme poverty. An Australian grown project, The Global Poverty Project creates campaigns with the purpose to increase the number and effectiveness of people taking action to end extreme poverty, with the vision of a world without extreme poverty, within a generation.

SOURCE The Global Poverty Project

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/26/4857617/global-citizen-movement-award.html#storylink=c


World Bank aims to advance fishing sector, entrepreneurship in Somaliland

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa. 27 SEPTEMBER, 2012. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2012/09/26/feature-02

The World Bank unveiled a $14 million grant to the Somaliland administration last week to strengthen the fishing industry and advance privately owned businesses in the region, officials said.

A Somali man holds a fish at a market in Mogadishu. New funding from the World Bank is expected to improve production and quality control of the fishing industry in Somaliland. [Jose Cendon/AFP]

Somaliland Minister of Fisheries Abdullahi Jama Geljire told Sabahi that $1.2 million would go directly to his ministry to develop a registration process and licensing procedure for foreign and local fishing boats and other vessels.

"These things did not exist in Somaliland before," Geljire said. "The programme will establish safety guidelines [for quality control of fish] from when it is caught until it is sold," he said.

In addition, the programme will teach the ministry and local fishermen how to sort the fish they catch and how to record information on the kinds of fish caught, Geljire said.

"It includes trainings for fishery associations on how to serve their members and teach them new fishing techniques," he said.

The World Bank has contracted French company SOFRECO to train local fishermen and enhance myrrh gum exports because local companies do not have the capacity to undertake the task, Geljire said.

"With regard to economic development, this is the largest [aid] the World Bank has given Somaliland," Ahmed Mohamed Diriye, a monitoring and evaluation expert at the Somaliland Ministry of Planning and Development, told Sabahi.

He said livestock, once the backbone on which Somaliland's economy depended, has been declining due to drought and deforestation.

"Fishing is an abundant resource that needs investment and can be a substitute for declining livestock, which is losing ground as the main economic backbone," he said.

Diriye said part of the programme will involve studying coastal communities in an effort improve the lives of local residents.

"Our policy is to create permanent fishing factories so that people can be occupied both in livelihood and work," he said. Fishermen need modern equipment

Omar Aden Osman, head of Zakiya Fishing Company, said fishing professionals have many unmet needs.

"They have a great need for training to advance their knowledge, and they need help with equipment to store and market fish, particularly freezers and ice makers," Osman told Sabahi. "Our boats are small and most of them are faulty." Osman said fishing gear is not sold in the country and fishermen face difficulties when ordering equipment from abroad. "Since [fishermen] do not have modern equipment, large vessels, freezers or good skills, they do not gain any tangible profits from the sea, and at times they cannot afford to pay for the fuel and food they went to sea with," he said.

Part of the $14 million grant will be used to fund the Somaliland Business Fund (SBF), worth $3.6 million, which will be awarded to independent business owners in the form of business development grants ranging between $5,000 and $150,000, SBF official Mohamed Yusuf Elmi told Sabahi.

Individuals can submit applications directly on the SBF website. The deadline for accepting proposals is October 25th, and Elmi said they have already received many grant proposals. The money from SBF is expected to be distributed within two years, he said.

The World Bank programme will last until 2015 and will also fund programmes for livestock trade, farming, myrrh gum export and capacity building of Somaliland ministries, Geljire said.


Supporting Midwives in Somaliland

Written by Lindsey Pollaczek, Program Officer (Africa) - Relief Web. September 26, 2012. http://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/supporting-midwives-somaliland.

Down a bumpy dirt track nearly three hours south of Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, Edna Adan and I crawl our way to the town of Baligubadle, just steps from the Ethiopian border.

At the Maternal and Child Health Center in this small town, which serves approximately 25,000 in Somaliland plus those from neighboring Ethiopia, we meet Sado, a 25-year old Community Midwife who has been hard at work providing health care to the mothers and children in this community for four years.

Sado was part of the first class of graduates from the Edna Adan University Hospital training program for Community Midwives, one of the remarkable programs instituted by hospital founder Edna Adan. When asked why Sado decided to become a Community Midwife, Sado said it was the lack of trained health providers in her community that made her interested in this work. Having a trained Community Midwife present in every village in Somaliland is part of Edna’s vision to reduce maternal and newborn mortality across the country.

The purpose of the Community Midwife is not to replace the doctor, who has a critical role in providing emergency cesarean sections for women experiencing complications, but to serve as a front-line health worker providing care in often rural and remote parts of the country. Until now there have been few or no health providers that can provide high quality care during pregnancy, delivery, and in the days and weeks after birth in these remote Maternal and Child Health Centers.

When Sado was undergoing her 18-month training, the hospital frequently received women in labor from the Baligubadle area who arrived with very serious complications. Many times, they arrived too late for anything to be done. When Sado graduated she knew it was important for her to return to this rural area to use her midwifery skills to help women deliver safely at a health center near their home, and to use her knowledge to refer women with serious complications early to emergency care to save their lives and the lives of their babies.

Sado says she is happy that she has chosen this profession, yet she also recognizes the many challenges that midwives face working in a remote area like this, with limited resources: “Sometimes when we can’t help a woman we feel like running away. When we don’t have the equipment or means we feel very bad. But if we run away, there will be no one, and so we stay, and we do what we can.”

Today, Direct Relief is providing a Midwife Kit to the Baligubadle Maternal and Child Health Center to help Sado in her daily work of delivering women safely. The Direct Relief Midwife Kit, one of 40 donated to Edna Adan Hospital to be distributed to the Community Midwives that are practicing in similar areas throughout Somaliland, contains essential delivery instruments, basic diagnostic equipment and medical supplies to help a midwife like Sado put her training to use. Sado quickly recognizes all of the items in the Midwife Kit, and confirms readily she will be able to put them to good use. She is very thankful for the supplies and is particularly excited to see the headlamp, which she has not had before and will be a great help when women deliver at night since the health center has no electricity.

Sado is overcome with emotion when she is asked what Edna means to her—“She is like my mother,” she says. The remarkable Edna Adan, a woman with over five decades of midwifery experience and a fierce passion for instilling knowledge in young people, wraps her arm around Sado’s shoulder. “At my age you have to pass the torch, and I choose to pass it to them,” Edna says. “You have no idea how many lives she has saved, and this is why I continue to do what I do.”


Somalia: Somaliland offers ‘general amnesty’ to members of Al Shabaab terror group

25 Sep 25, 2012 - 11:29:18 PM http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somalia_Somaliland_offers_general_amnesty_to_Al_Shabaab_terrorists.shtml

HARGEISA, Somalia Sep. 25, 2012 (Garowe Online) - A Cabinet minister in Somalia's separatist region of Somaliland has offered a general amnesty to members of Al Shabaab terrorist group that hail from Somaliland regions in northwestern Somalia, raising concerns in the wider region that individuals who committed terrorist attacks will be granted a general amnesty, Garowe Online reports.

Somaliland Interior Minister Mohamed Nur Arale Duur, who spoke with Somaliland-based Horn Cable TV satellite station this week, said the Somaliland government is granting a “general amnesty” to all Al Shabaab members from Somaliland.

“We appeal to the youth who adopted the extremist ideology and who were involved in those wars [in south-central Somalia], if they are willing to give up that ideology and to live a good and calm life, we can extend them a general amnesty, because all humans make mistakes,” said Minister Duur, adding: “If they [Al Shabaab members] who come from these regions [Somaliland] are willing to re-start their lives, we are open to welcoming them back.”

It is the first time a senior official from Somaliland has openly issued a blanket amnesty to members of Al Shabaab, the terrorist group responsible for relentless violent attacks across Somalia including the Oct. 2008 bombing of the presidential compound, the UN offices, and the Ethiopian consulate in Hargeisa, Somaliland’s administrative capital.

Al Shabaab’s top leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane alias Muktar Abu Zubeyr, was born in Hargeisa and is a member of Somaliland’s dominant community, the Isaaq clan. Mr. Godane, along with a number of senior Al Shabaab members who hail from Somaliland, has been accused of intentionally fomenting chaos and terrorism in regions of south-central Somalia including Mogadishu while successfully restraining Al Shabaab from engaging in targeted killings and bombings in Somaliland towns.

Somaliland and the election in Mogadishu

Minister Duur, who is an outspoken member of Somaliland leader Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo's Cabinet, was asked whether he was a member of Al Islah Islamist group, the Somali branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Minister responded by stating that he did not “personally know” newly elected Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who has alleged connections to Al Islah Islamist group.

“I don’t know him [President Hassan] personally and I did not contribute to his election. However, it is vital that we have relations with Somalia. This [Somaliland] administration that I am a member of will continue our ongoing dialogue, God willing,” said Minister Duur.

Referring to President Hassan’s election in Mogadishu on Sept. 10, Somaliland’s interior minister claimed that Somaliland officials were “involved” in the election process.

“We have links to the elections because there is a group of enemies of Somaliland and group that we can continue dialogue with. Our link was mainly communications and information sharing. We were carefully choosing ‘which group can we continue dialogue with’ and ‘which group can we not engage in dialogue with’,” concluded Minister Duur’s televised interview.

Minister Duur’s public remarks about Somaliland involvement in the election process that occurred in Mogadishu is a new revelation, emphasizing Somaliland’s growing interaction with other parts of Somalia after 20 years of political isolation in the failed effort to seek international recognition as an independent country.

Somaliland, located in northwestern Somalia, unilaterally declared independence from the rest of the country in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally to date.


Somalia Medair’s nutrition programme helps a family of 10 survive life in a Somaliland camp.

Report— Medair. 21 Sep 2012. by Ed Nash, Medair Field Communications Officer. http://reliefweb.int/report/somalia/medair%E2%80%99s-nutrition-programme-helps-family-10-survive-life-somaliland-camp

Crowds of happy children greet me when I visit Muruqmal camp in Burao, Somaliland, energised and excited to see a visitor from Medair.

Older children run out to meet me, but many of their younger siblings are obviously suffering from malnutrition. Babies and toddlers lie in their mothers’ arms, their exhausted eyes glazing over.

When I speak to families in these displacement camps, most of them have been hit hard by malnutrition in some way. For the youngest children, malnutrition not only impacts their long-term physical and cognitive development but also has deadly consequences for them: one-third of all child deaths worldwide are linked to malnutrition [1]. Almost one in five children in Burao’s camps is suffering from malnutrition [2].

Empty Stomachs A mother invites me into a fenced-off area around her shelter to chat. Milgo Hussein has lived in this camp for 10 years and has eight children between the ages of one and 15. “I feed the children twice a day,” she says. “They eat rice and, if we can afford it, a few vegetables.”

Food is scarce for families like Milgo’s under normal conditions, but the drought in this region made things much worse. “When the drought was very harsh in this country, I was hungry myself,” she says. “I felt weak and my stomach felt empty. I could only get a very little milk from my one goat. I used it in tea, there was not enough to give milk to the children.”

Milgo’s youngest daughter, one-year-old Fatha, became very sick. “She did not have enough to eat,” says Milgo. “She was weak and had diarrhoea.”

From Weakness to Health Thankfully, Medair runs an integrated relief programme that helps reduce child malnutrition in camps like Muruqmal as well as in rural parts of Somaliland. When Milgo brought Fatha in to be seen by our team, we immediately enrolled her in a therapeutic feeding programme and gave her sachets of nutritious food. “Medair gave me special food to give to Fatha,” says Milgo. “She was so weak she could not eat it herself, so I fed it to her, a little at a time.”

Fatha was weighed and measured regularly, and our staff checked in on her to monitor her recovery. With this treatment, Fatha gained weight and became much more active. “Fatha is now much better,” says Milgo. “The special food from Medair has been very good for her, it has made her better.”

Medair also gives food rations to mothers of malnourished children like Milgo to help them feed their whole families. “With Medair’s help I am able to get rice, pasta, flour, dates, oil, and even a little sugar each month to feed my children,” she says. “The situation is difficult for us because we are so poor – this really helps us. My other children would also be malnourished without the food we receive from Medair.”

Malnutrition continues to be a deadly threat for children in Somaliland, but evidence suggests that Medair’s approach is making a real difference here. The nutrition situation among Burao internally displaced persons has improved from “Very Critical” to “Critical,” thanks in part to increased humanitarian assistance. The Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) specifically cited Medair’s contributions to the improved nutrition situation in its June 2012 report [2].

Thank You I watch as healthy Fatha gurgles happily in her mother’s lap, breaking into squeals of joy when her mother tickles her under the arm. It is an honour to see firsthand the impact of Medair’s work: exhausted children brought back to health and families hopeful about the future once again.

As someone who has encountered the people we are helping and seen how Medair has transformed their lives, I want to say thank you to all our donors. Thank you for believing in a better future for the impoverished people of Somaliland and thank you for helping Medair be a part of building up this country.

[1] Source WHO www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs178/en/index.html [2] FSNAU Nutrition Update May-June 2012, available for download at www.fsnau.org/in-focus/fsnau-releases-nutrition-situation-update-somalia-may-june-2012


Displaced Somalis lack resources to make better life

By Dara McLeod, Refugees International - 09/18/12. http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/249963-displaced-somalis-lack-resources-to-make-better-life

Hargeisa, Somaliland – The first thing you notice are the colors. The vibrant reds, blues, and greens of the multi-colored domes that dot an otherwise dry and dusty landscape. From a distance, it could almost be described as beautiful. But as we drive closer, the domes transform into the crude and woefully inadequate shelters of thousands of displaced Somalis.

I and my Refugees International colleague are in Hargeisa, Somaliland, visiting camps for displaced people. There are an estimated 85,000 internally displaced people in Somaliland, and the majority of these live in Hargeisa. Some of these people have been living in squalid settlements for more than twenty years – victims of several forced displacements throughout those two decades. Others are more recently arrived.

On this day, we are visiting a settlement on the outskirts of Hargeisa where 2700 families have made camp over the past year. The majority of these are nomads who lost their animals and thus means of livelihood in last summer’s devastating drought. Now they find themselves living in makeshift shelters with limited access to the most basic of services such as water, sanitation, and health care.

It is here that we meet Darajo. She used to live in the region between Hargeisa and the border with Ethiopia. When the drought hit and she lost her animals, Darajo, her husband, and their ten children walked for three months to reach this settlement. Like the others in this camp, Darajo and her family are now forced to collect gravel and firewood to sell for food, or to make the long walk into the city centre where they try to find odd jobs or to beg.

Just a couple of miles drive along a dirt road takes us to another part of the settlement. Here we meet people from south central Somalia, who were forced to travel north because of ongoing violence. People like Hakimo, who fled to Hargeisa from Mogadishu. One year ago, Hakimo lost four of her children in a mortar attack. She herself still bears shrapnel wounds from that attack. She raises her sleeve to show us her scar.

The circumstances that brought Darajo and Hakimo to this settlement are different. But their goal is the same – they both want to go home. Sadly, this is unlikely to happen anytime soon. There is a far greater likelihood that they will join the growing numbers of Hargeisa’s long-term displaced population.

There are very basic humanitarian needs here that are not being met. These must be addressed. But the relative stability of Somaliland also presents an opportunity for the international aid community and its donors to develop long-term development strategies to better cope with this protracted displacement crisis.

Somaliland considers itself an independent state – although it is not officially recognized as such. Unlike its neighbor Somalia, Somaliland has a well-established functioning government and has been mostly unscathed by the violence of Al-Shabaab militants that plagues the south.

There is a will here to provide a better life for those displaced by drought and violence. What is lacking is the capacity to do so.

McLeod is the director of communications for Refugees International, a non-profit organization that advocates to end displacement and statelessness crises worldwide and receives no government or UN funding.


An Open letter: Somaliland people are facing leadership worry.

Sept 17, 2012.http://sunatimes.com/view.php?id=2239

An Open letter to

Somaliland House of Elders,
Somaliland House of Parliament,
EU office in Somaliland,
AU Office in Somaliland,
UNPOS office in Somaliland,
Somaliland Elders,
Somaliland Islamic scholars,
Somaliland Civil Society,
Somaliland Women Group
It is true that the administration of Somaliland president MR Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo has committed human rights violations and is planning to generate a dangerous electoral crisis.

The people of Somaliland are looking forward to participate in the upcoming local government election on 28 November as Somaliland Election Committee announced; however there is a great risk that the small nation may lose their unique asset which is stability, for the reason that Somaliland’s current government has often exercising injustice decisions and lack of clarity of who is doing what.

Unfortunately, it is also a fact that the Somaliland people will go to the elections without registration. People will just go where ever they choose and cast their votes; there is also no doubt that this deprived election process may create disagreement and instability.

Somaliland’s government has helped create a measure of stability and democratic governance even as Somalia has remained mired in armed conflict. But Somaliland’s gains are fragile and currently under threat.

The administration of President Silanyo has regularly flouted human rights by putting ordinary innocent people in prison like Traditional Elders King Osman, King Rabi, and Governor of Marodijex Region Ahmed Hamarji, Direct General of Somaliland, Minister of Rehabitation, Reconstruction and resettlement Mr Ahmed Ilmi Barre, Vice President Advisor Mr Osman Said Jama, and many other Somalilanders.

Somaliland has spent 21 years trying to build stability and democracy, but all its gains are at risk if the government continues to undermine the rule of law “The electoral crisis has laid bare the need to create functioning government institutions that will respect human rights.”

There are also many Human rights groups who visited Somaliland in June 2012 in which researchers interviewed government officials, opposition leaders, civil society activists, local analysts, and victims of human rights abuses.

Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 after the demise of Somalia’s last functioning government. Many countries are working with Somaliland however no country has yet recognized Somaliland. In addition, many international investors are interested in investing in Somaliland, however the underprivileged government leadership and lack of recognition damages the trust of external investors.

The international actors always continue to engage more deeply with Somaliland and press Somaliland’s government to respect human rights and the territory’s emerging democratic norms, and provide assistance tailored to bolster key government institutions, the media, and civil society.

In recent years the Silanyo administration has regularly treated the opposition-controlled legislature as an irritant, refusing to respect its role in the legislative process or in overseeing opaque government expenditures. Little has been done to build the capacity of the nominally independent judiciary; the lower courts are often incapable of applying the law while the Supreme Court has acted as though it is entirely beholden to the president.

Government actions in violation of domestic and international law have directly infringed upon the rights of Somalilanders, many Somaliland people who visited to Somaliland this year said.

The last few months the Imprisonment of local journalist became part of Somaliland’s daily activities and the Silanyo administration has also circumvented the courts and trampled on the rights of criminal defendants by relying on a “Justice System” that is entirely under the control of the executive and that have no right to act as independent Judiciary.

The local courts and high court sentence and imprison Somalilanders, including people accused of common crimes and juveniles, without any presence of due process. They regularly sentence defendants en masse on the basis of little or no evidence after truncated hearings in which the accused are given no right to speak.

But patterns of low-level harassment targeting journalists, opposition activists, and others are the most common. On numerous occasions government officials have detained, usually for brief periods, individuals who have publicly criticized the government or provided press coverage deemed to be unfavorable. In March 2012, there was a very surprising incident when the Former Director General of Somaliland Foreign Affairs Mohamoud Raage resigned his position as DG and accused his Minster DR Mohamed Abdullahi for Stolen Public Fund and using Minister’s budget for his personal interest, unfortunately, the CID detained Mr Mohamoud in the country (Restriction of Movement) without Court Process and this case never come to court hearing.

Somaliland’s precarious situation in the region has deterred Somalilanders from protesting loudly when their rights are abused for fear of damaging their territory’s hard-won stability and its quest for international recognition. Many Somaliland people argued that they are effectively “hostages to peace” – unable to confront Somaliland’s deepest problems effectively for fear of upsetting the fragile balance that has kept the territory from going the way of Somalia and other countries in the region.

The repeated unjust decisions in regard to appointing and dismissing the government high positions threaten also the foundations of its emerging democratic system. “Somaliland is currently at a dangerous crossroads, 21 years of progress towards democratic governance and general respect for human rights will either be consolidated or endangered, depending on President Silanyo’s next moves.

The factors which may create severe instability is when the Somaliland Government decide to preplan or preselect which party will win the upcoming local elections where they already exclude UDUB Party and Nasiye Party from competition by using government Budget and illegal dictions reached by Registration election Committee.

Many Somaliland people are arguing that the upcoming election is almost a waste of time where the Government executive committee has already decided that The Ruling Party Kulmiye, The Speakers Party Wadani and Former Somaliland Vice President’s Party Xaqsoor should win the election, where the reality on the ground shows different since Umada, Reys, Wadani and UCID are the most popular parties across the Country.

Finally, There is concern about health condition of Somaliland president and the involvement of his Wife Aamina Jirde’s in the country’s decision making process and the role of his Minister of presidency Mr Hirsi H Ali Hassan who has very little knowledge in term of leadership and management, above and beyond that he has a history of engaging and involving gang violence and promotion of instability during previous government ruling time.

Considering all above information, we are voluntarily recommending that Somaliland Elders, Traditional People, House of Elders, House of Parliament, Civil Society, EU, EGAD, AU, and international community should seriously consider the future of Somaliland nation and its absence of transparence leadership.

Mahad Saalah Hassan: Somaliland Human Right Movement ( SOHUR) somlandhumanright@hotmail.co.uk


USAID and Mercy Corps Build and Improve Schools in Somaliland

For Immediate Release. http://eastafrica.usaid.gov

HARGEISA, Somaliland, September 16, 2012—Today, the Somali Youth Leaders Initiative (SYLI) with the Somaliland Ministry of Education and Higher Studies launched a five-year program to build and rehabilitate secondary schools in Somaliland. The initiative is funded by USAID and implemented by a consortium led by Mercy Corps, Save the Children, SONYO and CARE International in partnership with the Somaliland Ministry of Education and Higher Studies.

The SYLI education program works with 24 schools across all regions of Somaliland and is designed to decongest schools, add separate sanitation facilities for girls and boys, train more teachers, and improve enrollment, especially for girls. The project will assist 10 schools in the first six months. By the end of the program, over 10,000 new pupils are expected to be enrolled in these schools.

The schools and beneficiary communities were identified through a participatory process under the leadership of the Somaliland Ministry of Education and Higher Studies. The Honorable Somaliland Minister for Education and Higher Studies, Mrs. Zamzam Abdi Aden, presided over the ceremonies, laying the foundation for the Mohamoud Ahmed Ali Secondary School in Hargeisa.

The five-year program will also improve the quality and management of secondary education through the training of teachers, head teachers, and community education committees. It will provide teaching and learning materials and technical assistance to the Somaliland Ministry of Education and Higher Studies at both regional and district levels. The SYLI program is also providing skills training for youth, business start-up grants, and opportunities for civic participation among youth.

Latest statistics show that there are only 63 public and 37 private secondary schools in Somaliland, with an estimated enrollment of 36,000. There are 1,202 secondary school teachers, most of whom are not fully qualified. Most schools operate double shifts because of a dearth of classrooms.

For more information, please contact Carole Douglis, cdouglis@usaid.gov Or Olad Farah, ofarah@so.mercycorps.org,


Here today, gone tomorrow? Saving Somaliland's heritage

CNN. May 10, 2011. http://articles.cnn.com/2011-05-10/world/sada.mire.somalia.archaeologist_1_somaliland-somalia-cave-paintings?_s=PM:WORLD

When Sada Mire fled war-torn Somalia as a frightened teenager, the nation was descending into darkness, mired in the grip of a long civil conflict.

But several years later, when she returned to the Horn of Africa as an ambitious archaeologist, her fierce determination and meticulous fieldwork brought to light the region's rich cultural heritage.

In 2007, her archaeological pursuits resulted in the discovery of 5,000-year-old rock art in Somaliland, a breakaway state in the northwest corner of Somalia.

The prehistoric findings, which include renderings of animals as well as human figures, are significant in enhancing understanding about the prehistoric way of life across the region, says Mire.

Somaliland's first archaeologist, Mire is now on a mission to preserve and protect what she says is a heritage at risk of disappearing.

Ancient findings like the rock paintings, which were discovered at Dhambalin, in a sandstone shelter near the Red Sea, not only have historic importance, but also help restore a sense of self-esteem and cultural pride in the people of Somaliland, she says.

Many were completely unaware of the existence and significance of archaeology before the discovery of the cave paintings.

"I would bring them to the site and explain how important the site is potentially for helping them," Mire says.

"Initially it was very difficult to communicate that but after a while I managed to get their attention -- they even ended up sort of feeling a sense of dignity that actually 'this is our site' -- a feeling that 'we have nothing but we have this.'

Somaliland declared independence in 1991, but isn't internationally recognized as a separate state.

Mire spent her early years in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, along with her identical twin sister Sohur. There, the two sisters enjoyed a normal childhood until a bloody conflict erupted in 1982.

Their mother decided that their future would not be in Somalia and started to plan an escape to Sweden.

When the two sisters arrived in the Scandinavian country, they encountered a completely different reality to the one they were used to before.

"I remember the first feeling was like a glass of milk in a fridge -- sort of thinking why is it so cold? But I think we got used to it," Mire recalls.

"The fact that it was totally, completely different to what we had experienced was in a way healing itself, because now you had nothing to associate with what we had been through -- you could sort of reinvent yourself in a new world," she says.


Somali lawmakers elected "exremist" as president- paper

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 11 Sep 2012. Text of report by privately-owned, pro-opposition Somaliland daily newspaper Haatuf on 11 September

The Somali parliament has elected a man named Hasan Shaykh Mahmud as President. The new president has links with religious groups in Somaliland.

The new president runs Islamic schools, technical institutions, businesses and aid organizations. Before he was elected President, Hasan Shaykh Mahmud was working with Hormood Communications Company.

He sometimes worked with PRP [local NGO], funded by Interpeace organization.

Reliable sources told Haatuf that the new Somali leader has close relationships with Al-Itisam and Al-Islah [religious] groups. Hasan Shaykh Mahmud was trying hard in the last few years to bring Wahabism [Islamic doctrine] to Somaliland. He also wanted to open educational institutions in Somaliland, too.

Hasan Shaykh Mahmud, a member of Hawiye clan, defeated 21 other presidential candidates. The new president is said to be against secession of Somaliland.

Credit: Haatuf, Hargeysa, in Somali 11 Sep 12/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC


Somaliland hails election of new Somali leader

BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 11 Sep 2012. Text of report by privately-owned Jowhar news portal on 11 September

Somaliland administration [break-away region in northeastern Somalia] has welcomed the election of the new Somali President, Hasan Shaykh Mahmud.

Foreign Affairs Minister of Somaliland Dr Muhammad Abdullahi Umar said they congratulate the [Somali] citizens for getting a new leader.

"Somaliland congratulates the people and government of Somalia for peacefully electing a new President," Umar said.

He denied Somaliland had an interest in particular candidates.

"We do not interfere with the affairs of our neighbouring countries," he added.

The minister further said the two administrations will continue talks they already started.

A new leader was elected in Mogadishu for the first time in 42 years.

Credit: Jowhar website, Mogadishu, in Somal 11 Sep 12/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC


Somaliland: Detentions and Deportations of Ethiopian Refugees & Asylum Seekers

HRLHA Appeal and Urgent Action. September 7, 2012. The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) would like to express its deep concern regarding the disturbing situations of Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers in Somaliland that has been surfacing since August 30, 2012. According to information obtained by the HRLHA through its correspondents, the Ethiopian refugees and asylum seekers in Somaliland, most of whom were Oromo nationals, were clashed with the land owner of the area located in front of the Social Welfare Center (SWC) and in the meantime they were unexpectedly surrounded by armed forces of the Somaliland Government at the Social Welfare Centre in Hargessa, where they have been harbored since October 2011. It was said that the armed forces happened to be around the Centre up on a request by a land owner next door to the Social Welfare Centre, who had been accusing the refugees of unlawfully and inappropriately using his land for some purposes. The armed forces were reported to have been harsh and violent in their actions that a refugee named Jafar Jamal was shot at in the leg and the shoulder and sustained serious injuries, while many others were beaten up. It has also been reported that, among the deployed members of the various armed forces, many were injured and one of them died from a seriously injured he sustained during the clash.

Even a journalist from Space Channel TV, who attempted to document the incident was dealt with in the same manner, according to HRLHA's correspondent. Once surrounded by the armed forces, the refugees and asylum seekers were indiscriminately denied exit from and/or entry into the Centre. They were then started to be loaded on trucks and taken away to unknown destinations, except for about fifty six (56) of them, who are reportedly being held in two separate police Stations in Hargeisa.

HRLHA has learnt that those who were left behind in the Social Welfare Centre, most of whom were children and mothers/women, have been kicked out of the Centre in to the streets by the police Officers, and left with no food, water, and other basic needs.

The refugees were appreciative of Somaliland National Human Rights Commission's efforts to interfere; although it was to no avail.

HRLHA's reporter has managed to obtain the names of the following refugees among those who were detained

There have been reports that, on August 31, 2012, among the 56 refugees and asylum seekers held in two separate police stations in Hargessa, 33 were taken to Wachale, a town along the border withEthiopia, for deportation. There were also reports that around one hundred other refugees, most of whom were from among the mothers and children kicked out of the welfare centre, have been added to the 33 refugees taken to and held in Wachale for deportation. There are unconfirmed reports that all those refugees have been handed over to the Ethiopian Government on September 1, 2012.

Under Article 33 (1) of the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (189 U.N.T.S. 150), "[n]o contracting state shall expel or forcibly return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his . . . political opinion." The Ethiopian government has a well-documented record of gross and flagrant violations of human rights, including the torturing of its own citizens who were involuntarily returned to the country. The government ofEthiopiaroutinely imprisons such persons. There have been credible reports of physical and psychological abuses committed against individuals in Ethiopian prisons and other secret places of detention. This obligation, which is also a principle of customary international law, applies to both asylum seekers and refugees, as affirmed by UNHCR's Executive Committee and the United Nations General Assembly. By handing over the Ethiopian Oromo refugees and others, the Somaliland Government is breaching its obligations under international treaties as well as customary laws. Under the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1465 U.N.T.S. 185). Somalilandhas the obligation not to return a person to a place where they face torture or ill-treatment.

Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture provides: 1. No state party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would be in danger of being subjected to torture. 2. For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the state concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

There have been similar ill-treatment and deportation cases of refugees inSomalilandover which the HRLHA expressed its concerns through urgent actions and/or press releases. The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) would like to once again express its concerns particularly about the safety and security of the refugees handed over to the Ethiopian Government and those who are still living inSomaliland. It urges the government ofSomalilandto respect the international treaties and obligations it has signed. It also urges all human rights agencies (local, regional and international) to join hands with it and condemn these illegal and inhuman acts of both the Ethiopian and the Somaliland Governments against defenseless refugees and asylum seekers. It requests governments of the West and other international organizations to interfere so that the safety and security of the deported refugees toEthiopiaand of those refugees currently living inSomalilandwould be secured.

Recommendation:

v RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to the Somaliland Government, concerned Somaliland officials and to diplomatic representatives inSomalilandwho are accredited to your country as swiftly as possible, in English, Somali Language, or your own language expressing:

v Your concern regarding the apprehension and fear of torture of the citizens who are being held in different detention centers; and calling for their immediate and unconditional release;

v urging theSomalilandauthorities to ensure that these detainees would be treated in accordance with the regional and international standards on the treatment of prisoners,

v Abide to the International Conventions of the refugees and asylum seekers not to return a person to a place where they face torture or ill-treatment.

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. United Nations Office at Geneva 1211Geneva10, Switzerland Fax: + 41 22 917 9022 (particularly for urgent matters) E-mail: tb-petitions@ohchr.org.

African Commission on Human and Peoples` Rights (ACHPR)48 Kairaba Avenue, P.O.Box 673,Banjul, TheGambia. Tel: (220) 4392 962 , 4372070, 4377721 - 23 Fax: (220) 4390 764.E-mail: achpr@achpr.org

Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, Council ofEurope, F-67075StrasbourgCedex,FRANCE, + 33 (0)3 88 41 34 21, + 33 (0)3 90 21 50 53, Contact us by email, U.S. Department of State, Tom Fcansky - Foreign Affairs Officer, Email;-TOfcansky@aol.com,Washington, D.C. 20037, Tel: +1-202-261-8009, Fax: +1-202-261-8197 Amnesty International - London. Tom Gibson. Telephone: +44-20-74135500 http://somalilandinformer.com/?p=8040


Somaliland lawmakers oppose parliament quota for women and minorities

By Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa

September 06, 2012. http://sabahionline.com/en_GB/articles/hoa/articles/features/2012/09/06/feature-02

Advocacy groups for women and minorities in Somaliland have raised concerns about their political role in government after members of the lower house voted down a provision that would have established a quota for their representation in parliament.

Women queue to vote in Hargeisa in 2010. A bill to provide women and minority clans a quota for representation in parliament was recently rejected. [Ali Musa/AFP]

"We decided to remove the provision providing a quota of local council and parliamentary seats to women and other minority groups from the agenda after lawmakers refused to debate on it," said first Deputy Speaker of Parliament Bashe Mohamed Farah after the vote.

Forty-three of the house's 82 members attended the session Saturday (September 1st), in which 30 members voted to remove the provision, eight voted to keep it and four abstained, Farah said. He chaired the meeting and as such does not vote.

He said the bill was defeated because assigning quotas for particular groups is unconstitutional.

Somaliland regional President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo submitted a report to parliament in July on ways to encourage women and minority groups to participate in elections.

The report, prepared by a nine-member committee, was based on interviews gathered over two months with people from all over the region, said lawmaker Abdirahman Osman Alin, chairman of the parliamentary subcommittee on law, justice, constitution and human rights.

Alin told Sabahi the committee, of which he was a member, recommended that women be given 10% of seats in parliament and 15% of seats in local councils.

The committee also recommended that minority groups be allotted one member in every local council, including in Hargeisa, Buro, Erigabo, Borama, Las Anod and Berbera, as well as one seat in the lower house of parliament.

Minority groups were dissatisfied with these recommendations, said Nimo Eid Salan, chair of the Voice of Somaliland Minority Women Organisation, which advocates for the rights of women and minority groups.

Salan told Sabahi that candidates from minority groups have no hope of winning in elections, as they have been marginalised economically, politically and educationally.

"The decision disappointed us because a quota was the only opportunity that was available for us," she said.

Somaliland women have been fighting for a quota of representation since 2004, said Kinsi Hussein Qawdhan, operating manager of Nagaad, an umbrella group for women's organisations in Somaliland.

"We think this decision will affect our long struggle, and as women we are very disappointed," she told Sabahi, adding that the decision was a setback for women and infringes on their rights.

Parliament has not considered the needs of women who form the majority of the population yet face cultural hurdles to participating in politics, Qawdhan said. Nearly 20 women have declared their intention to run in local council elections on November 28th, she said, but only two women have support from their tribes.

Qawdhan said Nagaad will not give up its struggle to give women the opportunity to participate in politics. The organisation requested the government's permission on Sunday to hold a demonstration against the decision, and is waiting for a reply from the Interior Ministry, she said.


Somaliland: The former British colony that shows Africa doesn't need our millions to flourish

23rd July 2011. By Ian Birrell.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2018055/Somaliland-The-British-colony-shows-Africa-doesnt-need-millions-flourish.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

The Summer Time restaurant was buzzing. On the dusty road outside, new four-wheel drive cars fought for space with smart saloons. Inside, waiters in bow ties rushed about serving spicy chicken, camel milk and piles of spaghetti. Families and groups of friends queued for tables at the entrance.

A father eating with his four sons stopped me for a chat about football. As we spoke, a group of women swathed in bright robes wafted by, talking with cutglass English accents.

City of Hope: The capital Hargeisa was, two decades ago, in ruins and obliterated by bombers sent up from its airport by a vindictive dictator and littered with mines

A health worker toured the tables, pushing tickets for a $20-a-head charity fund-raiser.

Another man greeted me as I left. Five minutes later, he had invited me to a family wedding the following night and I accepted.

I could not have been made more welcome as I watched comedians, poets and traditional dancing. This, incredibly, was Somalia: the world's most failed state, notorious for bloodshed, chaos, piracy, Islamic fundamentalists and hostility to Westerners.

Or that, at least, is where I was according to the UN. In reality I was in Somaliland, an unrecognised republic that has broken away in the north.

This tiny, impoverished, little known nation – a former British protectorate that still serves bananas in lumpy custard for pudding – is offering the rest of the world a salutary lesson.

Two decades ago, it was shattered as it emerged from Somalia's civil war. The capital Hargeisa, which I visited last week, was in ruins, obliterated by bombers sent up from its airport by a vindictive dictator and littered with mines.

Hundreds of thousands were killed, millions driven from their homes. Today it is an astonishing success story for a country that officially does not exist and sits in one of the most chaotic corners of the world.

Denied international help, the people of Somaliland made their own peace, disarmed their militias and created a unique system of government, one that fuses Western-style democracy with African traditions.

The nation has its own president, parliament, passports and currency. It has fair elections – including one that left two presidential candidates just 80 votes apart but was resolved by courts, not conflict – plus free speech and a belief in free markets that is clearly paying off.

It is also a conservative Muslim country that is pro-Western, retaining a special affection for Britain, which ruled it for 80 years before granting independence in 1960.

Five days later, its leaders merged with Italian Somalia in the south, a union they rapidly regretted.

The people take great pride in their enforced self-sufficiency since separation. 'The key to our success was the lack of foreign influence,' said Abdirahman Abdillahi, Speaker of the parliament.

'It was all done by Somalilanders alone.'

This story is all the more remarkable given Somaliland's location: its neighbours include Somalia and also Ethiopia and Eritrea, two repressive regimes that have had endless border skirmishes and a full-blown war.

Yemen, also in meltdown, is just over the Gulf of Aden. Now, amid growing recognition of its success, this nation of four million is being hailed as the place that proves development aid does not work.

Last week, on his brief trip to Africa, David Cameron defended his controversial policy to raise spending on overseas aid while cutting spending at home, adding that the Coalition was bolstering support for troubled states.

'By 2015 we'll be putting nearly a third of all our aid into conflict states,' he said. 'The aid sceptics are wrong. Aid is essential.' Critics, though, suggest aid encourages a dependency culture and undermines governance, since politicians are not obliged to respond to citizens' needs.

Instead, they fritter away cash on weapons or stash it in personal bank accounts. Somaliland proves the point. Its fledgling government receives no direct aid since it is unrecognised.

Instead it has had to rely on tax revenues, ensuring it has developed an inclusive, transparent and accountable political system in contrast with so many other developing nations propped up by foreign donors.

It is highlighted in a new paper by Nicholas Eubank, a political economist at Stanford University in the US, who said Somaliland's history offered unique insights into the downside of current levels of foreign aid.

His paper shows how politicians were forced into 'revenue bargaining', accepting checks on power that laid the basis of political stability.

He pointed to a dispute over the port of Berbera, a trade hub for landlocked Ethiopia, which the government tried to take by force from a small clan.

'I'm not a huge believer in foreign aid. How many countries have moved ahead and developed with international aid? It is not the formula for development. There's an aid lobby that feeds on this. For every dollar put in by taxpayers, so little gets to the intended destination. The aid groups feed off the photo ops. I hate to say it, but they love starvation.' Hussein Abdi Dualeh.

Having failed, but needing the revenue, it entered discussions that led to the inclusion of all clans in representative government. With aid money, the sums involved would have been too small to bother with – or it would have spent more on armed forces, and crushed the smaller clan.

Eubank estimated that in the previous year, for example, the government would have had at least £44 million in foreign aid if getting the level given elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa – more than twice its annual revenue.

His theory that Somaliland benefited from lack of international support was backed by all the key figures I met there last week. Among them was Hussein Abdi Dualeh, the energetic minister for mining, energy and water.

He took the post last year, leaving behind his family and a wellpaid job in Los Angeles to return to a country he last saw devastated two decades ago. 'My coming here was part of the effort to come up with a new way of governing,' he said.

'It was a hard sell to my three kids, but what could be more rewarding than the chance to leave a real and tangible legacy? 'Given our resources and the state of the country, it is remarkable what we have achieved, especially since we are in such a rough neighbourhood.

'We were left to rely on our own resources. During that time we were given space to sort out our own issues. There could be no complacency or relying on other countries to give us aid or help.'

Would he like to see aid flood in now? 'I'm not a huge believer in foreign aid. How many countries have moved ahead and developed with international aid? It is not the formula for development.

'There's an aid lobby that feeds on this. For every dollar put in by taxpayers, so little gets to the intended destination. The aid groups feed off the photo ops. I hate to say it, but they love starvation.'

There are once again desperate appeals for emergency aid to feed people amid famine in the Horn of Africa, especially in Somalia.

But even the aid lobby admits the root causes include political chaos in one of the world's most conflict riven regions, just as in the Ethiopian famine that sparked Live Aid.

Having survived the flight to Somaliland on a Russian jet more than 50 years old, sitting on a broken seat and sweltering without air-conditioning, I met up in Hargeisa with Khadar Ali Gaas.

He had spent three terrifying months trapped there during the civil war before walking to Ethiopia, then fleeing to Europe. He was back for the first time in 12 years, joining the exiles who flood back in the summer.

'This city has grown so much,' said Mr Gaas, who is a chauffeur in London. 'Then there was war damage everywhere, while now there is almost none.'

As he showed me round Hargeisa, avoiding goats splayed out in the shade and a pair of swollenbottomed monkeys sauntering down the street, it was clear life remains a struggle.

Donkeys haul water tanks – the official supply system was built 40 years ago for 200,000 people, today there are nearly five times that number.

Traders try to sell stacks of shoes, ancient electronics and bushels of the stimulant qat. More than half the population is nomadic; two-thirds rely on livestock for their income – which explains why cows mooch nonchalantly down the main roads of Hargeisa and there is a daily camel market.

Even a printing executive flying to China for three months confessed to me he had dried camel meat in his bag to sustain him there.

One of the MiG jets that destroyed the city sits on top of a memorial to independence, with its gory murals of fighters with limbs chopped off.

The many youths hanging around underlines the high unemployment: some say four out of every five adults is jobless. Yet women feel safe enough to sit in front of stalls laden with gold jewellery until 10pm, and men peer over walls of bank notes at open-air currency exchanges.

Signs proclaim that weapons must be registered. Somalia's capital Mogadishu, of course, is notorious for gun-toting militia.

In Hargeisa, private business, often funded by the flow of remittances from families that fled abroad, is thriving. The place hums with construction work – the buildings going up include a shopping mall – and everyone seems to clutch a mobile phone.

Billboards advertising rival networks vie with those warning against human trafficking. One young man stopped to talk with my companions, then drove off in his gleaming white Jeep. Self-declared: Somaliland people protest in London as they try to get international recognition for their currently unrecognised state

Self-declared: Somaliland people protest in London as they try to get international recognition for their currently unrecognised state

He had been given £2,500 by his sister to escape the civil war, but could not get out. So he started a construction business and is now a millionaire. Khader Hussein did escape, but returned ten years ago from Britain.

'There was absolutely nothing here. I asked myself what I could do to help and decided to open a hotel.'

He ploughed more than £1 million into creating the upmarket Ambassador Hotel by the airport.

'Everyone thought I was a madman,' said Mr Hussein, who is also an opposition MP.

'Now my hotel supports 400 families.' But no one epitomises the nation's indomitable spirit more than Edna Adan Ismail, or Dr Edna, as everyone knows her.

This inspirational woman, who trained as a nurse in London and was married to the country's first president, decided to build a hospital when she retired from the World Health Organisation aged 60.

She sold her Mercedes and put all her savings and pension into a maternity hospital which opened nine years ago.

It has slashed maternal death rates in a land where being pregnant is a mortal risk, expanded into emergency care and been acclaimed Africa's best hospital.

Now aged 74, she lives above the hospital and works all hours. She has set up satellite units around the country – one to prevent women dying in transit to her hospital from Ethiopia – and is focused on training new health workers and pharmacists.

She relies on just two full-time doctors and 17 trained nurses and midwives; there are only 369 nurses in the entire country.

She shows me a library used for lectures and pristine rooms, a stark contrast with dilapidated hospitals too often found in Africa. A passing trainee nurse receives a gentle clip on her veiled head and a rebuke.

'She was wearing the wrong shoes, all click-click on the floor, but she's a good girl really,' Dr Edna tells me. Her hospital symbolises how Somaliland rose from the chaos and carnage.

'Our choice was to lie down and die, or rely on what I call people power to rebuild our nation. 'It's been good for us. When the infrastructure was totally destroyed, if outsiders had said, "Here's the money to rebuild yourselves and to set up institutions," it would have built into us a dependency culture.

'Instead, through trial and error we found what worked.'

Reconciliation involved conferences at which elders, intellectuals and ordinary people slowly sorted out differences to agree a system of government.

There is a US-style president and an elected House of Representatives, plus an upper house of elders to ensure all clans have a voice.

There were outbreaks of fighting before a permanent constitution was agreed in 2001 by 97 per cent of voters.

The peace process is estimated to have cost less than £60,000, against the huge sums poured in for years in the attempt to impose peace on Somalia, much of it ending up in the pockets of warlords and Islamist groups.

Britain is increasing aid to Somalia, recently branded the world's most failed state.

Somaliland's nascent democracy is not perfect. There has been concern over judicial detentions, and disputes over voter registration delayed presidential elections that were finally held last July. But in a region of failed states, communal violence, brutal repression and brazen electoral fraud, even Human Rights Watch said Somaliland's accomplishments were 'improbable and highly impressive'.

Journalists have been jailed also, but the new government promised to stop such behaviour.

The chief editor of Jamhuuriya, the oldest paper, was arrested two weeks ago after criticising the attorney-general. 'It was a setback,' said Mustafe Sa'ad, the paper's manager.

'But at least when we rang the government to complain, they did not know about it and got him out straight away.'

There are also fears that increasing amounts of indirect aid – while still far lower than levels in most developing countries – are weakening the emphasis on tax collection.

But in a region of failed states, communal violence, brutal repression and brazen electoral fraud, even Human Rights Watch said Somaliland's accomplishments were 'improbable and highly impressive'.

Now the focus is on winning international recognition, which would allow access to capital markets and encourage foreign businesses to invest. Hopes have been boosted by the birth of South Sudan, which ended the African Union's ban on breaking the old colonial borders, although what passes for a government in Somalia remains opposed.

'Recognition has always been a priority,' said Amina Weris Skeik Mohamed, the first lady, as we talked over fizzy apple juice in the presidential palace.

'We are fighting the same enemies as you and share the same values of peace, democracy and humanity. Recognise us, and we could do so much more together.'

The palace was attacked three years ago, reportedly by Al-Shabaab, the Islamic militia in Somalia. Security is tight: I watched as her husband's convoy prepared for a trip, with two identical cars supported by three trucks filled with troops and heavy artillery at the back.

I asked why she thought they had been attacked. 'Because we are friends of the infidel,' she said with a smile.

Surely it is time for us to reciprocate this friendship and recognise the astonishing achievements of this courageous country.


Two Somaliland officials killed in disputed town

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 21 July 2011. Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 21 Jul 11/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. Text of report by privately-owned Somali Shabeelle Media Network website

Armed groups have in the last few hours killed senior officials of the Somaliland Administration in [ the disputed town of] Laas Canood, Sool Region. Security forces in the town have since conducted operations in which they arrested a number of people believed to be responsible for the killing of these officials.

Reports reaching us from Laas Canood indicate that two Somaliland officials have been killed in the town since last night. Armed groups are said to have shot dead unnamed senior official of the Somaliland Administration as well as a female member of the local administration's intelligence services named Dahabo Elmi Tuute. The armed groups that carried out the killing are said to have fled from the scene of the attack a short while afterwards. The reason for the killing of these Somaliland officials in Laas Canood is not yet known, however, an operation to find the killers is now underway in the town.

Some 10 people among them businessmen suspected of being involved in the killing of these officials have so far been arrested by local forces conducting security operation in the town. Officials of the Somaliland Administration in Laas Canood are often targeted with explosion attacks and organized killings. Today's killing of these officials comes at a time when a meeting to discuss security in these regions has recently been concluded in Garowe, Nugaal Region.


Elder accuses Somaliland authorities of insecurity in disputed region Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 20 July 2011. Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 20 Jul 11/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. Text of report by privately-owned Somali Shabeelle Media Network website on 20 July

Traditional elders in [disputed] Sool Region have accused the Somaliland administration of being responsible for the increased insecurity in Laas Caanood, the provincial capital of Sool Region.

Sultan Muhammad Abdullahi, a prominent traditional elders in Sool Region spoke to Shabeelle while in Laas Caanood and accused the Somaliland government of being responsible for the insecurity in the region.

The elder said Somaliland administration in collaboration with some from Sool Region continue to inflict suffering upon residents of this region. The elder also accused Transitional Federal Government of Somalia [TFG] officials from Sool, Sanaag and Ceyn regions of turning a blind eye to the plight of the residents of these areas and ignoring the suffering inflicted to them by the Somaliland government. The elder urged government officials in these areas to do something about the challenges residences of these areas face.

Incidences of organized killings and explosion attacks targeting officials of the town have become quite frequent in Laas Caanood. Majority of the elders from Sool Region blame the Somaliland administration for these attacks.


Protecting Somaliland's endangered cave paintings

Young archeologist works to save prehistoric rock paintings in war-torn Horn of Africa.

Haley Sweetland Edwards. July 19, 2011,http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/110718/somaliland-cave-paintings-hargeisa

1 / 5A primitive rock painting, of a galaxy of colorful animal and human sketches to adorn the caves in the rocky hills of this arid wilderness in northern Somalia, in Laas Gee.PHOTO BY: Tony Karumba

HARGEISA, Somaliland — Follow an unmarked dirt road to a dry riverbed in the scrubby, northwestern Somali plains and in the shadows, beneath the sandstone outcroppings, are remarkably well-preserved paintings. They date back between five and 11,000 years and cover the rock walls in streaks of white and black and barbeque sauce red.

White stripes highlight a warrior's clothing, the point of his spear and the curve of an ancient cow’s udder.

This is Somaliland's Laas Geel. Anywhere else in the world such cave paintings would undoubtedly be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but here — in the unstable Horn of Africa — it’s in danger of being swallowed up by decades of war, political unrest, drought, poverty and neglect in a region that most of the Western world has left for dead.

And that’s where Sada Mire, a young London-educated Somali archeologist, enters the scene. As the only Somali archeologist working on the ground in greater Somalia, and one of only a handful of academics worldwide focusing on the region, she is trying to almost single-handedly identify and protect what’s left of Somali heritage. And she’s doing it without adequate funding, resources or a qualified staff.

Although Mire is originally from Mogadishu, the young archeologist now heads up the Department of Antiquities for the unrecognized republic of Somaliland, a breakaway region in northern Somalia. While visitors to Somaliland are still required to travel with guards armed with AK-47s, the breakaway republic’s de facto government has been able to maintain a relative peace for nearly 17 years, creating a platform from which the preservation of Somali cultural heritage may begin — if it’s not too late.

“Protecting these cave paintings is very, very important to us. This is our history. It’s who we are.” ~Abdirisaq Wabre Roble, Somaliland’s former Minister of Tourism and Culture “A whole country’s history is almost gone already,” said Mire, who received her doctorate from the University College London last year. “So much has been destroyed already. Boxes of documents, Bibles, scrolls, coins, swords, knives, traditional art, jewelry, beads — all of it is gone forever.” The entirety of the former Somali National Museum in Mogadishu was looted in the period before 1979, and no museums or archival spaces exist today, she said.

“We don’t even have complete records of what we once had,” Mire said. “The only thing we can do is try to protect what’s left.”

Mire has been able to survey sites from the Ethiopian border to Berbera, a port on the Gulf of Aden — all of which is under the auspices of the de facto Somaliland government — but it’s still too dangerous, even for her, to work in Somalia itself.

In the last half-century, troves of archeological artifacts have been removed from Somalia, first by the Italians and British who colonized the region in the first half of the twentieth century and then, after independence, by impoverished Somalis themselves, driven to sell artifacts for a handful of U.S. dollars to feed their families.

When Somalia descended into civil war in 1991, the problem worsened as warlords began “systematically looting” archeological sites to fund the war, Mire said. In some places, historic buildings, like the Mogadishu Cathedral, were destroyed by mortars and bombs. In other places, buildings have been deconstructed, stone by stone, by locals to build corrals for their goats or houses for themselves.

In Laas Geel, local herders, unaware of the historic significance of the rock paintings, used to take shelter in the rock outcroppings, lighting campfires that destroyed some of the ancient images.

“The thing is to get there before it’s all destroyed, to preserve at least a record of what was there,” said Geoffrey King, a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, who worked with Mire when she was a graduate student.

Modern-day Somalia spans a region where first generation Muslims, traveling from Arabia by boat, would have landed in Africa in the seventh century, King said. “This time period has never been studied in much of this region, so protecting what we have is beyond important.”

Mire’s work so far has focused on educating locals, and especially the respected elite — sheikhs, elders, community leaders — who live near important heritage sites and who can act as unofficial custodians and protectors. “It’s not an ideal solution, but it’s a start,” Mire said. The rock art at Laas Geel, the most well-known of the heritage sites in Somaliland, is the only archeological site in greater Somalia that employs guards, at the expense of the Somaliland government.

Mire’s next priority is to establish antiquity laws in Somaliland that would prevent the sale of remaining artifacts to rich collectors abroad — a task that will require that she essentially write legislation for a country that does not yet exist. Unrecognized by the international community, the territory does not qualify for traditional avenues of funding or protection from institutions like UNESCO, and its laws are toothless in an international context, as it is still officially under the auspices of long failed Mogadishu in Somalia proper.

Mire will face “incredible challenges from every direction” since most international institutions’ bureaucracies are not equipped to work with unrecognized or failed states, said Andrew Reid, an archeologist at the University College London’s Institute of Archeology, who is familiar with working in sub-Saharan Africa.

But Somaliland’s former Minister of Tourism and Culture, Abdirisaq Wabre Roble, isn’t daunted. He says Mire’s work is vital, both culturally and for the economy of the semi-state.

“Laas Geel is a national monument. People from all over come to see the paintings there,” he said in an interview last year. “Protecting them — and all the other sites around Somaliland — is very, very important to us. This is our history. It’s who we are.”

And then, echoing Mire’s wildest dreams, he mused, “Maybe soon we’ll even have a museum.”


Somalia: Somaliland Officer Gunned Down in North

Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu) http://allafrica.com/stories/201107182405.html. 18 July 2011.

Las Anod — A female Somaliland officer was gunned down Sunday night by armed gunmen in a northern Somalia town.

Dahabo Ilmi, an officer in Somaliland's criminal investigation department, was killed at the center of Las Anod, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of Hargeisa, the capital of the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland.

Witnesses said three masked assailants armed with pistols conducted the assassination, which was the first of a female officer in Somaliland.

Somaliland police started search operations, although it is unclear if anyone was arrested in connection with the assassination.

No statement about the officer's killing was immediately available from authorities.

In April, masked men armed with pistols shot and wounded three people including a Somaliland police officer in the same town.

Since Somaliland took control of the Sool region from Somalia's semi-autonomous state of Puntland in 2007, more than 12 Somaliland officials including police, military and intelligence officers have been killed in the region. It is source from AHN.


Telesom deploys 3G network (Somaliland)

On 07.15.11, In Mobile, By Editor. http://wirelessfederation.com/news/82824-telesom-deploys-3g-network-somaliland/

Telescom is a telecom operator based in Somaliland. It has announced the launch of its third-generation network in the autonomous region, according to sources. High speed mobile broadband and videocalling are the highlights of the 3G network unveiled.

According to Telesom managing director Mohamd Salah Abdi, their 3G network service in Somaliland will facilitate video and audio streaming, video chat and high speed internet service for customers. In addition, it will offer advanced mobile broadband services to not only Telesom consumers but also to the business community in Somaliland.


Telesom launches 3G network in Somaliland

Friday 15 July 2011. http://wirelessfederation.com/news/82824-telesom-deploys-3g-network-somaliland/

Somaliland-based operator Telesom has introduced a 3G network in the autonomous region, SomalilandPress reports. Telesom offers services on the 3G network such as mobile broadband and video calling. Telesom was also the first to launch a mobile banking offer in the area, with the ZAAD service started in late 2009. In February 2010 it followed with the inauguration of the country's first solar power site.


Editorial advises Somaliland to reframe foreign relations

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 11 July 2011. The Somaliland imes website, Hargeysa, in English 9 Jul 11/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. [Editorial: "Time for Paradigm Shift in Somaliland-EU Relations"]

Here we go again. Another high level international figure talks big about helping Somaliland but delivers little. The official in question this time is the European Union's Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, who came to Somaliland this week. Mr Piebalgs praised Somaliland's democracy as a model for IGAD countries, highlighted the European Union's aid to the country and promised more assistance in the future. But despite the glowing language the reality is that as IEWY News put it, "On-going, mostly multi-year EU-funded programmes in Somaliland currently amount to approximately 62 million." The key word here is multi-year, which means that this is not assistance for one year but assistance over several years. So what all this talk about helping Somaliland amounts to is 62 million Euros over several years. Though Somalilanders appreciate every penny of assistance they get, and do not want to sound ungrateful, the fact is that this is very little assistance.

Part of the problem is in the way the assistance is framed. The predominant narrative has been, and still is, that Somaliland deserves assistance because it is a democracy in a region ruled by autocracies. Although this narrative has helped in establishing Somaliland's political credentials and garnered sympathy for it among enlightened world opinion , it has some serious shortcomings, chief among which is that it makes it seem as if the European Union and the rest of the international community are helping Somaliland for altruistic reasons, namely, Somaliland's adoption of a democratic form of governance, when the reality is that the European Union is helping Somaliland because it is in its vital interests to do so. For anyone who doubts this, all they have to do is look at how much in tears and treasure the terrorism of Mogadishu and the piracy of Puntland is costing western governments and businesses.

The conceptualization of Western assistance to Somaliland as some sort of altruistic humanitarian assistance explains why it took Mr Piebalgs a whole year to come to Somaliland. It explains why after twenty years of peace in Somaliland, the European Union is just now beginning to set up a study of the Berbera corridor. It explains why the European Union has not had any meaningful development programme in Somaliland. It is a conceptualization that has worked well for the European Union and the international community because it allows them to morally feel good about themselves and actually do little for the country, so they have no incentive to change it.

Since it is Somaliland that is getting the short end of the stick, then Somalilanders must initiate the necessary re-conceptualization of their interaction with the international community. While still upholding their democratic form of government, Somalilanders must re-frame their foreign relations in terms of security and economics. The reason is simple: security and economics are arenas for mutual benefits, whereas democracy is a one-way street (the strong democracy helps the weak democracy).

Somaliland has a strong case that it is not getting a free ride and is contributing to both the security and economies of western countries. The biggest current threat to western security interests is terrorism; Somaliland plays an important role in fighting terrorism. Another threat that has been menacing western economies is that of piracy; Somaliland has prevented its land and seashores from becoming bases for pirates which has saved western citizens and governments millions of dollars.

Looked at in this light, it becomes clear that Somaliland is paying its dues and meeting its end of the bargain, whereas the European Union and the international community want something for nothing or next to nothing. This situation cannot go on. Time for a paradigm shift in Somaliland-EU relations.


Somaliland leader meets UK foreign minister in Ethiopia

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 11 July 2011. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 9 Jul 11/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. [Unattributed report: "Somaliland President Meets British Foreign Minister"]

Somaliland President Ahmad Muhammada Mahmud Silanyo met with the United Kingdom's foreign minister William Hague on Friday in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

According to a press release by the office of the spokesman of Somaliland government, the two sides discussed the security situation in the Horn of Africa, but the main item of the discussion was how Somaliland could be become one of the recognized nations of the world.

The British foreign minister expressed his admiration, as well as the admiration of the international community, for the peace and progress of Somaliland, and how Somaliland achieved what it achieved through its own efforts. He also said that the international community should take those achievements into account.


EU official pledges to invest additional development funds in Somaliland

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa [London] 11 July 2011. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 9 Jul 11/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. [Unattributed report: "Somaliland: EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs Announces More Support for Stability and Regional Cooperation"]

During a visit to Somaliland, the EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, announced on Wednesday that the European Union is considering to provide around additional 175 million in EU support to Somalia, including to Somaliland.

In his speech before the Somaliland Parliament, Mr Piebalgs said: "The European Union welcomes the contribution that Somaliland is making to peace and good governance in the region. It is an encouraging example of peace, democracy and stability. This is why we will invest additional development funds as security and the socio-political conditions favour sustainable development."

Additional EU support in Somaliland will focus on areas to foster economic development, education and governance.

During his visit, Commissioner Piebalgs met President Sillanyo and delivered a speech to the House of Representatives in Hargeysa. Commissioner Piebalgs underlined that Somaliland is an example of stability and democracy which will hopefully encourage others to promote broader political dialogue, development and integration. He stressed that Somaliland has a role to play in economic integration and development in the Horn of Africa region.

Mr Piebalgs encouraged Somaliland to stay engaged in international efforts to curb piracy, and commended the efforts of the Somaliland coast-guard, police and judiciary.

The EU Development Commissioner discussed the political, social and economic situation of Somaliland during a meeting with members of civil society and the business community. He commended the constructive role played by the Somaliland Diaspora and reiterated the importance of the European Union's engagement with Non-State Actors -including civil society and the private sector -in its development efforts.

Commissioner Piebalgs concluded his visit to Somaliland with a tour of Berbera Port and a livestock quarantine facility, where he also met the principal and students of the EU-supported Sheikh Technical Veterinary School.

More information: The EU allocated an ongoing five-year support package for Somalia of 212 million (between 2008 and 2013)

EU aid in Somaliland is mainly focused on the following areas:

o Economic development including infrastructure: The EU has allocated 19 million to rehabilitate and expand urban water infrastructure in several cities across Somaliland. Further areas of infrastructure support will be identified under the increased package.

o Education: With strong EU assistance, school enrolment has already grown from 38.6 per cent in 2006 to an estimated 60 per cent in 2010. Somaliland's Education Ministry will be supported by technical experts provided by the EU to develop a sustainable solution for the recently-announced Free Primary Education Policy.

o Governance: The EU is already the main donor in major UN programmes assisting the public sector, police, courts, democratic institutions, electoral processes and civil society in Somaliland. Responding to the clear political commitment that Somaliland has demonstrated towards public sector reform, this assistance will be intensified and expanded, especially in the area of public finance management.


Mohamed Said Guedi: A businessman close to the Djibouti presidential couple has won a contract with the Somaliland authorities to link the territory by optical fibre.

The Indian Ocean Newsletter. July 11, 2011

The businessman Mohamed Sand Guedi (MSG) has purchased the old civil protection building situated in the centre of Djibouti City for the sum of FDJ 50 million (about €200,000). The civil protection service will move to its new barracks situated to a locality known as “sans-fil” (wireless) just opposite the premises of the national police force.

Mohamed Sand Guedi intends to renovate this building so that it can house the headquarters of his company Somcable. This firm has won the contract from the neighbouring government of Somaliland to connect this self-proclaimed independent territory to the undersea optical fibre cable that runs along the coast of East Africa (Read below). Work on laying the optical fibre is almost complete on the section between Hargeisa and Berbera. Somcable will supply optical fibre to Somaliland via the State-owned company Djibouti Telecoms.

This may be one of the reasons behind the choice of replacement for Ali Abdi Farah from his post of Djibouti minister for information and communication. His successor since last month, Abdi Houssein Ahmed, is an Issak, as is the Djibouti First Lady and a fair number of Somaliland inhabitants.

The new President of the self-proclaimed independent territory of Somaliland, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud known as Silanyo, has just confirmed a decision by his predecessor Dahir Rayale Kahin, awarding the firm Somcable headed by Mohamed Said Guedi the contract to connect the territory to one of the undersea optical fibre cables reaching East Africa. The work will require investment estimated at $30 million and Somcable has already contacted the firms Sagemcom and Alcatel Lucent France. The connection will probably be to the Seacom cable from Djibouti via a land link.

Somcable had competed for this contract with another company, Dalkom Somalia owned by Mohamed Ahmed Djama, a businessman backed by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). The latter had wanted the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) to land in Mogadishu. To be sure, Dalkom is a partner in the African consortium West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) which owns a 28% stake in EASSy.

But as the situation in Mogadishu was not conducive to the EASSy cable landing there, the head of Dalkom turned his attention to Berbera in Somaliland. Finally, both EASSy and Seacom landed in Djibouti.

Another company called Small Globe Solutions unsuccessfully tried to convince the EASSy promoters to have their cable connect directly to Somaliland. This firm is linked to the British company Small Globe Ltd which was founded in April 2010 by several businessman of Somalian descent: Ahmed Nur Amin from Cardiff, plus AbdikarimAli, Mahdi Ahmed-Jama and Mahmoud Abdi from London.

Giving Somcable his contract adds force to Mohamed Said Guedi`s trading empire, which already has the upper hand on importing cigarettes into Djibouti via its subsidiary Business Royal. He has good relations with Djama Mahamoud Haid, the governor of the Banque Centrale de Djibouti and the brother of Ismail Omar Guelleh`s wife.


Somaliland: Africa's 56th country at the doorsteps

Abdulazez Al-Motairi. July 12, 2011 "If South Sudan and Eritrea could gain sovereignty, so will Somaliland" Somaliland President Mohamed Siilaanyo said.

Somaliland President was officially invited to attend the 1st independence day of South Sudan, and Juba administration received the president with head of state reception and Somaliland flag was flying high in Juba. This is very courageous step that acknowledges the status of Somaliland, and towards better cooperation between Hargiesa, Somaliland and Juba, South Sudan in the future.

Hundreds of South Sudanese danced in the streets on Saturday for a joy and to mark their long-awaited independence, a hard-won separation from the north. There is a lot of uncertainty waiting this fractured region. The people of South Sudan lived under gun point from 1953, in which they started their armed struggle against their former compatriots in North Sudan. The regime in Khartoum used all means of discrimination against citizens in the south, as they were regarded "Second Class citizens".

On 9th July 2011 will always remain in the hearts of every South Sudanese because it is the day that defined their existence with defined territory. The oil deposits in South Sudan attracted the attention of the western countries, who later led the disintegration campaign of Southern Sudan from Khartoum.

Today, Somaliland is in very similar situation to that of South Sudan and asking for self-determination with all conditions of statehood fulfilled. Somaliland case could be much stronger than that of Juba because it was an independent for four days upon an agreement signed between Britain and Somaliland.

Somaliland case of independence neither violates the A.U's charter, nor UN's definition for statehood. Its borders are defined by the A.U's Article 4 that respects the borders inherited from the colonial powers. Somaliland has democratic and liberal system of governance. It hosted free and fair elections under independent observer, and opposition won. The peaceful and civilized power transfer in Somaliland after election results caught the world in surprise.

Somaliland permanent population and it not only controls its territory, but it also practices democracy and the rule of law through the country. Furthermore, Somaliland engages other nations bilaterally.

Somaliland was not the first country that unconditionally united another, and as the hasty union went from jubilant to disastrous abandoned that unity. Egypt and Syria, Senegal and Gambia, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau, and Senegal and Mali all renounced their original commitment to unity and reverted to their colonial borders, and today Somaliland is not an exception.

On 26th June 1960, Somaliland was formally recognized as the Republic of Somaliland by UN and other 35 countries including Britain, Israel, Egypt and USA.

However, Somaliland united with Italia Somalia (Today's South Somalia) to bring all Somali speaking people in horn of Africa (Djibouti, parts of Ethiopia and Kenya). This unity created an illegal territorial expansion policy by regime in Mogadishu, which resulted instability in the region.

"In 1960, I took a country - Somaliland - with a viable economy and budget of 2.5 million pounds to Mogadishu" he continued "Our Somaliland's previous existence, history and everything else has been eliminated and erased" Late President of Somaliland Mohamed H. Ibrahim Egal said.

After realizing infertility of the unity, Somaliland demanded their lost sovereignty from Mogadishu administration in 1963, and regime responded with indiscriminate killing, displacement, ethnic cleansing and bombardment.

Between 1979 and 1991, Mogadishu regime used all means of force to silence freedom demands of self-determination. The citizens of Somaliland were not given their share in power and public services, as they were regarded "Second Class citizens" just like South Sudanese counterparts. The regime air-bombed the cities and villages in Somaliland leaving 500,000 people dead in less than 6 months during 1988. The militias loyal to Mogadishu regime committed rape, killed children and displaced more than 2 million civilians.

UN received the displaced people from the major cities like Hargiesa, Burco, Berbera and Erigavo in refugee camps in eastern Ethiopia, who fled the indiscriminate killing by militias loyal to Mogadishu administration.

Thousands of children died from dehydration and other diseases in the camps, where an estimated asset worth millions of dollars was destroyed and looted by the militias.

Somalilanders formed an armed freedom fighting group called SNM (Somali National Movement) in 1979; they continued fighting Mogadishu administration until Dictator Mohamed Siyad Barre was terminated in 1991.

SNM headquarter was located in Addis Ababa nearby the office of SPLA. Both SNM and SPLA were fighting for freedom. Finally, SNM defeated the regime and re-declared Somaliland on 18th May 1991.

Somaliland is facing growing hostile by terrorist groups and piracy. The terrorist group Al-Shabab claimed responsibility of bomb attack on Somaliland Presidential Palace, UN Office and Ethiopian Embassy in Hargiesa. Somalia pirates are another threatening factor to SomalilandÝs sea trade.

Somaliland is cooperating with AU, USA and Britain over ending the piracy on high-water, and thousands of pirates are in Somaliland jails.

Finally, recognizing Somaliland will benefit the region, Africa and international community on security, good governance and promoting democracy. Somaliland established one of the best democracies in the region without outside help. Somaliland will help the world in ending the anarchy in Somalia. Somaliland is ready to contribute its experience in democracy and state building with their counterparts in Juba.


BRITISH NAVY IN DANGEROUS ACTION OFF NORTHERN COAST OF SOMALIA

Written by ECOP-marine. AFRICA 11 July 2011. http://www.international.to/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1489:british-navy-in-dangerous-action-off-northern-coast-of-somalia&catid=36:news&Itemid=74

British Royal Navy warship entangled in domestic affairs skirmish.

A British warship allegedly having the commander of the Somaliland navy and some of his soldiers on board attracted on Saturday serious military fire when it came close to the shore off Laasqoray, the coastal town of Warsangeliland at the Somali shores of the Gulf of Aden. From the foreign warship reportedly one amphibious vessel and two commando boats were launched with the intent to land on the beach.

Local officials, observers and media reported the incident as an unprecedented provocation and attack on the sovereignty of Somalia and specifically of the Warsangeli territory.

Reports indicated earlier last week that a British warship had come to Somaliland’s port city of Berbera where President Ahmed Silanyo reportedly met British officials on board the vessel.

The ship is believed to be a patrol ship that is part of the western-led anti-piracy initiatives along the coasts of Somalia.

While neither EU NAVFOR nor the British navy reported the incident, security forces of Somalia’s breakaway region of Puntland confirmed that they had fired towards a British warship near the coast.

The political background is the long-standing fight between the former British colony of Somaliland in the Northwest of Somalia, which today prefers to be an independent, though internationally not recognized breakaway republic and Puntland, the federal regional state of Somalia, located to the north-east.

Between these two blocks, the land of the Warsangeli and further south the Dulbahante homeland form a buffer zone, which regularly sees skirmishes over the control for these areas, which also contain oil- and other mineral concessions, being fought over between the two blocks.

Somaliland and Puntland are engaged in this long-standing border dispute particularly along the borders of the Sool, Sanaag and Ceyn regions located in the central north of Somalia since 1992.

The latest incident now involved a British naval vessel on a mission with an obviously pro-Somaliland agenda which was countered by forces loyal to the Puntland government as well as by those of the local Warsangeli governance.

The provincial commissioner of Sanaag region, Mohamud Dabayl said the war ship sailed towards Laasqoray, a strategic port town in the North of Somalia which is part of a territory disputed by the Puntland and Somaliland authorities.

"The ship appeared to have been misdirected and its captain may have been told that Laasqoray would be part of Somaliland. It was sailing towards Laasqoray” Dabayl told the local media in Bosaso.

He said Puntland authorities fired warning shots after it emerged that the warship entered their territory without prior notification, an issue regional officials said is a violation of territorial sovereignty and international law.

“Our security forces fired warning shots towards the ship because it was sailing through the coast of Puntland. The warning was to tell the crew that they were not in the territorial waters of Somaliland” he added.

According to the local Hiraan media, the regional commissioner said Puntland security personnel had arrested one person from the ship who was waving the flag of the self declared republic of Somaliland at the time when the warning shots were fired.

Local observers reported that though heavier weapons including RPGs and also small arms fire were directed against the British naval contingent and three of the Somaliland soldiers, who had landed from the British ship on the beach, were arrested, nobody got hurt.


Somalia: Puntland Condemns Provocative Incident at Las Korey

10 Jul 10, 2011 -http://www.garoweonline.com/

PRESS RELEASE| On 9 July, Puntland security forces at Las Korey coast fired warning shots on unidentified foreign soldiers who landed on the coast using small boats and an amphibious Armed Personnel Carrier (APC).

The foreign soldiers withdrew to the sea without firing back.

Puntland Government sources later revealed the foreign soldiers had disembarked from a British Royal Navy warship and were accompanied by Somaliland military officers, including a man identified as Berbera-based Somaliland Coastguard commander Admiral Ahmed Aw Osman.

British naval personnel landed on the Las Korey coast without the permission of Puntland Government. It has since been revealed that the British naval warship was misled by Somaliland authorities, who provided false information that Las Korey town is controlled by Somaliland forces.

The incident created high tensions inside Las Korey town, as Puntland security forces fired warning shots.

The Government of Puntland strongly condemns the actions of Somaliland authorities that potentially compromise the peace and stability of northern Somalia.

This act of foreign public opinion manipulation is unacceptable for good neighborly relations and mutual coexistence to strengthen regional security and stability.

Furthermore, the Puntland Government welcomes the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Royal Navy’s immediate and direct communication with Puntland officials to clarify this regrettable misunderstanding. Finally, the Government of Puntland calls on Somaliland authorities to respect neighborly relations and to refrain from similar actions in the future, as Somaliland has previously attacked Puntland regions.


Examples of EU Projects in Somaliland

Mariah Jen. 6 July 2011. http://www.iewy.com/29781-examples-of-eu-projects-in-somaliland.html

Development aid from the European Commission

On-going, mostly multi-year EU-funded programmes in Somaliland currently amount to approximately €62 million. There are 63 projects ongoing: 27 projects in the governance sector amounting to €21.9 million; 13 projects in the education sector, amounting to €11.2 million; 13 projects in support to economic growth amounting to €15.1 million; and 9 projects worth €8.5 million in other sectors (health, water and sanitation) and EU Flight Operations worth €5.3 million.

EU support to governance and security

The Interpeace-implemented Democratisation programme (different components worth a total a total €3.4 million) supported the delivery of a free and fair presidential election which was held in Somaliland in June 2010. The EU contributed to half of the costs of the elections. Currently, the project enhances and further consolidates the institutional and professional capacities of the National Electoral Commission and provides substantial technical assistance to support parliamentary and local elections to be held in Somaliland.

Support to the legislative Sector in Somaliland: through the Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA) the EU offers training, workshops, seminars and study visits for parliamentarians and parliamentary staff with the objective to create an environment that fosters knowledge sharing of the democratic process. The programme (worth €1.26 million) has been actively supporting legislative institutions since 2004. It has also provided equipment and built a new plenary hall for Somaliland’s parliament in Hargeisa that was inaugurated in 2011.

EU support to education

The EU ‘Education Programme’ aims at contributing to the development of a sustainable, cohesive education system through the provision of relevant services to the entire population. The Somaliland Ministry of Education is supported with training and technical assistance. Access to primary and secondary education is improved through the construction and rehabilitation of schools and the training of new teachers; and Somaliland youth have a better chance of finding jobs through vocational education and training.

More than an estimated 80 percent of Somalilanders are currently illiterate. With EU support, around 180,000 adults and children in Somaliland have been trained since 2008 and have been given the opportunity of an education. EU support to this sector amounts to €36 million (Somaliland component) over a 6-year period.

The Accelerated Primary Education Support Programme: implemented by a consortium of NGOs, the programme (worth €2.1 million) increases access to quality primary education for school age children (including girls) from poor and marginalised communities. Key results of this programme so far include the construction and refurbishment of 90 new permanent classrooms in formal schools and training centres, the renovation of 40 classrooms already existing and the review and update of text books and curricula in close collaboration with the Ministry of Education and training for 70 head teachers on inclusive and gender sensitive planning and management of schools.

EU support to health

Safe Motherhood in Hargeisa: 972 mothers delivered their babies safely in health facilities supported through the EU-funded Health Poverty Action (HPA) project. This is an extraordinary accomplishment in a context where more than half of pregnant women deliver without the presence of a trained health worker and face the risk of death or disability due to pregnancy-related complications. Up until 2009, there was no functional hospital referral system for obstetric emergencies in Somaliland. With EU funding (€2,1 million) HPA successfully established a maternity referral system including free transportation and free obstetric health services for indigent mothers in Hargeisa and has helped more than 2,800 mothers since its inception. In 2010, HPA developed and aired 13 radio programmes on positive health seeking behaviour. The uptake of modern family planning devices is also on the increase. This is a result of sustained efforts to promote health education through radio programmes, outreach theatre as well as counselling by trained nursing staff.

Training Human Resources for Health: implemented by the Tropical Health and Education Trust in partnership with Kings College Hospital in London, this project (worth €585,000) provides training to health professionals addressing the human resource development needs of the health sector and effectively contributing to saving lives. 31 medical students have been assisted with skills-based, interactive and participative teaching tools. It is also expected that almost 500 students enrolled in the academic year 2010-11 will benefit from effective training methodologies and clinical development in areas of need.

The EU and the Millennium Development Goals

Adopted by world leaders in the year 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) provide a framework, both global and local, for the entire international community to work together towards a common end: making sure that human development reaches everyone, everywhere. Despite the inherent difficulties, Somaliland can already report considerable achievements which are the result of EU-funded initiatives in the period 2004-2010:

MDG 1 Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
- almost 10,000 Somalilanders benefitted from technical and vocational education and training
- 35,580 Somalilanders targeted with unconditional cash transfers
MDG 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
- 13,000 primary school teachers were trained and of these 4,000 were fully certified
- 100 schools were built or rehabilitated
- 75,000 pupils were enrolled in primary education (with a ratio of 6:4 of boys and girls)
MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality & Empower Women
- 7,800 new female students were enrolled in secondary education
- 60 scholarships were awarded in Somaliland for female trainees
MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality & MDG 5: Improve Maternal Health
- 3,700 births were attended by skilled health personnel
- 101,000 consultations took place on reproductive health
MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
- 600,000 Somalilanders benefited from improved drinking water
- 300,000 Somalilanders benefited from training and various activities of awareness raising for improved hygiene and sanitation
EU support to economic development

The EU supports agriculture and livestock production and marketing. It also promotes initiatives aimed at reducing unemployment and underemployment in urban areas through labour-intensive infrastructure projects and job creation. Interventions mobilize local expertise and labour potential by contracting small and medium-sized enterprises and, with that, promote private sector development in various fields including energy, electricity and water services. EU-funded projects also support Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) as supplementary and innovative means in the provision of public services.

An Irrigation project (worth €2.5 million) in the Awdal Region (Somaliland) will start in July 2011, implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation. The project aims to raise agricultural productivity and net incomes of poor rural households in Somaliland by providing an integrated package of support covering irrigation, agricultural advisory services, marketing and post-harvest support and technical assistance in the framework of private-led economic development.

The Somali Animal Health Services project (worth €1.5 million) provides training and technical assistance to various institutions in Somaliland which provide animal disease surveillance. The project helped developing the Somaliland Veterinary Code and trained staff in the use of commercially produced rapid diagnostic test kits for key trade limiting animal diseases.


Somaliland suspends flights of Air Djibouti

By: Abdalle Ahmed. July 7th, 2011.http://www.raxanreeb.com/?p=102723

HARGEISA (RBC) The authorities of Somalia’s break away region of Somaliland on Thursday suspended flights of air Djibouti from Somaliland airports, the aviation minister announced.

“Following complains from citizens in Hargeisa about the Air Djibouti’s lack of functioning Air conditioner. We made investigation as we found that the planes used by the company were not appropriate ones” Somaliland’s aviation minister Mohamud Hashi Abdi told reporters in Hargeisa.

“So today we declare that Somaliland government suspended Air Djibouti from operating in local airports until they fix the technical problems facing their planes” he added.

The aviation ministry also fined the local staff of Air Djibouti in Somaliland but the authorities did not take back license from the company, the aviation minister confirmed.

“This concerns the safety of our people if we do not take it serious”. The aviation minister replied when asked if Somaliland had other reasons for the company’s suspension.

There are no comments from the management of the company.

Air Djibouti, the national airline of Djibouti had at least seven flights inside Somalia each week including Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland.

The company’s fleet consisted of Airbus A310 aircrafts but had been using small jets for inside Somalia flights.


Veils come off in Somali "Paradise for Women"

By Eva Krafczyk Jul 7, 2011.http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/africa/news/article_1649682.php/Veils-come-off-in-Somali-Paradise-for-Women

Hargeisa, Somalia - Fatimah Ibrahim has dedicated herself to women's rights in her Somali homeland. The head of a non-governmental organization in Hargeisa, capital of the breakaway republic of Somaliland, she champions better educational opportunities for girls and women and improvements in their legal status.

But not only that.

'Women also have the right to look good and be pampered a little, don't they?' Ibrahim asks with a mischievous smile.

The women's rights activist has become a businesswoman on the side by opening a beauty salon.

'Janno Dumar' ('Paradise for Women') is written on the wall enclosing the salon grounds, which are totally off limits to men. All of the employees and customers are women. This is the only way the small spa-like enclave can hold its own in the Muslim country, where foreign women must also wear a veil and headscarf in public.

Somalia does not immediately suggest itself as a spa destination. While Somaliland is by and large peaceful, Ibrahim's salon would be shut down immediately and accused of being Westernized and un-Islamic in south-west Somalia, where radical Islamic groups control the countryside. In Somaliland, too, the lives of many women are anything but intact.

'There's domestic violence but it's not reported to the police,' Ibrahim says. 'And if a married woman goes to the police after being raped, she's seen as an adulteress, not a victim, and hauled before court.'

Once the women are by themselves in the salon, the veils come off. They sip tea and coffee, nibble on sweets and giggle.

Leila, 25, flops into a comfortable, upholstered chair with her legs apart. She would never dare to sit that way in a cafe in the presence of her father or one of her brothers. But she remains wary even behind the walls of the 'Paradise for Women,' declining to give her last name or allow herself to be photographed.

'It's a good thing there's a place like this for us women,' Leila says after leafing through several fashion magazines. Although she could never wear the clothes pictured on their pages on the streets of Hargeisa, she enjoys imagining how she would look in them.

'The men have their cafes and rounds of khat,' she notes, referring to a popular narcotic plant whose leaves are chewed. 'Usually all that women can do is to get together with girlfriends in private homes. Here we've got our little domain.'

Leila's girlfriend Hamida, soon to be a bride, is shown clothes in the salon's showroom for her big day. She wants as much glitter, ruffles and candy colours as possible. Some of the necklines are quite revealing and would likely be seen only by the female wedding guests and groom.

Hamida needs to book her beauty treatment in time, too, because the wedding would be preceded by many hours of massaging, plucking, hairdressing, putting on makeup and, of course, applying henna dye.

'One has to plan on an entire day at least,' asserts Emem, a make-up artist.

Malika does not have that much time to spare. She allows herself two hours of relaxation, though, and has her hands, feet and forearms painted with intricate henna patterns. The scent of incense hangs in the air. Malika lays on a chair, eyes half-closed, while the make-up artist applies a thick paste of henna from a tube and places a fan closer for faster drying. 'No, I'm not going to a wedding or a party,' Malika says. 'Today I'm simply indulging myself. I've got enough obligations to my husband and family.'


Somaliland: EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs announces more support for stability and regional cooperation

Mariah Jen. 6 July 2011

Brussels – During a visit to Somaliland, the EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, announced today that the European Union is considering to provide around additional €175 million in EU support to Somalia, including to Somaliland.

In his speech before the Somaliland Parliament, Mr Piebalgs said: “The European Union welcomes the contribution that Somaliland is making to peace and good governance in the region. It is an encouraging example of peace, democracy and stability. This is why we will invest additional development funds as security and the socio-political conditions favour sustainable development.”

Additional EU support in Somaliland will focus on areas to foster economic development, education and governance.

During his visit, Commissioner Piebalgs met President Silanyo and delivered a speech to the House of Representatives in Hargeisa. Commissioner Piebalgs underlined that Somaliland is an example of stability and democracy which will hopefully encourage others to promote broader political dialogue, development and integration. He stressed that Somaliland has a role to play in economic integration and development in the Horn of Africa region.

Mr Piebalgs encouraged Somaliland to stay engaged in international efforts to curb piracy, and commended the efforts of the Somaliland coastguard, police and judiciary.

The EU Development Commissioner discussed the political, social and economic situation of Somaliland during a meeting with members of civil society and the business community. He commended the constructive role played by the Somaliland Diaspora and reiterated the importance of the European Union’s engagement with Non-State Actors – including civil society and the private sector – in its development efforts.

Commissioner Piebalgs concluded his visit to Somaliland with a tour of Berbera Port and a livestock quarantine facility, where he also met the principal and students of the EU-supported Sheikh Technical Veterinary School.

The EU allocated an ongoing five-year support package for Somalia of €212 million (between 2008 and 2013)

EU aid in Somaliland is mainly focused on the following areas:

Economic development including infrastructure: The EU has allocated €19 million to rehabilitate and expand urban water infrastructure in several cities across Somaliland. Further areas of infrastructure support will be identified under the increased package.

Education: With strong EU assistance, school enrolment has already grown from 38.6 percent in 2006 to an estimated 60 percent in 2010. Somaliland’s Education Ministry will be supported by technical experts provided by the EU to develop a sustainable solution for the recently-announced Free Primary Education Policy.

Governance: The EU is already the main donor in major UN programmes assisting the public sector, police, courts, democratic institutions, electoral processes and civil society in Somaliland. Responding to the clear political commitment that Somaliland has demonstrated towards public sector reform, this assistance will be intensified and expanded, especially in the area of public finance management.

For more information. MEMO/11/486

For photos:

http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/2010/mediaGallery.cfm?sitelang=en&gallery=yes

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/index_en.htm

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/piebalgs/index_en.htm

http://www.iewy.com/29779-somaliland-eu-commissioner-andris-piebalgs-announces-more-support-for-stability-and-regional-cooperation.html


Somaliland security arrests editor of Jamhuriya newspaper

By: Abdalle Ahmed. July 5th, 2011.http://www.raxanreeb.com/?p=102467

HARGEISA (RBC) Somaliland security forces on Monday detained Mohamed Omar Irro the editor of independent Jamhuriya newspaper published in Hargeisa, the capital of Somalia’s break away region.

Mr. Irro was taken from his office by uniformed officers from Somaliland’s Criminal Investigation Department [CID] on Monday morning while he was in his daily work.

“They called for investigation first but then we were told he was arrested with the order of attorney general” one of Jamhuriya staff told RBC Radio with anonymity condition because of security reasons.

Mr. Irro’s relatives had not been given a chance to see him as he is now taking his second night in CID special detention in Hargeisa.

The arrest of the editor came after the newspaper published this week an article about Hargeisa local government paid huge sum of money to the attorney general for his special interest.

Meanwhile, The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) expresses deep concern over the arrest of the editor of Jamhuriya newspaper and demanded for immediate release.


Somaliland jails 10 people in Las Anod town

Jul 03, 2011 By Hassan Osman.http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/9571388-somaliland-jails-10-people-in-las-anod-town

HARGEISA - The forces of the breakaway republic of Somaliland have jailed more people during operations conducted in Las Anod town of Sool region in north Somalia on Sunday according to witnesses.

Locals said that the captured at least 10 people were including traditional elders, clerics and young men and jailed in prison in Las Anod town where the Somaliland troops continued operations for the past hours.

Reports say that operation followed an attack injured Nadifo Mohamed AliAli known as (Ol-ujog), a chairperson of the women of Sool region as the gunmen reportedly escaped from the spot where the attack happened fortnight.

There is no comment over the operations from the officials of the town as the operations still continue in different neighborhoods of the town. There has been calm situation in Sool for the past recent months.


Is there a spin doctor in the house?

Simon Allison,Opinionista. July 2, 2011. http://www.freeafricanmedia.com/opinionista/2011-06-28-is-there-a-spin-doctor-in-the-house

In May Somaliland celebrated its independence. It's not surprising if this fact passed you by – the lack of a government communications unit means the country missed out on getting its story told in the international media. Much as we might deride the heavy-handedness of certain government spin doctors on the continent, the fact is they perform a vital function in facilitating government-press relations.

Last month, the little breakaway republic of Somaliland celebrated 20 years of de facto, if not legal, independence from Somalia. The country has a lot to celebrate, particularly in the context of the complete breakdown of the state next door. Where Somalia has civil war and pirates, Somaliland has a functioning government, a thriving business community and, those most elusive of commodities in this part of the world, peace and security. I was in Hargeisa for the independence day celebrations, covering them for one of the major newswires.

It wasn’t easy. Despite the fact that the events were pointedly directed at the international community, with long speeches outlining why Somaliland should be recognised as an independent country, and huge banners printed in English, French and Arabic rather than Somali (so the international community could understand, I was told), there was almost no international media coverage of the events. And it’s not as if there was no news hook. It was the opportunity for some rare good news to come out of Somalia, on a significant day for the country, with plenty of good images and the opportunity for good interviews. Every publication I spoke to about the events was keen on covering them in some form or another.

And the Somaliland government wanted coverage - it really did. Cabinet ministers would come up to me, shake my hand and thank me for being at the events. My presence was so exciting that the state-run TV interviewed me for their news bulletin, and I was front-page news the next day in one of the newspapers, misspelled name and all – that or there was another bloke with bad hair running around Hargeisa named Seminal Elson, who looks a lot like me and holds similar views. Everybody wanted to help. Thing is, no one knew how to.

Media management, particularly in today’s frenzied media environment, is an art form, and it is one that most governments get wrong, sometimes spectacularly (South Africa’s chief government spokesman Jimmy Manyi being the best current example of this). But there are a few basics that every government should observe if it wants to retain even a modicum of control over the stories being published. And by control, I’m not talking about censorship, but rather the ability to exercise the rights that every government, institution or individual should have: to have their side heard, clearly and fairly, to be given the chance to put their position across, to correct facts and provide relevant information.

To do this, somebody in the government has to be responsible for the media. This was Somaliland’s problem. While the ministers and the civil servants were all enthusiastic about my presence, none of them really knew how to go about getting me what I wanted (facts, interviews, access), which meant that getting hold of this stuff was a lot more difficult than it should have been. Moreover, the government was working to its own deadlines and didn’t really take news deadlines into account. For example, after much pushing and prodding, I eventually got myself an interview with Somaliland’s President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo. The only problem was, the interview was four days after the independence day celebrations so the news hook had been lost, and the interview was picked up by only a handful of publications rather than the significant number who would have used it if they’d received it on independence day itself.

Having said that, Somaliland was lucky it received any coverage at all, having taken no steps to make sure the international media even knew about the event. Again, not because they didn’t want to, but because no one in government – people who are all specialists in their own fields, and doing a pretty good job by most accounts – was familiar with the processes by which media attention is generated. Doing so would not have been difficult: A press release takes about 10 minutes to write and it’s a pretty fundamental part of how most media outlets operate. Unless the media know something is happening, they can’t report on it. And, given Somaliland’s rather obscure location, and how difficult it is to get here, the government should have been on top of providing international journalists with materials to help them cover the story – photos from the day, audio and translations of speeches, basic historical information, telephone interviews and so on. These are the basics organisers of most international events will arrange to make it as easy as possible for journalists to cover a story, and Somaliland – for which media coverage is a vital part of its quest for international recognition – needs to drastically up its game.

In short, it needs a media office, headed by a media officer who understands how journalists and the media operate. Although government spin doctors are frequently derided in the press, particularly when they overstep their remit and start trying to manipulate the news rather than merely facilitate it, they perform an essential function in any government or institution that wants to get its story out there and are vital in allowing journalists to do their jobs. As I was shunted from office to office around the government buildings of Hargeisa, I wished dearly for a spin doctor who had the authority to get things done, and who understood that what I needed – quotes for my story and a good location for my photographer – was also in the best interests of a government desperate for international attention.

Somaliland missed a trick because of its nonexistent media management. The question is: How many other stories are being missed because governments don’t know how to communicate with journalists? South Africa's Manyi is fond of complaining that journalists don’t bother covering all the good things the government is doing. He’s missing the point. The news priorities of overworked journalists and editors are first and foremost what is interesting, and secondly what is easy to cover (it shouldn’t be so, of course, but too often it is). This is a particular problem for African governments, whose media management is often unsophisticated. Governments who want better coverage need to improve their communication with the media. A great example of this is Rwanda, which has so mastered the art of public relations that the country enjoys a stellar reputation in the developing world. No coincidence, this; the country employs a high-powered London public-relations firm to burnish its image, and the results have been impressive. In a 2009 report, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative noted that Rwanda has an excellent PR apparatus that has been successful in “persuading the key members of the international community that it has an exemplary constitution emphasising democracy, power-sharing, and human rights which it fully respects”.

Rwanda, of course, is the other extreme. The report went on to note that “the truth is, however, the opposite” of its projected image. Rwanda’s slick PR hides a multitude of sins, but it nonetheless demonstrates how important it is for governments to have a proper media team for getting stories out. And as for how those stories are covered – well, that’s where good journalism is supposed to come in. FAM


Somaliland, Ethiopia Sign a Security Treaty

Deal To Fight Terrorism and Promote Trade

By AWEYS CADDE 07/02/2011. http://www.somaliareport.com/index.php/post/1077/Somaliland_Ethiopia_Sign_a_Security_Treaty

Somalia’s semi-autonomous state of Somaliland has signed a security treaty with Ethiopia, government officials said Saturday.

Officials from both sides meeting in Diridhawa in Ethiopia this week signed the deal to promote peace and security between the two countries.

The Somaliland foreign ministry said in a statement that both sides held a two-day meeting, which was attended by top officials from Somaliland and Ethiopia. The Somaliland delegation was led by foreign minister Dr. Mohamed Abdulahi Omar, the main military leader Nuuh Ismail Taani, police commander Mohhamed Saqdhe Dubad and national security chairman Mohamed Nuur Hirsi. Their Ethiopian counterparts included security minister Tsegaye Berhe, head of the military Major General Abraha Mariam and the president of Somali residents in Ethiopia Abdi Mohamuud Omar.

According to the statement, Ethiopia and Somaliland have agreed to cooperate in the fight against terrorism, tighten security on common border and to ease movement of people and goods to promote trade.

“There are problems caused by the terrorists in the Horn of African countries, and we want to prevent all these, in order to secure long lasting peace and security,” said Dr. Omar.

Dr. Omar said this was a major achievement and hoped that the treaty will lead to improved security, particularly in Somaliland.

Dr. Omar and Mr. Berhe signed the agreement on behalf of their respective governments.

Ethiopia and Somaliland have cordial relations. Ethiopia is among the few countries to accept passports of breakaway Somaliland. It has also opened an embassy in capital Hargeisa, although it does not recognize it as an independent state from Somalia.


A land in need of recognition

PATRICK MAZIMHAKA AND GREG MILLS: ANALYSIS Jul 01 2011 00:00

Mail & Guardian Online.http://mg.co.za/article/2011-07-01-a-land-in-need-of-recognition/

Fifty years ago the protectorate of Somaliland gained independence from Britain. Five days later, on July 1 1960, it elected to join Italian Somalia in a union. The marriage did not work; Somalia descended into military dictatorship, civil war and chaos. In 1991, Somaliland elected to go it alone, establishing the conditions for peace through a home-grown Islamic democracy.

But still it remains without recognition by the international community, despite fulfilling legal norms for recognition. Somaliland has defined borders, a functioning government and armed forces capable of defending its people. It is also relatively stable, especially when compared to Somalia.

What Somalilanders have achieved they have done so with hardly any international assistance -- a salutary reminder that local ownership really does work. How long they can sustain these achievements without recognition is anybody's guess. What is certain, however, is that Somaliland will not be able to build on them and consolidate its development unless its current isolation is broken.

And if issues of global governance -- including terrorism, health concerns, piracy and the environment -- require effective states as local implementing agencies, then it makes sense to strengthen Somaliland. The most cost-effective way of doing so is through recognition.

Somaliland's problem is that, unlike the split-up of Czechoslovakia or the secession of Eritrea, its original marriage partner, Somalia, does not agree to a divorce. In the past decade several strong voices have urged them to relent, even if not explicitly. South Africa's then-department of foreign affairs concluded in 2003 that "it is undeniable that Somaliland does indeed qualify for statehood, and it is incumbent on the international community to recognise it".

The African Union, which has sent two missions