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That Freedom Shall not Perish

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Shebab threaten Somaliland voters

June 25 2010. http://www.iol.co.za/

Somalia - Somalia's Al Qaeda-inspired Shebab warned voters in the northern self-proclaimed state of Somaliland not to vote in the presidential elections, in an audio message obtained by AFP Friday.

"Those who take part in those so-called elections will face the consequences," Ahmed Abdi Godane, the overall leader of the Shebab group, said in the message released ahead of Somaliland's Saturday polls.

Godane, also known as "Abu Zubayr" and a native of the Somaliland capital Hargeisa, said the elections were organised by "the anti-Islamic forces in Somalia.

Somaliland's presidential polls, which were delayed three times since 2008, are due to go ahead on Saturday, 50 years to the day after the territory obtained its independence from Britain.

The region acquired its independence on June 26 1960, then merged with the rest of Somalia, which had ben under Italian rule, but broke away again in 1991, in the aftermath of Somali president Mohamed Siad Barre's ouster.

While central and southern Somalia descended into chaos, Somaliland succeeded in ensuring stability and developed its economy but has yet to be internationally recognised as an independent state. - Sapa-AFP


Somaliland: Somalilanders Vote This Saturday

UNPO, 25 June 2010.http://www.unpo.org/content/view/11270/142/

Official Campaigning has ended, and Somaliland's Citizens are excited and Prepared to Cast their Democratic Voice this Saturday, June 26th.

Below is an article published by VOANews.com

The foreign minister of Somaliland says the country has a good track record of organizing credible successive elections devoid of violence and voter irregularities that meet international standards.

Abdullahi Mohammed Du’Ale said the electoral commission has concluded preparations ahead of Saturday’s vote.

“The nation is very excited (and) the campaign(s) have been very civil and we have demonstrated that we are a state that can handle and demonstrate what democracy is… and we are hoping that all will go very well on June the 26th and we are looking forward to it,” he said.

Official campaigning ended Wednesday ahead of the election which begins June 26th across the country. The vote coincides with Somaliland’s independence from colonial power Britain in 1960.

Foreign minister Du’Ale said the elections will be credible.

“We have demonstrated that we are a credible state and that we have what it takes. We are a state that has relations with the international community and with the (Horn of Africa) region. And, we have put forth credible elections which have been characterized by the international community and the international press as free and fair,” Du’Ale said.

Several international poll observer groups have reportedly arrived to monitor the elections.

Opposition groups have accused the ruling party of not granting them equal access to the state-controlled media, which, they said hampered their campaign – a charge the government denies.

Meanwhile, Somalia’s hard-line insurgent group, al-Shabab has threatened to violently disrupt the elections after saying that Somaliland’s democratic efforts are fundamentally opposed to the teachings of Islam.

But foreign minister Du’Ale said the government will not allow what he called disruptive terrorists to hold hostage the people of Somaliland who he said have the right to choose their leaders in an election.

“This is sheer hogwash as far as we are concerned (because) this is a nation that works under the rule of law. Our constitution, accordingly is compatible and the basics of it rely on Islamic values and the Islamic culture…We have demonstrated that it is very difficult for these elements to operate in Somaliland,” Du’Ale said.

Partly sponsored by the United States, the European Union and other international organizations, Saturday’s vote is expected to be hotly contested between President Daahir Riyaale Kaahin’s ruling United Peoples Democratic Party (UDUB), and the two major opposition including Party for Justice and Development (UCID) as well as the Unity and Development Party (Kulmiye) party.


What Somaliland voters want

HARGEISA, 25 June 2010 (IRIN)

Above all else, voters in Somaliland ant the outside world to recognize their independence. But the electorate has other demands of its next government. Here is a selection:

Said Ahmed Hassan, president of Gollis University in Hargeisa

“The new president has to deal with the country's economy. There is enormous poverty, lack of employment opportunities, particularly for the young.”

`Qat’, a plant with stimulant properties that is widely chewed in the Horn of Africa “is destroying the fabric of our society. It affects the health; economy and family life of our people. It should be curtailed.”

Hodo Mohamed, internally displaced person (name changed)

"It seems that our plight has been totally ignored. We hope the new government will help us settle by allocating land to those of us who have been displaced by drought and poverty."

"Look at how congested our structures [an IDP settlement in Hargesia] are. If a fire was to break out, I dread the outcome, for many of us will surely die. The new government must at least improve our living conditions."

Khadar Ahmed, businessman

"People should accept the election verdict no matter who wins. You cannot do business without peace."

"The incoming government should strengthen business laws. The ministry of commerce has to put in place better laws governing how business is done. If I am going to invest in the country, I need legal protection and security because I could be investing hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars."

Anonymous businessman

"The incoming government must ensure it reaches even the grassroots. You cannot have the government only in Hargeisa while in the countryside people have never seen the government, relying only on village elders. In fact the only time they see the government is during election campaigns when politicians traverse the countryside seeking votes."

Mohamed-Rashid Muhumed Farah, journalist

"In the course of our interviews with people, many complain of lack of good governance, corruption and that the government has not done much in terms of education and improving infrastructure."

Amina Abdillahi Ahmed, academic

"When people hold political office, they tend to stick there, not wanting to leave because Somaliland is a small country with a lot of resources which remain undiscovered. As it is, many people lack proper employment, the government doesn't pay its employees much."

"People are looking forward to change but I fear the ruling party may not respect the people's verdict."

"I can say democracy is taking root in Somaliland, although it may not be to Western standards. Slowly by slowly we'll get there. The incoming government must rethink what it can do for the people. It must address communities' needs and identify the gaps such as unemployment that need urgent solutions."

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


Peaceful region of Somaliland votes for president

By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN (AP)

HARGEISA, Somalia — Electoral posters line the streets of Somaliland as the self-declared republic prepares to hold its second presidential election on Saturday, an exercise in governance not seen for decades in the country's anarchic south.

Three men are vying to become president of the unrecognized region, a haven of relative peace in northwest Somalia.

The candidates agreed to hold campaign rallies on different days in order to avoid bouts of violence between supporters. More than 1.6 million people have registered to vote at more than 1,000 polling sites.

Three presidential candidates are incumbent Dahir Riyale Kahin, Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo and Feysal Ali Warabe. Kahin, leader of the Democratic United National party, or Udub, was elected president in 2003 with 42.08 percent of ballots cast in an election won by 80 votes.

All three candidates promise to seek out more international recognition of Somaliland to maintain region's security and economic development. Residents hope it will help the region win more respect.

"This election means a bridge to international recognition and it will show the world that Somaliland is practicing democracy," said Dr. Hussein Abdullahi Bulhan, the head of Hargeisa University.

Dozens of international observers are in the region to watch the vote. One observer, Steve Kibble of the British organization Progressio, said his group was encouraged that residents wanted to carry out a peaceful election that is recognized nationally and internationally.

"At this stage, we expect that such an outcome can be achieved," Kibble said.

Somaliland's presidential election has been frequently delayed. It was first scheduled for 2008, and then for 2009.

"We are happy that my country is doing its best to follow the international democratic system," said a Hargeisa resident, Isma'il Ahmed. "This election really holds a good future for me."

Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 and has been relatively peaceful and stable compared with the rest of Somalia, which descended into anarchy following the 1991 ouster of longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre by warlords.

The region has its own security and police forces, justice system and currency. However it is not recognized by any other state.


Somaliland Poised for Much-Delayed Presidential Election

Alisha Ryu | Nairobi 25 June 2010.http://www1.voanews.com/

After repeated delays, the breakaway republic of Somaliland will hold its second presidential election in eight years on Saturday. International observers and analysts are expressing cautious optimism that the poll could set a positive example for the troubled region.

Eight hundred local observers and 75 international observers are fanned out across Somaliland to monitor the presidential poll. Slightly more than one million people are registered to vote and voter turn-out Saturday is expected to be around 75 percent.

Speaking from Somaliland's capital Hargeisa, the joint coordinator for the international observer group, Michael Walls, says he has been impressed by the level of public enthusiasm and by the transparency of the electoral process.

"There inevitably are a few problems or complaints. But really, in terms of the overall picture, things look very good," said Walls. "The electoral commissioners were changed and the new commission has exceeded everyone's expectations in terms of their competence and integrity. The surprise from my point of view has been to see how smoothly the campaigning has been running and there seems to be more of a carnival atmosphere amongst party supporters."

Wall's assessment is in stark contrast to the situation in Somaliland in 2009. At this time last year, there was rising concern that this election, which was originally scheduled to take place in April 2008, might not be held at all. An election set for September 27 was scrapped after a bitter disagreement over the registration process nearly plunged Somaliland into violence.

The political stand-off pitted incumbent President Dahir Riyale and his ruling United People's Democratic Party against two leading opposition parties - the Development and Solidarity Party (Kulmiye) headed by Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud Silanyo and the Justice and Welfare Party (UCID) led by Faisal Ali Warabe.

The crisis was defused through a number of donor-funded measures, including setting up a new, independent election commission. Political parties also agreed to campaign on alternate days to avoid confrontations.

U.S.-based Africa analyst J. Peter Pham says a peaceful and well-conducted election could significantly boost Somaliland's long-held argument that the territory is politically mature and stable, and vastly removed from the turmoil and violence witnessed in central and southern Somalia.

"Irrespective of who wins, a transparent, free, and fair election dispels the myth that all of Somalia is in this primordial chaos," he said. "It is possible that (good) governance can happen and can emerge. It would also be a wonderful sign for the entire region. We are in a region where holding a free, transparent and fair election is somewhat of a challenge."

Political analyst and author Iqbal Jhazbhay adds that a transparent, credible poll is also important to Somalilanders, who view it as being crucial to the territory's efforts to win international recognition. Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991. But despite the establishment of democratic institutions, it is still considered by most of the world as being part of Somalia.

In recent years, the territory has supported closer ties with the West in the hope that it will bring international recognition of its independence.

"In my latest book on Somaliland, I make the point that one of the domestic disciplining forces is this national craving and desire to have international recognition," he said. [In] many of the meetings held between political party heads and foreign observers here in Somaliland, this issue does come up. There is no doubt that holding of this election will help its [Somaliland's] case. It is a question of how fast this process would unfold."

The African Union would have to be the first international organization to extend recognition to Somaliland. But the pan-African body has been reluctant to do so for fear it could spark aggressive secessionist movements in other parts of the continent.

There is opposition against recognition among Somalis, too, who regard Somaliland as an integral part of the country. The most violent opposition comes from al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked extremist group that aims to unite all of Somalia and beyond under an ultra-conservative branch of Islam.

On Thursday, al-Shabab's top leader Ahmed Abdi Godane issued a warning against holding democratic elections, which he claimed was un-Islamic. Godane, who hails from Somaliland, is believed to have planned the October 2008 near-simultaneous suicide car bombings in Hargeisa and Bosasso, Puntland, which killed and wounded dozens of people.


Somaliland appeal to vote despite al-Shabab threat

BBC, 25 June 2010 19:29 UK

Security has been beefed up ahead of the vote Somaliland's authorities have appealed to voters to turn out for Saturday's presidential election despite a warning from Islamists not to participate.

An al-Shabab leader in Somalia said elections were un-Islamic and called democracy "the devil's principles".

Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 when the country descended into civil war; it has not been recognised internationally.

But 70 international observers will monitor its second presidential poll.

About 800 local personnel will also observe as 1.69m officially registered voters choose a new president.

Incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin faces two opponents.

The BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan in the capital, Hargeisa, says this week's al-Shabab warning by Abu Zubayr, also known as Mukhtar Abdirahman, has been the talk of the town.

But with campaigning finished and appeals from the government and respected traditional leaders to ignore the threat, the mood is quiet and security has been increased, he says.

Compared to its neighbour, Somaliland has been relatively stable.

After declaring independence in 1991, it formed its own hybrid system of governance consisting of a lower house of elected representatives, and an upper house, which incorporated the elders of tribal clans.


Somaliland’s Time to Join the World

Hargeysa : Somalia | Jun 25, 2010.http://www.allvoices.com/

The time is closing in as Somaliland population is preparing themselves to cast their votes on the 26th day of June which is only one day away. It is time for every Somalilander to exercise his/her democratic right. It is therefore imperative for all of us to cast our votes in peace. Somaliland has had threats from groups which envy its development.

Reports of explosive materials being seized in parts of the country has been received and the latest being the Burao episode where one security officer lost his life recently. Somalilanders should make their choice and at the same time keep an eye on the security.

The international community are keenly following events on ground and the reputation of this great nation depends on how we conduct our elections.

The Somaliland Electoral Commission has up to date shown impartiality and it should keep its record up, up to the last day when they announce the final results.

The three political parties on their side should keep their promises and accept the final result as announced by the NEC.

They should avoid squabbles and encounters because this could dent the good image of Somaliland in the eyes of the world. All the three Presidential candidates should put the country’s interest before their individual one. Even a fool’s mind knows that only one person will emerge the winner, the losers should congratulate the winner and avoid chaos.

The three competing individuals have equal rights to lead the country and all the voters have equal rights to vote for the candidate of their choice. Whoever wins is our President and remember competition does not make all the competitors happy.

“May God bless our great nation, may we vote in peace and may the best candidate win!!!!”

Source: www.geeska.net/english, The HORN Newspaper, Hargeisa


Voter registration List for Somaliland's presidential election

Hargeysa : Somalia | Jun 25, 2010.http://www.allvoices.com/

Hargeisa(Horn) - Somaliland National Electoral Commission officially announced that 1,069,941 (One million, sixty Nine Thousands nine hundred and forty one ) voters will take part in the presidential election that will be held on June 26, 2010.

Spokesman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Hirsi speaking to the media said yesterday “The number of voter list is 300,000 voters less then the one that have been prepared in 2008. We have prepared the voting list for every Polling station in all the country. We will give the three parties a detailed voter list for the regions”.

Mr. Hirsi declined from giving any details on the number of voters of every region and district in the country.

The spokes man commended the security forces for their efforts in the distribution of the new voting cards and urged them to work more in the presidential election.

Mr. Hirsi in a message to the people said, “We call on you, vote peacefully, preserve stability and be vigilant against Somaliland’s enemies.”

The report from electoral commission of Somaliland presidential election comes six days before the election time which three parties are competing.

The campaigning of the election is in its final face and every party tries to persuade the citizens to support and all parties pledged reformation.

The Somaliland Beverage Industries (SBI) donated 1800 crate of Coca Cola soft drinks to the Electoral commission. The sodas will be used by officials working at polling stations. Every polling station will receive one crate of soft drinks. The NEC thanked Somaliland Beverage Industries for its donation.

Source: www.geeska.net/english, The HORN Newspaper, Hargeisa


The little democracy that could; Corner in Horn of Africa is seeking recognition as an independent nation

JEFFREY GETTLEMAN. International Herald Tribune. Paris: Jun 26, 2010. pg. 2

Abstract (Summary): Many people here worry that if Somaliland's governing party, UDUB, or the United Democratic Peoples' Party, tries to hold onto power illegitimately, the well-armed populace (this is still part of Somalia, after all) will rise up and Somaliland's nearly two decades of peace could disappear in a cloud of gun smoke.

"I know this happens in Africa, but it won't happen in Somaliland," promised Said Adani Moge, a spokesman for Somaliland's government. "If we lose, we'll give up power. The most important thing is peace."

So in this volatile region, Somaliland has become a demonstration of the possible, sustaining a one-person, one-vote democracy in a poor, conflict-torn place that gets very little help. While the government in south-central Somalia, which barely controls any territory, receives millions of dollars in direct support from the United Nations and the United States, the Somaliland government "doesn't get a penny," Mr. Said said.

Full Text

One of the most democratic places in Africa is not really a country at all. Somaliland, in the northwestern corner of Somalia, has been on a quixotic mission for recognition as its own separate nation since 1991.

The rallies usually start early in the morning, before the sunshine hurts.

By 8 a.m. on a recent day, thousands of people were packed into Burao's sandy town square, with little boys climbing high into the trees to get a peek at the politicians.

"We're going to end corruption!" one of the politicians boomed, holding several microphones at once. "We're going to bring dignity back to the people!"

The boys cheered wildly. Wispy militiamen punched bony fists in the air. The politicians' messages were hardly original. But in this corner of Africa, it is an oddity apparently worthy of celebration during a free and open political rally -- led, no less, by opposition leaders who could actually win.

The crowd that day helped tell a strange truth: that one of the most democratic countries in the Horn of Africa is not really a country at all. It's Somaliland, the northwestern corner of Somalia -- which, since the disintegration of the Somali state in 1991, has been on a quixotic mission for recognition as its own separate nation.

While so much of Somalia is plagued by relentless violence, this little-known slice of the Somali puzzle is peaceful and organized enough to hold national elections this weekend, with more than one million voters. The campaigns are passionate but fair, say the few Western observers here. The roads are full of battered old Toyotas blasting out slogans from staticky megaphones lashed onto the roofs.

Somalilanders have pulled off peaceful national elections three times now -- the last presidential election, in 2003, was decided by a wafer-thin margin -- around 80 votes at the time of counting -- yet there was no violence. Each successful election feeds the hope here that one day the world will reward Somaliland with international recognition for carving a functioning, democratic space out of one of the most chaotic countries in the world.

But this presidential election, scheduled for Saturday, will be one of the biggest tests yet for Somaliland's budding democracy.

The government seems unpopular, partly because Somaliland is still desperately poor. Even in the biggest towns, like Burao, or the capital, Hargeisa, countless people dwell in bubble-shaped huts made out of cardboard scraps and flattened oil drums. Most independent observers predict the leading opposition party, Kulmiye, which means something akin to "the one who brings people together," will get the most votes.

But that does not mean the opposition will necessarily win.

In many cases in Africa -- Ethiopia in 2005, Kenya in 2007, Zimbabwe in 2008 -- right when the opposition appeared poised to win elections, the government seemed to fiddle with the results, forcibly holding onto power and sometimes provoking widespread unrest in the process.

Many people here worry that if Somaliland's governing party, UDUB, or the United Democratic Peoples' Party, tries to hold onto power illegitimately, the well-armed populace (this is still part of Somalia, after all) will rise up and Somaliland's nearly two decades of peace could disappear in a cloud of gun smoke.

"I know this happens in Africa, but it won't happen in Somaliland," promised Said Adani Moge, a spokesman for Somaliland's government. "If we lose, we'll give up power. The most important thing is peace."

Easily said, infrequently done. Peaceful transfers of power are a rarity in this neighborhood. In April, Sudan held its first national elections in more than 20 years (the last change of power was a military coup), but the voting was widely considered superficial because of widespread intimidation and the withdrawal of several leading opposition parties from the presidential race.

The vote last month in Ethiopia, in which the governing party and its allies won more than 99 percent of the parliamentary seats, was also tainted by what human rights groups called a campaign of government repression, including the manipulation of American food aid to literally starve out the opposition.

Then there is little Eritrea, along the Red Sea, which has not held a presidential election since the early 1990s, when it won independence. And Djibouti, home to a large American military base, where the president recently pushed to have the Constitution changed so that he could run again.

In south-central Somalia, where a very weak transitional government is struggling to fend off radical Islamists, the Islamist insurgents do not even allow residents to watch the World Cup, let alone hold a vote.

So in this volatile region, Somaliland has become a demonstration of the possible, sustaining a one-person, one-vote democracy in a poor, conflict-torn place that gets very little help. While the government in south-central Somalia, which barely controls any territory, receives millions of dollars in direct support from the United Nations and the United States, the Somaliland government "doesn't get a penny," Mr. Said said.

Because Somaliland is not recognized as an independent country, it is very difficult for the government here to secure international loans, even though it has become a regional model for conflict resolution and democratic institution building -- buzzwords among Western donors.

In many respects, Somaliland is already its own country, with its own currency, its own army and navy, its own borders and its own national identity. Part of this stems from its distinct colonial history, having been ruled, relatively indirectly, by the British, while the rest of Somalia was colonized by the Italians, who set up a European administration.

Italian colonization supplanted local elders, which may have been one reason why much of Somalia plunged into clan-driven chaos after 1991, while Somaliland succeeded in reconciling its clans.

Clan is not the prevailing issue in this election. The three presidential candidates (Somaliland's election code says only three political parties can compete, and they take turns campaigning from day to day) are from different clans or subclans. Yet many voters do not seem to care.

In the middle of miles and miles of thornbush stand two huts close together, one with a green and yellow Kulmiye flag flapping from a stick flagpole, the other with a solid green UDUB flag.

Haboon Roble, a shy 20-year-old, explained that she liked UDUB because, "they're good. They hold up the house."

But her uncle, Abdi Rahman Roble, shook his head. "This government hasn't done anything for farmers," he complained. "We can't even get plastic sheets to catch the rain."

He said he was voting for Kulmiye. "But I don't tell anyone how to vote," Mr. Abdi Rahman said. "That's their choice."


Somali Islamist leader raps democracy ahead of Somaliland polls

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Newsfile. London: Jun 24, 2010.

Radio HornAfrik, Mogadishu, in Somali 0500 24 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

[Presenter] The leader of Al-Shabab mujahidin movement, Shaykh Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, has warned against applying a democracy system and sent a message to Islamic groups in the country. Abdiaziz Abdinur Ibrahim has the details:

[Reporter Abdiaziz] Democracy, elections and other points were among the issues on which the leader of Al-Shabab spoke in an audio message sent to the media. Abu Zubeyr first gave details of what shari'ah says about elections and democracy.

[Abu Zubeyr] The first thing is the danger of what is being referred to as elections and democracy. Allah says anyone who follows a law that is not his and that is contrary to Allah's law, has fully become an unbeliever and left Allah's religion. The fact is that the practice of democracy is [words indistinct]. If we want peace, let us find it in accordance with Islam and if we want life, let us seek it through Islam.

[Reporter] Abu Zubeyr, in a message delivered in poetic language, said it is imperative to stop democracy.

[Abu Zubeyr] Every individual should fight democracy verbally and criticize it, and if necessary use his hands to fight democracy or vacate the area where democracy is practised and shun it. Muslims need to oppose and shun elections and democracy [words indistinct]. If the person is unable [words indistinct], he should leave the area where democracy is practised. The question is, should we apply God's law and the sayings of the Prophet, or follow the call of the unbelievers? [Passage indistinct] God is very tolerant and he can forgive you for your mistakes [words indistinct]. There is only one road that is open, the road to seeking forgiveness. [Passage indistinct]

[Reporter] Although the Al-Shabab leader talked about elections and democracy, he did not direct his statement at any particular administration or country. However, his statement comes at a time when preparations for elections in Somaliland are under way. The Al-Shabab leader also sent a message to Islamist groups in Somalia.

[Abu Zubeyr] The second issue is a message I would like to deliver specifically to the Islamic groups, since we are in a transition period where people will be sieved. Allah swears that mankind will be tested and will not continue to live the way they know how and there will be trying times. Allah says again that there are some who follow the religion partially, who adhere to the religion during the good times and leave it to become apostates when problems arise.

[Reporter] In his previous message, Abu Zubeyr encouraged Al-Shabab fighters in Mogadishu [presumably to continue fighting]

Credit: Radio HornAfrik, Mogadishu, in Somali 0500 24 Jun 10


Somaliland illegally expels Al Jazeera reporters

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress-June 24, 2010) — Somaliland expelled two Somali journalist working for the Qatari-based Al Jazeera on Tuesday after detaining them at the Egal International Airport for days.

Somaliland-born reporter, Jama Nur, along with his cameraman were detained on Tuesday morning at the airport by airport security personnel after arriving from Mogadishu to report the Somaliland presidential elections scheduled for Saturday.

A source close to the airport security told Somalilandpress, Mr Nur was refused entry to the country on orders from the Interior Minister, Mr Abdullahi Irro. The sources added the minister accused the reporter of been an associate of Somalia’s radical group, al-Shabab. Mr Nur has visited Somaliland numerous times and is very much familiar with the entry process. The two reporters were released almost two days later and expelled from the country.

The source also told Somalilandpress, Mr Nur’s arrest was illegal and clear violation against freedom and the press. The expulsion of Mr Nur and his cameraman is believed to be not from Hargeisa or the office of Mr Irro but rather from Ethiopia.

In April 2008, Mr Nur reported on the Ogaden war which angered the Addis Ababa government and threatened the Ethiopian-Qatar relations. Many analysts in Hargeisa now believe Mr Irro was ordered from Addis Ababa to blacklist Mr Nur even though all he wanted to do was share the democratic progress of his country with the Arabic-speaking world.

The government has yet to comment on the expulsion of the reporters even though Mr Irro’s office insists the two reporters failed to obtain a visa to enter the country. The truth is people from Somalia do not require a visa to enter Somaliland, hundreds of Somalis arrive daily from Somalia without visa.

Opposition leaders from UCID camp have condemned the expulsion describing it as an embarrassment for Somaliland. “We strongly condemn the expulsion of the reporters,” Mr Abdulrahman Mohammed Irro, the speaker of Somaliland’s lower-house told local press.

The chairman of UCID, Mr Faisal Ali Warabe also said it was unfortunate that the government decided to boot them out because Arab World is important for Somaliland.

Mr Nur who is the main correspondent for Al Jazeera’s Arabic service in the Horn, was born in Somaliland’s farming district of Gabiley, he visited his homeland countless times without a “visa”. Mr Nur is not the only Al Jazeera reporter visiting the country to cover up the general election – Mohammed Adow [Al Jazeera English] is also in Hargeisa.

The Al Jazeera reporters are part of large international media in the country for the elections.


Somalia: Alshabab leader sends audio massage to Somaliland

Abdi Nor. Mogadishu, Somalia, June 24, 2010.http://www.raxanreeb.com/?p=55379

Hargeysa( RBC)-Alshabab leader Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr known as ( Ahmed Abdi Godane) has sent twenty minutes audio massage to Somaliland civilians so they refuse to vote what hw called democracy and warned the people dedicating the election to stop adding the election is behind westerners.

He reiterated to kill all people is better than peace gotten in democracy and he advised all Muslims to reject democracy.

This twenty minutes audio massage was posted in webpage Islamic groups broadcast the news they want to transmit to public and he has not motioned if they Alshabab will attack polling stations.

Ahmed Abdi Godane hails from Somaliland and used to live Somaliland before he relocated to southern Somalia.

Somaliland has accused Alshabab suicide attacks which happened Somaliland the year 2008 which killed and injured more people.

This massage coincides with a time Somaliland civilians prepare themselves to vote on Saturday for presidential election.


Somaliland Prepares for Presidential Polls

Three candidates seek to consolidate democracy, boost economic growth and gain international diplomatic recognition for Somali enclave

William Eagle. 24 June 2010. http://www1.voanews.com

Over one million eligible voters go to the polls on Saturday in the break-away enclave of Somalia, Somaliland. It’s the second presidential election since the area unilaterally declared its independence nearly 20 years ago.

President Daahir Riyaale Kaahin of the ruling United Peoples Democratic Party (UDUB) was elected head of state in 2003. He’s running for re-election against two opponents – Faisal Ali Warabe of the Party for Justice and Development (UCID) and Ahmed Mohammed Mohamoud Silanyo of the Peace, Unity and Development Party (Kulmiye).

Among the issues of the campaign is international recognition, says Michael Walls, an international election observer with the Catholic development agency, Progressio. Somaliland has yet to gain diplomatic recognition, despite widespread appreciation for the democratic and free-market system it built with grassroots support.

“The majority of the population of the country wants recognition,” he says, “and the democratization process is seen as a way of persuading other countries to recognize Somaliland as a sovereign nation. That’s an overwhelming theme at rallies and discussions.”

All of the parties are committed to boosting trade and private enterprise, though Walls says the government is limited in what it can do. With no diplomatic recognition, there’s also no formal bilateral aid; most of the funds for operating the government come from taxes and from Diaspora support.

Religious and political moderation

The constitution forbids political parties from using religion as a campaign theme, and Walls says for the most part, religion is not an issue. He says the people of Somaliland follow a moderate interpretation of Islam, which has only come up as an issue once so far in the campaign.

“[Religion] has played a bit of a role in the elections, because one opposition leader [Faisal Ali Waraabe of the UCID] has made statements about introducing Sharia law. He explained that as an expression of the application of constitutional articles that say Sharia must be the basis of Somaliland law. He says he was not arguing anything different. But when he made that argument, he was wanting to play a religious card.”

“There are sympathizers for that,” explains Walls, “there are people who would say democracy is wrong – that they accept Somaliland’s existence in a de facto sense but would not vote because it would support a system they disagree with.”

Personalities v. platforms

Walls says the differences between the parties are based more on personality than platforms, though party leaders sometimes compete over who is more committed to the new political order.

“The argument [put forth by government supporters],” says Walls, “is that the biggest opposition party [Kulmiye, or Peace, Unity and Development Party] is dominated by people who were part of Somali National Movement, the insurgency group that brought down the Siad Barre regime [in 1991] in the northwest. The government claims these guys never wanted Somaliland independence.

“[On the other hand], the [main] opposition party,” he continues, “would say many in government were involved with the Siad Barre regime in some way as functionaries or in more senior positions and they are too conservative and too tied to the past.

“[Lastly], the smaller opposition party [UCID] says ‘the biggest opposition party is the old insurgency group, the government itself was too involved with the old regime, and we’re the only fresh voice in town.’ “

All powerful presidency

The Progressio election observer says the outcome of the polls is of interest to pro-democracy activists in the region, because the power of the executive branch, already strong, appears to be growing.

“The president wields even more power than the executive branch of the U.S. The president appoints ministers, then makes policy in most things. The parliament is the legislative body, but [it] does not have primacy over the decision making process of the executive. A lot is done by decree [and]….outside the legislative process.”

Walls says, “[The parliament] has oversight …. and could decide not to approve the president’s budget [which could] then constrain his ability to act. But that power has not been used effectively. So when parliament has tried to put a stop to executive branch actions or policies by withholding approval for the budget, the president has proceeded anyway. [He in effect uses] the same budget as last year, which means he rolls over last year’s budget and acts as if the last [one] was this year’s budget.”

Human Rights Watch has criticized the government for what it calls violations of domestic and international law, including the by-passing of courts for security committees that answer to the executive branch. The rights group says the government has also cracked down on the media and on critics who have alleged presidential corruption or questioned the monopoly of the three political parties over Somaliland’s politics.

For political observers, the upcoming polls may be an opportunity to reverse the trend.


Somalia: Ministers resign from Riyale's administration

24 Jun 24, 2010- http://www.garoweonline.com/

Two cabinet ministers serving the administration of Somalia’s self-declared republic of Somaliland have resigned from their positions, Radio Garowe reports.

The two, Hassan Ma’alin, the minister of presidency and his Industrialization counterpart Ahmed Ali Ubahle told reporters at Hotel Summer Time in the capital Hargeisa on Wednesday night that they have taken the decision because they run of trust with the regime headed by President Dahir Riyale Kahin, who lacks supports of the people.

They alleged that president Kahin is not capable, jointly calling on their supporters to rally behind the opposition party Kulmiye led Ahmed Silanyo in the coming presidential elections.

The latest resignation puts the incumbent party UDUB in more problems in the run up to the coming elections which are scheduled for June 26. Other reports also suggest that some cabinet ministers are planning to step down.

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


Ministers leave offices; people prepare Somaliland’s presidential election

By Hassan Osman Mogadishu : http://www.allvoices.com/ Jun 24, 2010

HARGEISA– Hassan Mo’allin and Ahmed Ali, the factories and presidential ministers of the Somaliland administration have announced their resignation and left office today, just as the people of Somaliland administration are preparing to vote for the presidential election supposed to happen in Hargeise city on the 26th June 2010.

The two ministers had accused the ruling party of Somaliland for doing nothing about more things that were required from the party and reportedly joined to the opposition party where they had greatly been welcomes today.

Mr. Hassan Mo’allin, the minister of the presidential palace of Somaliland adminstration had announced his resignation and declined to confirm more about the grounds he resigned and left the office while Ahmed Ali, the factories minister submitted his resignation letter overnight. He did nit also comment on the reason.

Both ministers had been welcomed cordially by the opposition party of Kulmiye and started discussing more on how they would take part the process of the election that supposed to be held in Hargaiese city for coming days.

On the other hand reports from Somaliland say that all the people of the region were prepared for taking party the electing challenge began from the following day and more than 1,500 of polling stations had been prepared by the Somaliland government.


Somaliland forces tighten security ahead of elections

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jun 23, 2010. Abstract (Summary): A large number of police and army are patrolling the streets of major towns in Somaliland that include Ceerigaabo, Burco, Laas Caanood, Berbera and the capital Hargeysa, in order to ensure security in the country.

Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 23 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Somaliland security forces have tightened security across the country ahead of the presidential elections to be held on 26 June.

A large number of police and army are patrolling the streets of major towns in Somaliland that include Ceerigaabo, Burco, Laas Caanood, Berbera and the capital Hargeysa, in order to ensure security in the country.

Several blasts rocked the capital Hargeysa in 2008 that led to the postponement of the elections.

Somaliland security forces seem to be on high alert and have tightened security in all polling stations in the country.

The security forces have warned the public against engaging in violence that could disrupt the election process.

Credit: Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 23 Jun 10


Commentary urges international community to "fully" recognize Somaliland

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jun 23, 2010. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 19 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

[Commentary by M. Bahdoon: "Somaliland Election 2010: Keep the Momentum!"]

It's obvious to witness that Somaliland is about to finalize its long and endured marathon and to become a fully recognized country, as all prerequisites set by international bodies are present including building reliable and stable government institutions that help promoting peace and harmony among diversified communities, democratically elected president, stern commitment and determination to lessen corruption, making sincere efforts of developing sustainable economy with no monopoly imposition in place, continual encouragement of producing smart generations with advanced education. It's resolutely commendable that Somaliland ought to keep the momentum floating and completely avoid engaging downbeat thoughts on the election and must welcome the winner with warm congratulation.

We all know that, current NEC has been doing a marvellous job by creating a tranquil political atmosphere and suitable work environment. Additionally, NEC and its staff are now diligently engaged to galvanize citizens to fully participate the looming presidential election which expected to take place on June 26th, 2010. Further, they are making awareness campaigning as people should make every possible effort to safeguard their security parameters, being vigilant and collaborate with assigned security officers in order to strengthen security measures against external and callous attacks.

Despite potential security threats which appear to be stemming from neighbouring countries, Somaliland's determination to protect its internationally recognized territory and to defend its citizens is plausible and courageous. It also enjoys prosperity, peace and significant supports from international community on the public engagements such as presidential election process as latest official visit from British ambassador to Ethiopia Mr Norman Ling who had re-affirmed his government's unwavering supports for Somaliland and its democratic presidential election process. It's now the time for international community to fully recognize Somaliland and allow its members to be seated in the UN. It will give the country an opportunity to develop its economy and to build government institutions in the future.

I am writing to firmly remind political stakeholders to keep the momentum, brilliant collaboration with NEC and not to create media confusions by sending out to media outlets unsubstantiated news.

Long live Somaliland and we welcome the new president...

Credit: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 19 Jun 10


UK envoy to Ethiopia visits Somaliland to assess election preparations

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jun 23, 2010.

Abstract (Summary): "Unattributed report: "Ambassador Norman Ling Visits Somaliland"]

The United Kingdom's Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mr Norman Ling, paid a visit to Somaliland earlier this week. The main purpose of the visit was for the Ambassador to see first-hand how the preparations for Somaliland's presidential election are progressing.

The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 19 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

The United Kingdom's Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mr Norman Ling, paid a visit to Somaliland earlier this week. The main purpose of the visit was for the Ambassador to see first-hand how the preparations for Somaliland's presidential election are progressing.

In a press conference at the Election Commission's office, the Ambassador gave positive assessment of the steps taken so far regarding the election. He said he met with the leaders of the three political parties and they confirmed to him that they will accept and honour the results of the presidential election.

The ambassador revealed that the last time he was in Somaliland was eleven months ago, and at that time the election process was facing obstacles and it was then agreed that the election commission should be changed and a new election commission should be established.

Mr Ling praised the current election commission, especially its chairman and vice chairman. He emphasized that a fair and proper election will enhance Somaliland's reputation in the international community.

The ambassador was accompanied by another member of the United Kingdom's embassy in Ethiopia.

Credit: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 19 Jun 10


BERBERA: The PIRATE PORT

Jason Florio. The Virginia Quarterly Review. Charlottesville: Winter 2010. Vol. 86, Iss. 1; pg. 123, 17 pgs

Abstract (Summary): Florio talks about the overfishing in the Gulf of Aden, which leaves the city people without a ready livelihood. The Somali port of Berbera lies against the Gulf of Aden, a semi-derelict relic of colonial times. Once the capital of British Somaliland, the city now has the feel of a Wild West ghost town. To make matters worse, amid the chaos of civil war and the botched UN intervention in the 1990s, fishing fleets from around the globe started convening in Somali waters to take advantage of the failing nation's lack of a coast guard to police its shores, leaving Somali fishermen bobbing in their wake with empty nets. After years of overfishing, local crews setting off from the jetty in their dinghies have to scour the waters for up to a week just to bring in a catch big enough to cover their costs and feed their families. Some, when they are no longer able to scratch out a living, turn to piracy. The lure of easy money and the chance to strike back at foreign vessels that have emptied their waters are powerful temptations, but the consequences are severe.

THE SOMALI PORT OF BERBERA lies against the Gulf of Aden, a semi-derelict relic of colonial times. Once the capital of British Somaliland, the city now has the feel of a Wild West ghost town. The European colonnades that shaded the bustling offices of port businesses are now half collapsed and keep the heat only from the abandoned bureaus of shipping companies and the crumbling shells of the empty fish markets. Men sit hunched on faded plastic chairs in the broken shade, chewing their way through bunches of khat leaves. A mildly narcotic plant that acts as a mental stimulant, khat arrives fresh daily from Ethiopia. It seems to be the only business working here these days. Men chew the plant into a green mush and talk of big plans that will never come to fruition. Nothing seems to move here anymore.

Dhows that once plied the Red Sea lay on their sides in the sandy streets - the planking all but stripped away, giving them the look of beached whales, rotted to empty ribs. Next to a concrete jetty a huge steel fishing boat crusted in barnacles and rust rests, motionless and pitched sideways, a permanent apparition of past economic glories. A deconstructed truck on perished tires, its mechanical guts stripped, waits on the beach for a ghost cargo to be loaded into its antique flatbed. At the foot of the jetty a group of men load fishing gear into a small opentop fiberglass dinghy, the sort of craft a Floridian would use to cruise around shallow mangrove swamps, not take out into the gulf.

Even in the best of times, Somalia really had only two sources of revenue - producing huge herds of goats and camels for export to the Gulf States and fishing. In the 1970s, the newfound wealth of the Gulf States produced a boom in demand for Somali meat, and the Soviets helped modernize the port in return for the right to build a naval station here. Soon Berbera was a major cargo port, but the Soviets moved their drydock to Aden in 1977 and outbreaks of foot and mouth disease decimated the livestock trade. Saudi Arabia grew so wary of meat imported from Berbera that the entire trade was eventually destroyed.

To make matters worse, amid the chaos of civil war and the botched UN intervention in the 1990s, fishing fleets from around the globe started convening in Somali waters to take advantage of the failing nation's lack of a coast guard to police its shores. Foreign vessels from as far away as China operated high tech dragnets up to a mile long that scooped up everything indiscriminately, leaving Somali fishermen bobbing in their wake with empty nets. After years of overfishing, local crews setting off from the jetty in their dinghies have to scour the waters for up to a week just to bring in a catch big enough to cover their costs and feed their families.

Some, when they are no longer able to scratch out a living, turn to piracy. The lure of easy money and the chance to strike back at foreign vessels that have emptied their waters are powerful temptations, but the consequences are severe.

Off a bleak and rutted sand track, about thirty miles south of Berbera, lies Mandera, a desert prison built during the British occupation. Around its thick white perimeter walls is a scrappy village of brush huts that are adorned in the flayed fabrics of drying clothing and crisscrossed by wandering goats. The desert around is harsh, its gnarled trees and prickly bushes stretching toward a horizon of jutting brown mountains. These huts are home to the prison guards and their families. The compound's faded whitewashed walls confine some three hundred men, most serving life terms for murder. But alongside these convicted killers are five men imprisoned for piracy, serving the first year of fifteen-year sentences.

One man, called Farah, is a professional corsair from the pirate haven of Bossaso in the Puntland region. Unremorseful, he insists his actions were not illegal but sanctioned by the Somali government - but in Somalia, where three governments operate simultaneously in three regions, it's not clear which one he means. The other four men, sullen and tearful, are not professional pirates but impoverished fisherman, recruited by Farah for their nautical skills and their desperation. It was their first attempt at piracy. They had barely left the port of Berbera when they were captured by the Somaliland coast guard. Their plan, they believe, was leaked to the authorities, because they had failed to pay off the right clan leader or government official. It's hard to believe they could have been caught any other way.

At the port of Berbera, I had seen three small, out-of-date gunmetal gray Russian-made boats with ancient antiaircraft guns mounted on their decks. These sad little cruisers, tethered to the quay and manned by alert young men bedecked in camouflage and weighed down with ammunition belts, are the sum of the Somaliland coast guard. They like to show off the spoils of their work, the trophies they have captured from pirates - a long wobbly ladder cobbled from pipes and hooked onto a targeted vessel, a distressed looking outboard motor, and a tattered twelve -foot fiberglass launch that looked more like the artifact of a nautical graveyard than a pursuit craft manned by ruthless pirates. With hardly enough fuel for the anti-piracy team to cruise around the harbor, the coast guard's hands are tied. Although their capture of Farah and his fishermen-pirates was a media coup, it only highlighted the fact that the country's shattered infrastructure cannot really afford effective measures to control piracy. And, in the way of so many corrupt nations, why would anyone in authority want to see a clampdown on criminality when they are often the benefiting hands behind it?

[Author Affiliation] Jason Florio is a British freelance photographer based in New York. He has produced photo essays from around the world, from Afghanistan to Suriname, for a number of global publications.


SOMALIA: Help for drought-displaced pastoralists

HARGEISA, 21 June 2010 (IRIN) – With more and more drought-affected pastoralists in the self-declared republic of Somaliland seeking alternative livelihoods in urban areas, aid organizations and the government are instituting measures to not only check the rural-urban migration but also support those remaining in rural areas.

“We have started a project supporting the agro-pastoralists of Hargeisa and Awdal [mid-west] regions of Somaliland, targeting about 318,000 people or 53,000 families living in 158 settlements in these regions,” Nadim Khouri, the director of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Programme for the Near East and North Africa, told IRIN.

According to Somaliland’s Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (MRRR), only 56,671 pastoralist households were drought-displaced in 2005 but that figure has since increased to 92,373 in 2009.

Mohamed Diiriye, the immediate former director in the ministry, told IRIN: “Some of the reasons for the increase in the number of internally displaced persons [IDPs] include the return of at least 300,000 refugees [from neighbouring countries] who had fled their homes in the last two decades, as well as those recently displaced by consecutive years of drought across the country. Moreover, tribal conflict in some areas has led to increased displacement, with many people seeking refuge in the main urban centres in Somaliland.”

Cluster villages

The IFAD project, part of a long-term programme the agency has been implementing in Somaliland over several years, targets different categories of pastoralists and agro-pastoralists.

Khouri said the targeted households were located in communities consisting of two or three cluster villages and were either pastoralists, who keep livestock such as camels, cattle, sheep and goats, or agro-pastoralists, who practise mixed crop farming and keep livestock.

Beneficiaries of the project and the government have welcomed IFAD’s intervention.

Ali Abdi Odawa, Somaliland’s director-general for agriculture, said: “Somaliland receives about 2,500mm of rain per year, which is a lot compared to other north African Sahara countries, but our problem is that we do not have the capacity to conserve the water; for this reason, we are happy to have such a project, which is a key development needed by our community.”

According to IFAD, the pastoralists targeted in the project receive improved livestock breeds, such as oxen, sheep and goats, to eventually help increase the weight of their animals and thus fetch better prices in livestock markets.

Also included are infrastructure improvement and the establishment of communal health facilities, and safe water and sanitation systems in the targeted areas.

Challenges

The pastoralists who have migrated to urban areas continue to face challenges of changing lifestyles and living under difficult economic conditions.

Asha Mohamed, in her 60s, moved to Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital, six months ago. “I came to Hargeisa after all my 100 sheep died due to the drought in Bildhale [north of Hargeisa],” she said on 17 June.

“I now live in Ayaxa 1 [an IDP settlement in south Hargeisa] but I have not received any support; only my neighbours help me out now and then by giving me food. I came here [the headquarters of the MRRR] to get plastic sheeting to cover my hut.”

Mohamed had earlier learnt that the ministry was to distribute plastic sheeting to IDPs. She said her plan was not to return home but instead seek alternative means to support herself and her family in Hargeisa.

“If I had support, I could sell tomatoes and vegetables but unfortunately, I have no capital,” she said.

Other drought-displaced pastoralists are lucky to get support from relatives once they arrive in the capital. Niman Hassan Dahir, a waiter in a small traditional restaurant in the capital, told IRIN on 16 June: “I came to Hargeisa in 2009 after consecutive years of drought destroyed our livelihood in our home [Gabiley region]; since I started working at this restaurant, I make at least 20,000 Somaliland shillings a day [US$3.70], which is enough to sustain me because I do not pay rent since I live with a relative.” __

IRIN


SOMALILAND: NEC office announces final voters list

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress-June 21, 2010) — The National Electoral Commission (NEC) office announced the final voters list for the June presidential elections on Sunday.

In a press conference held in Hargeisa, Mr Mohammad Ahmed Hersi [Geele], NEC spokesman, said his team was able to produce the final voter list after months of checking, sorting and corrections aimed at improving the quality of Somaliland’s democratic processes.

Mr Hersi said the final eligible voters were 1,069,914. He added the old voter list produced by the previous NEC contained 22 per cent errors as a result 3,05,746 names were removed from the 2008 list (1,3,75,660 voters).

He said many of the errors included duplication of names, the use of children and other irregularities. It is unclear if the previous NEC, often described as incompetent by the donor nations, became under political pressure from the three political parties or if it was administrative problem.

Finally Mr Hersi urged the public to vote for their party of choice freely and to maintain the stability and peace. He thanked the state police and military for assisting them.

In a separate press release, the NEC office said all transportation including government, party’s and aid organisation vehicles will be halted during the election day from 6am to 8pm as a security precautions.

The NEC fears elements of neighbouring Somalia’s Islamic insurgent groups who vowed total war against Somaliland’s democratic institutions might try to carry out suicide attacks in the country.

The announcement comes hours before an international delegation team led by UK based organisations including London University College, Queen Marry University and international organisation Progressio said they were sending an election observation team of 120 to Somaliland. The delegation is expected to arrive in the coming days and will arrive from EU nations, U.S. and African states as well as the AU.

A team of international media including BBC are also expected to arrive in the country to cover the June 26 elections which the eligible voters will cast their votes in more than 1,800 polling stations.

Somaliland will go to the polls in five days time and will vote for one of the three competing parties


War veterans implicate Somaliland leader in "massacre" of northerners

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jun 20, 2010. Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 19 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Somali veterans have today come out in support of Gen Samatar who has been accused of carrying out massacre [in parts of the country during former president Siyad Barre's government] and mentioned a number of other individuals whom they said were the ones responsible for it by name.

Shabelle has today visited Somali war veterans who are based at the Martini hospital in Mogadishu to discuss the case against Gen Samatar who was the former minister of defence and has been accused of carrying out massacre. The veterans said it is true that people of northern Somalia and particularly Hargeysa were massacred but that Gen Muhammad Ali Samatar was not among those that committed it.

The spokesman for war veterans said those that carried out the massacres are currently in Somalia and other countries across the world. The veterans mentioned a number of people by name among them Muhammad Hirsi Morgan, Dahir Riyale Kahin [current Somaliland leader] and Badmeceye all of whom they said were responsible for the massacre in Northern Somalia.

The spokesman for the Somali veterans, Abdi Mahad Ali, also accused the World Food Programme of failing to assist them. He said the organization had been deceiving the country adding that they were also part of those responsible for the instability in the country. There is no non-governmental agency that particularly assists the war veterans. Their accusation of the World Food Programme comes at a time when the organization has been distributing food in parts of Mogadishu that are controlled by the government.

Credit: Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 19 Jun 10


Paper slams US, Canada, France for "contributing to terrorism" in Somaliland

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jun 16, 2010. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 12 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

[Editorial: "Are the US, Canada and France to blame for the recent terrorism in Somaliland?"]

Given the seriousness of the terrorist threat to the US, Canada and France and their oft-stated anti-terrorist policies, the title of this editorial may seem counterintuitive, even provocative, but before we answer the question, let us first congratulate Somaliland police and security forces for uncovering the terrorist plot in the city of Burco and moving against the terrorists before they did damage to the people and the country. We send our condolences to the family of the police officer who died in the line of duty and wish quick recovery for those who were injured. Our appreciation also goes to the people of Burco who have shown exemplary citizenship by reporting to the security forces the suspicious activities of the terrorists.

Now back to the question we posed as the title of this editorial. The answer to this question is yes, the US, Canada and France are to blame. We are using the word blame here not in the sense that these countries are behind the terrorism in Somaliland or that they approve of it, but in the sense that their actions or inaction are contributing to it.

Let us take the case of France. To the best of our knowledge, this country does not provide Somaliland with any direct or worthwhile assistance in the field of security. On the contrary, it is Somaliland that contributes to the security of the French military and civilians in Djibouti by preventing terrorists from slipping into Djibouti through the Somaliland-Djibouti border. And what does Somaliland get in return? Well, if reports about what transpired on President Dahir Rayale Kahin's last visit to France are to be believed, what Somaliland gets in return is that the French government puts pressure on Somaliland to release some of the terrorists in its jails in exchange for the French official who is being held hostage by Al-Shabab in Mogadishu.

Americans are very likely to point to the French offer as just one more proof of French cynicism and lack of principle. But before they jump on their high horse of moral superiority, let us look at what the US is doing. Earlier this week, two suspected terrorists (Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte) were arrested in JFK International Airport in New York as they were trying to fly out of the United States so they would engage in violence and terrorism outside the United States. A statement by the United States Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey, said that the "Two New Jersey men have been arrested and charged in a federal Criminal Complaint with conspiring to kill, maim, and kidnap persons outside the United States". From the statement of the US Attorney's Office, it seems clear that not only is it a criminal offence for US citizens to kill, maim and kidnap abroad, but even to show an intention to engage in such horrendous activities is a crime. Now compare this with the case of the American citizen Suleiman I. Ahmed who not only made his intention to wage war in Somaliland very clear before he left the United States but has finally managed to slip into Somaliland and is now carrying out a violent campaign in eastern Somaliland. Oddly enough, it was the Kenyan government, and not the US government, that moved against this US citizen and arrested him for terrorism. Just as the US gave free rein to Suleiman I. Ahmed to leave the US, to use the US to raise funds for his violent campaign, and to wreak havoc in Somaliland, the Canadian government did pretty much the same with his partner in crime, the Canadian citizen Col. Ali Saberey. Again, here too, it was not the Canadian government that moved against its citizen, but it was the Kenyan government that moved against Col. Ali Saberey and arrested him for terrorism.

To sum up, although neither France, nor the US nor Canada support or condone terrorism in Somaliland, the net effect of their actions or inactions are contributing to terrorism in Somaliland, and it is in this sense that they are to blame.

Credit: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 12 Jun 10


Somaliland traditional leader urges civilians to take part in upcoming polls

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jun 16, 2010. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 12 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

[Unattributed report: "Prince Bur Madow: "Elections Should Be Peaceful, Whoever Wins Should Be Applauded, and the Loser Should Congratulate the Winner""]

Somaliland traditional leader Bur Madow urged Somalilanders to be vigilant about protecting their peace and security and to participate in voting on election day. The traditional leader made these comments at Hargeysa's Crown Hotel where he was honoured by the journalist organization (SYMA) for his valuable efforts to maintain and strengthen the peace in Somaliland. The President of SYMA called Bur Madow "Somaliland's Prince of Peace" (boqorka nabada Somaliland).

Speaking to the audience, the traditional leader touched on his visit to some countries in East Asia where he and other African traditional leaders took part in conferences where he explained the case for Somaliland's independence to his hosts. Highlighting the citizens' responsibility for keeping the peace, Bur Madow said, "it has always been Somaliland's people, not the politicians, who safeguard the peace."

Credit: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 12 Jun 10


Cautious welcome for progress over impending Somaliland elections

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/12406

The international development agency Progressio, the Development Planning Unit at University College London (UCL) and Somaliland Focus UK has welcomed the good progress being made toward the holding of Somaliland’s long-delayed presidential elections on the scheduled date of 26 June 2010.

The three organisations, whose advance mission is now established in Hargeisa, were invited in January 2009 by Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) to act as coordinators of the international observation mission for presidential elections in the internationally-unrecognised Republic of Somaliland.

Given past difficulties, recent months have seen rapid progress towards a free and fair election. The election looks set to take place on the scheduled date. This is a clear indication of the effectiveness of the new NEC, put in place after the parties agreed to a revised timetable for elections.

Since campaigning started in early June, there have been no major campaign-related incidents of violence. The agreement between the three parties to hold rallies on separate days appears to be holding. In security terms, an incident involving alleged political Islamists in the town of Burco in early June regrettably resulted in the death of a member of Somaliland’s police force. This has given cause for concern in the context of threats to disrupt the election, but also demonstrates the preparedness of the Somaliland population and police.

There are outstanding logistical issues to be resolved around the security of observers, which are essential for the mission to proceed, but we look forward to a speedy resolution of these. Michael Walls, a joint co-ordinator, said “we hope to have around 70 international observers from a wide variety of countries, along with 800 local counterparts. Naturally, we are actively monitoring the security situation in order to ensure that a balance is maintained between the widest possible coverage of the poll and the personal security of the observation teams.”

His colleague, Dr Steve Kibble, said “we are encouraged by the overwhelming desire of the people of Somaliland to see a peaceful election, recognised as such both nationally and internationally. At this stage, we expect that such an outcome can be achieved.”

The presidential elections in Somaliland have been repeatedly delayed. The poll has previously been scheduled for March/April 2008, December 2008, March 2009 and September 2009.

Somaliland is situated in Somalia's northwest. It declared unilateral independence from the failed Somali state in 1991 and has since been a haven of relative peace whilst violence and instability has characterised Somalia, its capital Mogadishu and more recently the Gulf of Aden.


SOMALIA: Disabled children in Somaliland "must come first"

Photo: Jane Some/IRIN. Children at the Disability Action Network (DAN) hall during celebrations to mark the Day of the African Child on 16 June 2010 in Hargesia, capital of Somaliland

HARGESIA, 17 June 2010 (IRIN) - Children with disabilities in the self-declared republic of Somaliland should be given priority in education, livelihood and health policies, child rights activists said on 16 June, during a ceremony marking the Day of the African Child.

“The physical environment [access to schools and hospitals], attitudes of people and lack of public awareness and sensitization are the real barriers to the development of these children and not their impairments,” said Ali Jama Hassan of the Disability Action Network (DAN), the largest NGO supporting children with physical and/or psychological disabilities.

The theme for the ceremony was Planning and Budgeting for the Wellbeing of the Child: A Collective Responsibility.

“Policies on children with disabilities are not a priority in the country,” Hassan told IRIN. “Some of the change we are looking for is the mainstreaming of the needs of children with disabilities in education, healthcare and livelihoods.”

Ettie Higgins, chief of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) field office in Hargeisa, described the situation of children in Somaliland as “critical”.

“There are several thousand children living in Somaliland with physical and psychological disabilities - but only very limited facilities are available to cater for their needs,” she said. “For example, deaf children come from as far as Mogadishu [Somalia’s capital] to attend the Hargeisa School for the Deaf, since these facilities are unavailable [there]."

Somalia’s infant and maternal mortality rates are among the world’s highest, with the main causes of death being diarrhoeal diseases, malaria and respiratory infections.

Photo: Jane Some/IRIN. Ali Jama Hassan, the director of the Disability Action Network (DAN), Hargesia, Somaliland

“Access to basic services such as primary education, proper healthcare, and safe drinking water is still a challenge in many areas,” Higgins said. “In such an environment, children living with disabilities are often further marginalized by communities in the effort to just sustain lives, and their special needs are not addressed, and they are not given the opportunity to contribute to society.”

This sense of responsibility, Higgins said, should be ingrained in various planning and budgeting initiatives for the welfare of Somali children, “and this especially should also include those children most marginalized - including orphans and vulnerable children, as well as those living with disabilities".

According to Hassan, Somaliland’s constitution denies people with physical or psychological disabilities the right to run for public office, “a clause we have been fighting to have removed from the books”.

Accurate data on the number of children with disabilities in Somaliland is not available, but DAN estimates that at least 10 percent of children in the country have some form of disability.

Hodan Mohammed, 30, mother of two – one of whom is disabled – said she was attending the Day of the African Child ceremony in the hope that her child would in future be treated as any other “normal” child.


Somaliland: Displaced Women in Somaliland Improve Livelihood with U.S.$75

17 June 2010

UNDP and the Training Research Group (TRG), a local NGO in Somaliland, have launched a project to improve the livelihoods of displaced women, with the support of the Government of Norway.

All Africa: http://allafrica.com/stories/201006161037.html

Mohammed Moge camp is one of three Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland. Originally set up in 1997 as a temporary shelter for 500 families fleeing Mogadishu, the camp hosts around 50,000 people today and has morphed into a permanent settlement.

Rahma, a single mother of four, arrived in the camp in 2004. She was given 10 chicks in October 2009 as part of a project launched by UNDP and the Training Research Group (TRG), a local NGO, with funding from the Government of Norway. The project targets single women, who are the most vulnerable: they been displaced on multiple occasions over the years, and struggle to run their household alone.

On top of the chicks, Rahma received a cage to keep them, and a short training on chicken raising, for a total amount of 75US$. Now she has 27 chickens and sells some of the eggs on the local market. With the 2 US$ income she makes on a good day, she has started another small business and hopes to get a micro grant to open a shop.

Outbe is the only woman in the camp who had been raising chicken before and she has trained the other beneficiaries of the project. From the 10 chicks she received last year she now has 32 and with the money she is making, she can afford to send her four school-aged children to school.

Shukri is a widow who has been displaced twice in her life and arrived at the camp four years ago with her nine children, seven of them still at home. With the money she is making from her chicken business, she managed to build a house and can feed her family. She hopes to expand her business.


Change! Change!: What Type of Change (Isbadel)…..?????

June 16, 2010. By Hibi Abdirahman Mohamoud.

http://harowo.com/2010/06/16/change-change-what-type-of-change-isbadel/

It is a human nature to look for political changes of status- queue, but not for a meaningless motives and change for the sake of change. Last two years were not a good for incumbent parties and leaders.

Democrats won in the USA Election and Baraka Obama 47 years old from Africa was elected as the first Afro-American to be elected for this post. Similarly Conservatives also replaced labour in UK and David Cameron 43 years old succeeded to become the prime minister of Britain. The same thing had taken place in Holland to the disadvantage of immigrants. But the story is different in Africa. Omar Al-Bashir, Meles Zinawi, Mugabe, Kibaki and probably Ismail Omar Geele will retain their seats in the foreseeable future. Sure they have a reason. Change means more that a person or a party. Baraka Obama 48 years and David Cameron 43 years are leading the greatest economies of the world.. They want to make changes in every aspect of governance. Already Obama is closing Guantanamo Bay, succeeded to secure the approval of health care reform bill etc, etc

Unfortunately Kulmiye party wants to make change in Somaliland. The man who wants to lead this change is Siilanyo. He is over Eighty years old (Compare with Obama and David Cameron). He will be supported to make this change by Eng. Mohamed Hashi, Gaboose, Muse Bixi and others of the same age and mentality. Go back to the history of these leaders.

Siilanyo was first appointed by late Dictator Mohamed Siyaad Bare for a cabinet in Early 1970s. That is almost 40 years ago in which more than 60 percent of the expected Somaliland voters between the ages of 18-40 was not even in the womb of their mothers and it is a history for them.

He was the Chairman of SNM for a long time. He became the minister of planning in Mohamed Ibrahim Egals, Government( Allah forgive him)),then member of parliament and finally the founder of Kulmiye. He is alredy tired and old.

There is a Russian proverb which says an old engine cannot drive a brand new body. Think of an Eighty year old man with weak and failing heart, eyes, ears and deteriorating brain driving a new vehicle. Sure he will rick the vehicle and Somaliland will be doomed to failure. Just like an old engine with wearied out Cylinder, pistons, crane shaft and exhaust system will destroy the new body of the vehicle.

As we all know Dr. Caboose is a medical Doctor by trainings. He is the only member in this group who was trained to save the lives of these people. He knows more than us the value of blood in the human beings. Unfortunately, he is number one instigator of conflicts, advocate of armed conflict and craves to shed blood.

Everybody knows that, he already shed blood in Erigavo to gain his political ambition and if not for the vigilance of Somaliland security personal more carnage would have taken place in Buro last week. He was disempowered when the leadership of Kulmiye realised his bad intentions and that he is not serving the interest of their party.

Muse Bixi is also power hungry person who can do everything possible when it services his purpose. We know how he switched from group to other group in the last decade. He left his group like Dhagaweyne and Abdirahman Aw Ali and other ( Calan Cas). Reliable sources tell that Abdirahman Aw Ali had lost his vice- presidential post because of him.

He failed Abdirahman Aw Ali in the Buroa Kulmiye Congress. This is a clear indication of his personality and he will be a very dangerous person if he succeed to secure a high leadership post.

His role in the unfortunately Hargeisa civil war is known to everybody. We all know that he even tried to draw a green line in the Capital, and intended to make a new air field in Abaarso for West of Hargeisa. Hargeisa would not have been the Hargeisa of today, if the wisdom of late Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal had not overruled his intentions.

I don’t want to repeat here the famous quotations he made when somebody raised the importance of reconciliation and peace building in Hargeisa civil war.

My question to educated elite, students at Universities secondary schools, thousand and thousand of peace loving and voiceless population, young generation of 18-40 years, Can we trust these leaders?

Please think twice before you cast your vote. Let us forget clan loyalty and think of the future. The change this new country needs is to be led by the young generation of Obama and David Cameron age, and not by Siilanyo, Mohamed Hashi and Gaboose.

My last appeal to the open minded citizens do not VOTE FOR KULMIYE. Let us send this people to their rightful places. Siilanyo and Mohamed Hashi to The House of elders, Gaboose to a rehabilitation centre so that he shed no more blood and Muse Bixi to International criminal tribunal for the atrocities of Hargeisa civil war.


SOMALIA: Taking shelter in State House

Source: UNOCHA(IRIN) Date: 16 Jun 2010

HARGEISA- Khadra Osman Ismail collected tyre tubes, empty sacks, old clothes and boxes, then sat down to stitch together the new roof of her shelter in Hargeisa, capital of Somalia's self-declared republic of Somaliland.

"This is the only home we have known for the past five years," she said, adding that the new roof would be a great improvement. Ismail and her family are among 5,500 internally displaced families living in a crowded settlement known as State House, site of the region's destroyed, unused official residence. It is one of six main IDP settlements in Hargeisa.

Many of the IDPs, according to Abib Ahmed Hirsi, programme officer for Comprehensive Community-Based Rehabilitation in Somaliland (CCBRS), a local NGO, are supported by clans from south-central Somalia (considered by the government of Somaliland to be refugees). Still, livelihood support and help with relocation are among the challenges facing the IDPs.

"Somaliland is a separate country [from Somalia); when those displaced by violence in south-central Somalia get here, they are vulnerable and have no support," Hirsi said. "If only these people could be reintegrated into the community. Their situation is really tragic, they cannot go back home because violence and insecurity persists. We continue to see children arriving alone [without parents] and widows who have to fend for their children all alone."

Surviving on less than US$1 a day, most of the IDPs engage in casual labour and petty trade. Ismail's family survives on what the husband makes collecting and selling firewood or sticks used for fencing while she sells vegetables, on commission, for other traders.

"On a good day, we earn about 7,000 Somaliland shillings [about $1]; I have to make it stretch but it is not easy. Most days I will make Anjeera [a sort of pancake] and make it last until dinner," Ismail said.

Initially displaced by civil strife into Ethiopia, Ismail's family lived as refugees until they returned to Hargeisa five years ago but could not return to their home due to drought.

"The government has been promising to give us land but this has not happened; imagine sharing one latrine with eight other families [about 24 people]!"

Protecting the vulnerable

CCBRS, a local partner for the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, as well as other UN agencies, runs programmes on child protection, prevention and response services linked to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), assistance to survivors of female genital mutilation/cutting, rape and SGBV. The NGO has the support of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) for the child protection services and UNHCR for SGBV.

On SGBV, Hirsi said "as soon as we receive information regarding an incident, our staff go there and take the survivor to the nearest police station to record a statement, then to the hospital for treatment and medical evaluation. We also provide counselling and often refer the survivors to legal aid services."

A legal clinic under the Faculty of Law at the University of Hargeisa takes over cases referred by CCBRS and other NGOs.

Mohamed Jama, director of the clinic, told IRIN: "We provide free legal aid to refugees, asylum seekers, IDPs, migrants, people living with HIV/AIDS, victims of human trafficking and specific human rights violations such as illegal detention.

"The majority of our clients are women, so we have female lawyers in the unit; we hold regular meetings with settlement elders and we organize workshops to sensitize them against human rights violations and sexual and gender-based violence."

Jama said the legal unit made huge strides in 2009, establishing a presence in all the IDP settlements in the city, "which we visit weekly to provide legal aid right where the IDPs are instead of them coming here to the university".

According to UNHCR, Somaliland has an estimated 67,000 IDPs but others put the number at more than 75,000.

Aid workers say the majority of IDPs in Somaliland are former refugees who lived in Ethiopia and Djibouti. Others left their homes due to drought, poverty and lack of opportunities.

Long-term solution

Abdoulaye Barry, UNHCR head of the Hargeisa sub-office, said finding a long-term solution for the IDPs in Somaliland was being complicated by a lack of adequate funding and the temporary nature of some of the settlements - specifically State House and Stadium, as well as smaller IDP pockets around the city.

The government has indicated the IDPs have to be relocated. However, no timeframe has been given for such a move.

"At the moment, some of the biggest IDP settlements [State House and Stadium] in Hargeisa are temporary, UN agencies cannot put up permanent infrastructure as the IDPs can lose out any time," Barry said.

Anwar Mohamed Ige, director-general of the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reintegration, told IRIN on 16 June that the government had a plan to resettle the IDPs but it was on hold until after presidential elections - scheduled for 26 June.

"We will identify the proper land to resettle them and we will relocate all the displaced after the elections," Ige said.


Somaliland police arrest four suspected terrorists

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress | June 14, 2010) — Gabiley police on Sunday afternoon arrested four suspects believed to have links with a terrorist network in Somalia.

Two men and two women traveling in a 4×4 vehicle on their way to the capital after crossing the border from Ethiopia via Wajale were taken into custody by the police in the farming town of Gabiley.

The police said the four suspects are native of Somalia and had left Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, and were on their way to Hargeisa to carry out attacks.

According to a source close to the police, the police recovered bomb making materials in one of the lady’s luggage bags.

The incident comes days after a deadly-raid in a house in Somaliland’s second-largest city of Burao that left a senior policeman dead and two more wounded. The police arrested eleven terror suspects including four women and recovered materials for suicide attacks. The suspects have been taken to Mandeera prison and await for their trials.

Somaliland suspects Somalia’s terrorist network Al-shabab and other groups want to destabilise the country ahead of the presidential elections that is scheduled for June 26.

Meanwhile, the counter-terror intelligence agency, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) is under scrutiny for failing to foresee the terrorist threats and there are reports the head of the department, Abdi Aideed is currently in Addis Ababa for a personal trip.

More Somalilanders are beginning to question the intelligence gathering of the CID and feel they are not doing enough and should be replaced. While others have expressed anger towards the head of the intelligence and can not understand how he could be on a holiday during a crucial time in the country.


Somaliland forces target new militant

BURAO (Somalilandpress-June 13, 2010) — Somaliland forces stationed in the village of Bali’ada in the out skirts of Widwid town have wounded at least two militants and captured another when their base came under attack from an armed militant on Saturday.

Somaliland commandos in Sool region’s Bali’ada received information that the SSC militant group was planning to attack their base and were prepared before the militants launched their attack at midnight on Saturday.

The commandos recovered small arms and some ammunition along with one hostage. The army said the militants were led by a man called Keyse Abdi and have since been chased to the disputed town of Buhodle. The army said they have since contacted Buhodle’s elders and Somaliland forces station in the town and have been informed that Mr Abdi has been kicked out of the town by the locals. Mr Abdi and small militants are said to have left in the direction of Galkayo, in central Somalia.

The army said one of their man has sustained injuries during the fight.

The SSC (Sool, Sanag, Cayn) militants are a new armed group believed to have some ties with Somalia’s Al-shabab, the two groups do not want elections in the region.

The attacks come a day after Somaliland opposition parties held their election campaigns in the region drawing large supporters. On Friday, the main opposition, Kulmiye party rallied through the towns of Las Anod, Kalabaidh and Xudun in the Sool region.

The region is traditionally disputed between Somaliland and the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, but Puntland has so far distanced it self from the SSC militants describing them as peace spoilers. Puntland is expected to pass a new bill outlawing the group.


Abduction and Disappearance of Refugees in Somaliland (HRLHA)

June 12, 2010. Gadaa.com

The following is a press statement from the Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA). HRLHA URGENT ACTION No. 3, June 2010

The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) expresses its deep concern about the safety of six Oromo refugees who were abducted from various locations in Somaliland on different dates in a joint operation by security forces of the governments of the Somaliland and Ethiopia, and taken to unknown destinations.

According to information obtained through HRLHA correspondent in the area:

1. Fahmi Kalif Adam,
2. Mohammed-saani Mohammed,
3. Abdi Yuusuf Adam, and
4. Raajuu/Jeylan Jibril Kadir were kidnapped on the 28th of May, 2010 at around 8:00 PM in a locality known as Sha’abka in the town of Hargessa.
5. Abdurahman Ibrahim was abducted on the 1st of June, 2010 while he was walking along the street in the same town. The sixth refugee, Bontu Sharaf (a female engaged in private retail business), was abducted on the 5th of June, 2010 in the border town of Wacale on the Ethio-Somalian border. No information was obtained regarding the safety and the whereabouts of all the six refugees ever since they were abducted and taken away.

Abdi Yusuf, Raajuu or Jeylan Jibril, Mohammed-Sani Mohammed and Fahmi are registered refugees bearing UNHCR mandate, with registration numbers UNHCR 505-2008, UNHCR-165-2008, UNHCR 114-2008, and UNHCR 158-2008, respectively.

Two refugees who were very fortunate to escape the kidnapping have disclosed to an HRLHA correspondent that four of the kidnappers were in Ethiopian army uniform, and were speaking Amharic – Ethiopia’s official language.

HRLHA believes that those kidnapped refugees have been taken back to Ethiopia; and that they are likely to be subjected to torture, and eventually face harsh punishments.

It is very obvious that Ethiopia is a politically violent country, the reality that became more vivid especially after the most recent election held this past May, 2010, in which the ruling EPRDF party showed its authoritarianism by systematically eliminating opposition parties from the political games and the democratization process. Throughout its time in power, the EPRDF ruling party is always accused of extrajudicial killings, massive political imprisonments, kidnappings and disappearances of people due to their differing political opinions. Although there have been some other alleged attachments to it, refugees from Ethiopia flee their homeland mainly due to this never ending political repression, and in an effort to escape such political killings and imprisonments. It is also obvious that Ethiopia is a country where death penalty is implemented.

Background Information:

* Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Mohamud – UNHCR attestation papers number 03/RF/SOMH/036 was abducted from Hargessa, Somaliland on October 17, 2008 by the joint security forces from Ethiopia and Somaliland (HRLHA Urgent Action No 5, 2008). After taken to Ethiopia, he was severely tortured and kept in dark prison cell separately for more than two years. Mr Mohamed escaped from prison and presently he resettled in Canada Windsor Ontario (read his life in Ethiopia prison from the interview “University of Windsor Counselors aid torture victims” he gave to The Windsor Star, on April 17, 2010).

* Mr. Yasin Adam Ahmed [UNHCR file number 03/RF/SOMHA/050) and, (Canada Immigration file number B049951893) Ethiopian Oromo refugee was abducted from Somaliland by a joint operation of Ethiopia and Somaliland security forces on February 10, 2010 and returned him to Ethiopia (HRLHA urgent Action No. 2 February 2010. HRLHA didn’t receive whereabouts of Mr. Yasin Adam since he was abducted.

Due to these and other similar facts, HRLHA is highly concerned about the whereabouts as well as safety of those refugees. Therefore, HRLHA calls upon regional and international humanitarian and diplomatic communities and agencies to approach and pressurize both the Ethiopian and the Somaliland governments so that they disclose the whereabouts and the current situations of the abducted refugees. It also calls upon those same agencies and communities to exert pressure on the Horn of African countries to refrain from becoming tools of authoritarian regimes and instead respect the rights of refugees to safety and protection.

The HRLHA is a non-political and non-profit organization that attempts to challenge abuses of human rights of the people of various nations and nationalities in the Horn of Africa. It works on defending fundamental human rights including freedoms of thought, expression, movement and association. It also works on raising the awareness of individuals about their own fundamental human rights and that of others. It encourages the observances as well as due processes of law. It promotes the growth and development of free and vigorous civil societies.

- The Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA)

http://gadaa.com/oduu/?p=4013


Somaliland presidential candidate said receives hash welcome in disputed town

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jun 10, 2010.

Officials from one of the leading opposition parties in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland received a rude welcome after visiting northern Somali town of Laas Caanood, the provincial capital of disputed Sool Region [northern Somalia].

UCID party officials led by the chairman, Faisal Ali Warabe, one of the three candidates for the Somaliland presidential election were secretly received on Monday night by party appointees in the region.

However, they were shocked to find the angry residents, who waved shoes and started throwing stones, calling on them to vacate the town, according to some residents who spoke with Radio Garowe.

Warabe, stern campaigner for the separation of Somaliland from larger Somalia, stunned the audience after ordering the law enforcers not to arrest people who were wavering the blue Somali flag. "Don't arrest the civilians, it is our flag," he said while addressing people at the town's county hall.

He is the first Somaliland political figure to visit the disputed region.

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

Somaliland is holding its presidential elections on 26 June 2010.

Credit: Garoweonline.com in English 9 Jun 10


Somaliland commentary seeks establishment of independent judiciary

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jun 9, 2010.

The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 5 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

[Commentary by Saleban Abdi Ahmad: "Challenges Face Somaliland"]

Since Somaliland declared its independence the executive branch has traditionally been the most powerful institution of governance. If this country to prosper and become recognized state this tendency of monopolizing power and abusing the public fund must come to an end. One of the major challenges of achieving good governance is how effectively to control the executive's power (UDUB) in this scenario and creatively balance its discretionary without plummeting its ability to fulfil its constitutional obligations and political mandate effectively.

On the other hand Judicial branch in Somaliland lack independence from the executive branch this created vacuum in term of independently interpreting law and apply it to particular disputes. The opposition parties KULMIYE and UCID currently have the upper hand in the parliament and are now legitimate actors in the political processes, but still executive branch has substantial power of legislative body e.g. almost majority of the law passed by the parliament which is required the signature of the president in order to be law has not been signed without any reasonable explanation. This is clear indication that the government breaches the law many occasion without any penniless of this irresponsible action which damage Somaliland's reputation in the world stage.

large percentage of Somaliland population still live below poverty line moreover are vulnerable for bribes from the government for this reason, the Somaliland Diaspora have to protest against authoritarianism, the abuse of power and corruption and demands for individual freedom, human rights and the right to participate effectively in the development and democratization processes of Somaliland.

The house of elder (Guurti) has played important role in maintaining peace and stability in Somaliland. They have been able to resolve conflicts between the opposition parties and the government and avoid confrontation between different function in Somaliland. One of the challenges face Somaliland is what to do with the house of elder (Guurti) they are still base on clan representative in order to take part in the decision making process of the country they have to be directly elected by the public. I personally believe the house of elder has done gigantic profession for Somaliland and the time is right for other three main branch executive, parliament and judicial to take the lead, or the Guurti members must be elected.

Who ever win the forthcoming election must decentralize the local government reforms as well as empowering civil society organizations and media without government restriction. This is central to the success of this country in achieve greater international admiration. The media articulate the voice of the people for this case they need to operate freedom atmosphere.

The private sector also play crucial role in reducing corruption and achieving better governance, as we know the current Somaliland administration were accused of selling public property (Sh Bashiir Secondary School in Hargeysa) to the private sector. This is great disappointment that some of the big commerce is paying government officials bribes which are contrast to the interest of the nation and they should be accounted for their action.

Finally, Somaliland has the institutional checks and balances in place, our constitutions points out clearly the duty of the executive judicial and parliament but the heart of the problems lay with the government taking advantage and using the public funds through bribes and personal use, as a result to fight this trend the next elected government must construct judicial branch which is independent from any interference.

Credit: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 5 Jun 10


Somaliland cops arrest 'bombers'

2010-06-10. - AFP

Hargeysa - Somaliland police arrested 11 people in possession of firearms and explosives on Thursday in the breakaway republic but lost one officer killed in the raid, a spokesperson said.

"They had explosives and other materials that are used for bomb making. There were seven men and four women with the hallmark of trouble makers," the spokesperson for the police force in Burao where the raid took place told journalists.

"The material was for suicide attacks; some of the arrested are suspected to be potential suicide bombers," he said, adding that police "were following the group after tips from local people".

Those arrested attempted to resist when police launched their raid. An exchange of gunfire ensued in which one police officer was killed and two others wounded, the spokesperson said.

Burao is the second-largest city in Somaliland, which broke away from the rest of Somalia in May 1991 but has not yet been recognised by the outside world.

Somaliland has scheduled June 26 as the date for presidential elections, already postponed three times since 2008.

A recent internal UN report, a copy of which was seen by AFP, said there was a risk of suicide attacks on hotels or other buildings housing international observers monitoring the June 26 elections.

The report also spoke of the recent arrival in Somaliland of nine young men trained by the Shebaab to carry out suicide attacks.

In October 2008, 24 people, including UN staff, were killed in Hargeysa in a suicide attack for which the Shebaab claimed responsibility.


HISTORY AND ACHIEVEMENTS BACKGROUND OF UCID PARTY

UCID: Xisbiga Caddaaladda iyo Daryeelka ee Somaliland http://www.togaherer.com/ May 9, 2010
Justice and Welfare Party

History and Achievements

Background of UCID Party

The formation of the UCID Party emerged from series of political discussions and debates among the Somaliland intellectuals in the Diaspora, particularly living in the Scandinavian countries to sustain the process of state building and democratization process in Somaliland. Engineer Faisal Ali Warabe who was living in Helsinki, the capital city of Finland together with few other Somalilanders initiated the formation of the party. Prior to this, Engineer Faisal was active in the peace reconciliation meetings inside and outside the country. Engineer Faisal eventually became the chairman of the party after the party was officially formed in Hargeisa in 2001.

UCID leaders and supporters campaigned hard and succeeded to register UCID as the first opposition political organization in Somaliland in November 2001, after UDUB, the governmental political Organization founded by late president Egal. This is one of the reasons that both the democratization process in Somaliland and the prevailing peace is highly attributed to the UCID party and its leader, Engineer Faisal Ali Warabe.

There was a consensus among the UCID party supporters that since 1960 Somaliland was suffering from lack of proper leaders having leadership qualities.

Vision

Justice and Welfare party (UCID) is a centre left party which has many similarities with Scandinavian social democratic parties and other western European countries. It has a broad and comprehensive political programs aimed to transform Somaliland society from impoverished, war-torn, and underdeveloped country to a modern social democratic state.

Welfare and Justice Party is a reformist Democratic Party aiming with the embodiment of Islam and ethical socialism. UCID policy objective are:

* to make Somaliland a modern democratic welfare state which brings national policies closer to the people,
* to strengthen the human rights of every citizen and,
* to make the government more responsive, transparent and accountable,

The above factors are meant to produce a society based on equality and justice for all its citizens.

Achievements of the Party

UCID party had contributed many new ideas to the country, since most of its leaders and supporters resided some period of their time, educated and worked in the developed industrialized Democratic countries of Western Europe. UCID leaders have been inspired and encouraged to introduce these values to their system of governance while the party is taking into account Islamic values and teachings as well as the tradition of the society (social contract – xeer). Many of UCID leaders went to universities in the west and have learned the history of the democracy of these countries and their different ways to successful social and economic progress. There is also good Islamic background not to lose the balance, since the Somaliland society is 100% Muslims.

Specific Achievements of the Party

* UICD party had vigorously campaigned for the peace of Somaliland and played an active role in the Somaliland Peace Committee of 1994/ 1996 at the wake of Somaliland’s domestic war, the current chairman of UCID was a member of the committee and its spokesperson.
* UCID supporters played a crucial role in the Somaliland's Constitutional Referendum in May 2001, which 97% of the electorates voted for the democratic constitution which enshrined the independence of Somaliland and the multiparty democratic system.
* UCID had again fought strongly to implement the constitution and the introduction of the multiparty system to the country. Many Somaliland politicians were reluctant to introduce political parties at that stage. These politicians were willing to continue the system of Grand clan assembly of Shire Beeled. The system have the ingredients in hindering Somaliland government to make any decisive decisions for social development and progress.

The traditional leaders began to undermine the weak infant government whenever they saw their personal interest was threatened. At times, some of these traditional leaders even endangered the very existence of Somaliland by participating without the mandate of either Somaliland government or its people in the so called Somalia reconciliation conferences organized by the International Community for the Somali factions and warlords.

* UCID Party succeeded of having 21 seats in the parliament as a result of the parliamentary election. More importantly, UCID Party succeeded in winning the chairperson of the Somaliland parliament and Abdirahman Iro, one of the founders of the party became the chairperson of the Somaliland parliament. This was a huge success for members and supporters of UCID inside and outside the country.
* The party has already achieved tremendous victory in the local government elections whereby the only female in local government is from UCID party .
* On many occasions, the party and its leader, Engineer Faisal Ali Warabe was a catalyst, mediator or instrumental in the political disputes and contributed a balancing actions and decisions. For instance, UCID party contributed on the solution on the impasse after the presidential outcome in 2003. This step was very important since, the other opposition party (Kulmiye) was not ready to concede defeat. Somalilanders still recall the significant statement of UCID party on that historical juncture. On another occasion, the country remembers the crucial debate regarding the extension of term of the president when this term expired in mid 2008. It was UCID Party which is credited to the settlement of this important national issue.
* UCID party campaigned for the registration of Somaliland citizens while other political parties were either skeptical or unwilling to its introduction and implementations. The foreign sponsors of voter registration system very appreciated the role of UCID party in this regard.
* The party and its leadership has undisputed record of campaigning for the recognition of Somaliland. They participated and lobbied in many international conferences, in North America, Europe and Africa.
* UCID is engaged charitable institutions and programs by making provisions to the disadvantaged and needy.
* UCID grants sponsorship to a number of university students from different sectors of society especially from minority communities and women.
* UCID party encouraged, motivated and inspired Somaliland intellectuals in the Diaspora to be active in political and social participation in their country.
* UCID party embarked institutionalization of the party from the bottom. Even the international observers characterized UCID as the only political party with political structure and ideology in line with the modern western political parties.
* Because of the attraction of its program, UCID has attracted thousands of women and youth nationwide and they have already contributed to the achievements of the party.
* UCID has established international cooperation with international socialist (IS) networks and others.
* UCID is the only political party in the country that has distributed thousands of written copies of the party’s political program after holding seminars for supporters especially youth and women
* UCID has received invaluable awards from different sectors of the Somaliland Non-state Actors (Civil society) where the latest has been received from the Somaliland minority organizations (Gaboye Organizations).

Mustafa Abdullahi Aden, Xoghayaha Siyaasada iyo Hirgelinta Barnaamijyada


Kuwaiti engineers arrive in Somaliland

BERBERA (Somalilandpress. June 8, 2010) — A delegation of civil engineers have arrived in Somaliland’s port town of Berbera on Monday from the Arab country of Kuwait.

The delegation consisting of eight engineers arrived in Berbera airport 10am on Monday and were warmly welcomed to the country by Mr Ali Mohamed ‘Waran Adde’, the Civil Aviation Minister and Ali Omar Mohamed, Berbera Port Manager.

According to the minister the delegation will stay in the country for four days and will assess the airports of Berbera and Hargeisa. The engineers will conduct airspace review and cost estimate for initial development of new rehabilitation plans for the two airports and report back to the Kuwaiti government. Mr Ali added the Kuwaiti government will cover the cost for both airports.

The Kuwaiti engineers are expected to arrive in the capital in the hours to meet with senior government ministers as well as the President.

The two airports are in desperate need of rehabilitation works as one of them is no longer fully functioning as airliners refused to use it’s runways. The airliners say it’s no longer safe to land their planes on parts of Egal International airport in the capital. While the landscape of Berbera airport, considered to be one of the longest in Africa at 4,140m, is literally covered with abandoned plane wrecks. Now days, even the ministers use the airport in Jigjiga in nearing Ethiopia when traveling abroad.

In August of 2009, Mr Ali announced that his Ministry signed a contract with a Chinese firm to expand and renovate the 50-year old airport in Hargeisa but the project remains a pipe dream. Now people in Somaliland question the Minister and his government’s ambitious plans and promises. Most now believe the government is lying to the public in order to be re-elected.

The Kuwaiti government has also promised to rehabilitate and renovate the main hospital in the town of Sheikh where the Kuwaiti Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah has a private holiday estate.

The government promised to spend US$1.5 million on the Soviet Union constructed hospital and the Red Crescent of Kuwait will maintain it. The engineers are expected to travel to the town and assess planned projects for the town.

The visit by the Kuwaiti engineers to Somaliland will properly go unnoticed in the country as people are sick of the government’s lies and fake promises. The people of Somaliland continue to ask: Whatever happened to the German firm that was suppose to construct US$500 million coal-power stations, cement factory, the opal and gem factory in Berbera? Where are the Chinese investors? The EASSY cable? Whatever happened to the Berbera free zone and Corridor?


Somaliland Elections: Major Blow to Canadian, American, Al-Shabab’s Clandestine Operations

Written by Dalmar Kaahin, Jun 06, 2010.http://www.qarannews.com/

Last month, May 2010 the Al-Shabab affiliated armed group NSUM in Buhodle town and Widh Widh village, both in Sool region of Somaliland, got a rude awakening when Somaliland security forces swiftly and devastatingly overrun the militants. After gearing up for a showdown with the local security forces for five years, launching a camping of terror against Somaliland police stations and government officials, holding a number of meetings to promote violence and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for war, the armed group NSUM finally met its fate. It was caught in between the Somaliland and the Ethiopian forces. For Al-Shabab, NSUM and its Canadian and American commanders, the lights went out in less than 24 hours. They suffered a crushing defeat. All conflicts ceased. But is the war over?

Of course not! Next step for the so-called Northern Somalia Unionist Movement’s (NSUM) leaders, Suleman Essa Ahmed (Hagal tosiye), an American from Columbus Ohio, and Col. Ali Sabarey, a Canadian from Toronto, of course with the help of Al-Shabab suicide bombing experts is to plan a different war: one that is not only frightening but is also impossible to uproot its perpetrators. (By the way, Mr. Ahmed is an uncertified accountant. Yet he calls himself a "doctor".)

In an interview with a local radio, Horseed Media, Mr. Ahmed's accomplice, Col. Sabarey was asked if his militias plan to attack Somaliland on the Election Day June 26, 2010. Col. Sabarey stated, “It could be the 26th, 27th or any minute." However, he didn’t deny at all that he plans bloodshed in the region. Similarly, doubtlessly Al-Shabab just like the NSUM is waiting for the Election Day to detonate its payloads of explosives against the polling stations. Why these Canadian and American citizens came back to their birth region to destroy it, not to rebuild it, is a mindboggling task.

But as shown in a program about the Sool conflict recently aired by Universal TV, half way through the video, one could observe: partially frightened and partially bewildered American and Canadian could hardly believe how the events unfolded so unanticipated. Surrounded by no more than a dozen baffled militias armed with AK-47 guns and bazookas, Mr. Ahmed suffering from fatigue mumbled in a tremulous voice that he would continue the war if Somaliland security forces don’t abandon Sool province. In contrast, Col. Saberey, staring straight down his feet, remained silent. Pinned down by heavy rains while squeezed between Somaliland and Ethiopian troops, clearly, the two men underestimated the psychosocial effect of wars. See Universal TV’s program: http://tinyurl.com/2wloj9d

While the overwhelming majority of Sool residents want peace and development for their province, not conflicts, some well-off Diaspora communities want to govern the region from overseas with a remote control, of course. Now and then, these Diasporas groups would raise money and either a greed-driven-local warlord such as Col. Cabdul Casiis (Garam Garam) who duped the NSUM to give him more than $50, 000 collected for clandestine operations against Somaliland security forces few years ago or warmongers from abroad namely, Mr. Ahmed and Col. Saberey would jump on the wagon and volunteer to lead a campaign of destruction masqueraded as “liberation” in Sool region. Read more about how the NSUM’s villain attacks to detonate explosives against Somaliland police forces were botched by Col. Cabdul Casiis´s (Garam Garam). http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/102889

They claim to “liberate”—a euphemism for destruction—Sool region, but from whom? Who are the “invaders” occupying this region? Let me clarify one thing: in Somaliland or Somalia no society could extend its hegemony over other regions that don’t belong to it, nor is there an authority that could govern regions in which it is not welcomed. There is no such a thing called: “occupying regions by force”. That era is over. In other words, each Somali society is in charge of its territory and its resources and so do Sool people. But could the so-called liberation cause a mass exodus in the region? A paradox!

More than ever before, an incipient deadly conflict among local tribes looms in Sool region. On one side, those who want to remain part of Somaliland because they adamantly believe: historically, culturally and geographically they have been part of Northern Somalis [Somaliland society] and in 1960 when Somaliland joined Somalia, Sool people were part of Somaliland, not Puntland or Somalia.

On the other side, those supported by the Diaspora groups and NSUM’s violent militias who are strongly convinced because they share tribal lineages with the population of Puntland, they couldn’t care less what the International laws about boundaries state. It is their way or the highway!

Meanwhile, both Habar Jelo and Fiqishini tribes of Sool and Sanag regions appealed for peace and dialogues. Fiqishini in fact warned against the danger of one tribe dictating the others in Sool province and demanded a peaceful co-existence and discussion between all Sool tribes.

Moreover, a clear evidence to displace Sool population who refuse NSUM’s demands could be inferred from its spokesperson's remarks. The representative in U.K. for the armed group, Abdi Ahmed Adam told the Universal TV program: that his forces plan to wage a war not only in Sool region but also in Burao city, the second capital of Somaliland, in Togdher region. Yet the NSUM screams that other Northern tribes from as far as Awdal region of Somaliland invaded Sool region to loot the land.

And according to Garaad (a tribal chief) Jama Garaad Ali from Sool region: anyone from Sool region who is part of Somaliland government is not different from the Indian workers in Dubai. They too are there to make a living, just as Sool politicians are in Hargeisa, Somaliland capital, to earn their daily bread. This is what exactly Garaad Jama stated while in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 2009. Interesting! But what about the politicians from Sool region currently serving the Somali government in Mogadishu—how are they different from the Indian workers in Dubai, I ask you Garaad Jama? (Perhaps they are honorable Pakistanis!)

Now, in response to the Garaad Jama’s disreputable remarks, Somaliland Minister of Justice, Ahmed Hassan Ali (Asowe) who hails from Sool region echoed his famous statement, “We are not Indians and you [Garaad] are not Kikuyu [a Kenyan tribe]”. Mr. Ali added, “Come back home to resolve our differences through a dialogue”. But the Garaad turned a deaf ear to Mr. Ali’s plea for peace to avert the region from destruction and turning it into the little Mogadishu of Somaliland. He waged a war instead. (See Mogadishu in ruins: http://tinyurl.com/22ucblm)

In October 2009 Garaad Jama declared a war against Somaliland security forces in Sool province when he stated, "We must fight against Somaliland by any means necessary". In May 2010, as soon the war he asked for exploded, he wrote an emotional letter in which he implored the U.N. to take action against Somaliland government. In his letter, however, he avoided mentioning Ethiopia which devastated Buhodle town and confiscated eighteen commercial trucks each worth between $30, 000 to $50,000, much less condemn it. The trucks and their goods are worth well over half a million U.S. dollars. Instead, he verbally assaulted Somaliland. Also, he neither appealed for peace and calm in the region, nor demanded a ceasefire and negations.

But you would think he has learned a lesson from the war he instigated—a causeless war. Not really! One week later, now sooner has Buhodle town buried its citizens slaughtered by the cruel Ethiopian troops than Garaad Jama begun mobilizing more tribal militias to continue the inferno he lit up. Garaad Jama on one hand pleads for help and on the other attacks security forces.

Luckily, on June 05, 2010 the tribal leaders and Garaads of Buhodle town demanded Garaad Jama and the NSUM militias to leave the town. Prominent tribal chiefs from the area warned against Garaad Jama and his armed group using Buhodle as a launch pad for attacks against Somaliland security forces which are stationed villages surrounding Buhodle. A well respected tribal chief named Mohamoud Umar Amey told the BBC's Somali program that they [Buhodle tribal leaders] won’t allow bellicose groups burning Buhodle. He stressed the need for peace. He also said, “They [NSUM leaders] left their people in safe areas and want to burn our town”. Read one of my earlier articles in which I warned against the Canadian and the American warlords waging a war in Somaliland while leaving their families in Toronto and Columbus Ohio. http://www.americanchronicle.com/authors/view/4458

Meanwhile, as soon as Garaad Jama's militias are rounded up and and laid charges against them for being a menace to society, the International community would pressure the Somaliland government to release them, just to join another battle. The recent visit of Somaliland delegation led by President Dahir Riyale Kahin to France surprised Mr. Kahin and his accompanying cabinet Ministers. The French government pressured the delegation to release the recently terror-convicted men from Sool region. However, the Somaliland authority bristled at the French suggestion.

In fact, their release could set off revenges. The convicted men were responsible for Col. Osman Yusuf’s death. They collaborated with the NSUM group and Al-Shabab. And releasing these men would upset the victim’s family members who would possibly take the law into their hands. And this explains why Somaliland is convinced keeping these criminals behind bars is in the best interest of everybody—something the French authority either ignored or overlooked.

While Garaad Jama, Al-Shabab terrorists, American and Canadian warmongers are gearing up for another showdown with Somaliland security forces, Somaliland remains committed to pacifying the region. The government has already sent elders and religious leaders from all over the country to Buhodle to convince the armed group to lay down its weapons. Experts in conflict resolution, dozens of tribal chiefs and religious leaders are on their way to Buhodle town, Tuka Rak and Widh Widh villages to speak to their counterpart to establish a lasting-peace in the region. Also Sool politicians in the government appealed for peace and denounced goading the local tribes of the region against one another. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OSAkGYH6pQ&feature=player_embedded

But while Al-Shabab and NSUM sharpen their explosive detonating skills, evidently jubilant Somalilanders are preparing for the second presidential elections in June 26, 2010. See breath-taking pictures of Somaliland parties: UDUB, KULMIYE and UCID and their supporters campaigning: http://somalilandpress.com/somalilands-opposition-holds-a-major-gathering-in-hargeisa-16129 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fPx7bv8EDQ&feature=player_embedded http://www.qarannews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8195&Itemid=62 http://hadhwanaag.com/detail.asp?id=14218

To sum up, clearly, a small violent group financed by some Sool Diaspora communities and armed by Al-Shabab not only wants to hijack the wishes of some of the Sool population who wish to remain part of Somaliland, but this militant group in fact wants to suffocate the entire Somaliland population. Because Al-Shabab and NSUM know that it is impossible to suppress the popular voices of Somaliland people, determined to settle for nothing less than a sovereign state, either waging a terror campaign against Somaliland security forces or dismantling Somaliland along feuding tribal enclaves may finally bear some fruit—a dangerous, destructive path.

As history attests, it was a minority group in Gen. Mohammed Siad Barre’s doomed Somali regime that dictated the majority of Somali people. Similarly, today, yet another small group mainly from the Diaspora communities—in fact remnants of Gen. Barre's regime—and religious zealots from Mogadishu want to reinvent the wheel and decide which direction Somaliland should be heading irrespective of the wishes of the majority. Never again! Somaliland is here to stay.


Somaliland’s second opposition party kicks off its campaign

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress.May 5) — Somaliland’s second opposition party, UCID, has held a peaceful but powerful rally in Hargeisa’s Freedom Park on Saturday as election campaigns kick off in the country.

Tens of thousands gathered around the park to show their support for the Justice and Welfare Party (UCID), Presidential candidate Faisal Ali Warabe and his Vice-Chairman Dr Mohammad Rashid.

Many of the UCID supporters carried the UCID flags and wore the party’s caps and scarfs.

The crowd were addressed by Dr Mohammad Rashid, Vice-Chairman of UCID, Mr. Abdirahman Mohamed ‘Irro’, Speaker of lower house of parliament, Ms Khadijah Bondare, senior Executive member, Mr. Mohamoud Ali Musa, Campaign Manager and Mr. Mohammad Ibrahim Adan, Shadow Interior Minister.

The party Chairman, Mr Warabe was in Somaliland’s second town of Burao in Togdher region with separate team leading the eastern region campaigns. The reason could be UCID scored the lowest votes in the eastern regions in the last elections, for instance 4 per cent in Sool, 11 per cent in Togdher and 11 per cent in Sanag.

Faisal has obtained his M Sc in Engineering, St. Petesburg Leningrade in Russia in 1973 and enrolled Helsinki University Faculty of Social Sciences, Social Policy Department 1997-2001. He is also the youngest candidate of the three running for presidency.

Saturday’s rally echoed UCID Party’s values of civic virtue and opposition to corruption as well as their party policy that revolved around peace, freedom and quality.

Even though UCID is considered to be the smallest party of the three, it has been growing ever since the last 2003 elections where it received 26.9 percent of the vote. UCID also has 21 seats in Somaliland’s 82 seat Parliament.

UCID has many women on high-level leadership positions including Ms Fatima Madar, who was appointed as the Foreign Affairs spokesperson for the party. The party is gaining more support from women and students who relate to Faisal Ali Warab’e vision for Somaliland. The fact that UCID has women, the young and Faisal Ali Warabe, who has clean political image, could translate to more votes for them.

Unlike the other two parties, most of the UCID members are fresh politicians and most of them are young people where as other parties contain members of former dictator Mohammad Siad Bare regime.

The ruling party UDUB will hold it’s second rally today.

Somalilanders will go to the polling stations on Saturday 26 of June, which will fall on the 50 Anniversary of Somaliland’s independence day from Great Britain.


Somaliland: ISG Situation Paper May 2010

Somaliland 2nd Democratic Presidential Election in Sight: 26 June,2010

http://somalilandpress.com/somaliland-isg-situation-paper-may-2010-16079

1.Introduction

In their 29th of May, 2010 meeting, the Independent Scholar’s Group (ISG) members discussed the preparation for the upcoming Presidential election to be held on the 26th of June, 2010, and the recent process of the Voter List Display and Replacement of cards conducted in all regions and districts of Somaliland. The meeting was sponsored by the Social Research and Development Institute (SORADI). It was moderated by its Director, Dr. Mohamed Fadal. The ISG members are all long-term participants of Somaliland rebuilding and democratization process, who are considered to be highly competent to provide an objective analysis and strategy to address the issues at hand.

The ISG members are: Abdi-shakur Sh Ali-Jowhar (Psychiatrist and political analyst: warkamaanta.com), Amina Mohamoud Warsame (Executive Director of NAGAAD); Abdilkadir H Ismail Jirde (Ex-Deputy Speaker and Member of Parliament- now travelling), Shukri H. Ismail (Former National Electoral Commissioner and Member of African Democracy Forum and Chair of Candle Light); Ibrahim Jama Ali –Raite (Member of Parliament and Lawyer), Fawsi Sh. Yonis (Somaliland Lawyer’s Association); Abdi Ahmed Nour (Forum for Peace and Governance-FOBAG), Bobe Y. Duale (Research Coordinator, APD), Haroon H Ahmed Qulumbe (ActionAid), Jafar Mohamed Gadaweyne (SONSAF); Mohamed Hassan Ibrahim (Researcher-APD), Suad Ibrahim Abdi (Researcher-APD); Wais Muse (Executive Director of Samatalis Coalition of Human Rights)), Dr. Mohamed Fadal, Director of (SORADI);Muse Abdi Elmi (U. of Hargeisa; Dean Academic Affairs) Dr. Yusuf Kariye (Researcher in Anthropology; Hinda Mohamed Jama (an Associate of Burao University); Dr. Aden Abokor(Progressio Country Rep.).

There is unity of purpose at last for all Somaliland political stakeholders to hold the Presidential election. The President provided the required leadership to have declared that the presidential election is going to be held, signed required laws and urged the citizens to take their new voting cards. The Somaliland Electoral Commission is in full control of the preparation process and continues to enjoy sustained support and confidence from all key stakeholders. The opposition candidates are conducting their business with care and the two Houses of Parliament have furnished the necessary laws in a fast-track manner. The civil society has never been so fully engaged in partnership with the NEC and other key election stakeholder. That is a remarkable unity of purpose for Somaliland political actors and a maturing democratic culture.

II. Important NEC achievements so far:

1. National Electoral Commission (NEC) set the date of the election in the shortest time possible from the date of the final endorsement of the 6-point Agreement on 25 November, 2009. Very few people expected the new NEC to be so efficient to set voting date for June, 2010. It is a job well done and it will save us further headache down the road for other due elections.

2. NEC conducted the Voter List Display and Card Replacement exercise. This process started on the 13th of May, 2010 to continue for 7 days at 1210 Registration Stations (later Display Stations) in all regions of Somaliland, followed by 10 more days in which the display continued to take place at District Centres to give a chance for those who could not make it during the first 7 days.

3. NEC staffed all its regional and Districts offices, completed contractual arrangements and forged a fruitful partnership with civil society.

4. NEC has relatively successfully managed the logistics of the display process. This exercise should give NEC a valuable learning opportunity to address the identified shortcomings in good time for the fast approaching Presidential election date. Contractors and regional and district NEC officials need to account for and rectify short-falls reported in different parts of the country.

III. NEC-Civil Society Partnership

NEC has succeeded to establish a meaningful partnership with the civil society. It is working closely with an advisory civil society group comprising of key Umbrellas such NAGAAD, CONSONGO, SONYO and SONSAF and the professional organizations for peace, governance and institution building such APD, FOBAG and SORADI. This advisory civil society group supports NEC primarily on three key areas of activity: the Voter Education, the Dispute Mediation process and the recruitment and deployment of local monitors and observers. NEC, in close coordination with the civil society advisory group, has assigned credible NGOs with requisite experience to different regions of Somaliland to implement Voter Education programmes, while members of the advisory group took the responsibility to monitor these activities. This exercise is to ensure that the Somaliland voters are fully informed of the various stages of election preparations such the display and card replacement exercise as well as about their voting day responsibilities.

Likewise a Dispute Mediation programme has been organized. 600 people selected from all Somaliland regions and districts have been trained to undertake on the spot conflict resolution activities at the display centres. Identifiable with their distinctive dress, which bears the insignia of MEDIATORS, they are active as mobile teams in most display centres. Each team is composed of a cross-section of the society including professional groups, the youth, women and non-titled elders. This is a very successful programme, which demonstrates how fruitful the NEC-Civil Society partnership could be. These 600 Mediators will also be deployed in the voting and tallying days of the Presidential election and shall remain a valuable resource for Somaliland to build on for future elections.

IV. The Voter List Display and Card Replacement Process

The “Server” is a household word in Somaliland, denoting the Voter Registration process. This experience brought out so vividly two contradictory sides of the Somaliland people. The capacity and aptitude to mobilize so fast and so intense for a national cause, especially when clan competition is brought into play, and this is a potent energy, which can be harnessed positively for nation building. It is believed that the Somaliland people including the diaspora spent much more resources than all international input put together. However, the other side of the coin is the total disregard for the illegal nature of some of the rampant multiple registrations that took place. There is a need here for intense public education to inculcate the culture of the rule of law.

The Display and Card Replacement process was an attempt from side of NEC to overcome the negative effects, which the multiple registration acts could have on the upcoming elections. The process was smooth and peaceful in most of the designated areas except in some areas in Sool and Eastern Sanaag . It started slowly but has gradually picked up momentum during the last days. The later stage at the districts was also brisk in many areas. The summer heat situation of the coastal areas is definitely a concern, but also due to abundant rains and favourable pasture and water situation in the countryside, the nomadic population is widely scattered and is no longer in the traditional concentration areas such water points and rural commercial centres. Both factors may lower the number of registered voters who will claim their replacement cards and therefore the size of the final voter list.

V. Current key Challenges

The display process was also kind of a dress rehearsal for the upcoming presidential election. It was a serious challenge, which NEC has successfully handled. However, ISG identified several flashpoints distilled from the impressions of its members, who conducted monitoring exercises for the Voter Education and the Mediation programmes, from the Eastern, Western and Central regions of Somaliland.

Security

According to the ISG information on the Sool situation, the display exercise went relatively well in Las Anod and in many other display stations across the region. However the insecurity in Buhoodle and Widhwidh could have repercussions on the elections if not managed responsibly. The ISG would like to point out that, in the aftermath of the disintegration of the state of Somalia, the burden of ensuring peace has fallen primarily on the shoulders of the traditional leaders of each society and therefore, in this situation the onus still lies with them. The Burao peace process in May 1991 should always serve as a shining example of what people can achieve through dialogue and responsible leadership.

The Somaliland government army is in the region. Although its reputation is established as a disciplined and responsible professional army and especially that of its sector commander is said to be exemplary, still their responsibility is not to antagonize the civilian population. In this backdrop, the ISG believes, that there are other Somali regional forces whose aims are served through the cultivation of hatred among communities to be able to easily incite conflict. The army in the area should see their primarily responsibility to uphold security not for the sake of it, but for the benefit of the local population and that will also ensure the security of Somaliland and contribute to that of the region.

Alleged Multiple Card-Holding

The ISG recognizes the possibility of multiple card-holding, which means that the card replacement process was not fool-proof. On the other hand the ISG also recognizes that Somaliland is still in the process of State-building, which is primarily learning by doing process and therefore the Voter Registration and display process should be viewed in that light. We also need to remind ourselves that many of our institutions have started in such shaky grounds including the first presidential elections in Burao in 1991 and Borame in 1993 as well as the selection process of the members of the two Houses of Parliament in 1993 and 1997. Today, these institutions are populated by democratically elected public officials. In the same token, we can improve the Voter Registration process in the future.

Furthermore, the following measures are expected to mitigate the effect of its short-comings: a) each voter’s name is checked from a register and list of names; b) a voting card with picture identification is issued c) A potent ink is applied on the figure of each voter; d) A ban on motorised traffic during the voting day will limit travel from one polling station to another; e) A team of 13 persons are in each polling station, including three political party representatives and 4 NEC staff members 2 Ministry of Interior representatives, 2 local monitors, 2 security guards and are supplemented by other international and local observers all deployed to deter fraudulent acts; f) It is only one-day exercise and voting repetition could be limited by the available time. All the above put together can be a powerful deterrent against fraud and can ensure a credible voter result.

Transport of Election Material and personnel

The transport of materials and personnel for on-time delivery to remote polling stations is considered to be a challenge, which needs to be addressed by NEC. The available feedback from the display exercise should give an opportunity to improve that process. Contractors who failed to fulfill their contractual terms need to be accountable for that.

NEC Staff Selection and Accountability

From Somaliland election experience and there is already enough of it, the way each polling station is run is key to the success of the election: a) NEC should ensure that its staff are adequately trained and empowered for the job, sensitized well for the magnitude of their responsibility, well aware of applicable sanctions for dereliction of duty and should be provided with adequate logistical and security support. b) The rules are applied strictly uniformly in all polling stations and both individual and team accountability should be uniformly emphasized.

VI. The Election Campaign

The election campaign is a legitimate way of the candidates to present their election platforms and to express their edge against their opponents to sway voters to their favour and to earn their trust to rule. It is equally a legitimate way for voters to screen and scrutinize their candidates to make up their mind who to vote for from the running three candidates. It is also a way of voters informing themselves of what each candidate stands for and whether that conforms to their vision of a national leader and the candidate addresses their interests and outlooks.

1.To avail themselves of that democratic privilege, the candidates and their parties are expected to uphold the peace and stability within communities and the society in general during the campaign, during the voting day and in the aftermath of the election. To refrain from hate language and any action leading to incite people to violence action; to avoid creating distrust among communities especially among the youth, which could be agitated to violent action. Political parties are expected to take responsibility of the actions of their supporters and to be accountable for breaching the campaign code of conduct.

2.To present party platforms and to a run mature democratic campaign: * Allow people to learn about what the rule of a particular party and leader will mean to them if elected.
* Discuss issues, which matter for the lives of the Somaliland people and move away from stale clan fragmentation approaches. Ultimately, communities of each city such as Hargeisa, whether in the north, west, south or east have same needs: water, security, schools for their children, health facilities etc. And so are all other towns, villages, rural communities etc 1.Address key national Issues:

* The issue of recognition and their strategy to pursue it.
* The issues of upcoming elections: the local government election to be held when in what system of election? The election of the parliament and pending election law; the issue of the House of Elders election/selection.
* The issue of the debate on new political parties and the independent candidates.
* Issues of youth unemployment and migration; Environment; Health, water and HIV-Aids etc

1.A joint debate for the three national candidates organized by a neutral body or media organization:

* It will add value to Somaliland democracy and legitimacy of the election result
* It will show the maturity Somaliland leadership and its own voters
* It will sharpen the focus of the winner to lead the nation and to be clear of what really matters to the populace.

1.Candidates need to openly denounce and warn their supporters of any illegal ways of voting seeking such as: Vote buying, ballot stuffing, and multiple voting.

VIII. Conclusion

Judging from the debate raging in the of Somaliland major population centres, there shall be a high turn-out for the election. The hope to conduct it fairly, freely and peacefully is in everybody’s mind and therefore is both the citizen’s, political parties and their government’s responsibility to ensure it. The authorities will ultimate claim its successes as they rightly do for all past elections and need to be in tune with the people.

ISG group. June 2, 2010


Africa’s youngest married couple

1 June 2010, Muhyadin Ahmed Roble,

http://www.africanews.com/site/Africas_youngest_married_couple/list_messages/32361

A couple both aged 13 got married in Salahley town, about 60km south of Hargeisa, the capital of the breakaway region of Somaliland in northern Somalia. Hundreds of family members and friends thronged the married grounds as Shaba Mohamed and his lovely wife Naima Osman tied the nuptial knot.

“I was not thinking that this number will participate in our wedding,” Mohamed with his wife Naima told AfricaNews.

"We are not yet aged 14 but I can take the responsibility of my wife by giving her love," said Mohamed.

According to Somali tradition, the man must pay a dowry that is equivalent to 100 camels but AfricaNews learned that Mohamed’s family paid only US$270.

Barkhad Kariye, an editor of a local newspaper OGAAL in Hargeisa, told AfricaNews that the couple’s story rocked the region.

“People are all talking about this event…they were surprise but in the end they liked it,” Kariye said.

In April this year about 21 joint weddings took place in Somali’s town of Hargeisa, where the traditional lavish celebrations are increasingly unaffordable at a time of economic slump. That function was arranged by Telsom, a telecoms company that employed all the bridegrooms.


Somaliland: ‘home grown’ peacemaking and political reconstruction

Mohammed Hassan Ibrahim and Ulf Terlinden

http://www.c-r.org/our-work/accord/somalia/somaliland-peacemaking-reconstruction.php

Mohammed Hassan Ibrahim is lead researcher at the Academy for Peace and Development, Hargeisa, Somaliland.

Ulf Terlinden is a political scientist specializing in governance and conflict issues in the Horn of Africa Region. He is pursuing a PhD on the political reconstruction process in Somaliland.

The Republic of Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 after years of war had culminated in the overthrow of the Somali dictator Siyad Barre. Since then Somaliland has proven the most stable entity in the Somali region.

Despite setbacks during two internal wars in 1992 and 1994-96, Somaliland has also been one of the most peaceful places in the Horn of Africa. A lengthy self-financed process of clan reconciliation in the early 1990s led to a power-sharing government. This has provided an important base for Somaliland’s enduring political stability and for its reconstruction and development.

Somaliland defies a common view that Somalis are incapable of governing themselves. Despite numerous and continuing challenges, especially in the context of the democratization process begun in 2001, Somaliland presents an alternative path to state reconstruction in the Somali region.

Building peace and forming a state

From the outset the existence of functioning traditional institutions in Somaliland was fundamental. These institutions have survived both British colonial rule and Somali statehood functionally intact, albeit transformed. Revitalized during the resistance against Siyad Barre’s regime, ad hoc councils of elders (guurtiida) instantly took on the role of quasi-administrations, managing militias, mediating disputes, administering justice, interacting with international agencies and raising local revenue in the absence of local administrative structures.

Moreover traditional clan elders provided a readily available conflict resolution mechanism and reconciliation infrastructure. In the 1990s international intervention by the UN Mission in Somalia (UNOSOM) and by other foreign powers struggled to cobble together an agreement between warlords in Mogadishu. However Somaliland achieved its cessation of hostilities and also longer term stability through a series of no less than 38 clan-based peace and reconciliation conferences and meetings between 1990 and 1997.

The efforts in Somaliland (and also in Puntland) differed from those in south central Somalia on a number of key characteristics: 1) meetings were materially supported by communities, including the diaspora; 2) key figures of each affected clan participated voluntarily; and 3) resolutions were adopted by consensus after broad consultation.

These circumstances provided for a remarkable degree of local and national ownership, legitimacy and inclusion. Much of this was transferred to the statebuilding process in Somaliland, too – at least initially.

The new polity is often described as a ‘dynamic hybrid’ of western form and traditional substance. It is founded on clan-based power sharing and balanced political representation (the beel system). But this occurs within the framework of western style procedures and institutions, such as elections, parliament and cabinet. At its centre, the constitutional Guurti, the powerful Upper House of Parliament, institutionalized the political participation of traditional and religious elders.

Reintegration and demobilization of former combatants were crucial in terms of neutralizing potential spoilers. Once the port of Berbera had effectively been brought under government control in 1993, Somaliland strongly benefited from the absence of any other significant resources that could have attracted a war economy. The availability of the port revenues also enabled the government to integrate many militias into a new national army. Former SNM leaders were appointed as cabinet ministers. As well as consensus building, cooption was an important and successful government tactic.

The desire for international recognition – within the borders of former British Somaliland – also provided a strong incentive for stability. All parties, and especially the victorious SNM, were aware that to be recognized as an independent state Somaliland required consensual, negotiated resolution of outstanding issues from the war. It was equally clear that any government needed to obtain at least minimal endorsement by all clans.

The political elite further understood that Somaliland needed to present itself as a modern state with a democratic system of government. However while the introduction of democracy provided stabilizing impulses, it also brought an inherent contradiction. In view of the continuing significance of the clans, the political system had to accommodate clan-based power sharing within electoral democratic representation (usually based on nomination), such as the Guurti.

Stabilization and political reconstruction

Five main characteristics contributed to the process of stabilization and political reconstruction:

The process moved incrementally from peacemaking to state formation and statebuilding, in parallel with reconciliation and democratization. Although all ‘grand’ clan conferences had an element of each of these components, the respective emphasis was shifted carefully and each new step was shaped along the way to allow room for ‘organic’ growth and continuing, pragmatic adaptation whenever the need arose.

Contrary to many ‘national’ government-making processes, the Somaliland model has not been defined by timeframes and explicit targets. Rather, it has focused on internal dynamics, and this has been further supported by the hesitant, incremental growth of international assistance for institutional capacity building and democratization.

State and government capacity expanded gradually from the administration’s strongholds in the west towards the east, which was partly controlled by a disgruntled clan-based opposition and has been somewhat contested by neighbouring Puntland.

In contrast to a prescriptive and blanket ‘top down’ deal, this gradual (and still ongoing) approach has enabled a heterogeneous process of statebuilding, granting time and political space to accommodate different needs and challenges at the local level.

Especially after 1993 there has been clear and strong leadership, providing vision and direction. Former President Mohamed Egal, a veteran politician who enjoyed considerable public trust, was able to consolidate state power and chart Somaliland’s way towards democratization.

Although the clan system has been an obstacle to statebuilding and nationbuilding, it also provides essential checks and balances. Despite its increased capacity, the executive is still under pressure to strike a careful equilibrium between different interests of clans and sub-clans, both inside and outside the state apparatus. This curtails the central government’s room for manoeuvre in areas that might otherwise provoke renewed instability.

Principles of compromise and consensus building have remained important after Somaliland embarked upon the democratization process. Where Somaliland’s legal framework has not provided either sufficient regulation or room for manoeuvre, the process remained sufficiently lenient to accommodate the underlying reality of the clan social structure. Codes of conduct, a ‘give and take’ approach and mediated solutions were used to maintain the greater good of stability.

Democratizing Somaliland’s political institutions

Despite its successes, statebuilding in Somaliland has suffered both challenges and conflict. Two civil wars in the 1990s derailed the rebuilding process and almost shattered Somaliland’s territorial unity. And ironically the strengthening of the central government has also had some destabilizing effects. For instance the beel political system was increasingly usurped by the executive, threatening to derail its ability to provide legitimacy and to safeguard clan interests.

But the promise of introducing electoral systems after the Hargeisa reconciliation conference in 1997 ultimately provided a much needed prospect of adjustment and transformation. Although it took another five years to adopt a constitution, the democratization process absorbed a lot of the emerging tensions and dissent.

The move to a constitutionally-based multi-party democracy after 2001 presented new challenges to stability, however. The key question was whether and how political stability built on the traditional beel system could successfully evolve into a constitutional democracy based on the rights of its citizens.

Severe structural resistance from within Somaliland’s traditional clan society demanded a highly flexible democratic system. Political parties, the National Electoral Commission, candidate nomination procedures, the election system itself, voter registration and other formal institutions all needed to accommodate a vast array of social and political forces. This left little room to transform government bodies into effective, stable, formal and professional institutions.

The multi-party electoral system also introduced a ‘winner takes all’ system, in contrast with the more inclusive traditional framework of clan representation. As a result political disputes have sometimes threatened to escalate into violent conflict. And the fact that such disputes have subsequently been defused through private mediation has further undermined the development of formal conflict management institutions. Nor has private mediation proved reliable, efficient or sustainable.

The judiciary and the legislature remain weak. Despite the existence of a constitution, in reality the absence of tangible checks and balances leaves the executive vastly stronger than these other branches of government. Parliament cannot exercise its constitutional authority to oversee the executive. The legislature lacks the resources, expertise, unity and the political will to hold the executive to account. And the judiciary operates largely as subordinate to the executive.

Somaliland’s formal political, administrative and judicial structures have been circumvented on a number of issues, including, for instance, the security sector, the rights of parliament, the budgetary process and the detention of critics. Patronage is rampant and limited public resources are often mismanaged.

Elections themselves have further challenged Somaliland’s young political system. Elections were first held at district level in December 2002. The three political associations that emerged strongest from these elections became the only parties licensed under the current constitution. This restriction and the very limited development of structures and democratic procedures within the parties seriously limit political competition.

The presidential elections in 2003 gave the ruling party a narrow victory over the opposition by a margin of 80 votes. The opposition contested the results and the Supreme Court eventually ruled in favour of the government. However it was only after intense mediation and strong public pressure that the opposition conceded victory to the incumbent President Dahir Rayale.

In 2005 however, the opposition won a majority in parliamentary elections, creating a situation of divided government. Since then the country has frequently found itself mired in political confrontation between the executive and the legislature.

Meanwhile, the credibility of the – unelected – Guurti has been severely damaged because of its allegiance to the executive, undermining its constitutional mandate to mediate political conflicts in the country. Existing legal frameworks, because of their ambiguity, have also proved inadequate in the context of these disputes.

The weakness of formal institutions, the power imbalance been the contestants and above all the inherent contradictions between the social structure (clans) and the procedures enshrined in the constitution, have culminated in an extended and on-going delay of the second electoral cycle.

Local elections – meant to take place in December 2007 – have been delayed until further notice.

The presidential elections, originally due in April 2008, were postponed for the fifth time in September 2009, now without scheduling a specific new election date. Along with these repeated postponements, the terms in office of the local district councils and national government have been extended without elections. Instead, the Guurti have controversially provided several extensions of their terms of office.

Following two years of incremental delays, these actions have not only damaged Somaliland’s emerging democratic system and its reputation. Ultimately, reflecting the incomplete political transformation described above, they now threaten to undermine Somaliland’s stability.

Many of these issues are closely connected with the insufficient development of a strong domestic constituency to promote and safeguard the democratization process. So far Somaliland lacks a ‘critical mass’ that could clearly be identified as the popular driving force of democratization.

‘Horizontal’ forms of civic association and organization across clan lines remain very limited, strongly contributing to the absence of a culture of broad-based social movements. In the absence of experience of participation in a system of liberal democracy, there is a tendency to ‘look up’ and wait for concepts to come from above. Although there is a broad perception that democracy is beneficial to the populace, democracy so far has too little active lobby.

Disputed boundaries and Somaliland’s unrecognized status

The most serious threat to Somaliland’s stability is currently from militants associated with the (purportedly Islamist) insurgency in south central Somalia. Elements of Al Shabaab and similar groups exist under ground because they do not enjoy popular support. But they have repeatedly engaged in assassinations of aid workers since 2003 as well as in three simultaneous suicide bombings in Hargeisa in October 2008. These groups pursue (Somalia-wide) unionist or even (globally) universalistic agendas against Somaliland’s independence and seek to stall its secular democratization.

Somaliland’s longstanding territorial dispute with neighbouring Puntland over Sool and Eastern Sanaag regions is also a continuing problem. Somaliland’s claims are based on its colonial boundary within Somalia, while Puntland bases its position on the fact that the Dhulbahante and Warsangeli communities inhabiting the area are part of the Harti clan that controls Puntland.

The conflict remained a ‘cold war’ until a bloody confrontation in 2002. Since then forces of both sides have been locked in a standoff, resulting in several rounds of fighting. Sool’s capital Las Anod was captured by Somaliland forces in October 2007. The situation remains tense and sporadic clashes can be expected to recur so long as the underlying conflict remains unaddressed and both sides insist on their claims to the territory.

Closely linked and to some extent underlying these external challenges is Somaliland’s continuing desire to achieve international recognition and the unresolved relationship with Somalia. There is growing ‘fatigue’ in Somaliland over stagnation on these issues. This is reinforced by concern over the shortage of territorial guarantees and protection that it can call upon as an unrecognized territory, despite its relatively close relationship and security cooperation with Ethiopia.

Lessons from Somaliland’s experience

Somaliland’s experience illustrates the potential and – especially in the Somali context – impressive sustainability that ‘home-grown’ peacemaking and reconciliation can generate.

With relatively little international help – except from its huge diaspora in the Gulf region, Europe and North America – Somaliland accomplished gigantic tasks such as demobilization, the restoration of law and order, the management of a deregulated economy, making a constitution and at least initial steps towards a plural democracy.

All of this has been achieved without peace being imposed either from above or from outside. National compromise in Somaliland has grown locally and with the liberty of different speeds in different contexts and regions, ‘quick and dirty’ short-cuts in the peace process were largely avoided.

Also avoided has been resort to ‘cake-cutting’ power-sharing exercises, which have been unsuccessfully attempted elsewhere in Somalia. Instead the overlapping but consecutive peacemaking, institution-building and democratization processes in Somaliland have followed the successive establishment of a ceasefire, the careful restoration of relationships, genuine reconciliation, and a locally-owned process that has determined the future design of the polity.

None of the accomplishments in Somaliland can be taken for granted, however. Post-war political reconstruction is not a linear, let alone an irreversible process. The recurrent need to ‘reinvent’ political institutions (eg the changing role of traditional authorities) and the recent setbacks in the democratization process underline that consolidation requires continuous effort – and favourable circumstances – at every juncture.

Looking at lessons to draw from Somaliland’s case, it is important to note the unique combination of circumstances that worked in Somaliland’s favour: a strong traditional system, the absence of ‘war-economic’ resources, and the incentives from the search for international recognition.

Somaliland’s experiences are therefore not easily transferable to southern Somalia or beyond. But they should clearly encourage international practitioners and policy makers to support ‘home-grown’ peacemaking and political reconstruction wherever the circumstances permit, be it on a national, regional or local level.

© Conciliation Resources. Registered Charity No: 1055436 173 Upper Street, London, N1 1RG, UK Tel: +44 (0)20 7359 7728 Fax: +44 (0)20 7359 4081 email: cr@c-r.org


SOMALILAND: Lasting Solution for Eye vision

Somalilandpress | May 28 2010

HARGEISA— For long, the nation has suffered from poor eye health care and lack of facilities for treatment. In addition, due to the lack of experts the population was obligated to seek medical care from neighboring countries.

Those who couldn’t afford where the victims most and would pay the ultimate prize. It has been estimated that more than 2000 people loss their vision each year in Somaliland.

These people suffer from different diagnosis such as, Glaucoma, Trauma and similar illness. However, the main cause of blindness is Cataract, which makes 80% of the total cases so far.

Menhal Hospital was working in tackling this tragedy and performing free eye surgery for the community in need. So far it has played an important role in the health sector and performed surgeries for many people.

People who came from as far as Keyna’s northern states, Ethiopian Somali region, Djibouti and South Somalia. With the help from Arab Medical Union, by sending teams of doctors to carry out the surgery and financial support the hospital was able to cope with the increasing number of the patients and restore the lost vision of many. Despite of this, there was strong presence of local talent in this.

Dr. Mohamud Ahmed Shiine director of mental hospital and Ophthalmologist him self played a vital role. As one of the few Somalilander eye specialist doctor, he has performed much of the surgeries in the past years. He alone revealed the eyes of more than 30,000 people successfully in the last eight years. In fact, he could perform the surgery for a patient in less than six minutes which gain him wide range acceptance.

To encourage this local talents, Arab Medical Union in collaboration with WHO has trained seven doctors from all the Somali regions to perform full eye surgery. They were trained to handle the case like, Squint Surgery, Glaucoma and Refractive Errors.

This training which has ended on last Friday was held in Menhal Hospital premises. In addition to that, there was a six day training for nine medical works in how to operate Ultrasound with the collaboration with of Afro-Asian Institute of medical science.

Although, the two trains where different and funded by different donors, however, their aim was similar to increase local talents for better handling health care. “The entire trainees were active and participatory in the trend of the training days”, said the foreigner trainers,” and they gain the maximum knowledge from their training”. The trainers add that the trainees had promised to help the nation that is in despite situation for health care in any given situation.

By: Mahamad-Addis


400 Somaliland’s separatist militia stranded in Widhwidh

May 25, 2010 -http://www.laasqoray.org/press/?p=6376

About 400 Somaliland’s separatist militia are said to have been surrounded by 1500 local fighters in the town of Widhwidh, 95km South East of Buhotle, a town where Ethiopian Troops met fierce resistance. 20 casualties on both sides was reported to the media, and as a result the stalemate caused the militia to remain where the battle took place a day earlier.

The Ethiopian withdrawal from Buhotle hampered Somaliland’s move to occupy more SSC towns, and Riyale administration in Hargeisa has so far failed to bring solution to the conflict. As of today, according to a local spokesperson for the SSC Chief, Gerad Jama, “the head of the stranded Somaliland militia contacted him and requested safe passage. However, the Gerad told him, unless their forces withdraw from Lasanod, he will be powerless to do anything.”

As secessionists’ in Northwest Somalia continue to lure the world that fair and free elections will take place this year, the Riyale regime in Hargeisa is busy creating instability and unnecessary wars thus shedding light to the illegitimacy of such an election. Moreover, the secessionist’s hopes have been further dashed as the World Community in Istanbul Conference declared the unquestionable support for united Somalia.


Radio Classes Reach Somali Children

FrontLines - April 2010.

http://www.usaid.gov/press/frontlines/fl_apr10/p07_somalia100415.html

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Decades of civil war in Somalia have taken a toll on education, with primary schools shattered or closed, textbooks and other supplies ruined, and illiteracy soaring. Many young Somalis have joined street gangs and extremist groups.

Somali children read from the USAID -supported Somalia Reader Series.

So when the opportunity for a free education arrived, children were ready to attend. Hamda Mohamed, an 8-year-old girl attending Daami Learning Center in Hargeisa, is one example. “Before joining this learning center, I did not know how to read and write,” she said. “I used to stay at home to help with housework. Today I can write a letter to someone.

“I like learning from the radio. It’s fun and helps me memorize educational songs.”

At the learning center, Hamda participates in lessons supported by the Somali Interactive Radio Instruction Program (SIRIP), a USAID initiative begun in 2009 to support those forced from their homes by war or drought.

Carried out by Education Development Center Inc., SIRIP provides basic education for children who have been out of school. They learn to read, do math, and tackle life skills. SIRIP has established 245 learning centers and enrolled more than 24,000 out-of-school children among displaced people and other needy communities.

An important feature is the radio component, which allows Hamda and many others to take part in daily lessons that use games, songs, and drama. The benefits aim to reach teachers as well as students.

“Personally, as a teacher, the radio programs have strengthened my teaching skills,” says Kaltoum Hassan Abdilahi of Daami Learning Center. “I gain a variety of teaching techniques from each lesson. These include classroom management, ways to improve student motivation, questioning techniques, etc.”

SIRIP also provided education to 300 Gaboye children in the Daami neighborhood center in Hargeisa. The Gaboye people are a marginalized group that has historically been labeled as untouchable by other Somali clans. They have been subject to mistreatment and degrading conditions for years, resulting in widespread poverty. Their children’s basic rights to education have been denied.

The Gaboye and other communities have embraced SIRIP, and parents have expressed their appreciation. Beneficiaries are required to establish a community education committee to help maintain the learning center and support the teacher.

Hassan Isse Dubad is the chairperson of the Daami committee. “We are very proud for these learning centers. I believe that these learning centers will transform the lifestyle of our communities,” Dubad said.

“Before these learning centers were established, our children used to play on the streets without doing anything,” he said. “But now, thanks to Allah and to the donor, our children are benefiting from the free education. They are busy with their studies all day.”

Though her parents are illiterate and her father is unemployed, Hamda understands the importance of education.

“When I grow up,” she said, “I want to be a teacher, to teach children.”


Ethiopia gives tribal militants 24-hours deadline to return weapons

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress | May 26, 2010) — Ethiopian forces stationed out side the town of Buhodle have given local elders 24 hours deadline on Tuesday to return all captured weapons.

The Ethiopians told the elders led by one of the prominent tribal chiefs, Garad Abdullahi Garad Soofe to hand in all weapons captured from Ethiopia’s Liyuu police on Saturday when armed militants called clashed with the police petrol.

The Ethiopians have accused the armed militants, SSC [Sool, Sanag, Cayn], the armed wing of a group that calls it self Northern Somalia Unionist Movement (NSUM) of having ties with Somalia’s radical groups who are trying to tumble the weak transitional government in Mogadishu.

The Defense Minister of Somaliland, Mr. Suleyman Warsame Guled, said the Ethiopians contacted him before they moved their forces into Buhodle to secure the border ahead of their elections. He added they have not crossed into Somaliland instead are stationed on their side of the border.

It’s unclear if another war will break out between the Ethiopians and the armed militants whom their prime goal is to disturb the elections in Somaliland that will take place in June 26.

The group is headed by Dr. Suleyman Issa Ahmed [ Hagle tosiye], an American citizen from Ohio State, and Col. Ali Saberey, a Canadian citizen from Toronto.


Hundreds flee their homes in Buhodle

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress- May 24, 2010) — Hundreds of people fled from their homes in the border town of Buhodle in recent days to safety amid fears of fresh fighting after talks between locals and Ethiopian forces failed – Somalilandpress reports.

Since Friday an estimated 150 people have left their homes to surrounding towns and villages after a deadly war erupted between Liyuu police forces from Ethiopia’s Somali State and armed militants in the region.

According to eyewitnesses, the war erupted after the police stopped a number of transport vehicles in the Somaliland-Ethiopia border on Friday. The police eventually seized a number of vehicles after discovering contraband items prohibited in Ethiopia including goods stolen from one of the hijacked foreign vessels in Puntland. Some of the drivers then reportedly went back into the town to notify an armed tribal militant called SSC [Sool, Sanag, Cayn], the armed wing of a group that calls it self Northern Somalia Unionist Movement (NSUM), about the incident who then attacked the police shooting one dead.

The police chased the armed group back into the center of the town resulting in fierce fight which led to 3 more police killed and at least 10 Somalis consisting of militants and civilians. Further 36 were reportedly wounded when the police used heavy arms.

The militants have also captured a number of police belonging to Ethiopia as well as ammunition and small arms (about nine guns). Ethiopia has since sent a military back up for the Liyuu police, who are now based on their side of the border.


Somali companies to invest $1 billion in Somaliland and Somalia

INSTANBUL (Somalilandpress) — Five Somali companies signed an agreement here on Sunday to establish a joint company providing much-needed electricity and gas infrastructure to the under- developed country. The agreement was signed at the sideline of the round table meeting after the closing of the United Nations’ Somalia Conference in Istanbul.

Sharif Ahmed Said, director of the Somalia Business Council, said: “this project will give Somali people the peace dividend that has eluded them for so long.”

The Trans-National Industrial Electricity and Gas Company will start with an investment of 1 billion US dollars from the partners and other investors.

The five companies, which asked to remain unnamed for the moment, will provide the initial 300 million dollars down payment. The five companies are all local, not international.

The remaining funding will be provided by individual, not institutional, investors and by the manufacturers themselves, Abdullahi Hussein, spokesman for one of the companies told Xinhua.

The company aims to implement the Somalia Peace Dividend Project, a labor intensive electricity and gas infrastructure program to provide these services for the new industrialization of Somalia, and will be carried out in two phases.

The first phase, expected to start in the next 6 months, will train and use the skills of young people to provide electricity to exclusive economic zones and communities.

A written press release said the workers will be able to improve their livelihood as they receive training to construct, install and manage the infrastructure, which will help “reduce poverty, find alternatives to looting, piracy and unnecessary violence and stabilize the country and bring lasting security and prosperity to Somalis.”

The second phase where factories will be established in specially designated economic zones for the local transformation or for fisheries, livestock, agriculture and mining industries, is expected to go live in 12-18 months, which Hussein admitted as ” optimistic.”

Overall, the project aims to provide training and employment opportunities for an initial 100,000 jobs throughout Somalia and Somaliland.

Source: Xinhua | Monday, May 24, 2010


Somaliland: building a nation

by Sean McLachlan, May 24th 2010

The most interesting thing about traveling in Somaliland is that you get to see a country in the process of creating itself.

When it achieved independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, there wasn't much to work with. The capital had been destroyed, a large number of people were homeless and without work, and the country wasn't recognized by the outside world. Recognition still hasn't come, but Somalilanders are slowly building their nation.

Buildings are going up everywhere, thanks to the investment from local Somalis and expats. This second group is important. In the Seventies and Eighties many educated Somalis fled dictatorship and civil war to other parts of the world. Some did very well for themselves, and when Somaliland stabilized they saw an opportunity for investment.

One modest example is a Somali man I met who works as a crane operator in Germany. He makes a good salary, but is far from rich by European standards. Yet in Somaliland he's able to own a beachside home in Berbera and recently bought property in Hargeisa that he's planning to build on. This, of course, will bring another contract to one of the local construction companies and more work for its employees.

Further up the economic ladder is Hassan Ahmed Hussein, owner of the Hadhwanaag Hotel and Restaurant in Hargeisa. He lived for many years in Virginia before moving back two years ago. Hassan's hotel mostly serves Somalis although he's interested in expanding into the developing tourist trade as well. The main draw of his place is the restaurant, which quickly became a favorite local hangout. The goat and camel meat his chefs cook for three hours in a clay oven is simply the best meal you'll eat in Somaliland, and judging from the number of Somalis who show up for lunch and dinner this isn't just an outsider's opinion. The hotel part of his operation is good value too, with little bungalows surrounding a pleasant garden.

One of Somaliland's most successful businessmen is Abdirashid Duale, CEO of Dahabshiil, a major money transfer company with headquarters in the UK, Dubai, and Somaliland. Since remittances from foreign workers are a major source of hard currency in this part of the world, money transfer is big business. Unlike many Somalis I met, Abdirashid thinks Somaliland's unrecognized status has a positive side.

"I do believe a lot of things can be done without recognition, look at Taiwan," he says. "The focus on the private sector will have long-term benefits. We want people to be self-sufficient. Without so many NGOs coming in with their own ideas and their own agendas, we have to do things ourselves."

Somalis are doing more than just opening businesses, they're fixing social problems as well. Dahabshiil donates a lot of money to hospitals and universities, and individuals have set up their own NGOs since most foreign ones won't come to Somaliland. Any foreigner visiting Somaliland will be invited to see several.

The Hargeisa Rehabilitation Centre helps people with physical disabilities. There's an orthopedic workshop that makes artificial legs, wheelchairs, and crutches. It's so productive, in fact, that it exports to Somalis living in Ethiopia, Djibouti, Puntland, and Somalia. Doctors offer physiotherapy to patients for as little as $2 a month, and many come from the war-torn regions of Somalia to be treated. Dr. Abdullah, the head of pediatrics, told me they have anywhere from 15 to 25 child patients at any one time, mostly suffering from cerebral palsy, clubfoot, malnutrition, and injuries.

He and his small staff work long hours with limited, antiquated equipment. Because Somaliland isn't recognized, it's hard to attract foreign aid or foreign volunteers. It's also difficult for him and his fellow doctors to get visas to go to medical conventions abroad. Despite these troubles the center is a pleasant place, with a quiet garden and a dedicated staff doing the best they can.

Another homemade project is the Gandi Public Library, named after a former minister of education and founded by his son in 1999. Housed in a small building next to the empty shell of the central post office (Somaliland has no postal service since it's not recognized by the Universal Postal Union), it's the only public library in the country. While local residents eagerly read the small collection of books, there are no new ones coming in. The library hasn't received a donation in ten years. The biggest demand is for textbooks on medicine, economics, community development, law, and other practical subjects.

Not far away is the Sancaani Technical Institute, which offers free training 700 students in computer science, electronics, journalism, and media. Founded in 2002, it helps disabled people, the disadvantaged, and those from non-Isaaq clans. The Isaaq are the largest clan in Somaliland and many people complain that members of minority clans don't have equal opportunities. When I visited, one class was learning how to use Microsoft Access, while another practiced fixing mobile phones.

Noor Mohammed, an IT lecturer, told me there's a huge waiting list for the free classes and not nearly enough funding to take all applicants.

"We can change the lives of thousands of the poor, but right now we are working at the limits of our capability. The children here, their interest level is very high," he says. "We have just 16 computers and 200 students waiting to use them."

While I only made brief visits to other towns, I got the impression, confirmed by several Somalis I spoke with, that the vast majority of investment and development is in the capital. The government still hasn't fully asserted its authority in all areas of Somaliland and this is slowing the rush of investment. The port at Berbera, for example, needs improvement. A company from Dubai is discussing leasing the port and this might help improve the city in the next few years.

It's hard to predict where Somaliland is heading. Development will continue, and as infrastructure improves the economy will too, fueling more investment. It's an exciting time for this portion of the Horn of Africa, and it's exciting for a traveler to be able to witness it.

http://www.gadling.com/2010/05/24/somaliland-building-a-nation/


First Professional Real-Estate Service in Somaliland to be launched

HARGEISA (SomalilandPress- May 23, 2010) — A company that goes by the name of Somaliland Properties has sprung up in an office that looks out of place in the midst of the dusty streets of Hargeisa. Located in the ‘Shidh’ area of the Somaliland capitol of Hargeisa, the company’s offices are an example of the modernisation they intend to bring to their field.

While there are many so-called estate agents in Somaliland, none have ever put their service together with their customer in mind and in a way where detailed information on properties is available right in their office or from the comfort of their customer’s home.

While they anticipate an official June, 1st launch, the current staff of Somaliland Properties have been busy listing as many properties as possible in anticipation of the great influx of visitors from both the members of the Diaspora, as well as those who are here to participate in the Somaliland elections.

The two men behind the business are Mohamed Ibrahim Guled who hails from Boston and is involved in various businesses in Boston and Mohamoud Abdillahi Haji-Hussein, originally from Canada, but who moved from England where he also has business interests (and also the owner of Hargeisa Minerals & Resources Company). Their stated goal is to bring something new to Somaliland, and if they play their cards right, their company motto of ‘The Somaliland Dream Begins Here…’ just might come true.

The services that will be provided by the company are convenient ways to conduct transactions for buying, selling or renting/letting properties, as well as a property management service catered to members of the Diaspora with properties they only use seasonally.

This core business, plus extra services such as the provision of house-security staff and maids (Through Nasiye Mali Maid) to all of their clients, along with arranging for telephone lines and internet to be placed prior to their customers’ arrival are some of the benefits their customers can look forward to.

Trying to find the ideal property in Somaliland at the moment usually consists of days circling with a local ‘dilaal’ or agent, which can be at times stressful. Since you never exactly know just what to expect when you are taken to a property, you can spend days looking for a property before finding one you would even consider. This process becomes even more difficult when you are looking for land to buy, or properties to use for commercial or industrial use.

Somaliland Properties have overcome this obstacle by making detailed profiles of properties available to the customers plus using technology such as Google Earth to exactly pin-point where the properties they are listing are located on a map.

Such professional options are being made available to their customers at the same price they would pay a local agent, and it’s an exciting time for Somaliland when services industries are springing up, and especially, when they are made accessible to all through competitive pricing.

For more information please contact Somaliland Properties on: +1.567.269.8876 / +2522.404.0880 / +2527.914.9951 / +1.617.869.3132

By Mahmuud-Aar


A Somaliland Resources Company Dreams Big

HARGEISA (SomalilandPress-May 23 2010) — Established in 2008, Hargeisa Minerals & Resources Company (HMRC), is a resource company registered in Hargeisa, Somaliland involved in the processing and export of various resources from the country. Since 2009, HMRC has been involved in various industries in the republic of Somaliland which include the minerals trade as well as the frankincense trade.

HMRC initially began its operations with a focus on the precious minerals industry in Somaliland but recently shifted its focus to the frankincense industry due to the ease of operations and profitability in comparison to the precious minerals trade. In later phases the company plans to play a major role in the extraction of hydrocarbons as well as continue to be at the forefront of the precious and semi-precious minerals export industry in Somaliland.

The people behind Hargeisa Minerals & Resources Company are Mohamoud and Hibo Abdillahi Haji-Hussein (Cumar-Xaashi). While Hibo has never been to Somaliland, she felt that making an investment in Somaliland would help her achieve her long term goal of helping her people. Mohamoud, on the other hand, has moved to Somaliland where he is actively involved in this and other businesses.

The two complain that the main difficulty faced by Hargeisa Minerals & Resources Company is that it is operated from what the rest of the world considers a ‘De Facto’ state which is not recognized internationally. Officially being a ‘Somali’ company still a part of ‘Somalia former’ means that HMRC is not able to commit the necessary resources to implement its complete business strategy due obstacles such as exorbitant insurances rates associated with the industrial equipment required for large-scale operation and the lack of investor confidence in what is unduly considered a ‘high risk area’.

The two have set up shop in hopes and anticipation of the benefits of recognition, as the lack of international recognition for Somaliland means access to the international loans and investments the company requires for growth are difficult to obtain. “This and other minor obstacles are what prevent us from becoming big players in these industries” Mohamoud states. He continues “It was rather difficult for me to obtain the business visa I required for a recent trip to India using Somaliand’s official documents which are hard to take seriously, even in Addis Ababa. The official documents and licences provided by our government are riddled with spelling errors and contain email addresses from free public domains such as hotmail, which makes it extremely hard for anyone outside of Somaliland to take us seriously”.

He was however successful in the end and has since then returned safely from the journey, and as a result, HMRC was the first Somaliland registered business to be represented in and take part in a major international Gem and Jewellery fair.

Outside of these factors HMRC has been relatively successful and has assembled a team of highly educated and competent individuals who plan to not only participate in, but excel in the international market if given an even playing field.

One of their close associates and board members, Alhan Mohamed Jama (of Ismail imports), recently participated in the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship using her position as an HMRC Managing Director, which could prove pivotal to securing the outside interest that the firm needs.

We congratulate these two young entrepreneurs for their investment in Somaliland and look forward to seeing HMRC become a major player not only nationally, but internationally.

By Maxmuud-Aar


Somaliland Business Review: The Beginning of the Somaliland Tourism Industry

HARGEISA (SomalilandPress.May 22, 2010) — There is now a new way to experience Somaliland. A company with lofty goals has sprung up in Somaliland and is already becoming a big hit amongst visitors to the De Facto country. Specializing in custom tours for its customers it has established itself as a trusted name amongst foreigners working in Somaliland. The company goes by the name Somaliland Travel & Tourism Agency, and specialized in all aspects of tourism in Somaliland.

Recognized by the Somaliland Ministry of Tourism and Culture as a tour operator and travel agent, it has been able to create a multitude of packages for visitors to the country, and has a long term goal and strategy of making leisure and tourism activities more economical for the public in Somaliland.

The following is a quote directly from their website:

“Apart from the official recognition The STTA’s main aim is to provide top quality travel and Tourism whilst satisfying the various ranges of needs of each client by tailoring travel options to suit their taste and requirements. Therefore, we provide an extensive selection of tours and excursions; cultural, classical, historical, leisure, and more.

To achieve our aims, we have built a team of professionals with outstanding capabilities in the tourism industry.

Our packages are designed to fulfill the needs of our customers and to suit their needs, we are offering a wide range of tourism-related services both locally and internationally whether you are traveling for business or for pleasure.

Our staff are trained to provide you with the lowest fare for the best services, We are committed to provide our customers with high quality and well-organized tours here Somaliland In our site, you’ll find some useful information about Somaliland, our packages, our services, nice sites from Somaliland and many other interesting things.”- SomalilandTour.com.

A service like this has been long overdue, and the owners mention they are very interested in creating new destinations for their customers in previously undiscovered locations through-out Somaliland. This will prove greatly beneficial to the local economies of such destinations, as well as entice members of the Diaspora to make Somaliland their next vacation, rather then just a visit to see the family.

The creation of a Tourism Industry in Somaliland is something that has been tried by many, but these young entrepreneurs have the advancement of Somaliland at heart and have already made a difference by making such a professional option available. For more information please visit their website.


Somaliland-Ethiopia border clash 'kills 13'

Source: BBC News, May 22, 2010

At least 13 people have died in a clash between Somalis and Ethiopian forces who had crossed the border, village elders told the BBC.

Elders said three Ethiopian soldiers and at least 10 residents of Buhoodle district in Somaliland were killed in a shoot-out after a dispute at a checkpoint.

Residents say Ethiopia troops regularly cross into southern and central Somalia and fight Islamists controlling their towns, according to Reuters news agency.

But it is believed to be the first time that they have sought to do this in the semi-autonomous region of Somaliland, which is generally seen as more stable than Somalia.

'Guns firing'

The conflict broke out after villagers expressed anger when soldiers searched several trucks and held them for several days, according to the elders and a district official.

"The Ethiopian forces seized some public transports vehicles from the city. Many people were angered and they clashed with the Ethiopian troops, stirring heavy fighting," Buhoodle commissioner Osman Yousef Mohamed told AFP.

The forces had crossed from neighbouring Ethiopia into Somaliland - a self-declared republic - two weeks earlier.

Residents said that more Ethiopian troops moved in following the confrontation.

"There is so much violence. We can still hear guns firing," resident Safia Yusuf told Reuters.

"A lot of people are fleeing and we are scared the clashes will continue because the Ethiopians haven't left and militias are getting reinforcements," she added.

Correspondents say Ethiopia and Somaliland often work together, with Ethiopia assisting with security and Somaliland allowing its neighbour use of the strategic Berbera port.


Horn of Africa: Ethiopia and Somaliland row erupts

22 May 2010 / by Konye Obaji Ori

Ethiopia’s inherent boarder skirmish with Somalia has extended to the more stable autonomous Somaliland, where13 people; three Ethiopian soldiers and at least 10 civilians have been killed in a checkpoint clash.

According to reports, Ethiopia troops often cross into southern and central Somalia and fight the Islamists controlling the towns. But it is the first time Ethiopian troops have crossed into the 1991 self-declared semi-autonomous region of Somaliland.

Ethiopian soldiers searched several Somaliland trucks and held them for several days to the protest of villagers, residents of Buhoodle district in Somaliland. The Ethiopian forces had crossed from neighbouring Ethiopia into Somaliland about two weeks ago.

“The Ethiopian forces seized some public transports vehicles from the city. Many people were angered and they clashed with the Ethiopian troops, stirring heavy fighting," Buhoodle commissioner Osman Yousef Mohamed was quoted by AFP.

Most people are reported to be fleeing Buhoodle village for fear that the clashes will continue because the Ethiopians haven’t left and Buhoodle militias are getting reinforcements.

Despites its independence not being internationally recognised, Somaliland has enjoyed good relations with Ethiopia irrespective of Ethiopia’s feud with the rest of Somalia.

Somaliland has always allowed Ethiopia use of the strategic Berbera port, and in return Ethiopia has always assisted Somaliland with security and protection from Somalia. However this mutually beneficial relationship is under threat given the rising tension in the region.

According to eyewitness reports, more Ethiopian troops have moved into Somalland following the recent altercation.

Conversely, Somaliland continues to claim the entire area of the former British Somalia. Since 1991 it has been governed by a secessionist administration as the Republic of Somaliland. The breakaway republic, which declared its independence in May 1991, remains unrecognized by any state or international organization.

Although many foreign governments maintain informal ties with the state, with an increasing number of foreign delegations and embassies having been established in the capital Hargesisa, it does not have full diplomatic recognition.


SOMALILAND: Ethiopian troops clash with local militia

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress | May 21, 2010) — At least thirteen people were killed and over thirty wounded when Ethiopian troops based in the town of Buhodle clashed with armed tribal militia.

Reports reaching us from the disputed down suggested that at least ten Somalis were killed and three Ethiopian soldiers when violence broke out at 12:00 afternoon in the town. According to the head of Buhodle hospital, Mr Ali Ukun at least 33 were wounded in the fight consisting of minor and serious injuries.

It is unclear how the war started but local media reported that last night the local militia fired a number of mobile rocket launchers as planned military exercise. They added they would fire more in the nights ahead and it is certain it has drawn the attention of the Ethiopian troops. However another reports suggest after Ethiopian troops detained commercial trucks angry militia attacked the Ethiopian check-points killing three soldiers.

At least 100 trucks from Ethiopian army are stationed in the western side of the town [Somaliland-Ethiopia border] for the past seven days. The Ethiopians have been inspecting trucks in and out of the town and according to unconfirmed reports have seized at least 40 trucks. However, those trucks traveling in and between Buhodle and Somaliland’s second city Burao were granted entry, only trucks traveling from Puntland to and from Buhodle were inspected and obtained.

Somaliland troops who were also stationed in the city have since moved to near by towns including Widwid and Bali-ade in search of an armed militia with at least 600 members. Somaliland and Ethiopia are worried the militia might spoil the election process in both countries and might be used as proxy by Somalia’s Islamist groups and Eritrea. Both states are opposed to the militia who call themselves Northern Somalia Unionist Movement (NSUM), who want to see the region being part of Greater Somalia which also includes Ethiopia’s Somali state.

Buhodle is part of the disputed Sool region between Somaliland and the semi-autonomous region of Puntland but neither regime has full control of it. Somaliland maintains the region falls within the 1960 pre-union borders while Puntland’s argument is based on tribal bases, the inhabitants of the town also belong to Puntland’s Darod family.

Somaliland has no so far commented but according to the Defense Minister, Mr. Suleyman Warsame Guled, troops from Somaliland and Ethiopia would be working along side each others to maintain the security of the region during the election periods.

Somaliland has close ties with Ethiopia and the two often share intelligence information and Somaliland forces often receive military training in Ethiopia.

Landlocked Ethiopia feels the stability is crucial to it’s own security since the two countries have long border, Ethiopia depends heavily on the port of Berbera for cargo, food aid and soon telecommunication when the EASSY optic fiber arrives. Ethiopia has made it clear it would support Somaliland by all means in early March delivered thousands of small arms to Somaliland army in Sool.

International diplomats based in Addis Ababa have also voiced their concern about Somaliland’s stability inciting the region is “vital to the world trading community’s control of the Red Sea and adjacent maritime region.” They add the port of Berbera will become a key node in the biggest African internet infrastructure that would link the African East Coast with the high-speed global systems.


Twelve killed as Ethiopian forces enter Somaliland town

(AFP) May 21, 2010

MOGADISHU — Ethiopian forces clashed Friday with residents of a border town in Somalia's breakaway Somaliland region in a rare incursion that left at least 12 civilians dead, officials and witnesses said.

Angry residents violently confronted the Ethiopian forces who had crossed into Buhudle district of Somalia's northern semi-autonomous region two weeks ago.

"A firefight started this afternoon between the Ethiopian forces and residents in Buhudle. The information we are getting indicates that 12 civilians were killed and there is still sporadic gunfire in the city," Buhudle commissioner Osman Yousuf Mohamed told AFP by phone.

"The fighting erupted after the Ethiopian forces seized some public transports vehicles from the city. Many people were angered by the move and they clashed with the Ethiopian troops, stirring heavy fighting," he said, Buhudle residents told AFP that the Ethiopian forces moved in more troops Friday afternoon after some of their forces were also killed in the clashes.

"More than 10 civilians died and many others were injured. I also saw three Ethiopian troops who were killed in the clashes," said Jama Hussein, a local resident.

"The Ethiopian forces deployed more troops and it looks like they are facing resistance," said another witness, Abdurahman Bare.

The two countries normally have friendly ties, with landlocked Ethiopia providing trade and security assistance to Somaliland in return for using Somaliland's port of Berbera.

Somaliland, which sits on the northwestern part of Somalia, unilaterally broke away from the rest of the Horn of Africa nation in 1991, four months after the overthrow of former Somali dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

It has been spared much of the violence that has ravaged rump Somalia, where an Islamist insurgency is battling to overthrow the Western-backed government of President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.


Somaliland adventure: bumbling in Berbera

by Sean McLachlan. May 21st 2010

Besides the painted caves of Laas Geel, the most promising road trip from Somaliland's capital Hargeisa is to Berbera, 160 km north of Hargeisa and the country's main port on the Red Sea. Nobody knows how old Berbera is, but it's been an important port since ancient times and is mentioned in The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a Greek sailor's guidebook from the first century AD. It boasts beautiful coral reefs, a lighthouse with a sweeping view, and a historic synagogue.

We got to see none of these things, but our trip was educational to say the least.

I and my travel companions, Swedish photojournalist Leo Stolpe and a Somali expat who doesn't wish to be named, hired a driver through my friends' hotel. Since we did it on short notice the hotel owner couldn't get one of his regulars and had to hire someone he didn't know. He explained to the driver that we wanted to see everything and we'd be out all day. He also told him that if he did a good job he could expect more work in the future.

The driver seemed friendly enough. He spoke decent English and was in good spirits as we left. He was in even better spirits when he stopped to pick up a large bundle of khat, a narcotic plant. I noticed he spent a lot of money to get a choice bundle with lots of young shoots and leaves that would guarantee a strong effect.

First stop was the shrine of Sheikh Yusuf al-Kownin Aw-Barkhadle, on the highway north of Hargeisa. Aw-Barkhadle was a devoted Muslim who came from Harar to defeat a false holy man who was fooling the people with his magic and sleeping with their daughters. When Aw-Barkhadle told the charlatan to renounce his evil ways, the man challenged him to a magical duel. Aw-Barkhadle let him go first, and the man waved his hand and opened up a tunnel through a mountain on the outskirts of Hargeisa.

Aw-Barkhadle shrugged and said, "That's simple. What's difficult is passing through."

Enraged, the false holy man arrogantly walked into the tunnel. Aw-Barkhadle ordered the mountain to close by the power of Allah and the evil one was entombed inside. To this day when Somalis pass by this mountain they throw rocks at it or slap it with their sandals. Its stone is never used to build houses.

The shrine is a simple affair of whitewashed walls trimmed with green, the color of paradise. Non-Muslims aren't allowed inside, but I still felt a strange atmosphere to this building, shining brilliantly in the sun amidst a stony plain of thorn bushes and unmarked graves.

The road to Berbera had a dozen police checkpoints. Since our route took us only along the main highway we had permission from the police in Hargeisa to travel without a bodyguard and we experienced no trouble at the checkpoints. Soon we could smell the sea air and we drove through the busy port. Past Ottoman mosques and colonial-era bungalows we could see giant freighters moored in the glittering water. We stopped at the Maansoor Hotel, which has an excellent restaurant with a view of the sea, and the added bonus of the only dive shop in Somaliland. Our driver had been chewing khat constantly for almost two hours, but didn't seem to be affected by a loss of appetite the drug usually gives and we all enjoyed some wonderful fried fish. We rented some gear from the dive shop, checked the map to see how to get to the coral reefs, and headed out.

Then the trouble started.

The coral reefs are three kilometers outside of town. A coastal road leads there, but we found the road blocked by soldiers in a "technical", a pickup truck with a weapon mounted on the hood, in this case a heavy recoilless rifle capable of punching a hole through our engine block. The soldiers politely but firmly told us we couldn't pass. Luckily I remembered the map showed a more roundabout road that would get us around the military zone and to the coral reefs.

The driver didn't want to go and refused to ask anyone for directions. Luckily our Somali friend managed to get someone to tell us which way to go. The driver grumbled all the way out of town, saying this wasn't part of the deal, that we only said we wanted to go to the beach, etc., etc. Our Somali friend tried to reason with him, reminding him that he had been hired to take us all around, but to no avail. After a few minutes of obviously not trying to find the alternate road, he turned the car back towards Berbera.

We were getting pissed off. Berbera's main attraction is the coral reefs, but our khat-chewing driver didn't care. Not listening to reason in either English or Somali, he drove us straight to the beach and parked the car. He'd gone on strike, and sat glumly staring out the window chomping on more khat.

Leo, being a good travel companion, gave me some solid advice.

"Look, Sean. This is the fourth country you've been to that's on the Red Sea and you've never been in the water. Just forget about this guy and let's go swimming."

Good plan. The beach was clean, the water as warm as a bath. We swam out and dove under, hoping to find some uncharted coral reefs. We didn't have any luck but had a great swim anyway. When we finally made it back to the car our driver, teeth stained green with khat, rounded on us.

"Where have you been!? It's time to go!!!"

We tried to calm him down and said we'd head back to Hargeisa after stopping at the dive shop to return the equipment.

"No!" he declared. "I'll drop off the equipment next time I'm in Berbera."

Yeah, sure you will, I thought, but said, "It will only take a minute."

"We don't have time! It will be dark soon and I won't take any more side trips."

"Side trips? The dive shop is right over there," I said, pointing. "We have to drive past it to get to the highway."

Even Mr. Khat couldn't argue with that logic, so grumbling all the while he stopped at the dive shop and glared at us until we were back in the car.

"Where's your guard?" he demanded. This was the first time he had mentioned it.

"We have permission from the Hargeisa police to travel without one, we already told you," Leo said.

"I won't drive without a guard!" Mr. Khat shouted.

Our Somali friend reasoned with him in their own language. After a minute the driver grunted and headed out.

At the first police checkpoint outside of town, the cops inspected our papers and let us through, but our driver wouldn't budge. He started shouting to the police that he didn't want to drive at night without a guard and insisted one of the cops get in the car and that we all go back to the station. The sun was setting and we were headed in the wrong direction.

Our Somali friend muttered, "This is a shit man." I was tempted to ask how to say that in Somali.

Mr. Khat had really worked himself up into a fever pitch now. He was ranting and raving, obviously suffering a bad trip from the drug he'd been eating all day, and once he got to the police station he vowed he'd leave us there. The police chief stepped in, and a long debate ensued about whether we had to hire a officer or not. A call to higher authorities decided that we would. As that was being arranged our "driver" came up to me.

"Where's my money?" he demanded.

"The agreement was that you'd be paid when we got back to Hargeisa," I said as calmly as I could, which wasn't very calmly at all.

"I WANT MORE MONEY!" he screeched.

"For not taking us anywhere? I don't think so!"

OK, that's not what I really said. I can't print what I really said. In a moment the cops jumped between us and the driver started threatening the police chief. Yes, the police chief. A club brandished over his head shut him up, but only just barely. The police chief told him in no uncertain terms to take us back to Hargeisa, that we'd pay for the police escort, and we'd pay him what we agreed on and not a shilling more.

So it was decided. The drive back was spent in glum silence, except for the smacking of our driver's lips as he gobbled down more of his ridiculous little leaves.

There's a lesson in all this. Somaliland doesn't have a real tourism industry yet, and visitors need to find an experienced driver and make it clear to him from the beginning what they want. Drivers need to understand they're being hired for the day, not for a certain number of kilometers. Hotel owners need to find reliable drivers. They need people who are relaxed, enjoy their work, and are flexible with international visitors who want to be shown everything.

And they need to find people who aren't addicted to drugs.

http://www.gadling.com/2010/05/21/somaliland-adventure-bumbling-in-berbera/


SOMALILAND: Celebration of Art and Culture

20 May 2010.http://somalilandhorta.com/news/2010/may/news2010may20_5.htm

When you first walked into the Panorama Hall that night, one could not help but notice the paintings that lined the walls. Thirteen gifted artists based here in Hargeysa, displayed beautiful images reflecting traditional and contemporary Somali society. Paintings of camels walking with grace as they were led across the plains, to those drawing attention the challenges faced by Somali people, such as migration and war were on display.

Afrikanation Artists Organization (AAO) and Somaliland Culture and Sports Association (SOCSA) teamed up to present a “Celebration of Art and Culture” in Hargeysa, Somaliland on April 28th, 2010. This was a celebration of traditional and recent artistic flavors and for the foundation of Afrikanation, which is a local non-profit, non-governmental organization designed to empower African artists and their communities under the belief that art does have the power to positively change society and the world. Gazing across this long line of evidence affirming the talent that exists here, your eyes were then led to a table filled with many tiny hands busily working to create our artists of our future. Working with Najma Axmed Xaashi, an artist from Mogadishu, the youth produced some dynamic pieces with art supplies donated by students at California College of the Arts and supporters. Afrikanation partnered with Defne Beyce, a Graduate Design student at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, California, USA and Ismail Ismail, a great supporter also residing in California, to organize and deliver these much-needed art supplies. Art supplies are virtually unobtainable in this region due to high price and proximity, and it is one of Afrikanation’s founding goals to make supplies accessible to artists who need them. Crayons to professional level acrylic paints donated were quickly put to use in the youth art station and weekly Afrikanation Artist Workshops. The night officially opened with a Koranic reading and song by Ilyas Mohamed Omar, a dynamic eight year old, then cultural song and dance by Somaliland Culture and Sports Association. SOCSA is a local, non-profit, non-governmental organization that educates the youth on current economic, social and health related challenges and the importance of physical education through sport. The dancers lit up the room dressed in traditional Somali attire as they swirled to the beat and songs of our ancestors. Seeing the faces of the young people that filled the crowd lit with excitement brings hope that these traditions will be passed on for many generations to come.

Following the cultural dance were the break-dancing Groovies. The Groovies enlivened the audience with their creative storytelling through dance. This dynamic group of teenage boys and SOCSA together represent the diversity that exists in our youth today. Hani Abdi Ali utilizes fashion as a tool to address traditional styles of dress with a new flair through her new line of dresses that were worn at the event. Mohamed Bulshaawi and Abdirahim Daalalayn shared their gift of song with a crowd of excited listneners anxious to hear more. All in all, this night was a blessed celebration of art, talent and culture that Allah gifted us with right here at home.

This event would not have been the same without great support of the community. To Panorama, Lucy University, Defne Beyce, Ismail Ismail, California College of the Arts, art supply donors, friends of the arts and certainly not least the artists, musicians, poets, dancers, designers, supporters and friends shared their gifts and helped during the celebration, thank you. This sets the stage for many positive exchanges in the future celebrating our art and our culture with the community at large.

For more information about SOCSA, please contact them at socsacenter@gmail.com or visit their website at www.socsa.org. For more information about Afrikanation Artists Organization, please contact them at info@afrikanationartists.org or join their group page on Facebook under Afrikanation Artists Organization today.


Somaliland is cracking down on pirates

The Ottawa Citizen. May 20, 2010

The Citizen article on piracy profits in Somalia coming back to Ottawa did not mention that Somaliland recently sentenced seven pirates to 15 years in prison and has now jailed more than 70, and sentenced a terrorist to 24 years in prison.

Somaliland's reward for trying to be a good citizen in the international community is silence and neglect. Instead, newspapers are filled with stories of the mayhem in ungovernable Somalia.

Somaliland was a British protectorate from 1884 to 1960. It gained independence and UN recognition and then agreed to join with Somalia although the union was never ratified by their parliaments.

The informal partnership did not work and Somaliland attempted to withdraw in the 1980s. The succession was brutally repressed by the dictatorship in Mogadishu and lead to many refugees coming to Canada.

In 1991, Somaliland successfully withdrew following the collapse of the government in Somalia and has operated independently ever since. It has kept its coasts clear of pirates, tried to keep extremists out of the country and held three democratic elections, all with almost no outside help or aid.

One of the reasons these efforts have not been recognized is a desire on the part of the international community to put Somalia back the way it was. This will never happen given the situation in Somalia and the strong feelings that will always exist with respect to the 1980s conflict.

I have personally visited Somaliland and it already compares very favourably to many other more "well regarded" countries in Africa. It is time to help Somaliland and reward its efforts through aid and recognition. I am personally investing in a business venture in Somaliland because recognition will happen as long as it stays on its present course.

Gregory Bowes, Carleton Place, (c) The Ottawa Citizen


Violence and Fraud Already Being Injected into the Somaliland Presidential Election Process

Extract from Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis 3 May 18, 2010 D&FA Confidential © 2010 Global Information System, ISSA

Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis: May 18, 2010. © GIS/ISSA Analysis. From GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs Stations Addis Ababa and Hargeisa, and other sources. The delicate security situation in and around the Horn of Africa by mid-May 2010 began to get dramatically worse, with the potential for major problems for the international sea trade — particularly in energy products and manufactures — through the Red Sea/Suez sea lanes, as a result of major foreign involvement in major, and imminent, elections in Somaliland and Ethiopia.

Arguably, the situation in Somaliland is the less stable of the two situations, although they are directly linked, given their contiguous borders, and the fact that Somaliland is now the key overland trade link for Ethiopia to Red Sea shipping. Moreover, actions in Somaliland in the second week of May 2010 showed an intensity which has all but overturned the prospect for free and fair elections, and has heightened the possibility that the election could be hijacked by pan-Somalists who would return the stable region to a union with Somalia, which is presently without any meaningful government.

Terrorist actions inside Ethiopia continued to escalate in the run-up to the May 23, 2010, Parliamentary elections, with a number of direct incidents inside Ethiopian territory involving Eritrean troops. There has been a build-up of Ethiopian Defense Force (EDF) personnel near the Eritrean border in Tigré Province, among other areas, checking particularly for incursions and to determine whether land-mines or impro-vised explosive devices (IEDs) have been lain during the night by Eritrean personnel. At least one land-mine was found by a Chinese road construction company on May 11, 2010, 7km outside Sheraro on the road to Humera near Shire Endaselassie, in Tigré.

Clashes since the beginning of May 2010 in Ethiopia’s ethnically Somali region — which the Somalis call the Ogaden and which was once the Harerge province of Ethiopia — between EDF personnel and (now more importantly) the Regional Special Police Force (RSPF) against insurgents of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) have ramifications not only for Ethiopia but also for Somaliland. The ONLF is supported by the Eritrean Government and had links with al-Ittihad al-Islami, which has subsequently — with the effective disintegration of al-Ittihad — become blurred with the Somali al-Shabaab group, which is in turn supported by elements of the al-Qaida movements, and, more surreptitiously by the Iranian Government. Significantly, the ONLF has consistently undertaken armed warfare against Somaliland as well as Ethiopia. Extract from Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis 2 May 18, 2010 D&FA Confidential © 2010 Global Information System, ISSA

Two senior ONLF commanders were reported killed in early May 2010 in clashes with the RSPF in the Korahe and Warden zones of the Ethiopian Somali region, although one of those killed had apparently been mis-identified by the RSPF, and later called the BBC Somali service to say that he had not been killed.

On the whole, however, the Meles Government has the security situation largely under control inside Ethiopia, and was totally prepared for the uptick in security incidents from Eritrea and Eritrean-sponsored organizations in the country. This is the fourth general election which the Meles Zenawi EPRDF Govern-ment has faced, and, if anything, it is well geared toward any escalation which might lead to a renewed open conflict with Eritrea. Indeed, the one major embarrassment for the Meles Government is that it helped create the Eritrean crisis, because of the longstanding Meles relationship with Eritrean leaders Isayas Afewerke while the Dergue was still in power in Ethiopia (1974-1990), and before Eritrea was in-dependent.

Essentially, many Ethiopians blame Prime Minister Meles for giving Eritrea independence from Ethiopia in 1993, only to have Eritrea then become hostile to, and invade, Ethiopia. Today, however, Eritrea is milita-rily and economically weak, and has enlisted considerable aid from such allies as Egypt to enable it to sustain hostility against Ethiopia, containing it as a landlocked state.

However, because of the landlocked status which Ethiopia now has since it gave independence to Eri-trea, and included in Eritrean territory some Ethiopian lands and ports which had never historically been Eritrean, Ethiopia is now heavily dependent on the stability and goodwill of Djibouti and Somaliland (for-mer British Somaliland).

Somaliland’s Presidential elections had been due to be held in 2009, but were delayed due to a total breakdown in the voter registration system. For some time, some members of the Somaliland Election Commission, have become financially compromised to a mix of opposition groups and external influ-ences, notably from the Interpeace movement which is effectively a self-sustaining non-governmental organization (NGO), but which claims association with the United Nations. Interpeace, mainly through its offices in Nairobi, has been funding opposition parties and — possibly indirectly — individuals within the Election Commission. As well, Interpeace funded the provision of new “biometric voter registration cards”, which it had made for the Commission in South Africa.

Interpeace recently gave the opposition officials and the National Election Commission (NEC) officials with whom it had a relationship an ultimatum. Either ensure that a Presidential election was scheduled to be held before the end of July 2010, or Interpeace would cut off its secret funding and other support. The Election Commission came out with a call, in early May 2010, for the Presidential election to be held on June 26, 2010, Somaliland’s national day. Somaliland Pres. Dahir Rayale Kahin, of the Unity of Demo-cratic Alliance (UDUB) Party, not wishing to be seen as the obstacle to elections — for which Somalil-and’s foreign supporters, particularly the US, UK, France, and the EU generally had been pushing — agreed to the date, even though it gave the Government less than six weeks to prepare for the event.

The major problem was that the voter rolls had been heavily tampered with because Interpeace had been given a contract by its colleagues in the Electoral Commission to prepare them. At the same time, the “biometric” voter registration cards began being distributed — and are now continuing to be distributed — throughout the country.

What has emerged, however, is that the cards are by no means “biometric” or secure, and they have been distributed with a clear intent to create a fraudulent result. Some individuals have been issued with 17 or more cards, enabling multiple votes from a single individual, for example.

Interpeace and some of the key opposition figures reacted swiftly, vigorously, and with hostility when the Somaliland media received a leaked copy of the confidential Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis of April 21, 2010, carrying the report entitled Somaliland’s Presidential Election Assumes Growing Priority as Major Powers Sense Strategic Urgency of the Horn Situation. This report made it clear that there was an improper relationship between Interpeace — whose members have been linked to organized manipu-lation of elections and insurgency groups in the Balkans, and elsewhere — and opposition politicians in Somaliland. As well, the report made it clear that some opposition politicians were not only linked with the policies and actions of the al-Shabaab terrorist group in neighboring Somalia, but had also advocated either a pan-Somalist outcome for the area — in other words having stable and peaceful Somaliland rejoin war-torn Somalia — or the introduction of shari’a law as the governing law of Somaliland.

All of this puts the US State Department, and the European governments supporting Somaliland, in a dif-ficult position, having so strenuously pushed Pres. Kahin to re-schedule the Presidential elections at an early date, to be followed rapidly by Parliamentary elections for the House of Representatives (lower house) and the House of Elders (upper house).

None of the major governments with a vital interest in Somaliland — including those regional states hos-tile to it, such as Eritrea, Egypt, and Somalia, which see Somaliland as a vital lifeline for Ethiopia — can been seen to call for a delay in the Presidential election until basic transparency and security can be res-tored to the voting system. On the other hand, the present conditions pave the way for an absolute hijack-ing of the election on June 26, 2010. Moreover, numerous opposition sources have made it clear to GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs that they will not rely solely on being able to hijack the ballot, and were ready for major street action and other destabilizing incidents to ensure that the ruling UDUB party did not win the election.

Not only is Somaliland in a key position in the counter-piracy conflict which is based out of the neighbor-ing Puntland region of Somalia, it is vital to the world trading community’s control of the Red Sea and ad-jacent maritime region. There are also considerable oil and other mineral reserves at stake in Somaliland territory, and the Somaliland port of Berbera, for example, is to be a key node in the major Internet cable which would link the African East Coast with the high-speed global systems.

At the same time, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is also pushing its naval presence into the re-gion, as well as into the Persian Gulf, for the first time since the Ming Dynasty 600 years ago, something which has not gone unnoticed in Washington. How long will Beijing ignore Somaliland? That is, assuming Somaliland remains intact after the June 26, 2010, Presidential election.


Pakistan: UN, African Union urged to recognise Somaliland.

Plus news Pakistan, May 19, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Nominated Deputy Head of the proposed Somaliland Trade Office, Shafiq Ahmed Qureshi called upon the United Nations, African Union and Pakistan government to recognise Republic of Somaliland on its National Independence day falling on May 18.

Shafiq Qureshi, who visited Somaliland along with Deputy Secretary General, Pakistan People`s Party, Sheikh Mansoor Ahmed for a fact finding in November last, said all international and humanitarian organizations should step forward in recognizing this peaceful and stable country.

The Right of the will of Somaliland people should be fulfilled, he added. He also asked Ambassadors of the Foreign Diplomatic Missions in Islamabad to look closely this unresolved issue and request their respective Governments to act now.

Shafiq Qureshi said that Somaliland`s claims to sovereignty rests on this former status.

And this credit goes to the present ruling Government in making Somaliland stable, peaceful and progressing country, he added.

He urged the Pakistan Government to support in establishing a Somaliland Trade Office in Islamabad in a bid to achieve goal of improving commercial relations for both the countries.

After a war with Somalia the main part of the territory declared its independence as the Republic of Somaliland on May 18, 1991.

A fact finding mission led by African Union which visited The Republic of Somaliland early 2005 published a report in which favorable consideration for recognizing Somliland`s independence was strongly recommended.


Somaliland elections: Observers welcome announcement of June date for presidential poll

May 17th, 2010

Progressio and the UK-based team coordinating election observers for the delayed presidential elections in the internationally unrecognised Republic of Somaliland today welcome the recent announcement by the country’s National Electoral Commission that the vote has officially been scheduled for 26 June 2010.

Progressio, the Development Planning Unit at University College London (UCL) and Somaliland Focus UK say: “After a string of delays since the election was first called, we welcome the NEC’s announcement of the date and the decree signed yesterday (16 May) by the country’s President Daahir Rayaale Kaahin which confirms the vote will now go ahead on 26 June.”

Due to disputes around the voter registration process Somaliland’s planned poll was continually pushed back. The election observers team notes that the situation on the ground has improved considerably in recent months. In September 2009, all three of Somaliland’s political parties signed a six-point agreement which paved the way for a resolution to the electoral stalemate. It included a guarantee from the existing government that a further extension of office would not be sought and that the disputed and delayed process of voter registration would recommence.

The agreement was subsequently approved by Somaliland’s upper house, the Guurti (House of Elders). In addition, all parties signed a code of conduct for the election campaign, as did domestic Somaliland media. A memorandum of understanding has also been signed between the international election observation team and the NEC.

The observation team notes: “These developments have dramatically improved the relationship between the NEC and the donors who are providing funding and technology for the voter registration process and the election itself. We are heartened by what has been remarkable progress on many of the key issues; we are keen to take our observation mission forward – even though the timeframe for completing all necessary logistics to ensure a free and fair election campaign, especially security aspects, is tight.”

Progressio’s Country Manager in Somaliland, Dr Adan Abokor, said: “At long last the people of Somaliland have a clear timetable for this presidential vote which will come as a relief to many. We commend the commitment shown by the national government, political parties, the media and the NEC to replicating the success of previous elections – and to the democratic process as a whole. We urge all stakeholders to come together to ensure a legitimate, free and fair presidential poll and consolidate Somaliland’s legitimacy as a democratic entity in one of the world’s most troubled regions.”

Notes to Editors

1. For further information or to arrange an interview with a member of the coordination team, contact Progressio’s Media Officer, Jo Barrett, on +44 (0)7940 703911 or email jo@progressio.org.uk

2. Somaliland’s Presidential elections have been repeatedly delayed. The poll has previously been scheduled for March/April 2008, December 2008, March 2009 and September 2009.

3. Somaliland is situated in Somalia’s northwest. It declared unilateral independence from the failed Somali state in 1991 and has since been a haven of relative peace whilst violence and instability has characterised Somalia, its capital Mogadishu and more recently the Gulf of Aden.

4. Progressio’s involvement in the mission follows its leadership of the international observation team for Somaliland’s inaugural parliamentary elections in 2005, judged by observers as “basically free and fair”.

5. Progressio has been working with local communities in Somaliland since 1995 by placing skilled workers with local organisations specialising in advocating for the rights of women, youth and people with disabilities as well as supporting basic health service provision and people living with HIV and AIDS. Progressio also actively supports progress towards democratisation and stabilising the country.

6. The Development Planning Unit (DPU) is an international centre specialising in academic teaching, practical training, research and consultancy in the field of urban and regional development, planning, and management. DPU is part of University College London (UCL).

7. Somaliland Focus (UK) was established in London in 2005 with the aim of helping to raise awareness amongst decision-makers in the UK and elsewhere about the territory of Somaliland and to support Somaliland’s progress towards state-building and social and economic development.


Laas Geel: Somaliland's ancient treasure

by Sean McLachlan on May 17th 2010. http://www.gadling.com/2010/05/17/laas-geel-somalilands-ancient-treasure/

Before becoming a writer I worked as an archaeologist, and one of the things that inspired me to choose that profession was the beautiful cave art of Europe--places like Lascaux, Altamira, Chauvet, and so many others.

One of the things that inspired me to go to Somaliland was the recently discovered painted caves of Laas Geel. The paintings are being studied by Sada Mire, Somaliland's head archaeologist. She dates these paintings to the Neolithic period, when pastoral peoples tended their herds in a landscape that was greener than the dry, stony plain that makes up much of Somaliland nowadays.

The art seems to have been made over time, with some figures painted over earlier ones. Dr. Mire estimates they could be anywhere from 5,000 to 11,000 years old. Dating rock art is extremely difficult, especially since so little has been studied in this region. Dr. Mire is the first ever Somali archaeologist, and one of the first to seriously study the Somali region.

Laas Geel is a little more than an hour drive northeast of the Somaliland capital Hargeisa. Foreigners venturing outside the capital are asked to hire a soldier or policeman to protect them. While this is a mostly peaceful country, the government doesn't want any bad press, and a couple of foreigners have been killed in recent years. So one fine morning I head out with a hired car, our driver, a Kalashnikov-toting bodyguard, Swedish photojournalist Leo Stolpe, and Ali, Dr. Mire's assistant from the Department of Antiquities.

A short drive along a well-paved road and we make our first stop to see some other relics of Somaliland's past. Right next to the road is a rusting old Soviet-made tank, destroyed during the war of independence. There used to be many more of them scattered around the country but most have been hauled away for scrap. This one remains and has become a local landmark.

Ali is more interested in a rocky hill nearby. He leads us up the slope under a strong mid-morning sun and shows us two heaps of small stones. To the untrained eye they look like nothing, but I can see they aren't natural.

The painted caves of Laas Geel..."What are these? Cairns?" I ask.

"Yes," Ali replies. "Graves from the pre-Islamic times."

One of them is about ten feet in diameter and consists of thousands of fist-sized stones. I wonder who is buried here, and what they did to deserve such an expense of labor.

Soon we're speeding along the highway again. It's not long before we turn off onto a dirt track. The Landcruiser jolts and crashes across deep pits and humps. Through the scrub we can see a herd of camels and the low dome of a nomad's hut. It's taken less than a minute to leave the twenty-first century behind. After a short ride we make it to a gate. Beyond is a small concrete building and behind that is a rocky hill. We're here.

The Department of Antiquities doesn't have much money, so one of the most impressive rock art sites in the world has no grandiose museum, no visitor's center, not even a guy selling tickets. Well, we do have to pay to get enter, but we don't get a ticket. Considering the precarious situation this unrecognized nation is in and the long list of important projects it needs to fund, it's a small miracle there's a Department of Antiquities at all.

The painted caves of Laas Geel are actually rock shelters. Nine of them dot the hill on all sides, and while their depth provides them with ample protection from the sun and the occasional rainfall, they offer sweeping views of the surrounding countryside. These aren't hidden, secret places like the painted caves of Paleolithic Europe.

That makes them no less mysterious. Ali leads us up the hill while the guard and driver go off to enjoy a local swimming hole. As we enter the first of the rock shelters we're all stopped dead with wonder. Somaliland's past, which to me had only been some flint tools and half a dozen dry academic articles, suddenly explodes into full color. The entire interior of the shelter is covered with figures. There are hundreds of them, mostly cows of various sizes. Some are schematic outlines, others are drawn in elaborate detail. Humans stand in between with their arms upraised as if in worship. A few tiny hunters run amidst the herds.

There are other animals too, antelope and dogs and a giraffe, but the cows predominate. This is the art of a pastoral people, as many Somalis still are. The nomads we passed just a mile back would probably draw the same images if they could pluck up the courage to enter the shelter. Somali folklore teaches that spirits hide within these shelters and possess whoever enter, although that wasn't enough to stop a group of fighters during the civil war from burying one of their comrades in a niche at one side of the cave.

Ali leads us scrambling over the hillside to find more shelters. Each one is covered in artwork. Some of the stones have been painted completely red. The pigment is made from mineral sources and brewed into a paste that sticks to the rock better than plaster. This, and the dry climate, is the reason the paintings have lasted so long. But now that they've been discovered, armed guards have been posted to keep the art from being chipped off and sold on the international antiquities market.

The animals are beautiful and seem to fall within three main types: simple red figures, small and cruder white figures, and more elaborate drawings of cows that show decoration on the neck that reminds me of the personal marks the dealers at a Somali camel market put on their animals.

But the human figures attract me the most. Were these real people? Ancestors? Generalized drawings of the whole clan? It's hard to tell, but it's obvious they're worshiping the most important thing in their lives--their cattle. A German archaeologist I worked with who was fortunate enough to visit Lascaux caves in France once told me, "It's so different from Mayan art. With Mayan art you're not sure what's going on, but with Lascaux you look at the drawings and say 'they were like us'".

Exactly. Although I can't understand the deeper meanings behind the paintings or truly know the world out of which they came, that was my reaction. The ancient Somalis were like us. Their lifestyle was totally different, of course, but they thought enough like us that they could communicate what they believed in a fashion that someone can appreciate and (kind of) understand thousands of years later.

Dr. Mire and her team have already discovered several other rock art sites in Somaliland. Who knows what they'll find in the next few years? Even though Somaliland isn't on most political maps, the efforts of a few dedicated scholars are putting it on the archaeological map.


Somaliland progresses towards police reform

Source: UNDP, May 15, 2010

Somaliland agrees Blueprint for the Future of Policing

The Somaliland Police Commissioner and Minister of Interior have together signed a National Charter for Policing. They are calling it a “Blue print for the future” - a far-reaching statement of Purpose, Vision and Values to help guide the professionalization and modernization of the Somaliland Police.

The Charter is the outcome of the First Convention on Police Reform which was held between 26 and 29 April 2010 in Hargeisa. The Convention was inclusive of all political parties and included participation from a broad cross section of Somaliland society as well as the police, Ministry of Interior and Justice, academia and the three main universities. Support came from the United Nations Development Programme and its donors, including the European Community and DFID, as part of the ongoing police reform.

Speaking after the Convention, the Minister of the Interior Abdullahi Ismail Ali said that the Charter should transform the Somaliland police. “This is about making the transition from a colonial model, based on force and coercion, to a modern, democratic institution, based on mutual respect and assistance. Respect for fundamental rights is a key foundation for that. “

“The general approach aims to unite the police and the people, who work together in reducing crime and promoting respect for human dignity and fundamental rights”. “This is the true meaning of ‘community policing’ and ‘policing by consent’.”

Speaking about the reliance of the approach on international human rights law, the Minister of Justice Aden Ahmed Elmi said, “The norms and standards enshrined in the Somaliland constitution and the Holy Qur’an are the values that inspire and lead our people. They have towering moral authority. This reform shows how well our values embrace many of the international norms and standards developed through the United Nations.”

The Somaliland police force has since its establishment in 1991, struggled to shed its identity as a remnant of a former colonial police. Though it has built good relations with elders, it has yet to engage effectively with the general public to tackle crime, border violations and general service issues. Hampered by old and dysfunctional infrastructure, equipment and poor training and deployment, the police face challenges in winning respect from the citizenry. There is also continuing evidence of problems regarding police awareness of - and respect for - fundamental human rights.

UNDP has been working with the police for the past three years. Since last year, UNDP through the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery has supported sensitization of Somalilanders on the broader changes in role, values and approach which are needed to reflect the Somaliland Constitution and international norms and standards. The process is also supported by the European Union and Amnesty international.

As the Presidential elections draw closer, the need to reform the police into a politically neutral, professional and constitutionally independent police service has gathered momentum.

A public dissemination campaign and formal “Charter” training for new and existing officers at Mandeerha Academy are planned as a follow-up to the Convention. Also, there are plans to establish Reform Units within the Police and MoI and to hold a second National Convention early next year to discuss legislation and concrete plans for accountability.

For more information, contact Mark de Pulford at: mark.depulford@undp.org.
http://www.so.undp.org/index.php/Somaliland-progresses-towards-police-reform.html


Somaliland: armed men clash with police in Sanaag

ERIGAVO (SomalilandPress.May 16, 2010) — Reports reaching us from Erigavo the capital of Sanaag province are indicating that a policeman was shot dead while another was wounded in the village of Yube, about 25-km south of Erigavo. The incident happened after a scrimmage began in one of the location where the new biometric voter ID cards were being distributed.

The new biometric voter ID cards have already been distributed in Hargeisa, Burco and Berbera. Today was the first day that the new cards were being distributed in Sanaag province. This incident is the first of it’s type since distribution of the cards began a week ago.

A police unit accompanied by Sanaag regional authority and elders have been dispatched from Erigavo city and are now on their way to the village.

These incident comes days after rival clans clashed in the out skirts of Erigavo over land disputes.


World Malaria Day Commemoration in Somaliland 25th April, 2010

25th April, 2010

On the occasion of 3rd Anniversary of World Malaria Day (10th Africa Malaria Day from Abuja Declaration) , Somaliland Authority, particularly Ministry of health and labor in Collaboration with Malaria partners has arranged various activities as follows:

• Speeches on the occasion at various levels (regional levels and national levels)
• Drama at national level and regional levels and circus at regional levels
• Distribution of Caps and T- shirts marked with the Theme of the Day(both in Somali and English languages)

This year, the commemoration of the Day in Somaliland were held in 4 regions ( Tog-dher, Sool, Sanag and Marodi-jeex regions). Almost same activities were conducted in the four region s. In addition, unlike the previous years, the media contribution was larger and more in terms of number and level. For example About 4 different TVs in Sool region, 2 TVs , National radio, 2 local news papers( press) and 2 International broadcasting systems( BBC and VOA) in Hargeisa, indicating the importance of the Day as well as recognition of the role media in community mobilization in fighting against malaria.

By and large, the noteworthy performance for the occasion include: Dramas which were not only very encouraging but also were sensitizing tools for the community in fighting against malaria disease. It is obvious, that almost all concerned figures viz politicians, national health professionals, stakeholder and even drama specialist groups of the community participated in the commemoration of the Day, implying the commitment of each group of the community on one hand and remarkable fear of the society from this deadly disease on the other. SpeeSpeeches and other activities on the occasion:

a. Marodi-Jex region (Hargeisa the National capital was the site): To address the importance of the Day and to bring to the attention of the audience and nation- wide the exact aims and objective of the Day, Minster of heath and labor of Somaliland took the floor as a representative of Somaliland government as well as the chairman and the key person of health stake holders in the country. The Minister of health pointed out in his speech about national policy toward the malaria control and full support of the government and particularly his ministry in fighting against this deadly disease. All the partners should work together complying the national health policy at the same time targeting the vulnerable group of the community to the malaria disease, the minister said. The minister continued his speech by saying, the Ministry of health is committed to contribute in controlling as well as in the treatment of the disease. For instance, while he was on the stage.

The Minister authorized distribution of LLLINs to the school children in Salaxley district of Marodi-Jex region, where the he has visited days ago and needs for LLINs has been raised and he promised to arranged those LLINs. This is a positive sign for the high degree level commitment of Somaliland government in general and of MOHL in particular in counting malaria out.

In conclusion; the minister of Health and labor emphasized in the course of his speech that the Somaliland government wants to hear malaria elimination/eradication.

We are now in good state as far as malaria health burden( where year after year tangible reductions mortality and morbidity due to malaria were reported ) and I hope , not only to sustain this tangible achievement but also to go farther till we count malaria out, he concluded his speech.

Other speakers at national level, include the National malaria control Coordinator, who mostly spoke on the malaria situation and the good collaboration between UN( WHO and UNICEF) and other malaria stakeholders and MOHL.

The Coordinator as a conclusion, clearly identified the achievements (capacity building by WHO and supply and equipment for instance) UNICEF continuous support including ACT and RDT, establishment of Quality control laboratory and finally he highlighted the challenges. An INGO, Caritas is a new stakeholders of malaria in Somaliland which has really played an important role in funding in the preparation of this DAY, in 2 regions of the country (M/Jeex and Tog-dher regions). The coordinator of the organization said a few words on the DAY and promised to closely work with existing Malaria Working Group( UNs, INGOs and MOHL).

b. Tog-dher region (Burao, the regional capital was the site): The Regional Medical Officer addressed the issue and spoke about the malaria Day and the extent of the disease burden among the Somaliland, particularly in Tog-dher region, where malaria used to be among the most life threatening disease before the introduction of Act and LLINs. As a regional Health Officer he promised that he will support the program upto his last extent till the malaria is counted out.

As a words of conclusion ,the RMO mentioned that the Tog-dher region will not overlook the support of the UNs (WHO and Unicef) as well other Ah med Hassan Ali (Asowe) Minister of Ministry of Health & Labor Drama group: singing on the occasion.

Stakeholder( INGOs and NGOs) in fighting against malaria and due to effective coordination led by MOHL the current concrete achievement has been made possible.

c. Sool region (Las-anod, the regional capital was the site): The Governor of the region, the Mayor of La -anod city, Acting regional medical officer, FSAU on behalf UNs health partners, representatives of the local NGOs, INGOs and have delivered speeches on the occasion. In addition, a national youth organization, Called HAVOYOCO performed Circus and very attractive Drama which were very much relevant to the malaria control measures and community awareness.

Both the politicians and health partners .emphasized in their speeches, the need for working together in fighting against this disease .Also, achievement and challenges in malaria context were highlighted in the course of the speeches and the commitment of the stakeholders to support the MOHL at all level to count malaria out was underlined.

d. Sang region (Erigavo, the regional capital was the site). As in the other 3 regions, speeches on the occasion were delivered and also achievement and challenge of the malaria control program were shared with the community in the region. The national youth organization, HAVOYOCO, also conducted drama and circus in this region for commemoration of the DAY.

As in the other regions, active role of the government in terms of mobilization and political commitment and improving the working atmosphere of the health faculties to cope effectively with malaria related burden were clearly affirmed.

In brief, the Theme of the Day was described comprehensively by the speakers at the various levels, and disseminated through various means of media. Malaria Stakeholders role in the Regional health authority in Erigavo

http://www.rollbackmalaria.org/worldmalariaday/docs/wmd2010Somaliland.pdf


THET and Health Links work in SOMALILAND

About Somaliland

Somaliland is located in the Horn of Africa on the coast of the Gulf of Aden and borders Ethiopia to the South, Djibouti to the West and the semi-autonomous Somali region of Puntland to the East. Formerly part of Somalia, Somaliland declared independence as a State in 1991.

The health context in Somaliland

Basic health indicators in Somaliland are among the worst in the world with low life expectancy; staggeringly high rates of maternal, newborn and child mortality and morbidity; and poor immunisation coverage. After years of war and underinvestment, the public health system is extremely weak. There is a critical shortage of skilled personnel in almost all public sector health institutions, management systems are weak and public services are poorly resourced. In urban centres, private health clinics are common but services tend to be more expensive and are variable in the quality of their care.

Background on THET in Somaliland

THET began working in Somaliland in 2000 after a fact finding visit by two doctors and a nurse from Kings College Hospital (KCH). One of the doctors, himself a member of the Somaliland diaspora, had managed the country’s main referral hospital before the outbreak of war. The purpose of the visit was to assess the status of public health facilities in the country.

As a result of this visit, a Link was established between Kings College Hospital (KCH) and two hospitals in Somaliland – the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital & Boroma Group Hospital – and the then newly established Amoud Medical School at Boroma University. Initially, the Link focussed on training staff to improve standards of care and providing academic support to the medical school curriculum. As the partnership developed, it soon began to attract attention from other healthcare institutions such as Hargeisa Group Hospital (HGH), the main government run referral hospital.

Funding from donors such as Comic Relief and DfID has allowed the Link to evolve and expand its work to a much wider range of partners including local health institutions, professional associations, regional health authorities and the Ministry of Health and Labour. THET’s work in Somaliland exists as a partnership between KCH, THET and Somaliland healthcare facilities and institutes, a fact that is reflected in the name of the Link: the Kings-THET-Somaliland Partnership (KTSP).

Kings-THET-Somaliland Partnership

KTSP draws on the knowledge, skills and experience of dedicated health professionals at KCH to provide professional support to Somaliland partner organisations. These professionals come from a wide variety of healthcare disciplines and KTSP benefits from the fact that it can draw on expert knowledge from the fields of surgery, paediatrics, public health, internal medicine, mental health, obstetrics and gynaecology, pathology and laboratory medicine, nursing and midwifery. The partnership is driven by the needs of partner healthcare institutions in Somaliland and allows them to identify areas where input from the UK can make a difference. Programmes are designed that have achievable goals and that are able to have lasting impacts.

Active projects in Somaliland In the eight years since its inception, KTSP has evolved to cover a wide variety of projects in the Somaliland health sector. Current work includes:

Helping improve delivery of healthcare services in Somaliland

Supply of the first ambulance at Hargeisa Group Hospital, the main public hospital in the capital city. This vehicle played a crucial role in transporting patients during the 2007 cholera epidemic. Supporting drug supply through the establishment of a Revolving Drug Fund, a source of safe, affordable medicines of known quality that are provided free to the poorest sections of society. Training members of the Regional Health Board to better enable them to manage public health facilities. Setting up a blood bank and improving laboratory and pathology skills and services so diseases can be accurately diagnosed and treated. Incorporating mental health into the training of a wide variety of health practitioners to address an issue which is critically in need of support.

Supporting Health Systems Strengthening in Somaliland

Developing the capacity of health training institutions and health workers with the aim of producing a high calibre of health professionals to work in the public health system by: Supporting undergraduate medical education and providing external examiners for final year medical exams, thereby helping the first doctors in the country’s history to graduate. KCH staff work closely with the Deans of Hargeisa and Amoud Medical schools to develop medical undergraduate teaching and provide support as external examiners. Supporting a two year medical internship programme for junior doctors. Establishing a nurse tutor training programme, an initiative designed to create the next generation of well qualified nurse teachers who will help raise the standard of nursing in the country. KTSP has established a training programme for Clinical Officers, a new cadre of mid-level health worker that sits between nurses and doctors. This type of position has been identified by the Somaliland Ministry of Health and Labour as one that they are particularly keen to develop. Developing the capacity of health training institutions by supplying books and training equipment; supporting key staff; helping review training curricula and providing technical teaching assistance through KCH. Working with the Somaliland Medical Association and Somaliland Nursing and Midwifery Association in their efforts to develop standards for health practitioners and initiate programmes of continuous professional development. Supporting the establishment of the Health Professionals Council in the development of frameworks for systems of accreditation and providing the foundation for regulation in the health sector. Working with government, health institutions and international agencies to inform policy and engage in the development of health strategies.

Blood bank and pathology services

To improve the ability of health workers to diagnose illnesses, lab technicians have been trained in basic techniques for identifying common diseases under the microscope. In addition a blood bank, a potentially life saving intervention, is being established at one of the country’s main public hospitals.

The impact of our work

The Revolving Drug Fund established by KTSP is the first of its kind in Somaliland. It is a source of good quality medication that is available 24 hours of the day either at affordable prices or provided free to the poorest sections of society who cannot afford to pay. KTSP support to medical education helped lead to the graduation in 2007 of the first locally trained doctors in the history of Somaliland; this was a landmark moment for the health sector. These graduates are now working in the public health system – ensuring daily cover on several wards at two hospitals that previously had no full time doctors. Another 75 medical students are currently enrolled and will graduate between 2008 and 2012. KTSP’s commitment to human resource development is further emphasised by the training of Clinical Officers, the first seven of whom graduated in 2008. $60,000 has been spent on books and equipment for four nursing and midwifery training institutions in 2007/8 alone – ensuring that student doctors and nurses have access to up to date information. The competency of medical school graduates working in the KTSP supported intern programme has lead to increased public faith in the health system.

The future of our work

THET will continue to support partners in Somaliland, working with them to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare.

Work with other NGOs

THET and KCH are part of a wider consortium which implements a broad Health System Strengthening Programme, which is funded by DFID. This consortium includes THET, KCH, Liverpool Associates of Tropical Health, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists International Office, Save the Children UK, and Health Unlimited. KTSP also collaborates in Somaliland with General Assistance and Volunteer Organization (GAVO), a national NGO dedicated to working with those suffering from mental health issues; NOMAD, a student led voluntary organisation that raises remittances from diaspora groups to pay top up salaries for health workers, and with international actors such as UNICEF.

CONTACT US! 020 7290 3892, info@thet.org,


SOMALILAND: President approves election date

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress. May 15, 2010) — Somaliland President Dahir Rayale issued a decree today [Saturday 15th] saying presidential elections will be held on June 26, 2010, approving the proposed date by the NEC.

Mr Rayale said he accepted the National Electoral Commission’s decision, just a day after the independent seven-member body called for the June date.

Presidential elections have been delayed tree times since early 2008 due to technical problems and registration fraud including widespread multiple registration. Since then the entire NEC members have been replaced, who since fixed the voter registration list and determined the number of legitimate voters. They also issued new biometric cards that can be used as voter cards and national ID cards.

As well as going to the polling stations, Somaliland will celebrate 26 June to mark 50 years of independence from Great Britain.

Somaliland has also stepped up security ahead of the election as elements of Somalia’s Islamists and tribal militants based in Puntland threaten to disrupt the democratic process in the region.

A report Somalilandpress has obtained said the Northern Somalia Unionist Movement (NSUM) was trying to instigate violence in the disputed Sool region with the backing of Somalia’s Islamist insurgents. It added, it had so far gathered at least 600 militants near the Somaliland-Puntland border.

Somalilandpress has learned the leader of the armed group, Dr. Suleyman Ise [ Hagle tosiye], a Canadian citizen, has arrived in the disputed Galgaduud region in central Somalia to get material and financial support from radical groups. It added Dr. Suleyman crossed from the Kenyan border by road striking separate deals with Islamists before reaching the town of Abduwaq after Puntland refused him an entry to Garowe. Both groups say Somaliland’s democracy undermines Somalia’s unity and Islamic values and those follow such practice are “infidels”.

In late March, the Kenyan police arrested him and two others after they sneaked into the country from Gedo on suspicious of terrorism activities. They have since managed to raise enough money from their supporters in the Diaspora including United States.

Somaliland has far managed to keep Somalia’s radical groups and pirates at bay but many fear the Islamist allied with the tribal insurgents such as NSUM in Sool will try to spoil the process.


Exploring a Somali camel market

by Sean McLachlan, May 14th 2010

http://www.gadling.com/2010/05/14/exploring-a-somali-camel-market/ May 14, 2010

Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, is built on an oasis used by nomads since ancient times. It's been a center for camel and livestock trading for centuries. Hargeisa's camel market, the Senlaola Hoolaha as it's called in Somali, is a huge and dusty field a mile from the city center. Most of the day it´s used as playground by schoolchildren, but between 7 and 12 a.m. the scene is taken over by camels, goats, sheep, cows, their respective owners and of course prospective owners.

It´s a tumultuous place. The men are inspecting the animals or standing in groups sharing the latest gossip. The women have occupied a big part of the field for their own business of selling food to hungry traders. Some have traveled for days to sell their goods. The camel herders, who generally travel without any motorized transport, have been traveling for as long as two weeks and from as far away as the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia.

A camel can cost anything from 300 to 1000 dollars depending on its age, strength, and of course the buyer's ability to haggle. All camels have been marked with the owner's special sign to avoid any conflicts about ownership.

Not everyone can learn how to recognize a good camel, says Hassan, who has been buying and selling camels and goats at Senlaola Hoolaha for twenty years. He enthusiastically shows me where to check on the camel's back to know its age and health. You have to know how what to look for or you'll get cheated, he says. Many camel herders give their camels extra water to make them look fatter than they really are, and only a well-trained eye can spot the difference.

To make sure that your bargaining doesn't affect anyone else's deals, an intricate technique of hand signs has been developed. The two businessmen put a shawl over their interlocked hands, and the bids are communicated by touch. The negotiations usually last from five to ten minutes but can take up to half an hour. The system might seem complicated at first glance, but the logic is simple and easy to learn. Every finger has a number. All the numbers from 1 to 9 represented. One, for example, would be described by grabbing the index finger at the tip. In the case bigger numbers are needed a zero can be added by grabbing a bigger part of the finger. One finger can therefore describe 1, 10, 100, 1000. Since both parties know the general price for a goat or a camel the use of zero is limited.

If you've ever been to the camel market at Birqash, near Cairo, you'll probably notice one significant difference. While in Egypt you'll constantly be followed around by hustlers, in Hargeisa you won´t be offered anything but long gazes of amazement. Here you are the only tourist around and you´ll soon find yourself, not the camels, becoming the main attraction.

(Note: the photos and much of the text in this post are the work of Leo Stolpe, a Norwegian photojournalist who joined me on some of my Somaliland adventures. I merely edited the text and added a few things. Unfortunately, the program I'm using doesn't allow me to put him in the byline. Check out Leo's website for more great photos from his epic travels in east Africa.)


Hargeisa: a capital in search of a country

by Sean McLachlan on May 13th 2010

For a people without an official nation, Somalilanders sure love their flag.

It's everywhere--painted on doors, flying from government buildings and private homes, hanging from rear view mirrors, worn on belt buckles and even knitted into a cap like this barber is wearing in the photo. Somalilanders are proud of their nation and want everyone to know it.

After sleeping off a grueling ten-hour bus ride to get to the capital Hargeisa, I wake up and see at least a dozen flags from my hotel window. I'm eager to start exploring. I don't know what to expect. Somalilanders say the capital is safe, but can an unrecognized government next to one of the world's worst war zones really keep the peace?

My contact in Harar, Muhammed Dake, had assured me, "Hargeisa is safe. Just watch out for two things. Foreigners are offered prostitutes and alcohol. Both are illegal."

I can handle that. I've never paid for sex in my life and if I can't go without booze for a week, I should go without it forever.

I'm staying at the Oriental Hotel, the country's oldest, having been built in 1953 when this was still the colony of British Somaliland. After two months in the Horn of Africa it is by far the nicest place I've stayed in--clean sheets, good service, new facilities, and water and electricity that never go off. Even before making it into the street I can see the government and investors are getting at least some things right.

The Oriental Hotel is in the center of town next to a large mosque, rows of low concrete buildings housing shops and apartments, and the gold market. It's here, in the first half hour of my first day, that I get a lesson about the kind of country the Somalilanders have built.

First stop is the money changer, who sits on the ground with a pile of bank notes around him. The Somaliland shilling isn't internationally recognized, so it fluctuates constantly and hard currency is in big demand. "Hard currency" even includes Ethiopian birr, the currency of their biggest trading partner. You can use it as cash just about anywhere, and every shopkeeper knows the day's exchange rate. One U.S. dollar is worth about 6,800 shillings, but since the government hasn't printed notes above 500, any trip to the money changer gives you a gangster-style wad of cash. These exchanges happen in the open without any sign of worry. The money changers do keep the hard currency in their pocket, though.

At the gold market, mesh wire boxes the size of small tables sit by the side of the street displaying chains, rings, and earrings. Most of these "shops" are run by women in niqab, a full face veil made of black cloth. The niqab has become increasingly common in Somaliland and the Muslim parts of Ethiopia in recent years. Gold is handled freely and in the open, despite there being no police around. At one point I see a gold seller showing a tray of earrings to a customer. The customer walks away without buying anything and the jeweler goes off to talk to someone else, leaving the tray on top of her box. I stand a few meters away, watching and wondering what would happen. Will someone run up and grab it? Will another merchant chase down the dealer and tell her to put away her gold? Or will they put it away for her?

What actually happens is what I least expect--nothing. Nobody touches it, and after five minutes the jeweler finally comes back and calmly puts away the earrings.

When I ask Muhammed Dake about this later he shrugs and says, "Nobody steals in the market. It would mean a bullet, and that would mean civil war."

In Somaliland, even the thieves appreciate stability.

Everyone knows what it could be like. Somaliland became independent in 1960 and a few days later joined Somalia. It was a fatal mistake. Soon the brutal dictator Siad Barre was in power and the Somalilanders tried to break away. Barre's air force leveled Hargeisa, killing thousands. Somalia disintegrated into dozens of warring factions and Barre's regime eventually fell. Only Somaliland was able to create a nation. The rest of former Somalia is a living hell of constant warfare. A steady stream of refugees flees to Somaliland looking for a better life.

Hargeisa is a new city, having risen literally out of the ashes of the old one. Every now and then you spot evidence of the past in a heap of rubble or pockmark shrapnel scars on a concrete wall. Most buildings are new and the sound of countless hammers counterpoints with the muezzin's call over the city.

This place is a traveler's dream. There's nothing to see--no museums, no art galleries, virtually no monuments, there are only the people. Ancient ruins and fine art are great, but in any country it's the people who teach you the most.

In Somaliland a foreigner will have no trouble meeting the locals. In a week I see only half a dozen other Westerners, even the Chinese engineers ubiquitous in the rest of Africa are absent, so I'm a curiosity wherever I go. I cannot walk down Hargeisa's dusty streets for more than two minutes without someone starting a conversation. If I stop for any length of time a crowd gathers. At times I even block traffic. When I tell them I'm writing about Somaliland the inevitable answer is, "Thank you," followed by,

"See how safe it is here, don't forget to tell them that," or,

"It's not like the rest of Somalia. Why don't people understand?" or,

"We need recognition. Then we can get more investment."

Recognition is on everyone's mind. Recognition would provide foreign investors, international aid, and dignity. Somaliland doesn't even have a postal system because the Universal Postal Union won't recognize it as a nation. Everyone uses private couriers like DHL or the reliable broadband Internet available in most cities. And while the Somali diaspora invests millions in the country, international recognition would bring in international organizations and specialists to help with building infrastructure, dealing with refugees, and tackling poverty. Somaliland has only a fraction of the NGOs that Ethiopia has, and few foreign companies. Yet this region of former Somalia has built up a stable nation with virtually no help from abroad. Meanwhile aid money pours into the chaos to the south, to no visible effect.

So as I wander in and out of shops selling the latest electronics, or through street markets filled with shoppers, or watch workers busy putting up yet another building, I ask myself, "What did these people do wrong? How isn't this a country?" It's like suddenly every court in the world decided my wife and I weren't married, and my son is a bastard.

Who decides these things, and why?

http://www.gadling.com/2010/05/13/hargeisa-a-capital-in-search-of-a-country/


Somaliland voters set for polls

- Reuters, 2010-05-13 21:50

Hargeisa - The breakaway enclave of Somaliland will vote in a long-awaited presidential election on June 26 after a string of delays angered the opposition and worried rights groups, its electoral commission said on Thursday.

The spokesperson for the National Electoral Commission (NEC),Mohamed Ahmed Hirsi Ghelle, said the date just needed the president's approval, which the semi-autonomous region's leader indicated he would give.

"I will approve the date fixed by the National Electoral Commission," President Dahir Rayale Kahin told reporters on his return from a three-week foreign visit.

The vote in the Horn of Africa region has been delayed three times since April 2008, which clan elders blamed on problems with voter registration.

The setting of a date will likely offer some relief to those who feared the extended political strife in Somaliland could be exploited by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebels who control much of central and southern Somalia.

The region has enjoyed relative peace and stability compared with the rest of Somalia but is frustrated by its total lack of international recognition as a sovereign state.

The former British colony will also mark 50 years of independence on June 26.


Somaliland needs own plan for climate change

NGO urges combating climate change via investment in soil conservation in Somaliland.

First Published 2010-05-12,http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/features/?id=38942


Drought has exerted a heavy toll on the population

HARGEISA - The human and environmental disruption wreaked by drought in Somaliland, where more than 60 percent of people raise livestock for a living, means the self-declared, but barely recognized, independent state should draw up its own plan for climate change adaptation, according to a new report.

The Impact of Climate Change on Pastoral Societies of Somaliland, by Candle Light, a Somali NGO promoting sustainable development, focused its research on an area particularly vulnerable to climate change, the semi-arid Haud region, which runs from Hargeisa’s airport to the Ethiopian border, 70km to the south.

Combating climate change requires investment in soil conservation, water harvesting, reforestation and restoration of grazing. Candle Light emphasized the need to develop scenarios for the impact of climate change on grasslands, vegetation and agricultural production.

It also suggested a more efficient use of water, and creating plans for equitable water sharing that target the specific needs of pastoralists and farmers; trade-offs involving water should be carefully assessed and discussed to avoid conflict.

Noting that livestock is a source of nutrition and bride-price as well as income, the NGO also recommended introducing insurance mechanisms to Somaliland, whose livestock exports dominate the economy.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a global secretariat, has asked some poor countries to draw up National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA), making them eligible for funding.

But since the territory’s independence is entirely unrecognized outside Somaliland, there is no one to bat for it at the UNFCC. Having its own NAPA would be a great advantage, according to Candle Light.

The vulnerability of the livestock sector was exposed by an import ban imposed by Gulf states in 2000 because of Rift Valley Fever. The ban was only revoked in late 2009, and export certification capacity remains weak.

Unpredictable rainy season

Drought also exerts a heavy toll on the sector. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, it can reduce herd sizes by 60-80 percent.

Consequently, Somali pastoralists are adept at climate prediction and the shorter-term art of rain-forecasting, which affects breeding plans.

"We used to wait 120 nights after the summer to mix the male with the female sheep because we wanted our sheep to give birth in May... but nowadays, in May there are no rains and all the lambs born during this time have died, making predicting the climate even more confusing," said Hassan Jama Awad, a pastoralist expert based in Erigavo, capital of Somaliland's Sanag region.

In the serious drought of 1974-75, when changing rainfall patterns affected livestock and milk production, bringing widespread starvation, tens of thousands of pastoralist households fled eastern Somaliland.

Most of the displaced camel-herding households were relocated to the agricultural belt between the Juba and Shabelle rivers in southern Somalia to lead a settled life based on farming and fishing.

Chief Caaqil Khadar Hassan Ibrahim, 76, father of 12 and resident of Saila, 48km south of Hargeisa, said the rainy seasons had become unpredictable, with consecutive rainfall failure.

Diminishing tree cover

Another development is that charcoal-burning has become a major source of income for 70 percent of poor and middle-income pastoralists.

But according to people interviewed by Candle Light, revenue from charcoal is often spent not on food for families but by men on `qat’, a mild stimulant which helps avert depression.

Residents of the areas where charcoal-burning is prevalent have expressed concern over the diminishing tree cover as more and more trees are felled. At least four charcoal trucks, each carrying 250-300 sacks of charcoal, leave Saila for Hargeisa, daily. Environmentalists estimate that four trees are cut to produce one sack of charcoal.


Somaliland doctors and UAE’s RCA provide free cataract eye and hearing-restoring surgeries

Hargeisa(SomalilandPress, May 10, 2010) A team of surgical staff have donated their time to perform free cataract eye and cochlear implant surgeries through a partnership between Kuwait based Al-Manhal Islamic Societies' Al-Manhal Hospital (ex. Hargeisa City Hospital) in Hargeisa and UAE's Red Crescent Authority (RCA) for the last four days.

The announcement has attracted variant degrees of vision loss and deaf patients of more than 1000 people traveling from as far as Kenya's northern states, Ethiopia's Somali region, the deserts of Djibouti and even Somalia's lawless capital, Mogadishu, as well as all regions of Somaliland.

Of the 1000 that were registered, more than 400 patients were examined, consisting of patients with minor eye and hearing problems, to those with complete hearing and sight loss.

While local doctors such as Dr Mohammud Ahmed Shine, the director of Al-Manhal hospital, performed critical eye operations for more than 400 people. The UAE team led by ENT (ear, nose & throat) consultant and expert, Dr Mazen Mohammad Al Hajri surgically implanted an electronic cochlear implant on at least four deaf Somalis, including Safiyyah Nasruddin, 22, of Mogadishu.

All four deaf individuals were treated through tympanoplasty, by using tissues under the skin around the ear to reconstruct the eardrum and then electronic hearing device was placed behind the ear (external) and under the skin (intracutaneous). If the treatment was to be performed abroad, it is said to be worth more than $22,000 (USD), a prize majority of the Somalis can not afford.

This was first such operation in Somaliland, but certainly not the last, as Abu Dhabi's emir, Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the head of UAE's Red Crescent Authority declared his commitment to improving the health of needy Somalis.

The Emirati team also handed out hundreds of hearing aids to patients who showed up for this free clinic.

Hargeisa city hospital was renamed Al-Manhal hospital in 2006 after Kuwait based NGO, Al-Manhal Islamic Society, decided to fund and run the hospital. The hospital has since performed 10,000 cataract eye surgeries, 170,000 basic medical treatments and the hospital has Maternity services as well as children, general medical units, oesteology department and operating theatres. The hospital has since became the primary hospital for Hargeisa's 900, 000 population.


SOMALILAND: Berbera the next regional telecom hub as EASSY arrives

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress.May 10, 2010) — On April 19th of this year, a submarine communication cable known as East Africa Cable System (EASSY) running more than 10,000 km was deployed in the Djibouti Republic, marking a milestone in telecommunication in Africa. In the coming weeks, the cable is expected to be delivered in the port of Berbera in Somaliland, ahead of the cable launch in June.

The EASSY cable will connect the entire African continent from Mtunzini in South Africa to Port Sudan, in a nine landing points in nine countries including the Somali capital, Mogadishu, however due to security it was instead brought to Port of Berbera, in Somaliland.

EASSY will take on the existing Seacom cable, the first cable to provide broadband to countries in East Africa.

The announcement of EASSY cable in Somaliland has started fierce telecommunication competition between local, regional and international providers. The Berbera hub will connect Somaliland and the landlocked Ethiopia, whose population is more than 85 million but internet and telephone usage is still one of the lowest in Africa (1.2% of the population has a telephone and 0.1% use internet) to Europe, Asia and rest of Africa. Ethiopian experts blame the low market penetration on the government’s monopoly practice, giving the national operator, Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) exclusive rights. However, a report Somalilandpress has received, stated, ETC signed an agreement worth $48 million with Seacom cable to be delivered via Djibouti in March 30th of 2010.

On Wednesday May 5th, the London-based British-American firm, Leadinspiration, Inc. announced it signed a “Memorandum of Understanding, Legal Framework as well as a Proceedings contract to develop a Next Generation Network in several nations in Africa” with members of the African Union and that “the contracts have been approved by government officials as well as for the Telecommunications Associations, pertaining for each nation,” in a press release. It added it would deliver the fastest broadband in Africa to Somaliland first, where it will unveil the first phase of it’s two 3G Networks and 4G Technology by Q3 2010 (see Somaliland to get Africa’s fastest internet – up to 150 MB).

On Saturday (8th of May), a local Somaliland company, Somaliland Cable (SomCable) Ltd announced it was contracted to deploy the submarine cable from Djibouti to Somaliland. It said in a statement (in Somali), the project will begin in two phases, it would pull the submarine cable from Djibouti port to Berbera by sea (submarine cable) and on land, it would run cost effective land based long haul fiber-optic communications networks from Djibouti to Somaliland. It said, it was necessary to have two in case one fails, the other will be kept as backup. SomCable declared it would invest $35 million USD on the project and would employ more than 10, 000 locals.

SomCable, revealed also it was partnering with two leading international telecommunication firms, Alcatel-Lucent, an American-French company with a revenue of more than $19 billion (USD), and Sagemcom, a French and a leader in broadband technology.

It added: “SomCable was contracted to deliver these services in 2009 in accordance with the Somaliland telecommunication law “(National & international long distance – NLD & ILD – Service license agreement for provision of access facilitation, landing facilities at cable landing stations for international submarine cable, bandwidth capacity & co-location facilities)”.

SomCable

SomCable said in it’s press release, that the company was contracted for the Somaliland optic fiber cable for 25 years and the work will begin in the mid of 2010.

It said the benefits of having a local company for this project was:
•Somaliland communication will no longer come under Mogadishu
•Somaliland would be treated as an independent and capable state in the region, and would boost national security including coast and border petrol. It would also greatly benefit international aid agencies in the country, national universities, hospitals, education by connecting them to the rest of the world.
•It would create jobs for 10,000 locals
•The company had both the capacity and financial means and should be inspire other wealthy Somalilanders to invest in similar magnitude projects or bigger.

SomCable also revealed the new cable will create a competitive environment where bandwidth prices will fall, so that service providers can pass this benefit to customers and it would connect the region with the rest of the world. SomCable also plans to deliver the cable to Africa’s second most populous nation, Ethiopia via Berbera.

According to the local news website, Ubaxa Cusub, a Somali company, Dalkom Somalia, owned in Mogadishu that comes under Sheikh Sharif’s Transitional government is bidding for the fiber optic contract. It stated, the company was originally contracted by EASSY however due to the instability in Somalia, the cable could not be delivered in Mogadishu, instead, it was taken to Berbera as one of the landing stations.

It added that the Somali firm, wants the contract entirely which could jeopardize national security in Somaliland and described their motives as a “political force” to undermine Somaliland’s sovereignty by Mogadishu.

The chairman and CEO of Dalkom Somalia, Mr. Mohamed Ahmed “Jama Dalkom”, is believed to be currently in Hargeisa to try to convince Somaliland administration to ink his firm with the contract.

However, local telecommunication and IT experts have expressed concern about Dalkom Somalia, citing a company that comes under Somalia’s lawlessness should not be awarded as it may support and fund regional militants such as Al Shabab. They are worried, the reason EASSY cable was not delivered in Somalia was due to security and same players could also spread Somalia’s instability in this part of the region.

The Fiber Optic initiative in the country is expected to boost communication in the country as well as the region. It will also start new fierce competition in an area that was already competitive and will certainly drive prices even further down, as the region, no longer has to pay for expensive satellite communication.

There are no telecommunication regulatory institution in Somaliland and prices are uniform and adjusted according to inflation and the exchange rate to the US-dollar in cooperation with Somaliland Telecommunication Operators Association. This prices and information are then provided to the Postal and Telecommunication Ministry, however the government does not interfere with the local market. This environment has created a boosting telecommunication sector despite lack of international recognition.

There are seven telecom providers in Somaliland with a population of 3.5 million and all of them are locally owned. Fierce competition among the operators has driven consumer costs down for instance an international mobile call is as low as $0.30 per minute or less, six times lower than most African states. The introduction of Fiber Optic, is expected to create even more fierce competition between the national and international operators. Berbera could also be the next telecommunication hub for the Horn of Africa.

Currently Somaliland telecom providers such as Telesom, Telcom and SomTel provide locals with mobile banking system dubbed “ZAAD Services”, wireless and solar-powered communications. The largest provider is Telesom, according to Haatuf newspaper, it controls 70 per cent of the market translating to $48 million net profit as of 2009. This is due to the low tax rates in Somaliland and the growth of Somaliland community in the Diaspora who continue to stay in touch with those back home.

EASSY was created due to the insufficient supply for telecommunications within the region and the fact that sub-Saharan Africa has the highest level of international telephone traffic per main line in any region in the world.

The republic of Somaliland, is stable but unrecognized, however it continues to have some degree of contact with different nations in the region and the world. By the end of 2010, this unrecognized state could enter African telecommunication milestone by been the first country with the fastest broadband. This could well encourage foreign investors and African-based companies to invest in Somaliland, which could be lucrative for those who want to tap into Somaliland’s hidden resources and Africa’s second most populous nation, Ethiopia, through Somaliland cable.


Somaliland to get Africa’s fastest internet – up to 150 MB

The following is a press release by Leadinspiration, a British-American software and telecommunication company whose been awarded with 4G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) licenses to develop for East Africa. The press release comes days after when Somaliland’s Minister of Post and Telecommunication, Mr. Ali Sandule arrived in Dubai after signing a major telecommunication deal with a European company in Djibouti. According to another report, Ethiopia will also be connected to the fast broadband via Somaliland.

Representatives from Dubai-based Conway Bond Telecommunications, Lead inspiration, Inc, headquartered in London, and members of the African Union have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, Legal Framework as well as a Proceedings contract to develop a Next Generation Network in several nations in Africa.

The de facto state of Somaliland will be the first nation to experience the fastest broadband in Africa, up to 150 MB of speed, as well as the introduction of services, such as mobile broadband, focused on supporting starting businesses as well as to increase efficiency in the established firms in the area.

The initial phase of the project consists of two 3G Networks with special added value services such as Voice2Text, IVR, Hunt Groups, Conference calling, SMS Gateways, calling cards, Varsity numbers, Roaming, Interconnectivity, Mobile Broadband, as well as a LTE, Long Term Evolution network, part of 4G Technology, that is going to start being assembled in Q3 2010, starting in the North coast region of the Horn of Africa.

Leadinspiration is also introducing a whole new set of cutting-edge standards, such as multi-tasking antennas that are solar powered and easy to assemble, motion detection sensors for protection of radio bases against vandalism, interconnection and security for government buildings, encryption for phone conversations via TLS, as well as very competitive rates for international termination of circuits.

We truly believe, technology is able to bring social and political stability in a nation. I was impressed with the level of development within the cellular/telecoms industry in East Africa, competition is fierce but rather exciting. We are bringing in some of the hottest tools available today, like encrypted IP Phones, ENUMs, LTE dongles for laptops, Video Conferencing equipment and next generation networks along with the mobile phones to support them. That, combined with a fresh view, a completely new approach, clear vision, true problem assessment, as well as coordinated execution in concert with the major equipment manufacturers and local authorities. We bring 92 vendors under our wing, ready to start the spark in the local market as well as to empower small businesses and home consumers.

This contract represents major challenges as well as enormous opportunities for us, and it comes to show that not only the “big players” have a shot in coming in.

Small companies with horizontal structures, low overhead and openness to ideas have a chance to collaborate and to be part of a nation’s success story”, – Paulo Sossa-Saborio, President and CEO of Leadinspiration, Inc.

After several months of diligent negotiations, the contracts have been approved by government officials as well as for the Telecommunications Associations, pertaining for each nation. The plans, which include a full-featured NOC, Network Operation Center, will be the facility that will host many activities such as website hosting, customer support, phone gateway for both landline and cellphone call termination / origination, as well as data bulk processing.

Financial details of the agreement are not yet available to the public.

The agreement, signed on May 3rd, 2010, is part of Leadinspiration’s, aggressive strategy in helping establish the technological base needed for developing nations to raise up to the level of other nations in the telecommunications industry.


UAE Red Cresent Team Performs Somalia's First Electronic Cochlear Implant

HARGEISA (Somalia) May 6 (Bernama) -- A medical team mobilised by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Red Crescent Authority to Somalia has surgically implanted an electronic cochlear implant on a deaf Somali lady's ear in the first-of-its-kind operation in the Horn of Africa country.

In the 2-hour procedure at Al-Manhal Hospital, Hargeisa City, the team which is led by UAE ENT Consultant Mazen Al-Hajiri placed the small, complex electronic device that can help to provide a sense of sound to Safiyyah Nasruddin, according to Emirates news agency (WAM) on Thursday.

Saffiyah, 22, who met an accident four years ago, had sustained head injuries that eventually led to complete hearing loss and the inability to walk and control her feet.

Al-Hajiri said the hearing aid will restore hearing to the lady who has been suffering a lot.

The cochlear implant consists of an external portion behind the ear and a second portion, intracutaneous, that is surgically placed under the skin. The implant has the following parts.

Similar case, two more Somali persons with variant degrees of hearing loss will be given electronic cochlear implants by the RCA's team in the Somali capital.

The team will continue to treat more Somalis through tympanoplasty, a reconstructive surgery for the tympanic membrane and bone conduction restoration.


Somaliland — need to be noticed

Mohamed A Omar (Inside Africa)8 May 2010. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/

Keeping the question of Somaliland on hold for so long is a risky strategy that has security ramifications in this age of terror.

Somaliland is a peaceful entity in an unstable region with a large Muslim population susceptible to radicalisation. The longer the world ignores its achievement, the greater the risk.

A better approach would be for the international community to offer Somaliland an interim UN membership. This would put it in a position to consolidate on its democratic credentials, to support the regional peace making process and to deny international extremist groups of a potential recruiting ground.

This is where it all began. On June 26, 1960, Somaliland gained its freedom from Britain and was recognised by the UN, including Security Council member states, within its colonial boundaries. It, then, joined on a voluntary union with Italian Somalia on July 1, 1960. The goal was to liberate all the Somalia-inhabited areas in the region such as Djibouti and parts of Kenya and Ethiopia and to unite them under a single Greater Somalia state – a vision that had brought a lot of misery to the regions in the past.

The union of the two newly independent states was mainly intended to serve as a means to an end, not an end in itself. The political realities in the region and the view of the international community had taken the end away, probably forever. Sticking to the means in the absence of an achievable goal proved difficult.

The1960 union did not provide a national cohesion. During the following three decades, people from Somaliland were treated as second-class citizens and their expression of discontent was repeatedly crushed by Italian-Somalia dominated regimes. Later, the union-state collapsed and Somaliland reclaimed its independence on May 18, 1991.

Since then, the two parts have followed dramatically different paths. The international community launched several peace processes to try to restore a government for Somalia, but continuous fighting and violence have hampered progress. For nearly 20 years, Somalia, unfortunately, does not have a credible government. Islamic extremists control now most of the country.

In Somaliland, meanwhile, a political transformation and a nation building process provided different outcome: a national constitution ratified through a referendum, a bicameral parliament comprising an elected house of representatives and a nominated house of elders, a government elected through the ballot box, political parties, security forces and provisions of basic services. All were locally initiated and locally driven.

However, Somaliland did not yet achieve recognition even though it has a broader international sympathy. And despite various developmental initiatives and a relatively strong livestock export sector, accompanied with a generous inflow of remittances, the country remains poor and unemployment is very high. But the good news is that Somaliland’s claim for statehood is in line with the charter of the African Union. In a fact-finding mission report in 2005, the African Union said that Somaliland is “historically unique and self-justified in African political history” and that the AU “should find special method of dealing with this outstanding case”.

Offering an UN membership to Somaliland would be a step in the right direction. This will send a powerful signal to the countries in and outside the region that aspirations toward democratic process would be supported.

In exchange of this, Somaliland can give valuable support. Its location on the red sea, overlooking the Gulf countries and its closeness to Somalia and Yemen, makes it strategically an important country in dealing with regional and international security. The Berbera Port on the Red Sea and the nearby military base with one of the longest runways in Africa are also among what Somaliland can offer.

Mohamed A Omar is the foreign secretary of Kulmiye, Somaliland’s main opposition party


SOMALIA: Somaliland needs own plan for climate change

HARGEISA, 7 May 2010 (IRIN) - The human and environmental disruption wreaked by drought in Somaliland, where more than 60 percent of people raise livestock for a living, means the self-declared, but barely recognized, independent state should draw up its own plan for climate change adaptation, according to a new report.

The Impact of Climate Change on Pastoral Societies of Somaliland, by Candle Light, a Somali NGO promoting sustainable development, focused its research on an area particularly vulnerable to climate change, the semi-arid Haud region, which runs from Hargeisa’s airport to the Ethiopian border, 70km to the south.

Combating climate change requires investment in soil conservation, water harvesting, reforestation and restoration of grazing. Candle Light emphasized the need to develop scenarios for the impact of climate change on grasslands, vegetation and agricultural production.

It also suggested a more efficient use of water, and creating plans for equitable water sharing that target the specific needs of pastoralists and farmers; trade-offs involving water should be carefully assessed and discussed to avoid conflict.

Noting that livestock is a source of nutrition and bride-price as well as income, the NGO also recommended introducing insurance mechanisms to Somaliland, whose livestock exports dominate the economy.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a global secretariat, has asked some poor countries to draw up National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA), making them eligible for funding.

But since the territory’s independence is entirely unrecognized outside Somaliland, there is no one to bat for it at the UNFCC. Having its own NAPA would be a great advantage, according to Candle Light.

The vulnerability of the livestock sector was exposed by an import ban imposed by Gulf states in 2000 because of Rift Valley Fever. The ban was only revoked in late 2009, and export certification capacity remains weak.

Unpredictable rainy season

Drought also exerts a heavy toll on the sector. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, it can reduce herd sizes by 60-80 percent.

Consequently, Somali pastoralists are adept at climate prediction and the shorter-term art of rain-forecasting, which affects breeding plans.

"We used to wait 120 nights after the summer to mix the male with the female sheep because we wanted our sheep to give birth in May... but nowadays, in May there are no rains and all the lambs born during this time have died, making predicting the climate even more confusing," said Hassan Jama Awad, a pastoralist expert based in Erigavo, capital of Somaliland's Sanag region.

In the serious drought of 1974-75, when changing rainfall patterns affected livestock and milk production, bringing widespread starvation, tens of thousands of pastoralist households fled eastern Somaliland.

Most of the displaced camel-herding households were relocated to the agricultural belt between the Juba and Shabelle rivers in southern Somalia to lead a settled life based on farming and fishing.

Chief Caaqil Khadar Hassan Ibrahim, 76, father of 12 and resident of Saila, 48km south of Hargeisa, said the rainy seasons had become unpredictable, with consecutive rainfall failure.

Diminishing tree cover

Another development is that charcoal-burning has become a major source of income for 70 percent of poor and middle-income pastoralists.

But according to people interviewed by Candle Light, revenue from charcoal is often spent not on food for families but by men on `qat’, a mild stimulant which helps avert depression.

Residents of the areas where charcoal-burning is prevalent have expressed concern over the diminishing tree cover as more and more trees are felled. At least four charcoal trucks, each carrying 250-300 sacks of charcoal, leave Saila for Hargeisa, daily. Environmentalists estimate that four trees are cut to produce one sack of charcoal.


Hargeisa: Revisiting a Familiar Place

Written by Fadumo Omar Mohamed, May 03, 2010, http://www.qarannews.com/

and we do not expect people to be moved by what is not unusual. That element of tragedy, which lies in the very fact of frequency, has not yet wrought itself into the coarse emotion of mankind; and perhaps our frames could hardly bear much of it. If we had a keen vision and feeling for all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. George Eliot, Middlemarch

On Wednesday 29 October 2008 the three suicide bombers launched their attacks in Hargeisa, on the residence and office of President Dahir Rayalle Kahin, the UNDP compound, and the Ethiopian commercial liaison premises. This article is in memory of the many victims who died, and is dedicated to those who suffered terrible injuries, and to their families. It is my own account of being in Hargeisa on that particular day and, furthermore, of being in Hargeisa Hospital on that horrifying morning as the dead and injured were brought in. I just want to share my story and try to shed some light on the hard, empty, despairing, dark agony and sadness endured by all the families who lost their loved ones, and the feelings they will experience every day, every week, every month and every year for the rest of their lives.

For most of the time in one’s life these bad and odd feelings are so stacked against you that if you thought about confronting them rationally, you would not even know how to begin to take them on. Following my own devastating personal experience in 1990 I have been in this same situation for nearly 20 years. I still have times when total darkness falls upon me and, roaring, envelopes me, and then I feel as if it happened today with the world around me collapsing.

In October 2008 I was in Hargeisa, on a brief visit to Somaliland, and I had never been to Hargeisa before. But there I was, ‘revisiting a familiar place’.

I was a young person when in 1975 I last left Somaliland. I had lived in Burao which was my birthplace. After I married a diplomat (see photograph on the left), Mogadishu was home for me; no matter where in the world I went, I always used to return to Mogadishu. My last memory of Mogadishu is of a morning in 1990 of such dismay and dreadfulness that having started as a ‘normal morning’ it ended with my world, internally and externally, going upside down and never subsequently returning to ‘normal’ for myself and my family.

The particular morning that my world, and world of my family, turned upside down, was that of Monday 4 December 1990. I woke up with my late husband, His Excellency Ambassador Hussein Hassan Farah, and our two daughters, Huda and Zainab, who were under 6 and 2 years old at the time, now young ladies of 22 and 26.

We got ready for our everyday routine; my husband went to work and I dropped my eldest daughter at her school having planned to engage in some activities and charity work with some other mothers of my daughter’s classmates.

It was about 9am when I heard that my husband had been assassinated, shot dead, along with his driver, just before he reached his office in the old Somali Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also, I was told that whoever killed my husband would come and hunt for me and my daughters and there was no way that I could stay in our house. My daughter who was in school and I had to be taken to a safe place; my other daughter and her nanny had already been evacuated from our home.

From that Monday I never returned to my home in Mogadishu. I attended the funeral of my husband in complete and utterly hidden identity and received condolences in total security in a secret place, never having the chance to grieve properly with my family and friends. Three weeks later I fled with the two girls to London and joined my family here. From that morning my life, and the lives of my children, never returned to ‘normal’.

December 1990 is almost 20 years ago and I am still picking up the pieces and trying to fix what was smashed inside me on that day. Many times I have found myself combing the shelves of well-stocked bookstores, trying to find something that would reassure me that the relentless despair I was experiencing was anywhere close to being ‘normal’. I found many professional resources on the psychological impact of tragic loss by assassination as well as autobiographies of families whose loved ones had died in tragic circumstances like mine; yet still all that does not take away my pain; even my training as a psychotherapist has done little to soothe me. I have never been able to articulate or explain adequately to my daughters what happened to their father and why. From that day until now they still keep asking me the same question again and again, “Why was our father assassinated?” My answers are still the same: “I do not know”.

I have been in trifling, powerless, helpless situations many times in my life. Being the wife of a diplomat is a very complicated position: on the one hand you are an impartial figure in a foreign country and you should not be a target at all; on the other hand you are in position of danger all the time. At the beginning of 1982 I remember myself and my late husband attending a reception in honour of Pope John Paul II, hosted by the Nigerian Government in Lagos. Outside the event an attacker was shot.

At the celebration ceremony on Egyptian National Day, 6 October 1985, an Islamic extremist forced his way in an attempt to kill President Hosni Mubarak. We were trapped under our seats until the situation was brought under control. People on both sides lost their lives. The annual celebrations always used to be a very sensitive time for diplomats as it was the date when President Anwar Sadat was assassinated. On that occasion some diplomats lost their lives and many others were injured. I also remember when unexpected student demonstrators attacked both our home and the Somali Embassy in Egypt on 21 October 1988. Most of the time in those panicky situations you do not know what is happening. You place your safety in the hands of others; all you see is security officers swooping, whispering, atmospheric changes and scariness, if no more.

I arrived in Hargeisa on Wednesday 22 October 2008. As a volunteer I was to help for three weeks in the mental health wards of Hargeisa, Borama, and Burao Hospitals. I also gave lectures on mental and psychosocial health in the Hargeisa Nursing School and to nurses in the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital.

Wednesday 29 October was a ‘normal’ morning. I arrived in Hargeisa General Hospital by 8am and I had five other appointments for that day. I was standing in front of a blackboard, holding chalk in my hand and writing information about some of the patients; the ward nurses had selected patients for me to assess. When I heard the first blast I thought some of the mentally-ill patients had climbed on the roof and were hammering down the building. Other staff in the room said, “An explosion happened somewhere”. The second blast, louder than the first, shook the building, plunging some dust and dirt down upon us. Immediately running out of the building, we heard great commotion and howling coming from Main Street in front of the Hospital. Then the third blast hit the Presidential Residence which was just behind the Hospital and next to mental health ward itself. Half of the roof of the ward came down. There were many patients who were extremely ill, and they all huddled either in their beds, against walls or, outside the ward, under trees.

By then it had become clear to us that Hargeisa was under some sort of attack. The noises in the street got louder and louder; the howling increased; the street in front of the Hospital was by then full of school children running around aimlessly, and soldiers pointing guns and running aimlessly too. Some of the mentally-ill patients had run off into the streets. I remember my eyes passing fleetingly over what seemed to be another disaster in the making, with hundreds of school children and soldiers with heavy weapons in close proximity; and all I did was to stand in the middle of a world that seemed to have gone mad. I remember turning my head left and right with helpless, unknown and puzzled head and eyes.

In the mental health ward everybody start panicking. Should we have let all the mentally-ill patients leave, or not? There were about 82 inpatients and outpatients who had come for their medication. The latter had already run off into the disaster area. Within 10 minutes the first casualties arrived in the hospital. Some of them were carried in the arms of ordinary people; others were walking-wounded. Ambulances brought more, and other casualties arrived in private cars. Some had bad burns and multiple injuries. Others were dead and mutilated; they arrived in pieces, carried on sheets. I had never seen so much spilled, flowing blood.

So, I share with you all these direct experiences and more, plus my own personal tragedy, loss, despair and pain brought about by a brutal murder which I did not actually witness. Yet, one year after the Hargeisa bombings, I still feel that I have never witnessed a more ‘helpless’ situation than the one in Hargeisa on that day. Somaliland had little with which to respond to death and the pleas and moans of the wounded, nothing with which to stem the flow of dripping blood forming a trail along the route from the place of the explosion to the door of the hospital. And in the hospital what was to be done with the casualties? Leave them to sort themselves into the dead and the living? Yet, in the absence of resources, doctors, nurses, and countless others worked miracles. The demands on the community were out of all proportion. But with determination and passion many worked until next day, non-stop. A fighting spirit was alive and well.

I left Hargeisa with a heavy heart on 30 October, 2008. Although we are all aware that death will come at its appointed time yet the slaughtering of innocents in this manner has an extreme, painful, mysterious psychological impact on the people who are left behind. All the victims of the bombings were innocent citizens who had left home that morning to go about their daily business: the mother who took her children to school but never collected them; the father who had gone to work for his family, never to return. How could anyone be so evil as to cause such distress? Why would they wish to? There are no easy ways to explain atrocities like the Hargeisa bombings, the 7 July bombings in London, and the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York. What is the state of mind which plans destruction on these scales with such meticulous care and forethought. As human beings we are the creators of events, good or bad. We can choose between one and the other.

I flew from Hargeisa on the morning of Thursday 30 October 2008 and headed for London. Since then, reflection on that experience has never shifted from my mind and heart and it gives me nightmares from time to time. I have tried many times to make sense of this heartbreaking issue but this has inevitably reminded me of my own pain and despair that I have been trying to let go for 20 years.

- Fadumo has a M.Sc. degree in psychodynamic psychotherapy counselling and has worked for many psychological organisations in the UK. Currently she is a counsellor for the Kensington and Chelsea Primary Care Trust Psychological Service within the National Health Service. Also she has private practice in West London. Her email is fadumo_m@hotmail.com

- The article was originally published in the Anglo Somali Society Journal (Issue No. 47 Spring 2010) and is reprinted here with the author's permission.


Campaign For The Abolition Of The Extra-Judicial Activities Of Somaliland Security Committee

May 3, 2010, Source: somalilandlaw.com

Many Somaliland civil organisations, both at home and abroad have been campaigning for a long time to convince the Somaliland Government to end the extra-judicial powers exercised by administrative regional and district security committees staffed by public employees, which often send citizens to prison without due process of law. The Diaspora based Somaliland Forum and many other Somaliland civil groups, as well as the Somaliland opposition poilitical parties have, over the years, called for the abolition of these committees or at least the ending of their extra-judicial activities.

Somaliland has fully functioning courts of law and the extra-judicial powers of these committees go back to the dictatorship era of the 1980s and 1990s and have no place in the constitutional democracy of Somaliland.

The illegality of the actions of these committees has been explained in the numerous submissions and press releases recorded in this page. Many recommendations have been made to the Somaliland President, who has the power to stop these practices immediately, and to the parliament and the courts.

The Somaliland House of Representatives passed resolutions and a bill (the Organisation of the Judiciary Bill) which declare the actions of these committees unconstitutional and unlawful, yet as recently as April 2007, 24 butchers demonstarting against the decisions of the Hargeisa Mayor relating to abbattoir fees were sent to prison by the Hargeysa Regional Security Committee without any trial or legal representation.

The fact that the Mayor was himself a member of the Security Committee speaks volumes about how objectionable the actions of these committees are to all tenets of natural justice. It has been reported that, at any time, hundreds of persons who are in detention at the Somaliland prisons and police stations are there on the orders of or sentences passed by the members of these Security Committees and have never been taken to a court of law.

It appears also that these Committees often go into action when citizens may be exercising their constitutional rights of freedom of assembly. There are ample provision in the Penal Code for dealing with public order offences and the point is that anyone who contravenes the law should be arrested according to the law and dealt with by a court of law. No one is criticising the important work that public officials undertake in safeguarding peace and security and any committees formed to strengthen this role are very much needed and have the support of the Somaliland people, but there is no need for any administrative committees sending citizens to jail when there are courts of law that can deal with any crimes.

Besides depriving citizens of their liberties without due process of law, the continuing activities of these Committees have coloured the people’s views about the Somaliland justice system and have damaged the standing of Somaliland. The message of this campaign is simple: These practices must stop, right now.

Every member of these Security Committees who participates in a decision to send an individual to prison without due process of law is being reminded of his individual responsibility. Public officials who continue to contravene the provisions of the Constitution and the criminal laws of the land with impunity are reminded that the time will come when they will be held to account for the offences they have committed agianst their own citizens. Somaliland is entering an election year and all candidates and political parties will be asked by the public on where they stand on this issue.


Somaliland president widens search for international recognition and cooperation

1 May, 2010. By: Wilfred Mulliro

Hargeisa (Alshahid) – Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin secretly flew out of the country on Tuesday for a two weeks’ visit to France enroute Djibouti and Ethiopia.

The president’s entourage included the first lady, Huda Barkad Adan, minister of Post and Telecommunication, Ali Sandule, Director of port of Berbera, Ali Horhor, and the President’s Personal Secretary, Ahmed Mohamed Isse.

Although inside government sources confirm that the Somaliland leader had received an official invitation from the French government, it is still unclear why the trip has been kept so secret.

On his way the President paid a personal visit to the French embassy in the Djibouti to follow up the recent visit to Hargeisa by the French Ambassador and his delegation.

The Minister for Post and Telecommunication signed a major telecommunication deal that will see Somaliland connected to Europe’s fast internet cables via the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) and Seacom. The submarine-cable will also be connected to Ethiopia through Somaliland’s Berbera waters.

In Addis Ababa, the president met officials from the Ethiopian government, diplomats from a number of European nation’s diplomats, before he flies to Paris.

Somaliland has been asking landlocked Ethiopia, the second most populous nation in Africa to use Somaliland’s Berbera as their prime port.

The relationship between France and Somaliland has been growing steadily since this is not the first time President Rayale has received an invitation from the French government.

In September of 2008, Somaliland head led a delegation to France on a working mission.

Recently Somaliland Vice President Ahmed Yasin returned from a Paris hospital where he had gone for further medical attention.

On a visit to Somaliland capital Hargeisa, the French ambassador to Djibouti told the president that France would support Somaliland development in particular education where his was considering giving Somaliland students free scholarships to study in France.

Somaliland and another semi-autonomous state in Somalia: Puntland; are seeking international recognition in order to qualify as independent states.


Child Sponsorship Report 2009, from Hargeisa, Somaliland

May 01, 2010, http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/charity-news/child-sponsorship-report-2009-from-hargeisa-somaliland

Dear Child Sponsors,

In spite of the failure to hold elections as planned in August (due to a misunderstanding between the national parties on the procedures to follow), Somaliland is one of the most peaceful countries in the horn of Africa. However the ongoing drought is affecting the rural people who are mainly pastoralists.

The SOS families

This year, the SOS Children’s Villages Hargeisa has seen an increase in the number of children admitted to the village. Currently, it is a home to 80 children in the 12 houses. Among these we have 53 boys and 27 girls.

Idd celebrations (a festival usually observed at the end of every fasting period) were prepared in a colourful manner. Children from the different SOS families, dressed in new and glittering attire, met together in the compound to sing and enjoy themselves for the day.

Specialized eye doctors from Menhal Hospital (a private hospital in the town), visited the SOS family houses and diagnosed mothers and children with eyesight problems. The report showed that most of the children and their mothers had good vision, while a few were treated for minor problems.

SOS Nursery

Twenty seven children from the SOS Nursery graduated to grade one of primary school. The graduation was a special event where the children performed to an invited audience. English and Arabic dramas were shown by the children, who focused on the theme of ‘Family’. At the end of the ceremony, the best child in academics was issued with a certificate. Similarly, the best parent was recognized. The SOS Nursery currently has 74 children with 54 from the SOS Children’s Village and 20 from the community.

In anticipation of the growth of the SOS Children’s Village a village administrator was recruited to help the village director. At the same time, more SOS aunts were employed to cater for the children’s well being. All the houses now have SOS mothers working together with these aunts.

SOS Family Strengthening Programme (FSP)

The SOS FSP carries out preventative work. We want to help while there is still time to do so, to take measures so that the youngest members of the families concerned do not become street children or meet another sad fate. Most of the children from the families benefiting from the FSP are able to access education and 60% go to school every day. Currently, four support groups have been formed. Community participation in projects for families contributes significantly to the families helping themselves. Success has been realized in three families who have bought land and built homesteads for themselves.

In addition, the FSP in Hargeisa organized an outreach programme on child health and sanitation in the neighboring areas. Similarly, an organizational and capacity assessment workshop was carried out to assess the capacity of the community based organizations to determine their strengths and weaknesses.

The SOS Medical Centre Hargeisa and Berbera.

This year, medical attention was given to over 2,000 children and 9,000 adults in Hargeisa and to 1,879 children and over 1,000 adults in Berbera. Children, were mostly treated diseases included tonsillitis, intestine warms, cough among many other illness common to children.

A Voluntary Counseling and Testing centre has recently been established in Hargeisa in the medical centre and has been attended by many people from the outside community.

We thank you all for your efforts and offer sincere heartfelt greetings from the SOS Children’s Village in Hargeisa With warm regards,

Abdirahman .A. Karie, Village Director, SOS Children’s Village Somaliland.


Hard times lead 21 Somali couples to share wedding

Reuters

The expense of a traditional wedding, especially when economic times are hard, is driving some young Somalis to leave their homeland. Photograph by: Photos.com, Twenty-one couples have shared a joint wedding in Somalia, where the traditional lavish celebrations are increasingly unaffordable at a time of economic slump.

The function was held this week at a hotel in Hargeisa, capital of Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland, and was arranged by Telsom, a telecoms company that employs all the bridegrooms.

The Horn of Africa region is staunchly Muslim, so the men and women celebrated separately.

The expense of a traditional wedding, especially when economic times are hard, is driving some young Somalis to leave their homeland.

"One of the reasons why the youth migrate is weddings are expensive, and I appeal to the community to simplify marriage by reducing the cost," Sheikh Mohamed Sheikh Omar Dirir, one of the area's most prominent religious leaders, told guests.

Read more: http://www.timescolonist.com/health/Hard+times+lead+Somali+couples+share+wedding/1386603/story.html#ixzz0mWk9R2Cq


Journalists sign ‘media Code of Conduct’ before elections

HARGEISA (http://www.apd-somaliland.org/) — Representatives of Somaliland’s leading media houses signed a media code of conduct yesterday governing the behavior of journalists covering the June presidential elections.

The ceremony, which was held at Ambassador Hotel in Hargeisa yesterday, brought an end to a two-day training workshop co-organized by Interpeace and Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission (NEC), bringing together more than 50 journalists representing all of Somaliland’s press agents.

During the 2-day training, the Code of Conduct was heavily discussed, amended and ratified by the journalists. An important part of the training was a comparative analysis on the role of media on the election crisis in Kenya and the key lesson that experience offers Somaliland.

Among the delegates who were also present during the signing the media Code of Conduct included: Somaliland’s Minister of Information, Mr. Ahmed Haji Dahir; NEC chairman, Mr. Ise Yusuf H. Mohamed; Director General of the Ministry of Information, Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Alin (Timbaro); The Academy’s Executive Director, Mr. Mohamed Saed Gees; Senior officials from Interpeace and representatives of the three national political parties.

As part of efforts to ensure objective coverage of the electoral process, the signed Code of Conduct strictly prohibits from Somaliland’s local media to disseminate any information that may hinder and challenge the smooth implementation of the upcoming elections.

Speaking at the concluding ceremony, the Minister of Information, Mr. Haji Dahir praised the country’s major media outlets for signing the code and suggested that all work towards its realization prior to and during the upcoming elections.

Chairman of the United Somaliland Journalists, Mr. Abdilah Mohamed Dahir, who also spoke at the conclusion of the ceremony, stated that, as journalists, they will implement the code and will avoid playing any negative role in the upcoming presidential election which may subsequently destabilize the country.

Finally, NEC spokesman, Mr. Mohamed Hirsi (Geele) stated that they will soon nominate a commission that will monitor the implementation of the code of conduct.

A fortnight ago, the same journalists attended a 5-day training also co-organized by Interpeace and NEC in Addis-Ababa, where the same code of conduct was introduced and rectified for Ethiopia’s May parliamentary elections.

Any one found of preaching the code could see their license been stripped of by the government, where as, more serious violations could result in criminal charges, resulting in fines or prison terms.

Written by: Adnan Abdi Hassan


Election officials back June poll in Somaliland

By Hussein Ali Noor. HARGEISA, April 28 (Reuters) - Somaliland's presidential elections slated for June were given a stamp of approval on Wednesday by the breakaway enclave's election commission. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) said it had completed a voter registration list that corrected many errors, which had been the reason given by clan elders for repeatedly extending the term of President Dahir Riyale Kahin. "We have a sound voter registration list with which we can hold a presidential election in June 2010," NEC spokesman Mohamed Ahmed Hirsi Ghelle told a news conference. "All correction of errors in the voter system has been completed."

Ghelle said the list had 1.1 million people on it and was acceptable for the long-awaited election. He said the list would be refined again in May.

Somaliland -- which has sought international recognition as sovereign state -- is governed by the opposition-led House of Representatives, which is elected by the people, and an upper house comprised of senior clan elders.

Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace compared with the rest of Somalia, which has been mired in conflict since 1991. But repeated delays to the presidential poll have worried rights groups and donors, as well as angering the opposition.

Analysts fear extended political strife in Somaliland could be exploited by the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group which controls much of central and southern Somalia.

In September, clan elders voted to extend the president's term on condition that a voter list be finalised. It was the third time since April 2008 his mandate had been prolonged. (Writing by Jeremy Clarke; Editing by David Clarke)


Ethiopia keen to further enhance existing relations with Somaliland: Pres. Girma

April 27, 2010 (http://www.waltainfo.com) -- President Girma Woldegiorgis said Ethiopia is desirous to further strengthen existing relations with Somaliland.

President Girma made the statement here on Monday while holding talks with Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin.

According to a senior government official, Girma said encouraging development is being registered in the country. President Dahir Rayale Kahin on his part briefed President Girma on existing peace and stability in Somaliland.

He said encouraging development is being registered in the social and economic sectors in Somaliland.

Relations with neighbouring states and Somaliland is getting strengthened from time to time, he said.

President Dahir Rayale Kahin also lauded Ethiopia's contribution in the ongoing efforts to maintain peace in Somalia. (ENA)


Rains displace hundreds in Somaliland

HARGEISA, 27 April 2010 (IRIN) - At least 200 families have been displaced and 185 houses destroyed following heavy rains and strong winds, which also killed six people in Hargeisa, capital of the semi-autonomous Somaliland region, officials said.

Some 2,500 people have been displaced in all, according to the Red Crescent. The worst-affected areas were the southern Hargeisa districts of Ahmed Dhagah, Mohamed Moge and Mohamoud Haybe.

"One of my sister's children aged about six passed away when the house fell on him," Fathiya Omar, a resident of Sinai settlement in Hargeisa's Ahmed Dhagah District, told IRIN.

"At about two in the afternoon, on [23 April], we suddenly saw something like a dark cloud covering our whole settlement. Within minutes, it had taken all our houses' roofs off," Hodo Ahmed, 25, who lives in the October settlement of Mohamoud Haybe District, said.

About 94 families are displaced in Ahmed Dhagah, the district commissioner, Khadar Yusuf Ali, said.

Officials are worried there could be further displacement in the Dami Dam Internally Displaced Persons settlement, in Hargeisa, due to continuing rains.

"Our houses are full of water," Asha Mohamoud, said in Dami Dam.

According to the Ministry of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Re-integration, household items and plastic tents worth US$35,000 have been distributed. The UN World Food Programme has also supplied food aid to the affected.

Some residents complained of a lack of assistance, however. "I am a mother of 12 and for the last two nights we have slept outside. We have not received any help... we are waiting for Allah's support," Nimo Hassan told IRIN on 26 April.


Riyaale secretly flies to Djibouti, Ethiopia and France

23 April 2010, http://www.somalilandglobe.com/1167/riyaale-secretly-flies-to-djibouti-ethiopia-and-france/

President Dahir Rayale Kahin has flown out off the country yesterday to the Djibouti Republic for a surprise visit to the Red Sea nation, Ethiopia and France.

The president was accompanied by the first lady, Huda Barkad Adan, minister of Post and Telecommunication, Ali Sandule, Director of port of Berbera, Ali Horhor, and the President’s Personal Secretary, Ahmed Mohamed Isse.

It is unclear why the trip has been kept so secret but according to a source close to the government the president received an official invitation from the French government.

He will stop by Djibouti to pay a personal visit to the French embassy in the Djibouti to follow up the recent visit to Hargeisa by the French Ambassador and his delegation.

While in Djibouti, the Minister of Post and Telecommunication will also sign a major telecommunication deal that will see Somaliland connected to Europe’s fast internet cables via the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) and Seacom. The submarine-cable will also be connected to Ethiopia through Somaliland’s Berbera waters.

The president will then fly to Addis Ababa, where he will meet officials from the Ethiopian government, diplomats from a number of European nations, before he flies to Paris.

A local analyst believes the president and his team might also meet with French investors and might sign a major contract worth $700-million USD with Bolloré Africa Logistics to manage the port of Berbera. He added that, president Rayale will also discuss the issue of the port with the Ethiopians leaders.

Somaliland has been pushing landlocked Ethiopia, the second most populous nation in Africa to use it’s Berbera as their prime port. Bolloré Africa Logistics has held a separate meeting with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia in December of 2009.

Vice President Ahmed Yasin, who just returned from a Paris hospital after falling ill saluted the president as he jetted off to the Red Sea nation of Djibouti.

While visiting Hargeisa, the French ambassador to Djibouti on Saturday, told the president, that France would support development in Somaliland in particular in education. He cited his country will consider giving Somaliland students free scholarships to study in France.

This is not the first time President Rayale has received an invitation from the French government, in September of 2008, he led a delegation to France on a working mission. However, the President is leading a very different team this time, his Foreign Minister, is already in Addis Ababa after Somaliland was invited to a summit of Ambassadors and diplomats spearheaded by Romania, the intermediate chairman.

According to the government radio, Radio Hargeisa, Abdullahi Mohamed Dualeh, will address the diplomats from leading European, American, African and Asian countries gathering in the Ethiopian capital. He will make a case of Somaliland’s quest for international recognition and might win new friends. The president’s visit will last about two weeks.


Somaliland's Presidential Election Assumes Growing Priority as Major Powers Sense Strategic Urgency

Written by Defense&Foreign Afairs, Apr 21, 2010, Volume XXVIII, No. 23, April 21, 2010. Special Report

Somaliland's Presidential Election Assumes Growing Priority as Major Powers Sense Strategic Urgency of the Horn Situation

Analysis. From GIS Station Hargeisa, and other sources in the region. Somaliland's delayed Presidential election is back on track after a period of active foreign interference to manipulate the electoral rolls, and is expected to take place before the end of 2010. The issue has assumed a significantly-increased profile within the US State Department and other foreign governments as security concerns mount in neighboring Somalia and, across the Bab el-Mandeb, in Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula.

The US took the unprecedented step, in March 2010, of inviting a major delegation of Cabinet members and officials from the Republic of Somaliland to Washington for a series of talks on the country's future. The move was tantamount to de facto recognition of Somaliland's sovereign status, something which the Egyptian Government and the Arab League, under Secretary-General (and Egyptian Presidential hopeful) Amr Moussa have ensured had not happened through the African Union (AU).

The US step, and the fact that Yemen - which had earlier refused recognition to Somaliland - has now itself opened a discreet diplomatic mission in Hargeisa, are signs that the Egyptian position on Somaliland is beginning to crumble. Significantly, Iranian moves, supported by Egypt, to hint that Somaliland was about to receive diplomatic recognition from Israel have, despite significant publicity, been seen to have been canards to mobilize support for Somaliland's continued isolation.

Ironically, Egypt's desire to see all Red Sea access cut to Ethiopian traders - a move designed to somehow weaken Ethiopia and its potential to cut off the headwaters of the Blue Nile, Egypt's lifeline1 - has backfired, placing Egypt on the side of Iranian expansion down through the Arabian Peninsula and into the Horn.2 Extract from Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis 2 April 21, 2010 D&FA Confidential © 2010 Global Information System, ISSA

The situation was not helped when the Government was forced to postpone the Presidential elections, in large part due to the corruption of voter registration records by an external group, run by international financier George Soros.3

Getting the electoral rolls and the election process back on track, and ensuring transparency and credibility for the process, has, as a result, clearly been a priority for the Government, the opposition parties, and the international community spearheaded by the US, the UK, and some European Union (EU) countries.

The election was postponed more than once as a result of lack of preparation on the part of the three national political parties - the ruling party (Unity of Democratic Alliance: UDUB) and the two opposition parties, KULMIYE and UCID - and because of an internationally-financed Voter Registration List which was found to be seriously flawed and unusable.

The international community - mainly the EU, led by the UK - unwittingly initially gave credibility to the opposition because of the delays, blaming the Government, and exerting pressure on the UDUB Government. The US State Department's Africa Bureau reversed this trend by firmly supporting a realistic locally-determined and reasonable intra-party compromise which postponed the election so that it could be held after a Voter Registration acceptable to the parties could be restored.

However, EU diplomats - and particularly some UK officials, applying discreet pressure while the UK Government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown is distracted by the forthcoming Parliamentary election in the UK - have continued putting pressure on Somaliland's National Electoral Commission (NEC) to declare an election date while there has been no sign of the emergence of an agreed-on Voter Registration List.

A US observer noted: "It seems that the Europeans are oblivious to the dangers which surround this whole process. It seems that the Europeans have outdone the Americans in demanding ‘democracy' without looking at the realities of whether democracy could be achieved absent sound voter lists, and without paying any regard for the consequences for stability in the Horn of Africa and Red Sea. This is too significant an area for world trade and security to allow Somaliland to be destabilized at this point; that would be profoundly damaging to regional and global security interests."

The three parties competing for the presidency have dramatically-varied experience, which has also led to some caution by regional and US observers as to the wisdom of pushing for elections before the proper voter registration and voter education has been undertaken.

The ruling party, UDUB, was established by the founding president the late Mohamed Ibrahim Egal and now led by his (then) vice-president Dahir Riyale Kahin, who was elected to the Presidency by a popular vote in 2003. The party, known for its liberal tradition and pro-Western posture, has been in power since its establishment and as such is the only political organization in Somaliland which has had practical experience in government.

The main opposition party, Kulmiye4, was created hastily after the death of Pres. Egal so that its leader, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, could run for the presidency in 2003. He lost the election, which was deemed fair and free, to Pres. Kahin. The party's membership is mainly drawn from one of the three major Isaac sub-clans which constitute the majority of the Somaliland population and as such is narrowly-based and lacks wide political support from the non-Isaac clans in the western and eastern regions of the country. Further, because of its relentless quest for popular support, at any price, the party has co-opted a group of known Islamists who came either from political organizations which failed to be recognized as political parties or splintered from other parties and organizations. Of recent however, the party became top heavy with known members of said group. They include:
1. Abdul-Aziz Samaale, the first deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.
2. Dr (of medicine) Mohamed Abdi Gaboose, major political advisor to Mr Silanyo.
3. Eng. Mohamed Hashi Elmi, political advisor.

These men in Kulmiye, and many others who are less visible but hold important policy positions in the party structure, believe that the Somaliland Constitution should be abandoned, and that the nation should be ruled by Qur'anic law. In this regard, Kulmiye is supportive of Islamic extremists such al-Shabaab in neighboring Somalia. Some Kulmiye officials have said that they believe that democracy was a Western conspiracy to destroy the Islamic world. As such they see the US and other Western democracies as the enemy.

One Kulmiye source in Hargeisa told GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs: "Many in the party are marking their time, hoping that Silanyo - who is ageing - will either die soon (preferably if he wins the Presidential election), or will retire after the election if he loses." Fearing the advent of such a scenario, a seasoned Horn of Africa strategic analyst expressed concern about the possibility of Kilmiye taking power in Hargeisa, with its unpredictable ramifications for Somaliland's quest for international recognition and for the stability of the region.

Mr Silanyo - who visited Washington, DC, in late 2009 - is known to be a pan-Somalist. In other words, he is known to be against the concept of a sovereign Republic of Somaliland, and in favor of returning Somaliland to the union with the former Italian Somaliland, including Puntland. There is widespread belief that if he was elected, and pushed for a return to the old union of Somalia, then Somaliland itself could break down into civil war, and, in that respect, make the now-stable Republic much like its neighbor, the presently lawless Somalia.

The other party, UCID, is considered to be more of a non-governmental organization (NGO) than a political party, and is solely run by its leader, Faysal Warabe, to collect contributions from the Somaliland diaspora. It has no noticeable political base and as such could only hope to be a tie-breaker in the forthcoming election, but that is not considered probable.

Footnotes:

1. A meeting of Nile countries held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, during mid-April 2010 resulted in Egypt threatening countries in the Nile Basin. One observer at the Sharm el-Sheikh conference said: "There is fear among the Egyptian population that the upper Nile countries [including and particularly Ethiopia] want to control the waters of the Nile. They say this was driving politicians away from signing the proposed Nile Cooperative Framework Agreement." Randa Abdul Azm, the Cairo Bureau Chief of Al Arabiya TV channel, was quoted as saying that Egyptians grow up with the knowledge that Egypt is a gift of the Nile, meaning that without the Nile, Egypt cannot exist. Thus, politicians fear the risk of giving away what they consider Egypt's historical rights over the Nile. The decade-long program to create an agreement on the use of Nile waters, the bulk of which come from the Blue Nile which originates in Ethiopia, was supposed to deliver two outcomes; a legally binding framework and an institution to be called the Nile Basin Commission. However, Egypt and Sudan have blocked proposals by all other Nile Basin states, yet the initiative expires in 2012.

2. See: Copley, Gregory R.: "Media, and Political, Hysteria Over Yemen Obfuscates a Broader, Deeper Strategic Matrix of Long-Term Importance", in Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, January 17, 2010, and "Somaliland Emerging as Key Counter-Balance to Worsening Somalia Situation, and as Vital Element in Red Sea Security", in Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis, March 19, 2010.

3. The Special Analysis report of March 19, 2010, noted: "Somaliland has had a strong elected parliament and government since it resumed independence in 1991 from its dysfunctional union with Italian Somaliland in 1960 to create Somalia, but there have been strong attempts to distort the election process. That subversion of the election process - by creating false voter registration records - occurred in recent years as a result of foreign non-governmental organization (NGO) activity linked to US financier George Soros (who funded the "color revolutions" in Georgia, Ukraine, Serbia, and Kyrgyz Republic) and former Finnish leader and subsequent UN official Marti Ahtisaari. Ahtisaari had been documented by major European intelligence services as having taken extensive bribes from Albanian groups to ensure that he would give the UN imprimatur to the independence of Kosovo from Serbia, claims which the UN subsequently refused to properly investigate". ..." There was evidence that the NGO activity was designed to create a new government in Somaliland which would grant major mineral, energy, and other concessions to the hidden sponsors of the de facto coup. The NGO bribed a number of Somaliland election commission employees when it began the phony voter registration campaign, and the endeavor was subsequently stopped, and a new, transparent voter registration was undertaken to prepare the country for elections, expected [at the time of writing] to be held in 2011."

4. Kulmiye essentially means "unity" or "gathering together" in Somali. The party logo shows two hands shaking each other. Kulmiye is also the name of party leader Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo's son, and was the name of the Vice-President of Somalia under the late Pres. Mohammed Siad Barre. Somaliland sources indicate that the name is also "code" for revived unity between former Italian Somaliland and the Republic of Somaliland (former British Somaliland). Politicians in the former Italian Somalia have publicly declared support for Silanyo because they believe that he would then re-create a united Somalia under his leadership.


Somaliland: Fairland University opens it’s doors

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress) — A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in the main hall of Ministry of Labour in Hargeisa on Thursday for Fairland University, a private university based in Uganda.

The head of the new establishment in Hargeisa, Mr. Abdisalam Isse Farah who spoke there gave a brief history of Fairland University and private-education in Uganda in general.

Mr. Farah stated that the Fairland University is among 22 private institution in Uganda and that it was established in 2001 and has six campuses in Uganda.

He also stated that the university is partnered with other continental leading institutions such as the University of South Africa, which is among the top 20 ranked universities in Africa. It also has linkages with leading universities in South Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania.

Fairland University will be offering certificate, diploma, degree and post-graduate courses in Economics and Management services, Education and sports, Law, Science and Technology and Art.

The Vice Education Minister, Mr. Ismael Mohamud, who was also present welcomed the new institution but warned them they must meet education requirements of Somaliland and that very soon his ministry will be establishing a committee that will review all education institutions in the country. He said all institutions will have to meet their tertiary institution requirements in order to continue their operations.

In August of 2009, the National Council for Higher Education of Uganda issued a notice to the Fairland University accusing them of lack of sufficient infrastructure and human resources and warned them of taking new students.

Fairland University is now part of growing number of private universities in Somaliland including a number of colleges and universities from neighbouring Ethiopia. Despite the growth of education, many local and international analysts question the quality of education in the country.

Other guests in the ceremony included vice-mayor of Hargeisa, Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi, Spokesman of UDUB party, Mr. Ali Gurey, vice-chairman of UCID party, Mr. Adan Mohamed Mire, as well as members of parliament and the Gurti.


Somalia: HIV education taken to schools

15 April, 2010, By: Wilfred Mulliro

Hargeisa(Alshahid)- For the first time messages of HIV/AIDS will be taken to schools in a new programme targeting about 800 primary and junior high school students in northwestern Somalia’s self-declared republic of Somaliland.

“We targeted children for several reasons … every student comes from a family and he will pass the message to his family. Also, they are the next generation at high risk of HIV,” said Mohamoud Hassan Abdillahi, executive director of Somaliland Health and Social Care Organization (SOHASCO).

SOHASCO hopes the messages will eventually raise awareness on how HIV is transmitted and how to prevent infection in Somaliland where an estimated 1.4 percent of people are infected.

“I was only aware of sexual intercourse transmission of the disease, but now I know three ways that HIV/AIDS is transmitted – illegal sexual intercourse, giving blood to someone without checking, as well as using sharp elements such as the knives, used in traditional operations,” said Abdirasak Hussein Hashi, 19, of Sheikh Bashir primary/intermediate school.

The Somaliland National AIDS Commission says an HIV education syllabus is being drafted and will be included in school curriculums by the end of 2010.

According to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), full cooperation of the education sector is needed for policies to reduce the vulnerability of children and young people to HIV to be implemented.

However, in the conservative Muslim Somaliland, the campaign has received resistance among many local people who are not pleased that their children are being introduced to sexual matters at a young age.

Ali Jama Abdi, a father said; “In our religion it is not allowed for children to be taught what is considered as shameful.”


Somaliland Court Sentences 3 To Death For Attacks

HARGEISA 15 April 2010 (Rueters) – A court in Somalia’s northern breakaway region of Somaliland sentenced three people to death on Wednesday and ordered the deportation of four foreigners for four bomb attacks on the security forces, court sources said.

Five people were killed in the attacks between November and January, including four police officers killed in a single attack in January.

Somaliland is proud of its relative stability, compared with the anarchy further south, but the attacks were a reminder of its vulnerability to radical militants.

The four foreigners — two Ethiopians, an Eritrean and a Sudanese — said they were not involved in the attacks, but the chairman of Berbera Regional Court ordered their deportation. Police sources said at the time of the blast in January that an explosive device had been left among milk cans near a mosque in Las Anod near the Puntland border.

Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab — a major rebel group in Somalia — hit Somaliland and Puntland with synchronised suicide blasts that killed at least 24 people in October 2008.

A row has been simmering between the Somaliland president and opposition parties over delays in elections, and analysts said this could trigger a re-arming of clan militias and new violence for al Shabaab to exploit.

But in a surprise announcement on Tuesday, Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission said the presidential poll would take place in June.


Somaliland finally prepares presidential polls

afrol News, 14 April - The National Electoral Commission in the breakaway republic of Somaliland finally is ready to organise the country's second presidential elections in June this year, two years late.

According to a brief news release by the government in Hargeisa, Somaliland's National Electoral Commission has presided over a meeting with the countries political parties, agreeing on the last details for holding the twice postponed presidential elections.

During the meeting, Somalilander political parties signed the code of conduct for the upcoming presidential election. Representatives from President Dahir Riyale Kahin's ruling UDUB party agreed with the main opposition party Kulmiye and other opposition parties.

The electoral commission presided the meeting that slated the presidential elections to be held in June 2010 "after registration of voters list is completed and new voter identification cards are issued," according to the government release.

Somaliland organised its first presidential elections in April 2003. The poll, which was deemed both free and fair by international observers, ended in one of the closest poll races ever seen in Africa. President Riyale won the wote with 42.08 percent of the poll, followed by Kulmiye's candidate receiving 42.07 percent of votes.

President Riyale's term ended in 2008, but as the electoral commission was not able to organise a nation-wide poll at that state, the Hargeisa parliament agreed to exend his term by one year. Last year, parties agreed to organise elections in September, but again the term of President Riyale had to e extended because voter lists were not ready.

Now, however, the under-funded National Electoral Commission has announced it is close to finishing the electoral preparations. It has established an electronic voter registration system and has started issuing voting registration cards to citizens.

Somaliland - comprising of former British Somaliland - broke away from Somalia - or former Italian Somaliland - as Somalia collapsed into conflict in 1991. While the conflict still goes on in Somalia, Somaliland has managed to established the only functioning democracy on the African Horn, successfully upholding peace and stability and introducing its own currency and legislation.

The government of Somaliland however never has achieved international recognition, despite a growing Western desire to establish formal ties. This also means that Somaliland is not eligible for international funding and development aid - a fact contributing to the electoral commission's long delay in getting a voter registration system in place.


Somalia: Hordes of Monkeys attack people at Buro town in Somaliland

Mogadishu, 13 April 2010 SMC, Packs of Monkeys have on Monday raided some sections of Buro town in the breakaway state of Somaliland in the northern direction of Somalia.

The furious monkeys and the residents of Buro have gone into battle the residents were using sticks and stones to scare away the monkeys.

An elderly man who spoke to Somaliweyn Website has explained what has brought the raid of the monkeys.

“It is not something surprising there are some months in the year when monkeys occasionally raid towns, and this happens when they miss water to quench their thirst, but to some people this my be very surprising” said Jama Ali an elder in Buro town speaking to Somaliweyn Website.

To some people it was very surprising and they have never seen such a big number of monkeys’ riding in a town in a broad daylight, some monkeys were wounded and they have as well wounded some people particularly children although they are no serious cases of wounds reported.

The climate in the region has not been lately favorable, and can cause scarcity of water in the bush and has forced the monkeys to attempt all means and ways to get water.


Somaliland Flag On The Highest Mountain In South East Asia

Malaysia, 13 April 2010 (Somalilandpress) – The Educational Trip to Sabah (ETS) which was scheduled from 13 – 20 March 2010 successfully concluded its mission. It was organised by the Student Support Services Department (SSSD), Student Representative Council (SRC) and International Student Council (ISC) with the support from PETRONAS Group Corporate Affairs (GCA), PETRONAS Education Sponsorship Unit (ESU) and Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP).

The objectives of the programme are to familiarize students with the incredible diversity of the eco system, understand its importance and enhance the love for it; and encourage a caring society by reminding students of their responsibility towards the surrounding community through community service activities.

ETS was participated by 36 students comprising 26 international students from 26 different countries including Cambodia, Chad, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Somaliland, South Africa, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Timor Leste, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen; and 10 local students. The only Somali in the group was Ahmed Mahdi of the Towers university, a Somalilander.

The programme started on 14 March 2010 when all participants visited Sunday Market at Gaya Street (also known as Pasar Tamu) and Sabah Museum. In the evening, the ETS group went to Kudat Traditional Rungus Longhouse and visited the “Tip of Borneo” where the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea meet.

On the second day, the ETS group went to Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Matunggong in Kudat. The ETS group was warmly welcomed by the teachers, staff and students of the school. The activities organised were sharing sessions and various educational games with the school students. In the evening, the ETS group departed to Aristo Kinabalu Resort in Kundasang.

On the third day, the ETS group departed to Kinabalu National Park. Before they started climbing at 10.30 a.m., a few participants were interviewed by the print media and television stations such as the Daily Express, the Borneo Post, Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) and Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Berhad (TV3) about the programme. Later, a cameraman from TV3 followed the group to climb Mount Kinabalu. At about 3.30 p.m., the group reached Laban Rata and spent a night there.

The final step of climbing the mountain was on 17 March 2010 at about 2.00 a.m. when they started climbing the summit. The highlight of the programme was when all the ETS participants successfully conquered the peak of Mount Kinabalu at about 5.30 a.m.. History was made when one group consisting of 27 nations reached the peak of Mount Kinabalu at one time. All participants proved their determination and courage to conquer Mountain Kinabalu which stood at 4095 meters (13,435 ft) above sea level.

On the fifth day, the ETS group visited PETRONAS Sabah/Labuan Regional Office (KKRO). They were given a briefing on PETRONAS operations in Sabah. It was a very enlightening session. At 2.30 p.m., the ETS group was invited to meet Assistant Youth and Sports Minister of Sabah, Datuk Jahid Jahim at his office.

On the sixth day, the ETS group visited Universiti Malaysia Sabah and they were warmly welcomed by its Student Representative Council Exco members. In the evening, the ETS group went to an orphanage home known as “Darul Bakti” at Kota Belud. The group organised various activities including motivational sessions with the 50 orphans.

On the last day, they went for a tour of Tuanku Abdul Rahman Park and Sapi Island before returning to Kuala Lumpur with sweet memories and wonderful experience.


SOMALILAND: Court Sentences Seven Yemenis For an Illegal Fishing

Berbera (SomalilandPress. Apr 7, 2010) – The Sahil court in the port city of Berbera sentenced seven Yemeni fishermen each to four years prison for illegally fishing in the Somaliland waters.

The prosecutor brought evidences to the court proving that the fishermen had illegally and knowingly entered the Somaliland waters. He argued that these fishermen had no license to fish in the Somaliland waters. However the defendants said they have a license to fish but they did not show any papers to proof their allegation.

The fishermen told the court that they received a fishing license from a man name Abdirisaaq Qayre who at that time was also present in the court. Mr. Qayre told the court that he has no relationship with these men and therefore did not sell them any license to fish in the Somaliland waters.

Somaliland and Somali coastal water is known to have huge numbers of commercial fish and specially the prized Yellowfin tuna which is one of the largest tuna species that can weight over 300 pounds (136kg).

The fact that there is no government in Somalia and the growing numbers of pirates in the Somali waters are luring more illegal fishers into Somaliland waters which so far survived the piracy activities.


Riots at a northern Somali football stadium leaves many injured

April 13, 2010, Source: African Press Agency

APA-Mogadishu-(Somalia) At least one person has been seriously wounded and several others were injured in riots at a football stadium in the capital city of the northern Somali break away Republic of Somaliland, Hargeisa, about 1,600 kilometres north-west of Mogadishu late on Monday.

Eye witness accounts say that a little while after a football match kicked off, heavily armed police stormed the stadium and ordered fans and the players out of the stadium, because the government did not authorize the match.

Reports say that police used bullets as fans were reluctant to obey their orders and as a result, an old man was seriously wounded.

For the past three days, football competitions arranged by the Kulmiye opposition party have been taking place at the Hargeisa football stadium which the government said was a politically motivated football match which is damaging security in the region.

Kulmiye party authorities however said that they had permission from Somaliland’s Youth and Sports minister whom the police said had ordered them to stop the competition which cannot be compatible with the country’s policy.

According to some residents in Hargeisa, dozens of angry fans have been burning tires and throwing stones at the police since on Monday.

Somaliland announced its separation from the rest of Somalia in May 1991, but the break away region still lacks international recognition as an independent state. The region is relatively peaceful in comparison to the rest of Somalia.


SOMALILAND: Ministry of Commerce Launches New Website: http://somalilandministryofcommerce.com/

HARGEISA, 11 April 2010 (Somalilandpress) – The Somaliland’s Ministry of Commerce announced that it launched a new website as part of its public relation policy.

Speaking to the press, the Director General of the Commerce Mr. Ahmed Dayr Aideed said the new website will enable the foreign investors to easily get in touch with the Ministry and find information regarding the country’s commercial activities, policies and bylaws.

The Ministry organized an official event for the launching of the new website where many officials and representatives of different enterprises attended.

Speaking to Somalilandpress, Mr Aideed said the Ministry wants to reach the foreign investments who are interested in Somaliland. He said both the “Company Law” and “Investment Law” are available on the website so that the foreign investors as well as the Somaliland Diaspora will know the laws before even coming to the country.

Although the launching of the new website has been officially announced, Mr. Aideed said it is only the beginning and more information will be available on the website soon.

This is the first time where an official launching was held for a website by a Somaliland ministry.


Tribal practitioners or State practitioners: Who is the Custodians of Somaliland State?

Apr 10, 2010, http://somalilandpress.com

Every nation there is certain institutions social forces or individuals with the strong level of Patriotic convictions, which act as the final safeguarding and grantor for this nation. In Britain, for instance they have trained civil servants, reputable people from the law, media and House of Lords who are the grantor of British State. In Pakistan, the military establishment is the final custodian of the Pakistani State. In Iran, the religious scholars in the system of Ayatollahs are the guardians of the Iranian State.

In Somaliland the Gurti were designed to be the guardian of Somaliland State, unfortunately the current Gurti in the opinion of many Somalilanders lost all its credibility with the exception of the Chairman and few others. This mainly happened during the dispute between the Opposition and the Government regarding the Presidential Election in November 2009 when the Gurti supported the government which was the on the wrong side on this dispute.

The overriding Political thinking of Somaliland politicians and political activists is in terms of clanism, and this creates a huge problem for the Somaliland State as well. Political Ideas that emerge from clanism often creates conflicts but does not enhance the institutions, ethics and values of the state.

Clan consciousness in most of the cases is a false consciousness, those whose ideology is embedded in the clan context, often exaggerate the size, history and the ability of their clans visa-avis other clans. Another way of looking this phenomenon is that clanism; in any form you put it undermines the state ethos and state functions. Those who believe clanism instead of a state cannot be grantor for a Modern State. The state requires people who understand its functions, committed to its philosophy and above all sincerely working to the citizens of the nation in equal basis.

The forthcoming presidential election in Somaliland is expected to bring about the following:
1. Not only change of government but radical and fundamental change of the entire institutions upon which the current state is built on.
2. A government that provides the Somaliland people confidence in their future.
3. A government that establishes state functionaries and practitioners not tribal functionaries and practitioners as the case is now and who act in future as true custodians and grantor of the Somaliland modern State.
4. A government that is free from corruption, transparent and has a national vision and hence has the respect and support of its citizens.


Somalia: Rift emerges between Somaliland and UNDP

Mogadishu, 8 April 2010

The authority of the breakaway state of Somaliland in northern Somalia has on Wednesday stopped an ongoing meeting between them and the United Nations Development programme.

The Authority of Somaliland has stopped the meeting, after there emerged differences between the two bodies, Somaliland has rejected a programme which UNDP was to implement in Somaliland.

Honorable Ahmed Hashi the Minister for Planning in the authority of the breakaway state of Somaliland has verified for the press that, his government has put off a meeting which was taking place between the officials from the UNDP and that of the breakaway state of Somaliland.

“We have called off a meeting between us and officials from UNDP, because the UNDP has violated an agreement which we have agreed upon earlier, and that agreement was no to amalgamate the donation they have assigned for Somalia and the donation they have signed for the rest of Somalia, UNDP should bear in mind that Somaliland is an independent nation from the rest of Somalia, and there is no one time when our plans and ambitions will be the same” said honorable Hashi.

Hashi has eventually said that UNDP will not operate in the territory of Somaliland unless it abides by the constitution of the breakaway state of Somaliland.

UNDP has implemented number of significant projects in the breakaway state of Somaliland, such as building courts, Police and etc.


Kuwaiti Prince arrives in Somaliland

SHEIKH, (Somalilandpress. Apr 4, 2010) — The son of Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah has arrived in Somaliland on Sunday on behalf of his father to conduct and oversee a number of projects.

His arrival follows after the Kuwaiti emir has built a modern luxury villa worth more than $3 million dollars in the town of Sheikh, in Sahil region, as a family vacation home. In a move to familiarize himself with the town and locals, the prince, Ahmad Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, toured the main hospital in the town and a number of historical sites before visiting his private villa. While on tour, the prince was accompanied by the provincial governor of Sahil and some of the local residents.

While talking to locals, the prince asked, if they needed any thing from the Kuwaiti royal family, on which the locals told the prince that the region desperately needed a university, so that graduates from Sheikh’s famous boarding school could receive their complete higher education in the region. The Prince promised he would convey the message to his father.

Somalilandpress has also learned that the hospital of the town will be upgraded and renovated in the next six months by the Kuwaiti royal family at a cost of about $1.5 million USD. The hospital will come directly under the Red Crescent of Kuwait and will be renamed after the Emir’s own wife.

The hospital was constructed by the Soviet Union in the 70s and was one of the leading hospital in what was then the Somali Republic. The hospital was slowly abandoned during the civil war, no one has since offered to renovate nor provide the funds. It seems now, the day of destiny has finally arrived from Emir of Kuwait.


SOMALIA: Human trafficking on the increase

HARGEISA, (Source: IRIN, 2 April 2010) — Officials in Somalia’s self-declared independent state of Somaliland are concerned over a rise in human trafficking in the region. Children are mainly trafficked from south-central Somalia, because of the lack of government there, says a senior government official.

“Human trafficking is increasing in Somaliland. Before, no one believed that human/child trafficking existed in Somaliland but such kinds of crimes occur here…” Fadumo Sudi, the Minister for Family and Social Affairs, said during a recent ceremony to reunite a girl with her family. She had been trafficked to Hargeisa in February from Qardho, in the autonomous northeast region of Puntland.

“One day, my sister went to school as usual, but she disappeared. We searched for her everywhere but we didn’t find her. Finally, we heard from the media that she had been trafficked to Somaliland and by Allah’s mercy she was saved. We are happy to have her back,” Najib Jama Abdi, the girl’s brother, said.

In January, the Somaliland immigration office in the area of Loyada, along the border with Djibouti, sent home more than 60 minors in the company of about 200 illegal immigrants who were hoping to proceed on to Europe via Eritrea, Sudan and Libya.

Ethiopian Oromian children also travel to Somaliland without their parents in search of work; most end up in petty trade or as street children. Older people, claiming to be the children’s parents, use them to beg.

“The children are used in different ways … and are exploited for child labour in Somaliland,” Lul Hassan Matan, the director of child protection in Somaliland’s National Human Rights Commission, told IRIN. “Whenever you see a child in the street crying and ask him or her why, they respond they are not with their parents, but have been brought in to work.” (Since speaking to IRIN, Matan has left this position).

Raising awareness

According to Khadar Qorane Yusuf, the victim referral mechanism lead person in the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs, the children are initially enticed with false promises and told not to share the information with anyone, only to be later violated.

“With the collaboration of the International Office for Migration (IOM), we are raising awareness by holding forums to discuss the issue of trafficking, as well as debates and seminars,” added Qorane. Information posters have been strategically placed along the borders and airports.

IOM defines trafficking in persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

Exploitation includes the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

Forced into sex work

According to Mayumi Ueno, the counter-trafficking project manager at IOM’s Somalia Support Office, the scale of human trafficking in Somalia is not known. “But [a] rapid assessment conducted by IOM indicated [the] existence of international trafficking of Somali women to Djibouti, Kenya, and the Gulf States, mainly the United Arab Emirates, for sexual and labour exploitation. Moreover, further investigations confirmed the widespread practice of domestic human trafficking of Somali women and children [who are] lured into forced prostitution in some areas of Somalia [Somaliland and Puntland],” Ueno told IRIN.

In 2009, IOM launched a Counter Trafficking Project for Somalia, in Somaliland and Puntland, whose activities include awareness-raising campaigns targeting the local population to inform them of the dangers and risks of being trafficked. It has also supported Somaliland and Puntland in setting up National Counter Trafficking Taskforces.

Challenges remain, however, with the public and authorities not familiar with the concept of human trafficking and the best ways to respond, Mayumi said. “Furthermore, the general lack of social services and issues of culture and social stigma make victims’ reintegration extremely difficult.”


Somaliland seeks to cure Mogadishu’s woes

By Rachelle Kliger/The Media Line, Apr 2, 2010

Cars clog a main road in Hargeisa, capital of Somaliland. As Somalia continues to wallow in violence, some eye a solution in Somaliland, a relatively quiet and stable autonomous region in the north of the country which, while it has not been recognised internationally as a country, is considered a de facto state.

Somalia is suffering on many fronts. The transitional government is engaged in an ongoing conflict with radical elements who risk turning the country into a haven for Al Qaeda inspired groups. The Horn of Africa nation is afflicted by a dire food shortage, inflation and a spate of piracy.

But as Somalia continues to wallow in violence, some eye a solution in Somaliland, a relatively quiet and stable autonomous region in the north of the country which, while it has not been recognised internationally as a country, is considered a de facto state.

The Media Line spoke with Somaliland’s Foreign Minister Abdullahi Duale during his trip to Washington, where he was meeting with US administration officials.

“We are basically a very stable and peaceful country,” Duale told The Media Line. “We have secured our sea coasts and we’re free of piracy. Somaliland has fought terrorism over the years and we have institutions that work. We’re at peace with ourselves and we have great relations with our neighbours, such as Djibouti, Ethiopia and Yemen.”

Somaliland has been clamping down on a spate of piracy that is plaguing the region by seizing pirates and putting them on trial.

“In piracy, we’re helping extremely well,” Duale said. “We have an 850-km coastline and up until now we’ve been very lucky. We have a very vigilant and small group of coastguards. Although their capacity is very limited - we don’t have the infrastructure for combating it - we’ve been lucky and our people are supporting us.”

But beyond that, Duale implied that in the current political and economic climate, Somaliland’s powers are limited in curbing the violence in the region.

“There have been successive attempts by the international community - by the US, the Arab League and the African Union - but thus far it hasn’t been a viable success, simply because they’re not serious,” he said. “This is a serious thorn in the side for the entire region and throughout the world. A stable Somalia will contribute a great deal to us and to the region.”

A-Shabab is the dominant radical Islamist group, which controls large tracts of southern Somalia and parts of the capital Mogadishu. Duale argued that the lack of strong relations between Somalia and Somaliland also reduces the administration’s power of influence.

“We do not have relations or a dialogue with them,” he said. “We have no security arrangements with them. We’re trying to make sure our borders are intact and that our security is not compromised. There are no viable institutions that one can deal with (in Somalia) and we have never participated in their conferences, so it’s a serious problem. There’s fragmentation and problems and we don’t want to get drawn into this.”

“We have been advised by friendly countries to stay out of that, but we wish them luck and hope that what comes out of this process is a serious government that takes control of the nation and provides security and governance to the people of Somalia who have suffered for so long.”

Mohamed Amiin Adow, the chief correspondent of the Shabelle news agency, had a different take on the matter.

“If Somaliland relinquishes its stance of breaking away from the rest of Somalia, then the seat of the Somali government can be relocated from Mogadishu to Hargeisa and law and order can spread from the more stable parts of the north to the chaotic parts of the south,” he told The Media Line. “Somaliland has been enjoying peace and stability since it declared independence from the rest of Somalia.”

“No one is safe in Somalia when it comes to security, whereas Somaliland is a little bit different due to the functioning self-administration,” Adow said. “It’s more stable as opposed to Somalia, but doesn’t have the established security which can fully guarantee the safety and security of its people.”

“Many people believe the security situation in Somaliland is very fragile and can vanish at anytime unexpectedly, because Somaliland has no border security system and illegal weapons are brought in regularly,” he added. “Also, there are more and more A-Shabab sympathisers in Somaliland, so violent activities can happen, like the one in 2009, when a suicide bombing killed a lot of people in Hargeisa.”

The foreign minister said he is engaged in efforts to secure recognition from countries around the world to make Somaliland an official independent state.

“We established a nation state using a bottom-up approach,” he said. “It’s been characterised as one of the most successful, if not the successful nation-making processes that has taken place in Africa and elsewhere. It’s a pity that thus far we haven’t had the attention of the international community.”

“We are a poor nation with close to 4mn people, a budget of less than $40 million, 50,000 security forces including the military and coast guard and close to 7,000 civil servants,” Duale continued. “We’re operating a whole nation the size of England and Wales with $40mn.” “We’re appealing to America and the international community and to countries that promote democracy to assist Somaliland in building its infrastructure and capacity,” he said. “We have been threatened by terror for quite some time and been victims of terrorism numerous times, and we overcame this.”

“We’re in a neighborhood that’s extremely volatile and extremely difficult and we have contributed greatly not only in the regional geopolitical case of security but also in good governance and in the democratisation process.”

Britain withdrew from British Somaliland in 1960 to allow its protectorate to join with Italian Somaliland and form the new nation of Somalia. A 1969 coup ushered in an authoritarian socialist rule for two decades. The regime collapsed in 1991 and Somalia descended into turmoil, factional fighting, and anarchy.

In May 1991, northern clans declared an independent Republic of Somaliland. It is considered a de facto independent state but no sovereign states have recognided its independence, even though many governments maintain informal ties with Somaliland and there are delegations and embassies in its capital, Hargeisa.

As for Somalia, the country has not had a stable government since 1991. A Western-backed Transitional Federal Government was set up in 2004 but Mogadishu remained under the control of a coalition of courts known as the Islamic Courts Union.

Originally the militant wing of the Islamic Courts Union, A-Shabab began an insurgency in late 2006 with assassinations and suicide bombings targeting aid workers and transitional government officials. The group has since made significant gains and now controls much of southern Somalia.

The Western-backed Ethiopian military invaded Somalia in 2007, but many analysts believe this augmented A-Shabab’s military campaign against the transitional government.

The Ethiopians withdrew in January of last year after over 16 months of A-Shabab attacks on its forces.

The Islamists soon regrouped, began seizing strategic areas and launching daily attacks on security forces, civilians, aid workers and peacekeepers. The dominant Islamist group, A-Shabab, wishes to topple the current Western-backed government.

The transitional government is preparing a major military offensive to retake the capital Mogadishu from A-Shabab and various other militant groups in the coming weeks. http://www.gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=352728&version=1&template_id=46&parent_id=26


SOMALIA: New taskforce to check AWD in Somaliland

Source: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)01 Apr 2010

HARGEISA, 1 April 2010 (IRIN) - UN agencies and health authorities in Somalia's self-declared republic of Somaliland have set up a taskforce to check the spread of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), which has broken out in several regions, killing several children and infecting hundreds of people.

In a statement on 31 March, Health Minister Ahmed Hassan Ali said members of the taskforce had been drawn from the ministries of health, water and minerals, and interior, and from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Somaliland Red Crescent Society.

Meanwhile, officials in Sayla district, 45km southwest of the capital, Hargeisa, said at least eight children had contracted the disease daily since 26 March.

"Three children have died in Sayla in the past 72 hours," Abdirahman Sheikh Hussein, the mayor of Sayla, told IRIN on 31 March.

Sayla residents complained of inadequate medicine to cope with the outbreak.

"We do not have any idea [how to deal with] the disease, so we put acacia dye, gypsum calcium as well as diesel in the water," Aw Khadar Hassan Ahmed, 72, a resident of Sayla, said.

Ahmed added: "We have limited medicine in the area yet the disease is jumping from place to place; for example while I was in Laf-lamood [about 1km southwest of Sayla], three children died of the disease and several other children in Bargal had been infected."

Mohamed Ahmed Hussein, the public health officer in Sayla, said the disease was spreading fast due to the movement of people. "Some children are getting infected following visits by relatives coming from seeing other [AWD] patients."

Contaminated barkads

Hussein said many people were drinking water fetched from shallow dams, known as "barkads", which were contaminated.

"Yes the colour of water in some of the barkads has changed and we used to drink it as usual without any problem, but late last month, the seasonal river of Wajale burst its banks and some of the water has entered the barkads and I think this has led to the recent diarrhoea in the area," Hussein said.

Health officials in many regions across Somaliland were reported to be struggling to control the spread of the disease.

"We have been struggling to control the virus that causes diarrhoea in the remote areas of Gabiley, Hargeisa and Awdal regions; we have controlled the spread of the disease in Toon [20km south of the capital, Hargeisa], which so far has the highest death toll, six children dead and 85 others infected," Ali Sheikh Omar, the public health director in the Ministry of Health and Labour, told IRIN.

The disease outbreak follows heavy rains, health officials said. AWD is endemic in Somalia, according to WHO. Poor sanitation and lack of clean and safe drinking water are among the key causes.

"It is too early to say it is cholera because we are yet to identify the virus that causes such diarrhoea," Omar said.

According to WHO, a case of cholera is confirmed when "Vibrio cholera O1 or O139" is isolated from any patient with diarrhoea.

Omar said of those infected in Toon, only six children were still in the local hospital, adding that mobile health teams had since been sent to most regions.

"The most seriously affected place was Wajale, where not only children caught the disease but even adults have reported having diarrhoea; more than 240 people - both children and adults - have been infected and three children have died of the disease in Wajale," Omar said.

Health officials expressed concern that the disease could continue to spread.

Omar said: "The disease broke out just as the people were emerging from the worst drought they ever encountered in a long time; when the rains started everyone [collected] rainwater as there had been a severe water shortage. We suspect that the disease broke out after people drank contaminated rainwater [that had been stored].

"The good news is the [health] ministry has controlled the outbreak in Toon and, working in collaboration with UNICEF and the Red Crescent, we have sent several mobile teams to Wajale."


Somaliland Opposition parties release strong statements on current crisis

Opposition Parties position letter http://www.xogtamaanta.com/page17.html

It is difficult to imagine a situation where the same problem keeps reoccurring, and the same failed solution keeps being applied time and again. At some point lessons need to be learned and the lunacy of repeating the same experiment and expecting different results must come to an end. It is our contention that the moment is long overdue but has finally arrived!

We categorically reject the following demands for:-

1. Creating a new Voter List; election to be postponed again (third time) and a new election date be determined by a new Technical Team yet to be named; refusing Interpeace to be reinstated.

2. President’s term to be extended once again to match new election date.

3. Retaining the current Election Commissioners.

These demands if accepted will lead to the same predictable outcome, that will produce further inevitable delays that would necessitate once again for the president to ask for more time in office, and we find that condition simply intolerable. We believe it is time for the other side to accept his responsibilities and duties to the country and the International community and honor his previous commitments and existing laws.

We strongly believe that the country will be better served if competing political parties are required to meet the same standard and are held accountable for their actions when there is clear evidence of wrong doing as the current situation illustrates.

We are committed to see that: -

1. Elections should take place on the 27th of September 2009 and no further delays or extensions to the president’s term should be considered. This clause was accepted and signed by the three parties when the term of the president was extended last time.

2. Interpeace should be reinstated and the introduction of a new technical team at this late stage of the game is deemed unnecessary and possibly harmful to the process.

3. The existing Voter List which was certified and approved as a valid list by Interpeace and an independent third party technical expert should be used to undertake the election.

It should be noted that the agreed code of conduct (signed by all three parties and NEC) stipulates that once the Voter List is presented to the parties, it should be accepted as it is.

4. The resolution by the NEC chair [with the support of the President] to hold elections without the Voter List violates Somaliland laws and established code of conduct. By consulting only with the president who is a candidate in this election, the NEC subverted existing law which mandates “that any modification of the registration process shall be approved through the agreement of NEC and the political parties”. (Voter Registration Act Art. 1, q).

This ill- fated decision violates the independence of NEC as an electoral authority and has no foundation since there is already a valid Voter List available. Therefore it is imperative that they be replaced with new members who can fulfill their duties without the burden of incompetence or blatant bias toward one entity (the president.)

5. If elections are not held in a timely fashion and according to the agreed date (27th of September, 2009) president Rayale’s term will end and a new neutral body (a care-taking government) must take the responsibility of running the government and overseeing a presidential election within sixty (60) days (27 Sept. to 29 November). The mandate of this body will end as soon as the elections are over and a winner is declared.

Given the track record of this president, past behavior is a good indicator of future actions. Therefore we resolve that it is time to acknowledge the reality on the ground and forgo the illusions and the empty promises that perhaps this time the president will come to his senses, that maybe he won’t renege on binding agreements yet again, or ignore the laws of the land when it suits him.

We call on the long standing friends of this beloved land of ours to stand with us and resist tyranny and the regressive conditions of one man’s rule in Somaliland.

Thank you,

Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, Chairman Of KULMIYE Party
Mr Faisal Ali Warabe, Chairman Of UCID Party
Headquarter of KULMIYE Party,
Somaliland, Hargeisa


SOMALILAND: Court Sentences Eight Pirates

BERBERA, 25 March 2010 (Somalilandpress) – A court in Berbera sentenced eight pirates to 15 years jail each on Wednesday.

The Somaliland coastguards arrested the suspects in January after they discovered the group was planning to hijack ships off the Somaliland’s waters. They were captured with their speedboat and weapons that the court said they were using to carry out the operation.

Judge Osman Ibrahim announced the court’s decision after the hearing that continued since they were arrested. He said the suspects were found guilty and the court sentences them to 15 years in jail each.

Somaliland has been successful so far to combat pirates and to protect its waters from the piracy. Many pirates caught by Somaliland coastal guards are now in Jails.

“Without Somaliland, the pirates would operate in Djibouti and all the way to Sudan waters” Said Somaliland’s Minister of Planning while speaking to a UN delegation. “We are blocking them to do so. That means Somaliland maintains a strategic position in the region” he concluded.


Somalia: Somaliland president reshuffles Cabinet, disbands hospital committee

25 Mar 25, 2010.http://www.garoweonline.com/

The president of Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland Dahir Riyale Kahin briefly reshuffled his Cabinet while disbanding Health committee at Hergeisa main hospital, Radio Garowe reports.

In a statement issued to the press by the president’s spokesman Siid Adani Moge, Riyale made changes in some ministries where the holders including ministers and their permanent secretaries were moved to other portfolios.

The statement, which Garowe Online got a copy, reads that Abdi Haybe Mohammed, who was Minister for Health and labour is now at the Agriculture docket. His permanent secretary Anwar Ahmed Ige was moved to Resettlement Ministry.

Agriculture minister Adan Ahmed Elmi was appointed to the Justice portfolio. His permanent secretary Abdiqadir Jibril Tukale was transferred to Health Ministry.

Ahmed Ali Asowe, who was at the Justice Ministry, is now the Health Minister.

Internal Affairs Assistant Minster Farhan Jama Ismail, was moved to Mines and Water ministry. He was swapped with Muse Mohammed Abdi

A number of director-generals and permanent secretaries at the ministries were also interchanged, according to the document released by President Riyale's office.

Meanwhile, the statement said the president has disbanded the committee at Hergeisa Hospital after it emerged that there was lack of cooperation between the Health Ministry and the Hospital.

The statement notes that the committee failed to fully execute its mandate of representing and keeping the minister at abreast on the hospital affairs.


World water day: Enhancing access to water

From: http://www.so.undp.org/ 23 Mar

Provision of water to rural communities, both for household use and for their livestock is an important part of the Watershed Management and Flood Protection Project in Somaliland. The project has helped to drill 5 community boreholes in Zeila, Lanta-Morohda, Faradero (Berbera), Sheikh and Geedbalaadh. Also, 60 cemented water reservoirs have been built or rehabilitated as employment generation and environmental conservation activities.

The project has contributed to the reduction of the incidence of waterborne diseases, reduced distances travelled by women to fetch water for household use thus saving energy and time for engagement in income generating activities. It has also substantially lessened the burden of carrying water, increased security for women who were often abused or raped while walking long distances and improved general hygiene. Apart from these, the communities have easier access to water for their livestock and irrigation hence enhancing food security. Another benefit is role it has played in significantly reducing water-related conflicts.

The Watershed Management and Flood Protection Project enhances the emergency protection of flood-affected communities through the construction and rehabilitation of river embankments, flood relief canals aimed at improving production, water catchments and river barrages. Thirty percent of beneficiaries of the project are women. Also, people living with HIV and AIDS have been able to start income generating projects such as operating bakeries under the project. This venture has contributed towards them being financially self sufficient.

The theme for this year's International World Water Day is Clean Water for a Healthy World. This reflects the importance of water quality in natural resource management.


Crew of MV LEILA Finally freed from Somaliland

Written by Venatrix Fulmen (ECOP-marine) Mar 23, 2010

The rump-crew of three Sri Lankans and two Pakistani nationals which was held with the vessel MV LEILA inside the Berbera harbour entangled in a legal tussle involving burned cargo on her sister ship MV MARIAM STAR has finally been freed today on Monday and could board a plane to Nairobi, where they will arrive this evening.

Mr. Mohamed Ghadeeb of Abu Dhabi, who stands accused as the vessel's owner and who is behind Al Hufoof Shipping and another company named New Port Shipping - fronting as the owner-managers of these vessels - did never even go to Somaliland to solve the problems his shipping company has with a court ruling subjecting him to pay damages, fines as well as harbour and court charges. That he first of all abandoned the crew of MV LEILA for all that time they were stranded since August last year with their ship on a court-chain, a conning Somali port authority and an obvious ignorant governance is not taken lightly.

THE SHIPOWNER ABANDONED THE CREW AND IS NOW BLACKLISTED

Though all crew members had resigned from the company since long, they were illegally held by the General Manager of the Port Authority of Berbera and forced to take care of the vessel - a situation, which only can be described as hostage situation and slave labour enforced on an expatriate crew - a situation which tarnishes the reputation of Somaliland seriously.

The clandestine companies and their ships at the core of the case have in the meantime been blacklisted and every seafarer is aware which trouble he can get himself into, if he would accept to work for that owner - word in the harbours travels fast.

DEADLOCK BROKEN

ECOTERRA Intl., who had been requested to help by the crew and their governments, thanked the tireless efforts of the Governments of Sri Lanka and Pakistan, which together with their missions in Nairobi and Dubai and all concerned parties stood together to finally free all the expat crew.

Seven Indian nationals had been channelled out of Somaliland, though the Indian High Commissioner, who first had taken the diplomatic lead, had promised to achieve a release of the whole crew together.

STILL GRIEVANCES

Meanwhile these seven Indians are stuck at home with not only their wages for over six month not paid, but with a bill which was slapped on them from their own ministry, claiming the air-travel costs and restricting the seafarers from seeking any further work until the Indian government gets back these monies.

It is hoped that all the governments involved will show now some further support and assist their seafarers to receive their full payments and dues from the shipowner, who let them suffer for so long.


Working Mothers in Somaliland:Facts and Challenges

March 21 201 - http://www.somalilandedu.com/news.php?readmore=1050

In every corner of our country, mothers wake up very early in the morning and walk to work places and markets alone, sometimes accompanied by the song of some birds. These mothers are of all ages and their goal is the same. They work hard towards their goal even if circumstances are unfavorable. They have in mind that success has no lift but they should climb the stairs.They know the situation back at home, the kids waiting to be fed, dressed and stayed with; the older boys and girls in schools waiting the payment of school fees and the bus fair. Many other things related to house pour like a heavy rain drops to the mind of the mothers while walking to the work. These things together occupy mothers' thinking and a lot of uncertainties fill their mind. They ask themselves about the children, what will happen to them, will they manage to catch the school bus or not, will they be safe; even if there is some one else looking after them, mothers tend to ask themselves these and similar questions.

Our mothers are the back-bone of our existence, they are our everything and they are the source of courage, kindness and well being. In many cases, it happens that mothers work while fathers or the old boys are sleeping or chewing Qat. Surely, these men have neglected their role.They even don't think that they should have worked and not the mothers. Mothers should have relaxed and enjoyed, they have already had many difficult years, starting from the day they gave birth to their loved children till they grow up. It should have been so, but why do they work? It may seem a little bit difficult to put all answers in a short and easily understood manner. They work simply to earn for a living, for the betterment of their living standards and that of their children and family in general. Some work because of difficult circumstances forced them to do so. Reasons for working seem different and varied but their result are the same.All end in one point which is the struggle for well being, for better life and for livelihood. In reality it doesn't deserve to be called a work, because jobs are paid and have definite working hours and conditions, but what mothers do to earn a living is just for survival and not a job. However, the terms work and job are more familiar to our ears and therefore I used them just for simplification purposes.

Another important perspective is the working conditions and environment. They buy some products in some kiosks, shops and on wheel barrows. Many of them sit on the ground selling fruits and vegetables. They work in a sunny open space, very hot in the day and during rainy seasons unprotected from the storms and heavy rain fall. Dust is their best friend,overcrowding and noise and other pollutions are also their neighbors. Many times their few products are stolen by thieves. Passers by don't care them and sometimes the police seem their biggest danger. In many cases, police deal with them with anger and power, destroying and throwing away their belongings. It is a bad picture, yet many mothers never complain. They work under all these conditions. They have no proper places, and the government which should have helped them, takes some of their earning. They take tax from them, but they never get the reward. The tax and some other commissions they pay are never seen again. Those dealing with our mothers like that didn't forget that they are their children, but their justification is not very pleasing.

Men on the other side forced women to work, many of them ignoring the importance of work, others cursing the circumstances and situations, then giving up. Many also throw an insult and bad words over the government and others blame themselves for not being lucky and born rich. Scapegoating is their only skill;many say that they lack available jobs. Unemployment is there, but they don't know that they are the reason behind it. Yes, they are because many chew Qat and waste their time, not going to schools and acquiring knowledge. Others are busy with politics and useless speeches and debates in tea-shops. They don't know that they have let their mothers down, that they have put a burden so heavy over their shoulders, that they are spoon feeded although they are grown up. Younger girls and boys should have replaced them. Isn't it disgusting to see seventy old mother working and her boys are loitering around. As far as the government is concerned it should have provided jobs, but it has its own reasons , perhaps right or misleading excuses. Mothers never ask the government about work, they never ever complain about what they are doing, they don't curse the government rather they pray and ask Allah for leading their sons to the right path.

Our mothers wherever they are in our loved land are not in a happy situation.little do we know about their working conditions and their struggle, very few raise questions about their right for good jobs. The paradise is under the feet of mothers, that is what our religion teaches us. We should take care of them and answer their needs, otherwise we shall not live happily as long as they are working under these harsh times and environmet. Shall we understand our goals more, surely we will become good example and prosperious. Both men and women, we should act wisely, remember our mothers more, and become more responsible. Responsibility is the ability to respond.

Ahmed Mohamoud Elmi-Shawky, shawqi06@hotmail.com, Social Activist and a journalist. Somaliland Education Network


Enterprising ‘Somalilander’ dreams of returning home

By Joe Avancena, http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/

Mohamed T. Gino has been residing and working in the Kingdom for the past 24 years. He calls himself a Somalilander and dreams of returning to Somaliland, the country of his birth, someday.

“It is a personal struggle to be away from home, but I am happy and thankful to this country, Saudi Arabia, and its leaders for extending the benevolent arms to us Somalilanders to stay and work in this place we now call our home,” Gino said.

Gino is one of the approximately 3,000 Somalilanders residing in the Eastern Province. The Somalilanders in the Kingdom work in government agencies and private business sectors. Gino works independently as a businessman and business development officer.

For over two decades, Gino has built strong ties with business communities in Saudi Arabia, leading him to a number of successes. “I plan to return home someday; I am saving enough money to start a fishing business because my country is endowed with rich fishing resources,” he said.

Gino, like his compatriots, is waiting for international recognition of Somaliland and the establishment of a strong and transparent government. “When all these issues are settled, then it will be time for me and my family to return home,” he said.

Somaliland was the first of the five Somali territories to achieve independence from the British Empire on June 26, 1960 based on its existing borders and, before the merger with Somalia on July 1, 1960, the first Somali country to be recognized by the United Nations and 35 member nations immediately after independence like the rest of the African States.

Independent Somaliland tried to strengthen its unification with Somalia in its quest for Greater Somalia in the Horn of Africa, but Somalia hijacked the governments of the union for the thirty years of its existence, from1960 to1990, and treated Somaliland as one of its own provinces. The Somalilanders rebelled against the injustices perpetrated by Somalia in the twenty years between 1960-1980. In those 20 years, Somaliland had three consecutive elected presidents and two parliaments in addition to a municipal council.

Somalilanders held a national congress on May 18, 1991 and unanimously proclaimed the withdrawal of Somaliland from the union with Somalia and reclaimed the country’s independence on June 26, 1960 renaming it the Somaliland Republic.

Somaliland Republic’s fledgling democracy, however, encountered many serious obstacles since the first municipal elections that were held in 2002, resulting in the delay of the presidential election.

According to Gino, many of his compatriots who arrived and settled in Saudi Arabia in the early 1960s have become Saudi citizens. Like many Saudis, they continue to support Somaliland by investing and doing business in there. “We Somalilanders have strong links and ties of friendship with Saudi Arabia,” he added.

“Our country is rich in natural and mineral resources, and I plan, with the cooperation of my fellow expatriate Somalilanders, to harness this wealth for the benefit of our people,” Gino said. – SG


SOMALILAND:Russian navy hands over alleged pirates to Somaliland.

(SomalilandPress. March 15, 2010)-The Russian navy operating off Somalia has turned over seven suspected pirates to the breakaway state of Somaliland, where they will stand trial, officials said Sunday.

“The suspects were apprehended by a Russian navy ship and turned over to our coastguards in the His district of Sanag region late Saturday,” local coastguard commander Mohamed Yusuf Otor told reporters.

Otor said the Russians captured the alleged pirates around two weeks ago in the Gulf of Aden.

“Once the investigation is over they will be brought to court where they will be tried,” local police official Abdulahi Rage told AFP by phone from Somaliland’s main port of Berbera.

Russia has been taking part in international anti-piracy efforts in the Indian Ocean since September 2008.


Somaliland's Healer of Women

by Lynn Sherr, March 13, 2010.http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-03-13/edna-adan-ismail/

Newscom Edna Adan Ismail had wanted to build a hospital since she was 11 years old. Today, her facility in Hargeisa saves women's lives every day—and has reduced the maternal mortality rate by one-fourth.

As an 11-year-old growing up in Somaliland, then a British protectorate, Edna Adan Ismail had a powerful dream. “I wanted to build a hospital,” she recalls. “One that my father would like.” Edna’s dad was a widely beloved but overworked doctor in a poorly equipped government hospital with little medicine, and she lent a hand when she could. “My playground was the hospital,” she says, “and my father was my hero. I’d cut up sheets for bandages, wash the forceps. I wished I knew more to be able to help him out.”

“I sold everything I had, recycled my whole life. I am just a crazy old lady!”

It took more than half a century, but her dream has come gloriously true. The Edna Adan University Hospital in Hargeisa has just celebrated its eighth birthday–a 50-bed facility that is the largest privately built hospital in Somaliland. And it wasn’t just Ismail’s money that made it happen. “Every brick that was laid, every nail that was pounded, I was there,” she says proudly. “I sold everything I had, recycled my whole life. I am just a crazy old lady!”

Hardly. Despite her own privileged circumstances, young Edna faced the same discrimination that kept the entire region’s women down: no schools for girls. “It wasn’t right to teach a girl,” she said, explaining the tradition. “They thought nothing good would come of it. Who would ever want to marry a girl who read and wrote?” So the child who was so taken with medicine—“I saw my first birth and my first death before I was a teen. I felt I’d been given a small peephole into what the world looked like”—was sent away to school, and ultimately became the first female in her country to win a scholarship to England. There she studied nursing and midwifery, and came back home in 1961 as the first qualified Somali nurse-midwife. That’s the first ever.

Once again she had to confront centuries of bias against girls. "I would ask them to come help me register the patients, and I’d have to get permission from their fathers. They’d say, ‘I don’t want my girl to work in a hospital and catch diseases.’ Or, ‘Will she be working with men?’” Slowly, Ismail prevailed.

Even as her life expanded into the public realm—her husband became Somaliland’s prime minister–she continued to work in another hospital, proudly donning her uniform to teach and to deliver babies. “I was teaching the young women how to talk to patients, to pregnant women, to respect human rights and dignity.”

Revolution interrupted her work, and she spent several decades with the United Nations. By the time she returned to Somaliland in 1997 and started building the hospital, she was so well respected, she joined the new government, ultimately becoming Foreign Minister. Today, she says with confidence, “I am my own minister.” But she continues to work for her people, training, in addition to nurse-midwives, lab technicians and the first pharmacists in her country. “The government isn’t doing it,” she tells me. “The biggest gift I want to leave behind is not a building, but the skills I leave with the women. I want to train 1,000 midwives.”

Her progress so far is astounding. Since the hospital opened, they have delivered more than 9,500 women and lost only 39. “That’s 39 too many,” she laments, nonetheless delighted that they have reduced the maternal mortality rate by one-fourth. In 1988, the last time a study was done, there were 160 deaths per 10,000 births in Somaliland, making it the third worst in the world. “Women are dying of complications nobody is picking up,” she explains. “Because nobody is there to support them, care for them, or deliver them. They are getting infected, torn apart. No woman should die of childbirth, because modern obstetrics has ways to save them.” The challenge: “ignorance, poverty, and harmful traditions.”

Those are also the culprits in her other lifelong cause: ending the practice now called Female Genital Mutilation. When she started speaking out–to the embarrassment of her husband–it was simply Female Circumcision. “No one would talk about it then. I was the first Somali woman to pick up a microphone.” And despite all the publicity in recent years she says, “We have not cracked the surface of it. I am giving out a document at the conference showing a new survey of 4.000 women. Of them, 97 percent, shamefully, had been cut. After 34 years of campaigning. We’re nowhere near winning that battle.”

But Edna Adan Ismail takes comfort that now, “we have the whole world talking about it, it’s out of the closet.” And she’s working on a new project, a picture book in the Somali language to illustrate the pros and cons (with emphasis on the cons) of the practice.

“It will be one more gun that we haven’t used before,” she announces with confidence.

Crazy old lady, indeed.

Lynn Sherr is a former ABC News correspondent, author of Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words and Tall Blondes, a book about giraffes. She is also co-editor of Peter Jennings: A Reporter's Life. Her most recent book, a memoir—Outside the Box: My Unscripted Life of Love, Loss and Television News.


Somaliland - Independent International Experts Assessment

ERIS recently completed an Independent International Experts Assessment for the Somaliland National Electoral Commission.

This Assessment resulted from the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Upcoming Presidential Elections of Somaliland signed on September 29th 2009 between the three parties. This MoU calls for the establishment of the dates for the new elections to be made on technical rather than political grounds by the National Electoral Commission.

The ERIS Experts submitted their recommendations to the Commission at the end of 2009, including on how to refine the provisional voter list, and on the timetable under which the remaining preparations for the election can be held. They have also provided induction training for the new Somaliland National Electoral Commissioners in conjunction with other specialist organisations.

ERIS supplied four experts for this mission including specialists in election management; voter registration and electoral processes; security and logistics; and election administration training.

In 2010, ERIS has sent further experts to support the National Election Commission in the build-up to elections. This includes two experts in Voter Registration and the verification of databases, to assist in cleaning and validating the Voter Register.

ERIS, 6 Chancel Street, London SE10UU
Tel: +44(0)20 7620 3794, Fax: +44(0)20 7928 4366
Email: erisuk@eris.org.uk
http://www.eris.org.uk/news.php?aid=246


Somaliland detains 'wounded suspects from Mogadishu'

15 Mar, 2010 - http://www.garoweonline.com/

Security forces in Somalia's self-declared republic of Somaliland raided a house in Hargeisa and arrested seven people, including inured ones that are suspected to be involved in the recent fightings that engulfed the war-torn Mogadishu.

The arrested men are said to be held in the CID offices where the intelligent agents are questioning them to find out whether they are part of Islamist insurgents fighting the government or Mogadishu residents who fled the clashes.

Eyewitness told Garowe Online that they saw injured people bundled on a pick up truck by security forces.

However, Somaliland’s head of police Mohamed Saqadhi refused to comment about the matter.

Other reports say youngsters are mobilized to take part in the renewed clashes in the war-ravaged Somali capital.

The government in Mogadishu has vowed to launch large scale military offensives in a bid to pacify the country from any insurgent rule.


Yemen sends delegation to Somaliland to open diplomatic office

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress. March 14, 2010) — The Republic of Yemen has sent four-member delegation consisting of diplomats and investors to Somaliland on Sunday ahead of the opening of diplomatic office by Yemen in Hargeisa.

According to sources close to the government, the office will serve mainly to carry out consular functions for Yemeni citizens. It will also work toward fostering trade and improving diplomatic contacts between Hargeisa and Sana’a.

The decision to open office in Hargeisa came after the two states recognized growing economic and political cooperation between the two red-sea nations.

Yemen provided no timeline but the office is expected to be opened some time this week.

Reports also added that Yemen was concerned about Islamists movements in Somalia, after al-Shabab group pledged it would send fighters to help an al-Qaeda affiliate in the country.

Yemen’s foreign minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi said his country would not tolerate threats and foreign fighters on it’s soil and it is believed now Yemen is going on the offensive by supporting Somaliland.

Yemen is also facing economic and social burdens due to the unrest in parts of the country and the continuous exodus of illegal migrants from the Horn of Africa, who are said to be more than 800,000 refugees. More than 60 per cent are believed to be from Somalia, a country that has been mired in conflict since 1991.

Yemen and Somaliland have historical and economical ties since 1840 when southern part of Yemen (Aden) was annexed by the British and shortly after, Somaliland became British protectorate. The British established trade with Somaliland mainly to supply mutton to it’s Aden garrison.

This contact initiated Somaliland livestock trade which made it’s way to Yemeni cities and later on the lucrative business attracted Yemeni traders and continued well after the British had left. The Yemenis along with Somali traders later opened other key markets for Somaliland livestock including Saudi Arabia.

Yemen will become the first Arab nation to have diplomatic office in Somaliland. No one knows how other Arab League members such as Egypt and Djibouti would react to the Yemeni move.

Egypt and Djibouti are strongly opposed to Somaliland recognition fearing fearing economic insecurities – Egypt feels it will loose control of the Nile while Djibouti fears the port of Berbera will replace it’s port. However, unconfirmed reports suggest that Djibouti is due to open an office that has an embassy status in Hargeisa after Yemen.


Somaliland: Protecting Foreign Workers

16 March 2010, http://www.somaliweyn.org/pages/news/Mar_10/16Mar30.html

After reading a hastily written “article” entitled, “Somaliland: Dream job turns into a nightmare” published on the so-called The Star Online, few unanswered questions linger. If Somaliland is as lawless as the article portrayed it, why thousands of foreign workers are there? Did the author of the article in question fail to distinguish Somaliland from Somalia?

Yes indeed. The Star Online article states, “The lure of a high-paying job took telecommunications consultant Hor Chee Fei to Somalia, one of the world’s most dangerous places.” Is that so?

Perhaps, the telecom consultant encountered the same scams that people come across in China, U.S., Europe and elsewhere. And Somaliland is not immune to scams.

But few things don’t add up: why the telecom consultant failed to name the CEO or the telecom firm that allegedly chased the worker all the way to Hargeisa’s airport runway? Nor did he provide the contacts of the firm. Something smells rotten.

The worker not only failed to provide the names of the people who have turned his dream job into a nightmare, but he also failed to go to the nearest police station and report the alleged crime.

The Star Online article states, “Hor and five other Malaysians managed to avoid detection by blending in with a crowd of Chinese tourists.”

Well the question is: if there are foreign tourists in Somaliland, then it could not be a lawless country.

Also, what the worker perhaps is not telling you is: that his team members either disputed the contract or they could not deliver the services they promised. Now because things didn’t go as rosy as planned, labeling Somaliland as a lawless land is one way of avenging for their misfortune. Every story has two versions, doesn’t it?

The least the telecom consultant could have done was contact the hundreds of other Malaysians workers in Hargiesa and seek help. In fact, other firms such as, Chinese construction companies have signed contracts with Somaliland government to rebuild Hargeisa’s airport and roads, and currently there hundreds of Chinese as well as Malaysians working in Somaliland. Some even have opened dentist clinics. Read more: http://www.qarannews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7527&Itemid=59

More important, why the airport security forces remained oblivious of the telecom worker chased around by the telecom firm’s owner inside the airport? Is this logical at all? Hargeisa’s airport has one of the most secured systems I have ever come across. The authority is so paranoid that nothing evades its eyes. Yet the telecom worker claims some gangs chased him inside the runway.

Unprofessional articles written by news outlets which break the ethics of good journalism are unfortunately what many people who seek jobs in Somaliland read. It is these articles that would reshape their perception towards Somaliland and influence their decisions to take their skills to there.

If there is no such system in place already, upon their arrivals all foreign nationals should receive the contacts of the security forces, immigration, human rights groups, and Foreign Minister of Somaliland, as well as U.N. agencies. Additionally, it is the government’s responsibility to monitor the well-being of International workers and take all the appropriate actions to protect them.

Dalmar Kaahin, dalmar_k@yahoo.com


Somaliland: Dream job turns into a nightmare

By SHAUN HO, newsdesk@thestar.com.my, March 14, 2010

PETALING JAYA: The lure of a high-paying job took telecommunications consultant Hor Chee Fei to Somalia, one of the world’s most dangerous places.

But three months on, he had to run for his life, empty-handed and glad just to get out.

He was forced to flee the lawless land and was chased right up to the runway of the airport by his employer’s henchmen.

Hor and five other Malaysians managed to avoid detection by blending in with a crowd of Chinese tourists.

Hor, 49, had been asked to help set up a mobile telephone network in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, a breakaway region in the northwest of Somalia.

“It was a big contract and the money was good,” said Hor, who has experience working in several African countries.

The consultant said he was engaged by the telco’s owner on a one-year contract.

He added that the owner, who is very rich, arranged for the company’s CEO to take him to inspect the facilities in Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital city, to prove that it was a legitimate business.

Convinced, Hor recruited five others and they flew there in December and immediately got to work.

“They have excellent machinery but the local workers were incompetent,” Hor said during an interview.

He said his team managed to get things running although progress was very slow.

However, when a new CEO took over in January, their pay was withheld as the company claimed they had not performed, despite working over 12 hours a day and taking up tasks that were not part of their job scope.

“We sensed something was not right and knew we had to leave as we were being bullied there,” Hor said.

He said they felt threatened because it was a lawless place and they were in no position to demand their dues.

Besides, their employers also implied that they could make it difficult for them if they did not continue their work.

The Malaysians hatched an escape plan with the help of some local contacts when everyone was busy celebrating during the network’s launch last Saturday.

“We did not feel safe until the aeroplane door was locked,” said Hor, who flew to Dubai from Berbera, three hours away by road.

“Men came looking for us at the airport departure lounge and even on the runway,” said Hor, who arrived home together with the other Malaysians on Tuesday morning.

He is currently consulting with his lawyers to get the workers their six-figure salary, which was to be paid in US dollars.

He warned small companies to be careful when dealing with powerful “businessmen” from that part of the world.

Johnson Lukose, 47, from Kuala Lumpur, described the trip as an unnecessary risk, adding that he would never return there.

“I am bitter about the incident and at Hor for putting us in that situation. But I’m also grateful to him for getting us out of there,” said Lukose, who was hired as a power systems consultant.

Source: The Star Online (Malaysia)


Prof iqbal jhazbay launches book on somaliland at UNISA, Pretoria

By: Saed Fura.March 13, http://www.somalilandpatriots.com/news-9594-0

The book is based on extensive research in Somaliland's reconciliation, reconstruction, religion and recognition, as well as a wealth of experience in the wider region. More analysis, feedbacks and follow ups on this book, stay with Saeed furaa's insights from this corner of Africa.

Pretoria, South African ministers, Ambassadors, Academics including Professor Louise Molamu, Registrar of the University of South Africa, Professor Rosemary Moeketsi, Executive Dean of Human Sciences, Professor Iqbal Jhazbhay, Author of the book, and his wife Naseema Docrat, Distinguished ambassadors and high commissioners in South Africa, Professor Chris Landsberg of the University of Johannesburg, Dr Nomfundo Ngwenya of the South African Institute of International Relations, members from the South African civil society, journalists, members from the Somaliland community in S.Africa, Somalilanders from UK & Canada, and lots of students and other invited guests, have gathered to witness prof Iqbal's book launch which was held in a well organised event at UNISA, Pretoria on the 11th March 2010.

Co-published with the Institute for Global Dialogue, the book titled as *'Somaliland: An African Struggle for Nationhood and International Recognition'*purports an inspiring story of resilience and reconstruction and a truly African Renaissance, that has many lessons to teach the rest of Africa and the international community. This study seeks to identify some of those lessons, particularly those pertaining to Somaliland's sustained efforts to create internal unity and gain regional and international recognition.

South African minister in the presidency Mr. Collin Chabane, couldn't attend the launch. Ambassador Welile Nhlapo, Presidential National Security Advisor have read the inspiring speech on behalf of the minister. The full speech can be viewed at: http://www.info.gov.za/speeches/2010/10031210551001.htm

The book is based on extensive research in Somaliland's reconciliation, reconstruction, religion and recognition, as well as a wealth of experience in the wider region.

Saeed Furaa, Freelance Journalist, Pretoria/South Africa, E-mail: somalilandjournalist@gmail.com


International Women's Day Celebrated in Somaliland

(Hargeisa, Somaliland, March 13, 2010. http://www.apd-somaliland.org/news/20100308womensday.htm) As in every year on March 8th-International Women's Day-the Academy supported Moonlight Girls Association, a Borame-based non-governmental girls' organisation, to organise and facilitate a commemorative event for this global celebration at Rays Hotel of Borame, the capital city of Somaliland's Awdal region.

The event, which has been gaining national significance thanks to the contribution of local initiatives, was well-organised much to the delight of all in attendance. Bands of beautiful girls draped in the national flag opened the celebration with a remarkable rendition of Somaliland's national anthem.

Awdal's regional and district authorities including the mayor of the city, Mr. Abriahman Shideh Bileh were among the dignitaries attending the event. Also in attendance were: Interpeace's regional focal point for gender mainstreaming, Mrs. Nuria Abdi; respected women leaders in the community; women representatives of the three political parties; and, students from Borame's Amoud and ELLO American Universities.

Speaking at the event, the mayor of Borame Mr. Abdirahman Shideh said "Today we are celebrating women, the backbone of our society." Excited, the mayor reinforced his point by asserting the famous adage "Behind every great man, there is a great woman."

Moonlight's chairwoman followed the mayor's speech with a presentation of that illustrated the organisation's activities and challenges faced in particular on women's advocacy.

The event was concluded with a debate in which a panel of women-one from the Diaspora, two university graduates and one presently attending university-discussed why young girls are less likely to enrol in school than their young male counterparts. The panel stimulated an active and heated debate on the social, economic and cultural challenges that the young girls in this country face in either enrolling in schools or further pursuing their education.

Borame was not the only Somaliland city celebrating this important day. The Ministry of Family Affairs and Social Welfare (MFA&SW) collaborated with NEGAAD and SONYO, women and youth umbrellas respectively, in hosting an event at Hargeisa's "Garden of Liberty". High ranking officials from the government including the Minister of Youth and Sports were among the delegates attending this event.

Celebrations, however, did not stop there, as Hargeisa's Ambassador Hotel was the site of further commemorative event also hosted by the MFA&SW. The highly anticipated event brought together authorities from the government and leaders of opposition parties as well as the Speaker of the House of Representatives. International Women's Day has been celebrated around the globe since 1977.


Somaliland: largest windmill arrives at Abaarso Tech.

March 11, http://www.somalilandpatriots.com/news-9581-0

The largest wind turbine in the country arrived on the campus of Abaarso Tech on Tuesday after being shipped from China. When installed the wind turbine is expected to provide up to 30 KW of continuous power, enough for Abaarso Tech’s campus.

Daniel Chehata, the head of the physics department, said the whole assembly process could take less than a week. Staff is hopeful that shortly thereafter the windmill will start producing the majority of energy the secondary boarding school uses.

“This is a significant development for Abaarso Tech and for Somaliland. It is also another testament that our new school is committed to innovative approaches to development,” said Dr. Ahmed Esa, co-founder and board vice-chair.

Esa expects Abaarso Tech’s reliance on wind and other renewable energy sources to be an excellent indicator for the viability of these alternatives in resource lacking areas.

Experts consider a wind speed of 6.4 m/s to be economically viable. Some areas surrounding Hargeisa are estimated to have a yearly average wind speed much higher than this.

This could be good news for Somaliland consumers who currently pay between 80 US cents and 1 US dollar for 1 KW of energy. Wind turbine energy would be a significantly cheaper option to the diesel generators that provide nearly 100 percent of the energy that Somaliland uses.

By Teresa Krug, Abaarso, Somaliland


Phase Two of the Academy's Mapping Exercise Concluded

(Hargeisa, Somaliland, March 10, 2010. http://www.apd-somaliland.org/news/20100310mappingarticle.htm) A team of researchers from the Academy's Decentralisation, Democratisation and Social Reconciliation pillars set out to Balligubadle, a district 40km South of Hargeisa, on March 4 with the purpose of holding focus group discussions (FGDs) on local governance, democracy and reconciliation for the various sectors of the communities living there.

Following the emergence of several research gaps in the countrywide mapping exercise that APD conducted in mid-2009, this field trip brought to an end the second phase of the mapping exercise in which the Academy's research team had been touring Somaliland's six regions during the past two months.

The Democratisation Pillar conducted a number of FGDs in Hargeisa, Burao, Borama and Gebiley in which the main theme of these meetings were youth's social, political and economic engagements.

The Decentralisation Pillar also conducted a series of FGDs in Hargeisa, Burao, and Borame with the purpose of finding out the view of the pillar's stakeholders on how far decentralisation as a process has worked in Somaliland and the mounting challenges the process continues to face.

The Social Reconciliation Pillar conducted a number of FGDs in Togdheer, Sanaag and Hargeisa regions. The researchers travelled to Galgal, a village 20 km from Buhoodle district, where two sub-clans have been in conflict over its ownership over the years. The researchers engaged in consultative meetings with the elders of both conflicting sides in this highly volatile area. Following this, the researchers proceeded to Biyoguduud, another conflict-prone zone in Sanaag region, where they also met with and consulted the elders of the conflicting sides.

In June-July 2009, a team of the Academy comprising researchers from the three pillars as well as assistants including the Audiovisual Unit embarked on a countrywide 40-day tour with the purpose of evaluating the public's view on the institution's programs. In particular, the tour was a key component of ascertaining the relevance and priorities as well as opportunities and challenges facing the ongoing Pillars of Peace programme. Part of the objective of the tour and subsequent consultative meetings was to also assess the socio-economic and political transformation that has been taking place since the Academy's last such mapping exercise.


SOMALILAND: NEC to issue new voter identification cards

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress. 3/10/10) — The National Electoral Commission (NEC) said they are deploying new voter ID cards as part of their preparation of the up-coming presidential elections this year on Tuesday.

In a press conference held at their headquarters, NEC spokesman, Mr Ahmed Hirsi Geele said after consultations with the three political parties and donors, it has been agreed that there was need for new ID cards to make the election a lot smother.

“I want to tell the public, the reason we have changed the previous cards is due to problems and abuses that resulted from the previous registrations. After analysing it we have decided to completely abandon the old ones in order to achieve an election that’s free and fair,” he said.

NEC said the new cards will be more secure and strict than the current ones and admitted that there were sham registrations including the use of children, duplications, foreigners and other frauds. “We now have the funds to issue the new cards. Once we clean up the database, eliminate all fraud registrations and confirm the lists to legitimate voters, we will hand out the new cards,” Mr. Ahmed said.

In order to proceed with this process the spokesman said, they have contracted a South African company that specialises in biometrics and smart card technologies after a long bidding process. Mr Ahmed added, although all the companies including the local ones were competent, Face Technologies, fulfilled all of their requirements.

He confirmed there will not be new voter registrations however they will sort out the database and provide accurate information and legitimate voters and the use of biometric will eliminate duplications.

He also cited they have completed forming the regional electoral committees in a process that took about three weeks. Mr Ahmed added that the formation was successful and they are now ready to resume their work as soon as possible.

“Some people were complaining but we are doing our best” said the chairman. “There are always complaints and you always do mistakes when you are doing something but I believe we made the minimum” he concluded.

Mr Ahmed blamed the problem of the double registration on the Somaliland citizens emphasising that the system supported nations with much larger population than Somaliland. He urged the people to voluntarily return their cold cards as well as any extra cards to the Commission’s office before they issue the new smart cards.

Speaking about the date of the coming elections, the spokesman said he is not going to mention any date for now until they make sure the process is complete and strong foundation is established for free election.

“I’m not saying any date now but I assure you the elections will be held within this year, 2010. That is all i can say,” Ahmed said.

He urged the public not to abuse the system and to work with the NEC.

NEC is an independent body that was established in 2001 and consists of seven members who are nominated by different institutions; three members are nominated by the president, two by the House of Elders and two more by the opposition parties.

About a million people are believed to have registered in the October 2009 voter registration that included the use of bio-metric technology.

Somaliland, with a population of 3.5 million has developed a well-functioning democracy, with free and fair elections being held regularly, according to international observers. However, the last presidential election has been postponed a number of times due to disputes and abuse of the voting system and now no date has been set yet.

The election is funded by the governments of Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and the United States.


Somaliland FM requests U.S. to extradite alleged War Criminal

ADDIS ABABA (Somalilandpress.March 6, 2010) — Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdullahi Duale is believed to have asked U.S. officials for the extradition of the former Somali Prime Minister, Gen. Mohammed Ali Samantar on charges of war crimes in Somaliland in the 80s and early 90s.

In a meeting in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Mr Duale is believed to have asked Mr. Karl E. Wycoff, Deputy Assistant Secretary (Acting), to extradite the former Somali official to Somaliland to face justice.

Ali Samatar served as Defense Minister from 1980 to 1986, and as Prime Minister from 1987 to 1990, when the military regime collapsed.

In 1980s, Somalia’s military junta led by Mohammed Siad Bare and Gen. Mohammed Ali Samatar hired Rhodesian mercenaries to bombard Somaliland’s three major towns – Hargeisa, Burao and Berbera, an estimated 50, 000 were killed and more than 800, 000 people were forced to leave their homes. Many of these refugees fled to neighbouring Ethiopia.

Those who survived the bombings or the deliberate starvation were often rounded up, tied together using barbed wires and gunned down from a point-blank range. If that method was not cruel enough, they would often tie them together in barbed wires, bulldozed and were left to rot in the streets.

Mohamed Ali Samatar who now lives in the Virginia area under the name of Samatar Ali is being sued in a civil court. However before the case can move to civil court the Supreme Court of the United States has to decide if a head of “sovereign“ can be sued.

Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), whom the civil suit is filed under insist that Mr Samatar is no longer head of state and that immunity under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act does not apply to him as an individual but only foreign states.

Mr. Samatar’s legal team insist he was not directly involved but army generals who served under him at the time have came out this week claimed he gave direct orders to target civilians in the north of the country.

A number of American leaders including senior Democratic Party United States Senator from Pennsylvania, Mr. Arlen Specter have supported the civil case against the former Somali leader. The Supreme Court is expected to weigh in on the issue and could hand down a ruling in the early summer.

Somaliland delegation consisting of government and Parliamentary officials led by Mr Abdullahi Duale are due to arrive in Washington the coming days.

No one knows if the Americans will hand him over but it’s highly not possible.


Somaliland draws Chinese investors

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress) — A 14-member delegation from the People’s Republic of China are on official visit to the Republic of Somaliland to study the economic and investment climate in the country.

The delegation which consists of some of China’s leading investors, government officials and members of China’s leading media-houses arrived in the capital Hargeisa on Friday afternoon. They were received at the airport by Ali Mohamed ‘Waran Adde’, Somaliland Aviation minister and Hussein Mohamud, the Mayor of Hargeisa.

Mr. Qi told local press that they were delighted with their trip to Somaliland and expressed their desire to invest in number of places in the country. They praised the people of Somaliland for their warm hospitality and for their achievements without international help.

Mr. Mohamed said a Chinese firm awarded to renovate and expand Egal International airport to international standards is due to arrive soon along with their equipment and staff.

The delegation are expected to remain in the country for the next few days, while some will assist the investment capacity of the country, others are also here for fact-finding mission.

The Chinese delegation was accompanied by Ahmed Hassan Egal, Somaliland Special Representative to China, who also thanked the Somaliland authority for their warm welcome.

The Mayor of Hargeisa, Mr. Ji’ir, also said that the Chinese were keen to invest in the country and that Chinese-Somaliland relationship were strong.

They also said China will assist Somaliland in the education sector and a Somaliland delegation from the ministry of education is expected to travel to Beijing.

This is the largest delegation from China to visit Somaliland since declaring the restoration of it’s sovereignty in 1991 after a military campaign against Somalia’s dictator, Maj. Mohamed Siad Bare.

On Saturday, the Chinese business and press delegation were received by the President of Somaliland, Mr. Dahir Rayale at the presidential Palace. The president warmly welcomed the Chinese investors and promised them Somaliland’s commitment to work with them in area of common interest including investing in coal mining in the Sahil region as well as developing a free zone facility at the port of Berbera.

The president added that Somaliland was a virgin country with known resources and is the ideal place for investment.

Mr. Ji Shiaw Shie said they were pleased with Somaliland’s achievements without recognition and promised to showcase Somaliland’s investment opportunities to Chinese private firms.

Somaliland is the 7th African nation the delegation has visited in less than a month.

Even though Somaliland functions like any state, it is not recognized by any international body.

Trade between Africa and China is worth more than $100-billion and this figure is expected to grow in the next years with more Chinese investing in Africa.

The Chinese are known for their deals that include commitments to build infrastructure, like roads and railways without interfering with local politics and issues and Africa favours this over the Western policies. The Chinese due to arrive is also expected to rehabilitate some of Hargeisa’s most neglected roads and other infrastructure.


In Brief: Floods displace thousands in Somalia-Ethiopia border area

HARGEISA, 3 March 2010 (IRIN) - Around 1,000 families have been displaced by flooding after heavy rains in an area straddling the border between Ethiopia and the self-declared independent republic of Somaliland, according to officials.

“The floods occurred in the last 24 hours. About 1,000 families were displaced, and they are with their relatives in other parts of Allaybaday and Tog-wajale districts in Gabiley region,” regional governor Said Mohamed Ahmed Aw Abdi, known as Habib, told IRIN on 3 March.

Habib said three people died in the floods which also destroyed dams used for water storage by farmers and agro-pastoralists. Hundreds of buildings in the border area, including private homes and government buildings such as customs and immigration offices have been evacuated, according to one official in the area.

“My house was about several hundred metres away from the seasonal river of Tog-Wajale, but the water reached us yesterday evening,” Wajake resident Said Abdifatah Mohamed Hassan, told IRIN by phone.

“I evacuated my three children and their mother to a relative’s family far away. While I locked the house and left, everything in the house was lost in the flood, but by Allah’s mercy we are saved,” he added.


Somali pirates seize Somaliland aid trucks

MOGADISHU (Source: AFP. Somalilandpress.Feb 27, 2010) — Somali pirates in Puntland seized food aid trucks and their drivers to obtain the release of detained comrades, officials said Friday, in a rare land attack by the sea bandits.

The five trucks had been contracted by the UN’s World Food Programme and had finished delivering food aid in the Galkayo area, in the semi-autonomous northern Somali state of Puntland, which harbours several major pirate lairs.

They were on their way back to Berbera, the main port in the neighbouring breakaway state of Somaliland, when a gang of pirates intercepted them on Thursday.

“The pirates hijacked five trucks with nine people onboard and took them to their base in Garaad. They are demanding the release of their colleagues arrested recently by the Somaliland security forces,” Abdullahi Mohamed, a security official in Galkayo, said by phone.

“We heard pirates took civilians from Somaliland region as hostages and we are still investigating the incident,” police officer Colonel Dahir Jama said

The Somaliland authorities have arrested and jailed dozens of pirates from Puntland in the Gulf of Aden recently.

“We are treating the hostages well here in Garaad and our aim is to get our friends in the jails of Somaliland freed. We are not demanding anything else. When our friends are free and back home we will free the drivers and the trucks,” Abdi Jamal, a pirate, said by phone from Garaad.

Dozens of other trucks transporting food aid in the same region are stranded in Galkayo, their drivers afraid to continue.

“There are many trucks from Somaliland still here in Galkayo, too afraid to return, but we will give them escorts,” Jamal said.


A Message to Young Somalilanders Worldwide

http://somalilandpress.com/February 26, 2010

I first of all wanted to say hello to all my fellow young Somalilanders and future leaders. It is you who I speak of when I promise Somaliland politicians that ‘Somaliland will be fine after your entire generation dies.” While those words may be harsh, the stinging reality of its promise garners at least an appreciative smirk from those who remember what it feels like to love Somaliland. It is no secret that the current young generation of Somalilanders will inevitably be the leaders of tomorrow and I want to thank every one of them in advance for beginning their journey simply by realising that they are the answer that they are looking for.

What takes us all as young Somalilanders on this journey is that the country of Somaliland burns like a fire in our hearts, holds an emotional attachment that overcomes great distances, and calls to us beckoning our return to our true home and final resting place. It’s this same passion and unbreakable attachment that will lead Somaliland to its future success, but first we need to take this passion and convert it into energy we can harness in the form of tangible results and the progression of Somaliland.

Being based in Somaliland I have the privilege of bumping into members of all the political parties (including both their leaders and their fervent followers) and indeed my very close relatives are extremely active in all the main political parties; even Udhis! So I think I can safely say that I am speaking from a very broad perspective when I say that we need to consider who we support and the reasoning and logic behind our support. Should we support a certain party based on our clan ethnicity, support whom our parents do, or should we choose a party based on the needs of Somaliland?

With the increasing intellectual capacity and patriotism of our younger citizens I will have to leave that as an open question as the answer is quite obvious and I am sure we are all on the same page. It is the bleeding and humiliated concept of Somaliland that needs our support and attention and as patriots whose heart the love of Somaliland burns in, we must rally to support Somaliland using all methods available to us; but where do we start?

A lack of a clear election date has created an understandable lack of confidence among most voters, but it still remains that this sacred privilege of voting is the only option when you overcome the immature notion of using violence. It is this same lack of confidence and feeling of helplessness that has in fact allowed the current administration of Somaliland to exploit loopholes in our current constitution allowing them to circumnavigate the limits placed on terms of office. What makes many voters even more disillusioned with our voting process is the inevitability that the ballots will be stuffed.

My answer to this disillusionment is ‘so what?’ Having witnessed ballot stuffing take place in big cities such as Toronto, Canada and London, England I can assure you that this nasty little tactic is employed in practically every country and in every election in the world. What you should think about is that ballots always reflect the will of the greater masses and no one can change that. The Nazi party could never come back to power in Germany even if all the election officials belonged to that party because the number of fake votes it would take to counter the real votes could simply never exist! What I am trying to say is that when the citizen’s of Somaliland’s resolve is heightened to the point the only logical outcome is made clear, it is only Somaliland and not any party in particular that will be declared the winner on Election Day.

So who is this party that is capable of delivering us this promise? Who is this party that will single hand idly bring us from the darkness into the light? The answer is that there is none. Yes, none. Zip, zero, none. There is no such thing as a Magic Party that always gets it right. If it did exist then they would’ve won the election long ago. So now that we know this and we’re thinking realistically and not ideally, who should we be throwing or support behind? Udub? Kulmiye? Ucid? Udhis? Should we start from scratch with a new party? Or should we choose a party based on the needs of Somaliland? The answer to this question may at first seem obvious to those who are privy to passing fanaticism and you will soon realise that the answer to this question is in fact the same answer that was equally obvious before; we should support a political party based on the needs and reality of Somaliland. As much as each promises with all their breathe; no single party will ever be the saviour of Somaliland. In fact, it will be their successive efforts when put together as a whole that will create a better Somaliland.

The trappings of office are actually quite nice, even here in Somaliland, and even I wouldn’t mind living on the state’s tab! Jokes aside, it is our civic duty and our civil responsibility to ensure Somaliland should not be left in one man’s hands; but rather in the hands of the entire nation. It is for this reason we should all be opposed to leaders interested in dictatorial office terms. As humans, we are all prone to complacency; the disease that ravages even the best of us and begins to eat away at our productivity and efficiency without us ever knowing. You see, it begins with overconfidence in one’s accomplishments and usually ends with complete disillusionment with one’s actual abilities verses our actual accomplishment. Throw in our nations disgusting national favourite pastime (chewing qat) and you are now looking at our current administration.

I am sure that our current President had Somaliland’s interests at heart a great deal more seven years ago then he does today and I don’t even blame him. There are actually people who call themselves Somalilander who put their allegiance to his affiliations and favours before their allegiance to Somaliland and give him an excuse to stick around. This may dismay Udub supporters, but even they themselves would find it hard to argue against tribal ties, financial motivation or outright cowardice as their motive for their support of the current party in power. My question to them is what exactly has he accomplished in his seven years of office?

So now that is it obvious that Udub is not the answer we are left with Ucid, Kulmiye and Udhis. See this makes it hard because I both dislike and like them all equally. None of them has ever given me a coherent platform for me to consider, but all of them belong to the party that I plan to vote for; The Party of CHANGE. You see, I am more interested in Somaliland practising democratic ideals then the abilities of the current generation who are in a position to assume authority right now. I embellish the motto of the great state of New Hampshire who’s ‘Live Free or Die’ motto has made them a notoriously unpredictable swing state that holds no allegiances to any political party. When it comes time for me to vote I will be voting for The Party of CHANGE.

If this one can’t get it right; then fire them. If the next one doesn’t get it right; then fire them too. Hell, go Donald Trump on them and fire every one of them until one of them gets it right. And even when that one comes along he or she will only get one term more than those before him/her and a place in my heart alongside Somaliland as a consolation prize. You see, I care not about my uncle or the man who pays my bills. I care about the nation my children and grandchildren will call their home and whether or not they will have the same opportunity to pursue their happiness as the developed world does.

So this still doesn’t answer who we should be voting for. After dreaming of the idealistic kind of politics promised by Ucid and wanting to see those ideas come to fruition I have also learned about the nasty old politics in our country that you just have to experience to understand. Many of the voters don’t know their rights (and I challenge the Commission currently in Somaliland to spend the simple five thousand dollars to run a decent TV/Radio advert educating people on why to vote and how to vote in their best interests and according to democratic ideals). A lot of this has a lot to do with silly tribal affiliations at play in Somaliland, previous disputes amongst tribes and old promises and favours. Add this to who can provide the most free qat to rallying supporters and you now have a perfect picture of the majority of the Somaliland voting base.

After becoming in touch with the reality of Somaliland politics and the average voter, I realised that while Ucid ideally seems like a good party and has a level of organisation the other parties lack, that they have no realistic chance of winning the election due to the current political situation on the ground (which includes the ignorance and tribalism in our politics we need to eradicate). I recently drove through an Ucid rally in Downtown Hargeisa’s and I’m sorry to have to say that most of the people honking their horns were honking out of sheer frustration at the traffic jam the rally caused.

So now, being a big supporter of The Party of CHANGE why would I give my vote to a party that doesn’t have a realistic chance of winning the election? I know I want to get rid of Udub and will support anyone who can take their place. So, I guess, I should just go out and vote for the party that makes the best promises right? I mean, it’s that simple; roll the dice and may the best party win dude! The truth is, is that it is not that simple. You must realise that Udub has bought so many votes that they can easily come in first place in the election without stuffing any ballots. So it is on us as those who want to vote for The Party of CHANGE in Somaliland to look at which of the four parties can actually become the alternative to our current hapless administration. Udhis is an upstart and is in the same position that Ucid was in the last election; a fresh way to say you’re not a part of the status quo and that you won’t vote based on the old way of thinking. I like the hope that Ucid provides, but there is no way in hell that I like that hope enough to give Udub another 5 years at the helm Somaliland.

So now you see where I’m getting. The purpose of this article is an exercise in realism and to throw the idealistic dreamy wishy washy feeling aside. I actually look forward to assisting Ucid in the future and don’t want to discourage people from supporting the party that they agree with, but at some point I have to tell myself the truth; it’s not going to happen. I have to take my vote and use it as a weapon in Somaliland’s defence and be a smart voter who votes strategically and constructively and uses this weapon for an actual outcome. Doing anything less would amount to a waste of my precious vote and registering what would amount to a protest vote. The truth on the ground here in Somaliland is that a vote for Udhis or Ucid amounts to throwing your vote or straight up voting for Udub.

We have to realise that since they realistically have no chance to register more than a presence that we are splitting the opposition vote and giving what amounts to a ‘ vote to Ross Perot.’ This now leaves us with the party that is far from perfect, Kulmiye, as our only option as The Party of Change. It is, after all, this party that either won or almost won the vote the last time (depending on who you believe) and has the largest supporter base and therefore the only realistic challenger to Udub in the upcoming election.

In the future I look forward to a leader who has the patriotism and a love for their country and that I can call a ‘Wadaani’. The sad truth is that it will take time before this kind of leader can emerge in a correct climate in Somaliland where we can vote for the party we want to win and they actually have a fair chance; A time where a candidate only has to express their platform to an educated voter base in order to have a realistic chance. Anyone who believes we are currently at this point on the ground in Somaliland is only asking to be punished for their naivety.

So I conclude this message to all the young Somalilanders reminding them to use their vote strategically and to think beyond the current game. Think about the entire season and the life of Somaliland if it is Somaliland that you truly do love. And remember that no particular party is a sports team and it’s okay to be a glory-hunter if it suits the needs of Somaliland. Vote for The Party of Change and remember that this title belongs to none of the four parties exclusively, but to Somaliland itself. I may support Kulmiye this time around, but as I promised Mr. Silaanyo to his face, my support for their party will end the day they come to power. You see, I am a supporter of Somaliland the country, and not its representatives. Until Somaliland politics has everything to do with what’s right and nothing to do with tribes, I will forever be a part of the opposition and vote for The Party of Change.

I call on all of you to join me in supporting The Party of Change and look forward to the future of Somaliland and the ‘Rise of the Independents’. I urge you all to think about why and who you are voting for before you cast that ballot. You may honestly be Somaliland’s last chance.

Written by: Mo ‘Arr’ Hussein


Somalia: Somaliland police arrest 'child smuggler from Russia'

24 Feb 24, 2010, http://www.garoweonline.com

Security forces in Somalia's self-declared republic of Somaliland have arrested A Russian man native who was allegedly smuggled a 13 year old girl from a town in neighboring Puntland state.

The man who is said to be in police custody for questioning was arrested trying to smuggle Asha Mohamed Hassan, 13, from Qardho town, the administrative capital of Puntland’s Karkar region.

Col. Moahmmed Shil Dhidar, The acting police commandant of police in Hargeisa told reporters that the suspect wanted to smuggle the girl out of the country.

"The Russian man was trying to smuggle her out of the country but we caught up with them and now he is in our custody,” he said.

He adds, “We have already contacted the girl’s family and her mother is coming to pick her. At the moment she is living with a police family.”

He urged parents to look after their children, warning them of looming smuggling dilemma in the region.

On Tuesday, the accused was brought before a Hergeisa court but the judge postponed the hearing and ordered him remanded for further investigations.


Krug shares about life in Somaliland

By submitted by Teresa KrugTeresa Krug (center) is shown with two students from Abaarso Tech in front of a rock formation, Halaye, with hieroglyphics that are supposedly dated from 500 B.C. just outside Somaliland, Africa. Notice the armed guards standing on the rocks in the background.

By Teresa Krug/ Special to The Sun-Times, The Sun-Times, Feb 24, 2010 http://www.thesuntimes.com/news/x692842802/Krug-shares-about-life-in-Somaliland

(Editor’s note: Teresa Krug, a 2003 Heber Springs High graduate, is an English teacher in Somaliland in the eastern horn of Africa. She has been there since October 2009. She was originally supposed to teach English and journalism to university students, but since January she has been teaching English at the secondary school of Abaarso Tech (an advanced high school) to freshmen and local police and customs officers.

Krug is the director of communications and is in charge of outreach to media outlets. She was asked to give readers an insight into what life is like in Somaliland. More information about Abaarso Tech and her experiences can be found at www.abaarsotech.org and www.smilinginsomaliland.com.)

My mornings begin with a classroom of 14 freshmen. Together we rehearse the different parts of speech, review capitalization, and spend time with famous literary characters. My students face me in dark blue uniforms, and I instruct in a hideously flowered ‘teacher dress.’ This scene closely resembles any boarding school classroom in the United States, save one notable part: my hair and exposed neck are wrapped in brightly colored scarves.

The total freshman class is composed of roughly 50 students. They are the first to go through Abaarso Tech, a secondary boarding school in East Africa that was founded by an American in 2008. The students, who are in the top one percent of their peer group of Somaliland, are admitted regardless of their abilities to pay. As a whole, however, they still lag far behind their peers in more developed parts of the world.

Previous to enrollment many of our students had never seen a computer, and the majority lacked the fundamental conceptual and analytical skills my classmates and I developed as children. While we spent time with board games, theater, debate, and other foundational activities, these students’ education focused more on memorization and housework. In addition to advanced science and math classes, these teenagers are now also being exposed to logic and arts education for the very first time.

The educational downfall is just one side effect of this post-conflict society. (Somaliland unilaterally separated from its 1960 union with southern Somalia in 1991 after a violent civil war.) Many Somalis, the majority of which either lived in refugee camps or abroad during the war, are still suffering from undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder. The political and healthcare systems are still tremendously underdeveloped, and books are severely lacking. Because little printing takes place here, and shipping is extremely expensive, it is common for classes to be taught without enough—or any—of them.

What the country lacks in material resources, however, it makes up for in committed, optimistic individuals who are determined to see Somaliland succeed. Despite the international community’s reluctance to acknowledge it as a separate country, hospitals are being built, universities are being strengthened, and students are attacking education with an insatiable hunger.

As difficult as it has been to lose much of my independence to armed guards and shared drivers, I find it increasingly difficult to walk away from this country. I am reminded daily of Heber Springs in the people I meet: generous, religious, largely homogenous, strong familial ties, and gentle, teasing senses of humor. I am also reminded of the lessons I learned here—both in and out of school—as I apply them every day with my students.

I know the capability to see my friends and family in Somaliland has enabled the struggles of Somalis to become more personal. My hope is that others, despite their physical location, will also be able to personalize their struggles.


Somaliland Thwarts Attack on Military From Puntland

LAS ANOD (Qarannews-Feb 23, 2010) - Somaliland military said it thwarted a Puntland militant attack on members of it's 12th division stationed in east of Las Anod on Monday morning.

Mr. Saleban Guled, Somaliland Defense minister, said there were no casualties on either side but the militants fled back to Puntland.

The attack came as Somaliland prepares the last leg of voter-registrations in the region.

According to an eyewitness, a search operation was also conducted in Tukaraq, a town some 50km south of Las Anod, against miscreants involved in terror activities. They said arms and cash were seized.

Earlier this month, the security forces nabbed at least 20 suspected militants and Quranic teachers from Las Anod, who were accused of having ties with Somalia's Al Shabab militants.

On the 29th of January, Mr. Ali Sundale, Somaliland's Postal and Communication minister, suspended all communications in the town after reports suggested that mobile phones were used as ‘bomb triggers'.

Since the security measures were introduced there has not been any attacks in the region.


Drought hits Somaliland

AfricaNews, 20 February 2010 - 09:30

Muhyadin Ahmed Roble, AfricaNews reporter in Nairobi, Kenya

The administration in Somalia's breakaway region of Somaliland has appealed to international aid agencies to bring humanitarian aid for hundreds of thousands of civilian. The officials said the wake of prolonged drought effected children in the region. The Somaliland's ministry for planning and National Aid Co-ordination released that 40% of Somaliland's 3.5 million populations which is equivalent 1.4 million people need aid.

Ali Ibrahim, minister for planning and National Aid Co-ordination told IRIN radio that the failure of the rains in last year has caused the people need water-trucking, construction and rehabilitation of boreholes, rehabilitation and desilting of dams.

"They also need supply of medication for affected human and livestock populations to avert an outbreak of epidemics", Ibrahim said.

Somaliland also asked international aid agencies nutritional support for the weak and sick people.

"The situation is critical and may continue to worsen in the coming months. It requires rapid and fast responses from the international community, the business community, and humanitarian and benevolent institutions, to deliver needed humanitarian assistance and livelihood support," Ali Ibrahim.

The Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit of The Food and Agriculture Organization has increased concerns about the effects of the drought. In this month, the agency said people live in Sanaag and Togdheer regions will face an acute of food and livelihood crisis.

"Fortunately, humanitarian access to these regions is good; therefore it is essential for agencies to extend the much-needed life-saving and/or livelihood support interventions to the population in these areas to prevent further deterioration," the agency published.

The drought affected Sudan, Kenya, parts of Uganda and Ethiopia and also Somalia.


Commemorating Somaliland’s Youth Day

HARGEISA, 20 February 2010 (Somalilandpress) – “Youth are like young plants, they need to be cared for, if you take a good care of your plants, you will have strong plants and a good harvest. It is the same with youth, if you invest them”.

We are born in Somaliland; we will live in Somaliland and we will die in Somaliland. On 20 February 1982, young courageous students determined to stand for justice with throwing stones one of the most powerful military force in Africa. Most of them were in upper primary school grade eighth and first year in a high school. It was a day to remember for those students who lost their lives in that day. It was a day to remember for those who prove their commitment by tossing stones to prepare a better Somaliland for the coming generation.

Many of us who are lucky enough to go schools today and have environment that support us morally wouldn’t understand what it feels like to fling stones at that day. Imagine what goes through your mind if you were there. We, as youth today reaped the fruits of our older generations and heroic students.

Remember UFFO a group of young educators who paid themselves to work hard for their communities and build a better Somaliland for all as we are young people of today. They noshed us volunteer ideas and what freedom is and how to achieve it. They started sanitation programmes in Hargeisa hospital as a means of helping their populations. Members of UFFO were arrested for their serving to the people while others sentenced to death.

We Somaliland generation of today are commemorating this day under theme of this year which is the importance of youth participation in decision – making process. Different occasions is hold to mark this day by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, youth umbrella organizations and other youth based community organizations in Somaliland. Speeches presented in these occasions are aspiring at supporting young people’s participation in the social, economical development and policy making of the country. Young people have the latent and aptitude to play a part in society and symbolize a voice that calls for the development of life in that society.

Youth participation in society has most often been considered in terms of civic engagement. Being a teenager is a wonderful period. When you are teenager you are violent as a wolf, just because you have seen yourself as a grown up and powerful. We imagine that we are the best thing that exists in the world.

Young people will not be enthusiastic, creative and innovative unless their societies understand they have the potential to improve their country socially, economically and politically. Thus, it depends on how their societies treat them We can say if we train our youth the leaders of the future, our society will prosper, but if they miss a direction the society will fail and live poverty. . Hence, it is essential that youth to obtain the guidance and support they need in this challenging stage of life. If supported and encouraged, youth can make a sizeable input to their country.

The young people of today are really tough and talented people. Every young men and women has a dream to carry his/her country into a higher position in the world. Involvement of society’s decision making at a young age enhances the wellbeing of every nation. We have to express our views and opinions so as to be taken seriously that we are agent of change. Inspiring the young people to speak out by articulating their views and ideas feels he or she has something to offer in his society and also a sense of belongs. A major benefit of young people’s input in decision making process makes better the confidence, knowledge and motivates others to be a part of them. It is therefore important for every nation to ensure the wellbeing of its youth and Somaliland is not exceptional.

The message is clear; Today’s young Somali Landers need participating decision-making process to obtain a sort of life skills to actively participate of an increasingly knowledge-intensive society and become today’s young citizens and tomorrow as the country’s future leaders. Unfortunately Somaliland government is not putting higher youth concerns at the heart of their development agenda, and still more remains to be done.

In spite of these, young people still face many challenges and problems which prevent them from showing their filled potential. Somaliland lack sound national youth policies that guides to the next generations for participating the decision making process in the country. It is, therefore crucial that youth receive the leadership and support they need in their government and sustaining them successful transition from youth to adult hood.

Farhan Abdi Suleiman (Oday) Email: Oday1999@yahoo.com, Tell: 4401132, Hargiesa, Somaliland


A Convincing Case for Somaliland Recognition

Written by Ibrahim Hassan Gagale, Feb 19, 2010, http://www.qarannews.com/

The opponents of Somaliland Republic sometimes raise insincere arguments about the legitimacy of its national borders and its quest for international diplomatic recognition calling its borders “Colonial Borders” to deny Somaliland sovereignty and diplomatic recognition. This hostile group is either ignorant of the historical origin of current borders of African States or purposefully engaged in misleading. The United Nations, African Union, and African States did not draw or make the current borders of African States. Similar to the borders of Somaliland, all the borders of African independent states had been drawn by the colonial powers of Europe in the 19th century, before or after The Partition of Africa in 1884, and the independence and diplomatic recognition of each African State depend upon its own colonial demarcations or borders. Likewise, all the borders of Asian and South American independent States also emerged from colonial borders drawn by Britain, France, and Spain.

It is hypocritical that these opponents recognize the legitimacy of the border between Somaliland and Djibouti but challenge the legitimacy of the border running between Somaliland and Somalia (running along Growe and Bosaso) knowing that both borders were drawn by colonial powers. The borders of Somalia, Somaliland, and Djibouti have the same status and legitimacy because they were all drawn by European Colonizers. Most of such opposing elements are easily overwhelmed by unattainable ambitions for tribal state with tribal borders that does not exist in Africa or elsewhere in the world. Their denial of the legitimacy of Somaliland borders and independence is completely in contrary to the historical realities of African borders. Anyone who opposes the legitimacy of Somaliland borders, its independence, and its diplomatic recognition is challenging the borders and sovereignty of all African independent states (54 states) whose borders rose from their colonial borders or demarcations. Djibouti, Somaliland and Somalia have the same legitimacy for independence and diplomatic recognition.

Somaliland was the first of the five-Somali territories to achieve independence from the British Empire on June 26, 1960 based on its existing borders and, before the merger with Somalia on July 1st, 1960, the first Somali country to be recognized by the United Nations and 35 member nations immediately after independence like the rest of African States. Independent Somaliland was also the first to pioneer the unification between Somaliland and Somalia in quest for Greater Somalia in the Horn of Africa. Somalia hijacked the governments of the union for the thirty years of its existence (1960-1990) and treated Somaliland as one of its own provinces like Mudug and Bay committing all kinds of injustices against it. When Somaliland people rebelled against injustices perpetrated by Somalia in the twenty years between 1960-1980, atrocities were committed against them in the decade of 1980s instead of addressing their justified grievances.

After all talks and negotiations between Somaliland leaders and Siad Barre`s regime to reverse the anti-Somaliland policies failed, the people of Somaliland had no choice but to challenge the unabated injustices of Somalia with armed resistance. Somali National Movement (SNM) was founded in April 1981. The military wing of SNM waged relentless attacks against Southern troops of atrocities, oppression, suppression, and repression for nearly a decade (1982-1990), and finally liberated Somaliland in January 1991. After the shaky union was hijacked again by self-styled Southern president, Ali Mahdi Mohamed, in February in 1991, the Somaliland people held National Congress in Burao on May 18, 1991 and unanimously proclaimed the withdrawal of Somaliland from the union with Somalia and reclaimed its independence of June 26, 1960 renaming itself Somaliland Republic. If Somalia had any respect for the unity of the doomed union, it would restrain itself from the atrocities that threatened the existence of the central clans of Somaliland. Somalia should not rally and cry now for unity it destroyed with its own hands. Injustices, atrocities, and arrogance were the major causes that forced Somaliland people to withdraw from the union with Somalia.

Some people confuse Somaliland with Puntland for either ignorance or for futile political reasons. Puntland is an integral part of Somalia because it is located within the colonial borders of Somalia (Italian-drawn borders) with which Somalia achieved independence on July 1st, 1960 and shares people and history with Somalia while Somaliland has the rightful claim of independence and recognition for having its own, unique colonial borders with which it achieved independence and diplomatic recognition on June 26, 1960. Tribal boundaries or tribal states are not recognized in Africa and that is why the Organization of African Unity solemnly declared in 1964 that all member states pledge themselves to respect the borders existing on their achievement of national independence. Here the borders existing on their achievement of national independence are the colonial borders on which Somaliland achieved independence on June 26, 1960. If tribal states or borders were recognized in Africa, the whole continent would collapse and be plunged into endless, devastating clan wars.

Unlike Puntland, Somaliland is not a secessionist or a breakaway region from Somalia as its opponents would like to portray it. Somaliland Republic just withdrew from the union with Somalia that it joined as an independent state on July 1st, 1960 after it failed in the hands of Somalia. Somaliland and Somalia are not the first two countries in this world whose union ceased to exist. The Soviet Union of 15 Socialist Republics and created by the Bolshevik Revolution led by Vladimir Lenin in 1917 broke up after social upheavals with deep political discontent and came to an end peacefully in 1989 with new countries emerging from it such as Georgia, Ukraine, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia etc. They are all recognized by the UN and international community on the basis of their original borders existing before the union. The federation of former Yugoslavia that had 8 countries broke up after bloody civil wars (1991-1995) and new countries such as Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Slovenia, Kosovo etc emerged from its ashes. All are recognized diplomatically too for their original borders existing before the federation. This shows that the unity among countries in a union is not sacred if they disagree but the unity within a country like Somaliland, Djibouti, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda etc is sacred because each country is bound together by its own national borders inherited from colonial powers.

Some Somalis believe that Somaliland can not withdraw from the union with Somalia claiming that all Somalis share language, religion, color, and culture. If this claim were true, the Arab World which has nearly 17 independent countries such as Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and Sudan with the same language, religion, color, and culture would have a union or a federal system today. They do not have any union or federal for disagreeing to share one. Over 14 South American countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, El Salvador etc also share religion (Catholic Church), language (Spanish), culture, and color but they do not share any union or federal system. Sharing language, religion, color, and culture is not convincing factors to share or remain in a union. Justice and fair power-sharing are the most important factors for a union to survive and that is what Somalia failed to understand in the years of the union. Islamic religion commends unity for enhancing strength and power but does not support that one side of the union brings death and destruction upon the other side like Somalia did to Somaliland, particularly in the years 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989m and 1990. “Greater Somalia” is like “Greater Arab World” or “Greater South America” which no one knows when such dreams will come true. Some other Somalis believe that only Somaliland and Somalia constitute “Greater Somalia” excluding Djibouti and the occupied territories for opportunistic reasons. Somaliland will not be red meat for all Somalis again.

The place is Africa where tribalism and localism are more important than nationalism and patriotism and where democracy, fair elections, and rule of law are not respected. Chronic tribalism, brutal dictatorships, and crippling corruptions are common and normal practice of the day in Africa. Any federal government can be easily overthrown at any time by military coups, just like General Siad Barre did in 1969, with the immediate dissolution of elected parliament and constitution. No one can guarantee that this will not happen again in restive Africa. Neither Somaliland people nor the people of Somalia can afford to have another risky union that leads them to another military brutal dictatorship or despotic president that plunges both peoples into other violent, atrocious civil wars again. Because of the past painful experiences, peoples of Somaliland and Somalia need to have separate, safe, prosperous sisterly states with mutual relations like the Arab World or South American countries. Both nations must reject blind patriotism for “Greater Somalia” which is not practically feasible today.

Somaliland Republic will only discuss future relations with a government of Somalia which is democratically elected and which represents and controls the entire people and territory of Somalia. Somaliland will not meet with a government or parliament that includes individuals claiming to represent Somaliland. Any meeting or discussions with Somalia without fulfilling these two conditions would violate the basics of Somaliland`s sovereignty.

Somaliland, as any African state, has the right to be diplomatically recognized by the United Nations, African states, and other countries for its current borders that rose from colonial borders. If the African countries do not recognize Somaliland Republic for its own colonial borders as soon as possible, they should know that they put their statehood and sovereignty based on their colonial borders in question. Achieving independence on June 26, 1960 and basing that independence on its own colonial borders, as any other African independent country, Somaliland has CONVINCING CASE for international diplomatic recognition. For faster diplomatic recognition, Somaliland needs good governance and fair elections held on time. Somaliland independence is undeniable and its diplomatic recognition is unstoppable.

Ibrahim Hassan Gagale, Email: ibrahim_hg@yahoo.com Date: February 19, 2010.


Anti-Somaliland Campaigners: Descending to the Lower of Pan-Somali Polemics

HARGEISA, 18 February 2010 (Somalilandpress) – In last two decades, Somalia was dooming into devastation, and until today it has no signs of a recovery. After the collapse of brutal regime of Siyad Barre, the armed struggle between rival Mohamed Farah Aideed and Ali Mehdi, and beginning of Warlords, the international community hosted many peace conferences for Somalis to settle their differences including the latest in Djibouti. However, all failed due to reasons with personal interest.

The entire infrastructure of Somalia collapsed and thousands of civilians were killed and other run away from their homes to the refugee camps in Kenya. The rape of women is common in southern Somalia and millions of children don’t go to schools, in addition to bloody so-called Islamic fundamentalism. This nonsense conflict in Somalia takes different shapes including tribal, political and religious.

In other hand, Somaliland restored its lost sovereignty of 26th June 1960 with colonial border. Somaliland focused on peace-making, state building, democracy, creating social services including free education to all Somaliland children from Elayo to Loyado cities. Today’s Somaliland is based on 1960 territory that won independence from Britian and 35 countries including Israel, Egypt, Ethiopia and the five permanent members of Security Council recognized with predefined colonial border, permanent population, capacity interrelations with other states. We should remember that entire African states are based on colonial border.

Somaliland rehabilitated refuges from Ethiopia. These refuges escaped the air bombing, killing and ethnic clearing against the people of Somaliland by the brutal military regime of Barre. Somaliland established multiparty political system and organized free and fair elections under international and African observers. Somaliland disarmed thousands of militia, trained and transformed them into National Army and Police. In last 20 years, Somaliland had three consecutive elected presidents and two parliaments in addition Municipal Council.

The election took place without outside support. The democracy in Somaliland is homegrown, and every Somalilander contributed in to the democracy creation. The voters standing in long queues hit the headline of international news agencies. Somaliland established sustainable economy and social services, and today the government regularly pays the salaries of more than 150,000 security officers including army, police and jail guards.

All these remarkable achievement was in less than 20 years, and without international support. UN, AU or EU did not send nor did Somaliland request crisis diffusers and election experts to support Somaliland in democracy development and state building. The commitment of the people of Somaliland towards peace, democracy and independence led these developments and progress.

Unfortunately, the international community spends millions of dollars to restore peace and security in Somalia, and neglected to help Somaliland in state building and democracy promotions. AU fact-finding delegate to Somaliland in 2005 advised the African Union to recognize Somaliland because it fulfils all the requirements of statehood.

Moreover, Somaliland is victim of terrorist attacks from lawless Somalia including Al-Shabab recent suicide bombing at the sensitive locations in Somaliland including UN Headquarter and Presidential Palace.

There is Anti-Somaliland campaigns via the media, and they misbelieve that success of Somaliland will have backfire on their interests. Such campaigners tried many times to create chaos between Somaliland tribes who lived together for thousands of years in peace and harmony. The Anti-Somaliland figures support the recent bombing in Las Anod City of eastern Somaliland, and these series of bombs killed security officers and large number of civilians.

In unsuccessful attempts, the Anti-Somaliland figures hire writers on the internet to change the centuries old history of Somaliland into their own favor. They talk to governments in Africa and Asia to disable their trade connection with Somaliland, which led the ban on Somaliland livestock to Arabian Peninsula.

One of such Anti-Somaliland campaigners is Former Somali Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullah Oomar in the cabinet of Sheikh\ Sharif Ahmed, who asked the WFP and UNDP to stop their development and aid programs in Somaliland. This desperate attempt was to downgrade Somaliland.

The below paragraphs are note of Somaliland Constitution in 1960; this is to prove to Anti-Somaliland campaigners that Somaliland was an independent country with defined borders and today, it restored its lost sovereignty after 40 years of detrimental union with Italian Somalia. If anyone need more prove about existence of Somaliland and its constitution, he/she either visit www.somalilandlaw.com or www.untreaty.un.org and search for Somaliland agreements with Britain, and announcement of UK that Great Britain don’t represent Somaliland because it is an independent state:

A note on the Somaliland Constitutional History between 1946 to 1960

Somaliland Constitutional History – 1946 to 1960

The Somaliland Protectorate was of course governed directly by the Queen’s representative, the Governor, who exercised all legislative and executive powers.

In 1946, an Advisory Council was established. This consisted of 48 selected members representing all the districts and the sections of the community. It had no executive or legislative power and only met usually once a year. The Council’s main purpose was “to stimulate the interest of the people themselves in the administration of the country and the in the collection and expenditure of public funds” (Touval, S Somali Nationalism, Harvard University Press, 1963, at page 107). Selection to the Council took the form of nominations made at clan meetings, with the District Commissioner aiming to “ensure that a reasonably representative body of delegates is sent from each District” (Lewis, IM The Modern History of Somaliland Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1965 at page 279).

The Somaliland (Constitution) Order in Council 1955 was made on 10 February 1955, but did not come into force until 1957, when the first Legislative Council was set up for the first time. The Council consisted of 15 members, and was presided by the Governor. The rest of the members consisted of the three ex officio members (the Chief Secretary, the Attorney General and the Financial secretary), five official members who were heads of the Government Departments and six unofficial members nominated by the Governor.

Nominations for the latter six seats were sought in the Advisory Council, but no agreement was reached on the nominations. “In the end, however, as was to be expected, 24 candidates representative of the main clans and lineages in the six Administrative Districts of the Protectorate were proposed, very much on the basis of the Advisory Council” (Lewis: 280). There was an Executive Council which consisted of the Governor, the 3 ex officio members and two of the heads of the Government Departments.

The Somaliland (Constitution) Order in Council 1959 came into force on 20 February 1959. There were of course demands for elected representation on the Council, and in 1959, a new Council was formed, which consisted of the Governor as President, 12 elected members, 2 nominated unofficial members and 15 official members. In March 1959, elections for the 12 seats were held by secret ballot in a limited number of urban and rural districts and a vote by acclamation was sought in the remaining districts. Although the election was boycotted by the main political party, the Somali National League (SNL), because their demand for “an unofficial majority” (i.e Somali representation) in the Council was not accepted, this was, in effect, the first Somaliland election. Voters were males over 21 years old. In town constituencies, voters were required to possess either a dwelling or 10 camels, 10 head of cattle or 100 sheep and goats. The 12 seats were divided equally amongst the six principal districts.

The Somaliland (Constitution) (No.2) Order in Council 1959 came into force on 21 November 1959. The number of the elected members of the Council was increased to 33 and the appointed membership was reduced to 3.

The Somaliland (Constitution) Order in Council 1960 came into force on 16 February 1960. The composition of the Legislative Council remained the same, but the executive Council now consisted of three ex officio members and four unofficial members appointed by the Governor from among the elected members of the legislative Council. The Executive Council was designated as the principal instrument of policy and its members “shall be styled Ministers”. Elections for the legislative Council were held in February by universal adult male suffrage.

This Order therefore heralded the second and more comprehensive Legislative Council elections which were held in February 1960. SNL won 20 of the seats, the USP, 12 seats and the NUF, 1 seat. Although the SNL and the USP won all but one of the seats, the number of votes which they obtained was only a little more than twice of that NUF. (SNL and USP gained 68.75% of the votes (as compared to NUF’s 31.25% and that netted them 99% of the seats – see Touval, S Somali Nationalism, Harvard University Press, 1963, at page 106). Four ministerial posts were held by Somalis for the first time, and the SNL leader, Mr Ibrahim Haji Ibrahim Egal was one of the ministers and the Leader of Government Business in the Legislative Council.

On independence on 26 June 1960, the first Constitution of the independent State of Somaliland came into force. The Constitution which was annexed to the Great Britain Somaliland Order in Council 1960 (S.I 1060 of 23 June 1960). The Constitution, which consists of a total of 53 sections and a schedule is important, because marks the unique juridical status of Somaliland as an independent, sovereign state, albeit, for a short period. The Executive consisted of the Council of Ministers – a Prime Minister and three other Ministers- which had the full executive authority vested in them. Up to three Assistant Ministers may be appointed by the Prime Minister from among the members of the Legislative Assembly.

The Legislature consisted of the Council of Ministers and the members of the Legislative Assembly. The Assembly consisted of a speaker and 33 members. Under s.18 of the Constitution, the first Legislative Assembly was the Legislative Council elected in February 1960. The term of office of the Assembly was three years, which applied also to the first Assembly. The Prime Minister had, however, power, under s.38 to prorogue or dissolve the Assembly at any time, which would lead to a general lection within three months of the dissolution.

The Judicature consisted of the Somaliland High Court, the judges of which shall be appointed by the Council of Ministers. Section 40 set out clear terms for tenure of office of judges who shall hold office until the age of 62, and can only be removed from office “for misbehaviour or for inability to discharge the functions of his office”. If the Council of Ministers consider that a judge ought to be removed from office for these reasons, then it shall appoint a tribunal of no less two persons “who held high judicial office in Somaliland or any other country”. Other than the High Court, the Constitution stated that Somaliland shall have such other subordinate courts as prescribed by law.

Sources: www.somalilandlaw.com, www.untreaty.un.org,

By:Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi, Email: az.almutairi@yahoo.com


Yemen To Open Diplomatic Office in Somaliland

HARGEISA, 17 February 2010 (Somalilandpress) – Reports close to the Somaliland government say that Yemen is planning to open a new diplomatic office in Hargeisa. As part of the growing bilateral relationship between the two governments, San’a is now interested in setting itself in Somaliland.

Sources told Somalilandpress that the Yemeni government is sending an official delegation to Hargeisa in the coming few weeks to discuss the issue with the Somaliland authorities before the office is launched.

It is believed that the office will mainly focus issues concerning the relationship between the two countries, piracy, terrorism and trade.

There have been increasing common interest between the two governments since the Islamist groups in Southern Somalia threatened Yemen and vowed to bridge their fighting beyond the gulf waters to join their Yemeni Jihadists in the country. Struggling an increasing Islamist movements in Yemen, the government is now looking for other partners in order to tackle the Alshabab’s expansion to its country.

There is no official statement from Somaliland government so far.


Somalia: Somaliland authority extradite a Somali lady to Ethiopia

Mogadishu Wednesday 17 February 2010, http://www.somaliweyn.org/pages/news/Feb_10/17Feb14.html

The authority of the breakaway state of Somaliland in northern Somalia has extradited a Somali lady by the name Bisharo Wadi Shaqlane who hails from the Somalis in the west to the federal government of Ethiopia.

Some of the next of kin of Mrs. Bisharo said that the Police of Somaliland have one of the fine days stormed at the house of Bisharo and since then her whereabouts was not known to anyone.

Abdi Mohamoud Omar the security commissioner of the Somali administered region in Ethiopia has acknowledged that that very woman Mrs. Bisharo is in one jails in Jigjiga town.

Mr. Abdi has added that the woman is liable for an explosion which has taken place in Jigjiga in the year 2007 for the first year of the commemoration of the overthrow of the former government of Ethiopia.

Mohammed Isse a member of A human rights monitor which is an organization which advocates for human rights, has said it is absolutely wrong that Bisharo was captured somewhere in Ethiopia.

Mr. Mohammed Isse has as well strongly called null and void that Mrs. Bisharo was not in anyway involved in the explosion of 2007.

Bisharo is a mother of 4 and she is in her late 50s and for the last 2 years she has been living in Hargeiysa the capital city of the breakaway state of Somaliland.


Somaliland: Mohamed Atam, A Terrorist or Arms Dealer ?

HARGEISA, 16 February 2010 (Somalilandpress) – Terrorism remains one of the major threats to global stability and security, it is also worth mentioning the global disagreements on its definition, furthermore, it is none the less imperative to, categorize Somalia as a failed state without laws that define terrorism and within that scope, of terrorism, clarify a situation in Eastern Sanag of Somaliland.

Allegations and counter allegation pertaining to terror networks are rampant in Somaliland and Somalia in general and, Puntland region in particular.

Mohamed Said Atam, a lone ranger, with a powerful clan militia got an international attention, when reports surfaced depicting him as Al-qaeda. Hence, before we engage ourselves in assessing “Atom”, his categorization as Al-qaeda should be treated as a campaign by Puntland clan, to paint him as such.

United Nations Somalia Arms Monitoring Group reported that, Mr. Atom, a businessman from Somaliland’s Eastern Sanag mobilized militia to fight off Puntland. That is correct for Majiyahan, a Warsengeli turf is an area rich in mineral deposits and Puntland’s intention of exploring and mining areas that aren’t in their jurisdiction, caused an armed struggle that brought death among hundreds of residents.

The same report also mentioned Mr Atom’s importation of arms. Potentially, the coastal areas on the Gulf of Aden could be a hub for any illegal transactions, but in actuality it only happens in Puntland. But on a fair note, Atom’s coastal strip of poignant lawlessness, free from Puntland’s claim as a domain and his turf war with that State, clearly makes him an arms trader and importer; but doesn’t necessarily make him a terrorist.

The report also implicated him as a trans-shipper of arms to eastern Ethiopia and precisely to ONLF. However, his unadulterated mechanisms of delivering arms shipments to ONLF in Ethiopia is quite unrealistic, for it is possible for someone to ship arms to different parts of greater Somalia, we would question, however, the authenticity of the report, of involving ONLF; it is murky because the logistical parameters don’t support that option.

There is an opportunity cost to his emergence as a powerful leader; the Al-qaeda implications depicting him as a threat, is without a sound attestation on the part of Puntland, thus is a pure vengeance that needs to be brushed off.

Mr. Atom imports arms and is Union of Islamic Courts supporter, fighter and member with various shady affiliations of individuals of different backgrounds and political views. His means of diversifying “Atom”, in this observation makes him a very dangerous man.

Links to Piracy and Kidnapping

Mr. Atom and his affiliates lately demonstrated capabilities that transcend the intelligence circles of both Puntland and Somaliland. In this view, his dealings with Yemen and his unadulterated ability to cross over Somali made borders categorize him as a latent trouble that is about to explode.

The UN should consider him as such, only with an un-biased report on him with facts.

Therefore, we should look at the manner by which an act of terror or a terrorist is characterized accordingly.

Written By: Mohamoud H Ahmed


Somaliland recognition & Somali unity

This article will analyse the recent report of possible Somaliland recognition and how Somaliland independence is often perceived in Somalia. The future of the Somali nation will also be discussed.

Israel’s possible recognition of Somaliland has recently been a popular topic of discussion among Somali news websites. The idea seems farfetched, if not wishful thinking, for in reality the possibility of Israel recognising Somaliland is only marginal.

Nevertheless, assuming these claims are correct, bilateral ties with Israel could have some serious implications on Somaliland’s quest for nationhood.

This is undoubtedly a great prospect for the recognition Somaliland has been waiting for, for decades. If it handles it correctly with due diligence, this could be the master key to unlocking many new opportunities with either the Western/Israel or Arab nations. Recognition from Israel could encourage other nations to recognise Somaliland. This partly depends on how well Somaliland articulates its case.

Ties with Israel could have some serious implications for its ties with Arab nations on which Somaliland depends for much of its trade. However, Israel could prove a strong partner with regard to being a possible export market and exploitation of Somaliland’s resources.

Israel’s recognition of Somaliland would not come without strings attached as the previous Somaliland press article touched on. One benefit to Israel is the strategic position of Somaliland opposite the Arabian Peninsula, at the door of the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait. A military base there would enhance Israel’s military capabilities and give them the upper hand if conflict were to occur in the Middle East. However, Djibouti is a more realistic alternative for the military base. It has often displayed its sheer desperation for foreign investment in trying to earn some foreign currency. It currently hosts a number of foreign military missions and is far more pliable, secure and accessible.

Another reason is Somaliland’s unexploited resources which will be accessible to Israel probably within an agreement giving them preferential if not near exploitative conditions. The truth is that Somaliland has very few friends, Israel wants to exploit a poorly governed, poorly informed and poorly defended enclave in which it realises potential to fulfil its own aims and ambitions.

Nevertheless, Somaliland should actively seek ties with Israel. Recognition will be conditional on certain agreements (as described in the article and above) designed to enhance Israel and achieve its wider strategic and political aims and ambitions (particularly in the Middle East).

If and when Israel is content with recognising Somaliland, the Somaliland government should use this to lobby the (more numerous) Arab nations for recognition. If not recognition, Somaliland could usher greater support and perhaps even investment from Arab countries. Considering the historic conflict between Arab countries and Israel, the Arab nations would a risk to their national security. This may spearhead the nations standing in the way of Somaliland recognition to reconsider their view and see the other side of the coin or support Somaliland more. Maybe it’s time to stop the sweet talk and play hardball.

The Arab nations may feel they have greater leverage over Somaliland as exports, foreign exchange and tax earnings consist of mainly livestock exported to these Arab Nations. A renewed livestock ban would be a real possible pressuring technique employable by the Arab nations to prevent it from establishing a relationship dangerous to them. Also any recognition of Somaliland by Arab nations will be due to their own interests rather than anything else. Therefore Somaliland needs to understand the strategic interests of foreign nations it is trying to lobby for recognition and take a cost benefit analysis when redefining bilateral relationships. When they realise this and learn to master the art of politics (deception?) (formerly only a forte of the Darood) is when they will succeed to achieve their aims.

A very important aspect in the case of Somaliland should be the case of Somalia itself. Somaliland currently is a government, a people and a power in limbo, imprisoned by those fearing what good it might achieve/do. Somaliland is trapped along the sidelines, unable to partake in activities so vital to its existence. This is the last hurdle of the revolution.

Somaliland and Somalia are perpetually linked and the people, government and conscience of Somaliland owe it to the suffering children, women and elderly in Somalia to establish peace. Somaliland can do more for Somalia as a sovereign country in the political arena (than as a spectator) to balance the negative influence of Ethiopia.

It is unquestionable that foreign forces, of which most notably Ethiopia, led to the downfall of Somalia. And my instincts tell me now that the seeds bearing the anarchy and chaos prevailing now, were planted by those same foreign forces. Somalia or the rebellion didn’t need a downfall, just a change of government, they fell fool to their enemies. This once proud nation has been fragmented and divided.

Somali regions have no benefit in each other’s failure, and the only realistic conflict visible to the naked eye is potential conflict over resources in Sool & Sanaag. Somali regions should not try to control/rule each other as history has taught us that that is doomed for failure. Walk not in front of me, walk not behind me, but walk beside me as best you can, for together we can achieve so much more.

Any future government that is going to succeed will be a decentralised, coalition of parties from different parts of Somalia who co-operate to achieve their wider political and economical aims in the environment of the greater political arena. The foundation stones were laid in Somaliland, Puntland and peace was moving downwards to Galmudug and lower Somalia when those same outside forces acted to defend that which was in their interests (war & anarchy).

Somaliland should not be seen as deserting its Somali identity and conforming to western/Ethiopian the pressure but rather be a cornerstone to a new era in Somali identity. One not associated with death, destruction and anarchy but where peace, prosperity and development flourish.

Even between Somaliland and Puntland Ethiopia has created conflicts. It is a normality that politicians from both entities travel to Addis Ababa for ‘meetings’. This reminds me of the UK Channel 4 documentary entitled the ‘Israeli lobby’ depicting how UK politicians were flown to Tell Aviv for similar ‘meetings’ after which they were more favourable to Israeli interests. Such meetings often, overtly or covertly, aim to achieve the goals of one party as there is always unequal power in a relationship between two parties.

Somaliland’s de facto independence has been hard-won and should be nonnegotiable in such a volatile region. Somaliland furthermore needs to be careful in its international dealing and should foresee the pressures of being internationally recognised. On the fine road to peace all Somali entities need to co-operate and establish strategic partnerships.

Somaliland is one of the few peaceful Somali regions and should be an example for others to follow. The intense disapproval of many Somalis towards Somaliland is unfounded; Somaliland should not be regarded as an opponent but given a chance to prove herself.


Somaliland establishes National Archives agency

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress) — The President of Somaliland, Mr. Dahir Rayale Kahin has established a National Archive and Public Records Office in a presidential decree that was announced on Monday at the Presidential villa, Qarannews reports.

A press release issued by Presidential Palace Press Secretary, Mr. Saed Adani, stated that: “After taking section 3 of article 90 of the constitution into consideration and determining the public need for a national agency to maintain and preserve all the documents and information relating to the government of Somaliland, census data, works of art, cultural records, national register and other vital national data, the President of Somaliland has hereby, on Monday, 15th of February 2010, created by presidential decree, the Somaliland National Archives and Public Records Office.”

Mr. Ibrahim Dirie was appointed as the first head of the new agency. The president said Mr. Dirie met the expectations and was experienced and qualified for the job.

The Press Secretary did not say what percentage of records the National Archives plans to hang on to annually.


SOMALIA: Drought-hit Somaliland pleads for aid

HARGEISA, 16 February 2010 (IRIN) - Officials in Somalia's self-declared independent republic of Somaliland have appealed to the international community to provide humanitarian aid for hundreds of thousands of people, especially children, in the wake of prolonged drought.

"The affected population is estimated at about 40 percent of Somaliland's 3.5 million, which is equivalent to 1.4 million people," Ali Ibrahim, Minister for Planning and National Aid Co-ordination, told IRIN.

Following the failure of the Gu and Deyr rainy seasons in 2009, he said help was needed in water-trucking, construction and rehabilitation of boreholes, rehabilitation and desilting of dams, and the supply of medication for affected human and livestock populations to avert an outbreak of epidemics.

Ibrahim added nutritional support for the weak and sick was required.

"The situation is critical and may continue to worsen in the coming months," he said. "It requires rapid and fast responses from the international community, the business community, and humanitarian and benevolent institutions, to deliver needed humanitarian assistance and livelihood support."

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) has also raised concerns about the effects of the drought.

In a 12 February brief, it said the Sool Plateau of Sanaag region and Togdheer agro-pastoral livelihood zones were experiencing an acute food and livelihood crisis.

"Fortunately, humanitarian access to these regions is good; therefore it is essential for agencies to extend the much-needed life-saving and/or livelihood support interventions to the population in these areas to prevent further deterioration."

Funding gaps

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA-Somalia), the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) - through which UN agencies and NGOs solicit funding for projects and programmes - is 5 percent funded so far, meaning "there are huge funding gaps in comparison to the needs on the ground".

Some 22 percent of the funding for FAO’s emergency support to pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in humanitarian emergency and acute food and livelihood crises had been met by 15 February 2010, according to a list of appeal projects. Of the US$11,457,500 required, the earmarked funding received so far for this project was $2,501,842, with $8,955,658 remaining unmet.

No funding had been received, by 15 February, for another $285,000 project aimed at improving crop production among poor agro-pastoralists in Sool region or for a $124,000 project to boost crop production and income generation among agro-pastoral communities in Togdheer region.

Officials of Somaliland’s Ministry of Planning and Aid Coordination and the National Environment Risk and Disaster (NERAD) have described the nutritional status of agro-pastoralists as critical.

Sa'id Ahmed, an agro-pastoralist, told IRIN on 11 February: "I come from Uubaale, just less than 15km south of Hargeisa; all the people who had cattle have lost their animals and now we are afraid that we may get contaminated by disease because of the dead animals."

A December-January assessment by NERAD found that the Gu, Karan and Heis rains were below normal, while there was no rain in eastern areas such as Sool, Sanag and Togdheer.


Somali pirates get 15-year sentences: officials

MOGADISHU (AFP-February 15, 2010) — A court in Somalia handed out 15-year prison sentences to 11 pirates on Sunday, the presiding judge said.

Prosecutors at the court in Berbera, in the breakaway northern state of Somaliland, brought a number of charges against the men, including piracy and attempted armed kidnapping.

They showed the court photos obtained from NATO naval forces showing the pirates when they were arrested last December.

"The trial, which lasted a week, was finally concluded today after the evidence brought before the court showed that the eleven were involved in piracy and hijacking. The court finally announced its verdict -- a jail term of 15 years each", Osman Ibrahim Dahir, the presiding judge, told AFP by phone from Berbera.

The pirates were detained last December after they attacked an international naval force ship mistaking it for a commercial ship off the Somali coast.

The international forces released them after disarming them, but they were arrested against a few days later by Somaliland coastguards who spotted them in a coastal village near Djibouti.

"Some of the pirates confessed their crimes while others were still reluctant to confess, but they were sentenced and sent to jail," Jamal Abdikarin, security officer in Berbera told AFP by phone.


Somaliland Court Sentences Pirates to 15 Years in Prison

Berbera (Qarannews-Feb 15, 2010 ):- The Sahil Regional Court in Berbera has sentenced 11 pirates to 15 years in imprisonment after they were found guilty of piracy and attempted kidnapping.

The court was shown compelling evidence against the accused including photographs obtained from NATO naval forces showing the accused when they were arrested in December 2009.

The NATO international forces released the accused after disarming them, but a few days later the Somaliland coastguard apprehended them after they were seen off the coast of Lughaya near the border with Djibouti.

Somaliland which has declared its independence in 1991 after a union with Somalia was dissolved, is without de-jure recognition, but is comparatively stable and democratic as opposed to other areas in the region.

These are not the first accused convicted of piracy in Somaliland. In August 2008 twenty five people were convicted of piracy and attempted kidnapping and are currently in Mandera Prison south of Berbera in Somaliland.

Somaliland and Kenya are the only two countries in the Horn of Africa to have successfully captured, tried and sentenced people accused of piracy in the region.


Arabs losing Somaliland to Israel

By: Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi

HARGEISA, 15 February 2010 (Somalilandpress) – Somaliland people are Sunni Muslims with Arabic roots. The origin of major Somaliland tribes like Samaroon and Darood are from Yemen, while Isaaq tribe is from Iraq and has connected to Al-Ahlu Bait (the family tree of Prophet Mohamed PUBH). The history writes that Isaaq Bin Ahmed, grandfather of Isaaq tribe in Somaliland, Ethiopia and Djibouti migrated with his family from Mosul and Al-Anbar cities of Iraq to Yemen after the collapse of Abbasid Empire.

The name Abbasid is referred to the uncle of Prophet Mohamed (PUBH), and was used for the empire after collapse of Umayyad Caliphate in Damascus, Syria. Abbasid ruled from 750 – 1258 of Gregorian calendar. Abbasid transferred their capital from Damascus to Baghdad on year of 762. The Islamic civilization witnessed development in all sides including science and trade. The Abbasid era is known as ‘Golden Era’ in Islamic history. The Abbasid Empire varnished after Mongol invaded Baghdad, Iraq destroying the Islamic civilization.

After collapse of Abbasid Empire and Mohamed Al-Abbasid (Ruler of the empire) was killed by Mongol invading forces, the killing of the close associates of the empire started mainly the Al-Ahlu Bait, which forced majority of them to migrate to outside Iraq. The family of Isaaq Bin Ahmed was one of these families who migrated to saver places. The family started their journey from Mosul City, Al-Samara City, Medina and finally landed Hadramout City of Yemen.

The father of Isaaq Bin Ahmed passed away in Yemen, and his brother Abdulrahman Bin Ahmed travelled back to Saudi Arabia and to Iraq. Isaaq Bin Ahmed continued his mission of teaching religion to the people in the region and traveled to Harare City of Ethiopia where he thought religion many years. Isaaq landed undisclosed location in eastern Somaliland, and later married from the people in Harare City. This is overview of the roots of the people of Somaliland. Today, the tribe of Abdurrahman Bin Ahmed is living in Mosul City and is thousands.

Somaliland established functioning administration from 1991 without outside support, and contacted the Arab brothers to support their call for sovereignty, however, no one response their voices of freedom. Arabs know that Somalia collapsed, and it’s impossible to force Somaliland again into another out-of-wedlock marriage with southern Somalia.

In other hand, Somalia failed to sort out their problems and violence continues taking lives of thousands and forcing others out of their houses in southern Somalia. This indicates that peace-loving people of Somaliland are serious of separating from rest of Somalia. Somaliland built strong and sustainable modern nation. They hosted free and fair elections, and country had three presidents in less than 20 years.

Recently, the local Somali media published reports about Israeli interest in Somaliland, and the willingness of the Jewish state to recognize Somaliland and establish diplomatic relations with Somaliland. The fact is that Somaliland is eligible to gain UN membership because it met all the requirements of becoming independent state. However, Arab countries particularly Egypt and Sudan are suppressing Somaliland cause of independence. Both Egypt and Sudan vowed to walk out African Union meeting, if the meeting discusses Somaliland recognition. Majority of the Arab states realizes the stability and progress in Somaliland and that independence of Somaliland is public decision but continue neglecting.

Arabs, particularly Egypt and Sudan, has interest of keeping Somalia together because Somalia will always remain threat to the region, and violating the internationally recognized borders with Ethiopia and Kenya. This engages Ethiopia into war with Somalia, and it does not utilize its share of Nile Water.

The reports ensured that Israel is willing to recognize Somaliland and establish office in Somaliland that can serve its interest at Gulf of Aden water. This will bring Israel influence in the region of horn of Africa.

Arab countries, Egypt and Gulf Countries, should change their policy towards Somalia and recognize Somaliland; otherwise Israel is will do it. Today the Arab and Muslim world alienated Somaliland and failed to establish trade and diplomatic links. Somaliland students cannot attend the regional universities because their certificates are not recognized by the Arab and Muslim world. Somaliland people should use the fake and old Somali Passport, because Somaliland passports are not welcomed by the Arab and Muslim world.

Arab League and Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) should know that Somaliland will look for friends, because no country can stand alone. And if Arabs and Muslims continue neglecting Somaliland then Israel will fit in. Currently, Ethiopia is the Israel’s main ally in the region.

Arab countries should accept the changes in the region and that Somali unity theory of 1960 failed, and will never be again a united Somalia. Somaliland contributed 50% of the failed 1960 unity of Somali speaking people in the region, but today, after Somaliland realized that uniting with Somalia will not benefit them, they decided to go alone.

Arab countries, particularly Egypt and Gulf Countries, should face the new realities in former Somalia, and that Somaliland will prevail whether Arabs accept or not. Frankly, If Arabs reject Somaliland Israel and USA and European Union will accept it.


IRI Works With The Somaliland Marginalized Advocacy Group to Increase Political Participation

HARGEISA, 12 February 2010 (Somalilandpress) – Although the country of Somaliland has made significant strides in its democratic development, some groups remain largely outside the political structure. Over the course of the past year, the International Republican Institute (IRI) has worked to address this issue through a number of initiatives designed to increase the political participation of marginalized groups.

In late April and early May 2008, IRI provided 10 Somalilanders with the opportunity to travel to Uganda as part of a study tour examining that nation’s success in integrating marginalized people into the political system. The delegation met with some of the country’s most prominent leaders on disability issues, including the parliamentarian Honorable William Nokrach, a polio survivor who has difficulty walking.

Nokrach explained that marginalized groups in Uganda had successfully lobbied for legislation on affirmative action policies and special seats for underrepresented groups in the Ugandan parliament. If the Somalilanders wished to emulate this success, Nokrach advised, they would need to focus on creating a unified identity and purpose for their lobbying efforts.

Following their return from Uganda, the delegation formed an umbrella organization to advocate for the rights of all marginalized groups, the Somaliland Marginalized Advocacy Group or SOMAG. Each of the participants represented one of four distinct marginalized groups; women, youth, persons with disabilities and minority clans

SOMAG provided the marginalized groups with a unified voice to challenge the significant political obstacles these groups face in their efforts to actively participate in the governance of Somaliland. Recognizing that the communications gap between marginalized people and their elected representatives prevented the government from effectively understanding or responding to the needs of the people, SOMAG and IRI decided to initiate a series of public dialogues between ordinary Somalilanders and top political leaders.

The First Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honorable Abdiaziz Mohamed Samaale, opened a dialogue on August 20, 2008 with a call for marginalized groups to, “continue lobbying and advocating for their inclusion in mainstream political processes.”

The dialogues provided a venue for the exchange of information between Somaliland’s elected officials and their constituents. In some cases, this involved politicians informing Somalilanders of their constitutional rights, such as when Honorable Mohamed Ahmed Obsiye of the House of Representatives pointed out at an August 21, 2008 dialogue that, “the Somaliland constitution guarantees the rights of women and states that all marginalized groups are a part of the society.”

In other instances, the politicians learned from the audience. After listening to the remarks of the participants at the August 21, 2008 dialogue, Keyse Hassan Egah, Secretary General of the Kulmiye political party, noted that he had, “a newfound understanding of the depth of the marginalized groups’ desire for inclusion in the political process.”

The political dialogues provided advocates for marginalized groups the chance to show their fellow Somalilanders that political involvement could make a positive difference in their daily lives. At each of the dialogues, attendees received information on the steps they could take to increase and formalize their political participation, including information on voter registration and joining political parties.

Ultimately, IRI and SOMAG co-hosted six public dialogues between June and November 2008, providing a forum for more than 750 Somalilanders to voice their opinions directly to members of parliament and leaders from each of Somaliland’s three political parties: UDUB, UCID and Kulmiye. IRI’s work with SOMAG has inspired many other civil society organizations in the country to become more active on the political front and to start public advocacy campaigns of their own.

Source: IRI


Somalia: Somaliland parliament calls pirates to release British couple

MOGADISHU (Mareeg Feb 14, 2010)—The parliament of the breakaway republic of Somaliland has called Sunday on the Somali pirates to release the British couple they hold in Somalia immediately

The deputy speaker of the Somaliland parliament, Ahmed Mohamed Diriye, held a press conference in Hargeisa and called on the Somali pirates to free the British couple.

“We urge the Somali pirates to release the old British couple unconditionally," the deputy speaker said.

Paul Chandler, 60, and his wife, Rachel, 56, are being held in separate locations under 24-hour guard after having been kidnapped by pirates in late October.

Mr. Derie added that the government and the parliament of Somaliland were very sorry about the kidnapping of the old British couple.

The couple, from Turnbridge Wells, Kent, in southeast England, was seized in the Indian Ocean aboard their 38-foot (12-m) yacht soon after they left Seychelles.


UN Maritime Officials Visit Berbera Port

Berbera (Qarannews-Feb 13, 2010 ):- Officials from the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) visited the port of Berbera on Thursday, February 11th, 2010.

The officials from IMO consisting of supervisors and technicians are predominantly from Norway, and met with the management and staff of the Berbera Port Authority.

Speaking to the media, the Co-ordinator of the Berbera Port Authority, Eng. Ali Omar Mohamed stated that these maritime experts are in Somaliland to train local shipping pilots and other members of the port staff.

The officials from the UN's International Maritime Organization (IMO) also met with the heads of the shipping pilots association.

This is not the first co-operation between the IMO and the Berbera Port Authority; similar training programmes have taken place with the support of the UN agency. The International Maritime Agency is based in London, England.


Horn of Africa Development Organisation appeals for urgent humanitarian assistance to the Somaliland people devastated by the long-term drought

(Press Release)

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress) — HODO LIFE LINE has appealed to the UN, International relief workers and the International community to assist in providing emergency assistance to 1.4 million Somaliland Pastoral farmers who are on the brink of starvation due the recent drought which has sustained for the past two years and currently threatens to culminate into a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. With such a high number of people living in the rural areas of Somaliland, options of improving livelihoods are directly linked to agriculture and livestock

Somaliland is one of the poorest countries in the African continent and has only enjoyed peace and stability since it is declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, while the rest of country particularly the Southern region of Somalia ravaged famine and civil war, which caused and continues to cause humanitarian disaster.

The Somaliland government is unable to help the disadvantaged people due to lack of financial capacity and lack of resources. The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that Somaliland has been not recognized internationally as independent country, despite the effort of Somaliland people to remain peaceful and stable due to lack of recognition the region remains politically, economically, socially fragile and vulnerable.

The economy of Somaliland is based predominantly on the little exports and some support from the contributions of its Diaspora. Sustainable Development will enable this fragile and troubled region to offer its population economic security and far reaching social benefits. With many of the regions struggling particularly the three main Eastern regions (Sanaag, Sool and Togdheer) to overcome this calamity and with over 70% of the total Somaliland populations living on less then a 1$ a day, there is a strong reliance on the few economic resources that the country has, namely agriculture and livestock. The threat to the availability of these resources will be detrimental to the entire country particularly the mentioned regions.

Horn of Africa Development Organisation (HODO LIFE LINE) is local register Non Government Organisation (NGO) operated in Somaliland since 1997 and also has representatives in UK and other European Union state members, North America, Africa and Australia.

We believe that real and lasting change can only be achieved by making an appeal to all humanitarian agencies through out the world that if international community does not response and intervene quickly, many of those people and their livestock will slowly die of starvation caused by lack of water, food and medicine.

HODO life Line would like to take this opportunity to request all the humanitarian and relief agencies including government, non government and UN agencies to make an urgent response that is prompt and effective to help the current situation of Somaliland, mainly Eastern regions of Somaliland so that strategic programs can develop and the right mechanisms can be put in place to stop the situations from deteriorating even more.

See more information press release of Somaliland Minister of National planning, coordination and Relations with International Organizations appeal for urgent humanitarian Assistance and Livelihood Support For Humanitarian Crises Prevention: http://www.golisnews.com/view_left.php?articleid=11634

If you need any further information please contact HODO life Line organisation which is available on: Hargaisa Somaliland: 25224401060 or London, UK: 447535696290

Chairman of HODO Life Line, Abdi Hassan


Israel says ready to recognize Somaliland

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress-Feb 11, 2010) — The government of Israel is ready to restore the de jure recognition it has offered to Somaliland in 1960 as it eyes the Red Sea and the Horn, an Israeli spokesman says.

According to a local source, Golisnews, Mr. Yigal Palmor, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman is quoted on the Israeli newspaper of Haaretz Daily saying his government was ready to recognize Somaliland again. He cited Israel was the first state to recognize Somaliland in 1960 when it received its independence from Great Britain.

However, Mr. Palmor admitted Somaliland government has not contacted the Israeli government to seek ties.

When asked a question regarding Somalia, Mr. Palmor answered: “Somalia looks like the Afghanistan of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, historically speaking we know the Somali people have different believes and politics. The Somali people have different political values of which they unified in 1960 that led to the whole misunderstanding and ultimately the collapse of Somalia,” he told Haaretz Daily.

While answering to a question regarding Somaliland-Israel ties, he said: “Israel was the first nation to recognize Somaliland and indeed was the first country the State of Israel has recognized, after it received it’s Independence from Great Britain. When it unified with Southern Somalia, again we were the first to recognize it. We always wanted a relationship with a Muslim country in East Africa and which we can share the Red sea with.”

Mr. Palmor said his country was ready to restore Somaliland’s old status however currently the two states have no bilateral ties.

He added Israel has ties with number of East African countries including Tanzania, Uganda and even Djibouti.

Many analysts believe Israel has growing national interest in the Red Sea region, a key shipping route. According to well-informed regional sources Israel believes the region is also a key route for arms from Iran for Hezbollah, Sudanese regime and number of other groups in Palestine. The Red Sea gives Israeli ships access to the Arabia Sea and are within cruise-missile range of Iran. Israel also concern about Arab nations such as Egypt blocking it’s commercial shipping lines.

There are unconfirmed reports also suggesting Israel wants to deploy submarines in the Somaliland port of Berbera and possibly establish a military outpost. Many Arab states have in the past expressed concerns about the proposed Israeli-base in the Horn of Africa seeing it as Israel surrounding them.

The region is well known for it’s strategic importance and it was days ago when an Al Qaeda spokesman, Said al-Shihri, said “taking control of Bab El-Mandeb, will constitute an escalating victory: the Jews will be crushed in a vise, because it is through the Strait that the United States brings its support to Israel.” Bab El-Mandeb, which means “tears of gates” in Arabic is a 20-mile long inlet located in the narrowest point of the Red Sea, between the shores of the Horn of Africa and Yemen.

It is no secret to Somaliland though, the former president, Mr Ibrahim Haji Egal addressed the very issue in a letter to the former Israeli head of state, Mr Yitshak Rabin in 1995. Fifteen years ago, Mr Egal saw the threat of Islamic fundamentalism and the importance of Bab El-Mandeb.

Mr Egal, who became prime minister of Somaliland at the age of only 30, wrote: “Today, however, although the West had won the cold war and the threat of communism appears to be vanishing in many parts of the world, we, in the Horn of Africa, are being threatened by a more sinister and pernicious enemy in the form of encroaching Islamic influence.”

Mr Egal continues, “my government firmly believes that owing to this region’s strategic geopolitical importance as a result of its propinquity to the oil routes and the narrow Bab El-Mandeb entrance, as well as its proximity to the Gulf, the Middle East and the access to the Indian Ocean.”

Egal, who was a champion politician, died May 3rd 2002 in the South African capital Pretoria. He was succeeded by the current leader, Mr. Dahir Rayale, who is said to have avoided approaching Israel in order not to harm Somaliland’s current fragile relations with the Arabs and Muslim world, which it heavily relies on for it’s only surviving economic engines – livestock.

However many of the youths in Somaliland believe ties with Israel is better for Somaliland’s economic environment because of it’s economical and technological achievements. Many argue livestock is not sustainable economy because of health issues, climate change and urbanisation and prefer developing economy based on service and high-tech sector, similar to that one of Israel and Taiwan.

Somaliland, like Israel, finds itself politically isolated, in the middle of a hostile region and at a thorny crossroads and if anyone is to reach out to the unrecognized republic, it would be Israel. It too knows how it feels to be denied it’s statehood and self-determination. While Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, Somaliland is the only Muslim democracy in the region.

Somaliland has it’s own hybrid system of governance under a constitution was former British protectorate which gained independence 26th June 1960 and was recognized by 34 countries including Israel and the United States. It later joined South Somalia in a union that was never rectified which lasted until 1991.

Somalilandpress, 11 February 2010


SOMALILAND: Finland fact-finding delegation arrives

HARGEISA (Source: Qarannews, 10 February 2010) — A Finnish delegation from it’s embassies in East Africa has arrived in Somaliland’s capital on Monday on a fact-finding mission, Qarannews reports.

The delegation is led by Mr. Simo-Pekka Parviainen, Counselor (conflict) at the Finnish embassy in Addis Ababa, Mrs. Pia Stjernvall, First Secretary & Deputy Permanent Representative to UNEP & UN-Habitat at the Finnish embassy in Nairobi and Mr. Riku Santaharju.

Speaking to the Somaliland press upon their arrival in Hargeisa, Mr. Parviainen stated “Firstly, we would like to thank the people of Somaliland for their warm welcome. We are here at the invitation of the government to see for ourselves the current political, security, economic, social and democratic conditions in the country. We would also like to meet with a cross-section of the Somaliland community from the political, social and business sector. As well as, evaluating the progress of Finnish sponsored projects in Somaliland”.

In one of the first meetings, the Finnish delegation had met with the Secretary-General of the ruling UDUB party, Mr. Omar Farah Jama, who was in Addis Ababa recently.

The delegation are also expected to meet with various government ministers, both chambers of parliament and senior officials from the two opposition parties, Kulmiye and UCID, as well as Somaliland National Electoral Commission (NEC).

During their meeting with UDUB officials, the Finnish delegation confirmed that Finland has donated €2-million (Euros) worth of humanitarian aid via UNICEF for various water projects around the country.


Somaliland: wining the hearts & souls of the people of Sool and Sanaagland

(Medeshi)February 8, 2010.http://www.medeshi.com/2010/02/somaliland-wining-hearts-souls-of.html

Somaliland government can only win the minds and souls of Sanaagland and Sool communities through dialogue and building basic infrastructures such as schools, hospitals, roads, etc.

Imprisoning people that are not happy with the government will only increase incidents such as the recent demonstrations in Lasanod in which at least two persons died (read : http://allafrica.com/stories/201002080788.html). Heavy handedness on the part of the government will only lead to increased demonstrations that will further alienate the government and may eventually lead to persistent insurgency in these two regions that constitute to almost half the size of Somaliland.

President Riyale should remember that Lasanod was the first place that he took refuge when SNM occupied Burao in 1991. Some of the current Garaads of Lasanod were among those that gave him shelter and security when he escaped Burao where he was sought for alleged crimes as an officer of the National Security Service (NSS) of Siyad Barre regime.

One of the reasons why SNM got its support from the people of Somaliland in the 1980s was because the regime of Siyad Barre was using force rather than other peaceful means of reconciliation in solving public unrest. SNM could not have been successful in its campaign against the dictatorship of Siyad Barre without the internal support of the people of Somaliland as well the constant stream of meagre funding from Somaliland Diaspora.

Somaliland should learn lessons from the history of SNM and should address the basic issues in Sool and Sanaagland through peaceful means to avoid long lasting insurgency in these two regions.

Somaliland government should push its presence beyond Hargiesa, the capital, and should establish functioning institutions in the eastern part of the country. Even Burao, the commercial hub of Somaliland is not fully governed by Hargeisa. A simple example is that Somaliland shilling is still not accepted in parts of Burao while the government uses clan lobbying to solve matters such arresting two suspected religious leaders few months ago.

It is about time that Somaliland government opens its eyes to the persisting problem in the east of the country and takes measures to address these issues to avoid breakup of the country into regions.

Written by: M. Ali – medeshi editor


Female religious leaders lead the fight against AIDS

(Medeshi.com)February 8, 2010

Female religious leaders have taken a central role in the fight against AIDS in Somalia. This follows a series of trainings recently conducted by local organizations, with support from UNDP.

In Somaliland, UNDP supported four training events for female religious leaders in Hargeisa, Borama, Berbera and Buroa, in collaboration with the Somaliland HIV/AIDS Network and the Somaliland AIDS Commission. These trainings increased their knowledge on HIV and AIDS and placed female religious leaders at the forefront of community-based advocacy and awareness raising. Using the Compassion in Action toolkit developed by UNDP's HIV/AIDS Regional Programme in the Arab States, the female religious leaders were sensitized about key issues: misconceptions that increase the chances of contracting HIV; stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV; and the important role that religious leaders and community members play in helping to reduce the number of new HIV infections and caring for the sick. They were also equipped with messages from the Koran that support the fight against HIV and AIDS.

These trainings helped to develop common messages on prevention, treatment, care and support for people living with HIV, which will be disseminated during Friday prayer meetings.

Tradition and religion are strongly linked in the Somali community. Therefore, religious leaders have a great responsibility in leading the fight against HIV/AIDS and advocating for shared communal responsibility in addressing the primary socio-cultural and behavioural risks associated with the spread of HIV. Their open interaction with their congregations can enable them to inform and educate members and encourage positive change regarding sensitive issues related to sexuality, which are often not discussed by the community members. The trainings were attended by over 100 female religious Leaders drawn from different parts of Somaliland.

Training in South Central Somalia was conducted towards the end of 2009 and sensitized participants on the basic principles of Behaviour Change Communication. The trainings also brought together religious leaders and participants who had been trained under the Behaviour Change Communication Peer Educator project. The aim is to strengthen community outreach work among the various groups in the region.

By December 2009, over 800 religious leaders had been trained using a specific toolkit designed to equip religious leaders to become 'agents of change' in the response to HIV and AIDS. In addition, 240 religious leaders were trained using the Behaviour Change Communication toolkit.


Somaliland coast guard resuces 126 migrants in the Gulf of Aden

HARGEYSA, Somaliland (AFP, Feb 08, 2010 ) — At least 10 migrants died and 30 went missing when the boat smuggling them from Somalia to Yemen suffered an engine failure in the Gulf of Aden, officials said Sunday.

Seventy people, mostly Ethiopians, were rescued when the coastguard in the northern breakaway state of Somaliland's Sanag region spotted the boat drifting towards the shore.

"The rescued passengers told us that the boat was carrying around 110 migrants when it left," Said Ige Mohamed, the head of immigration for Sanag province, told AFP by phone.

"Unfortunately, 10 were confirmed dead and 30 others are still missing in the sea," he said.

Mohamed explained that the migrants presumably spent several days huddled inside the small boat with nothing to eat or drink and apparently jumped into the water upon seeing the coast.

Two were found already dead on the boat but at least eight others drowned as they attempted to swim to the shore, Mohamed explained.

"We don't have many details. I don't know how many days they spent on the boat but the survivors told us they were headed to Yemen and left from Bosasso" in the neighbouring semi-autonomous state of Puntland," he said.

"Most of them are in serious condition and risk not making it if they don't receive urgent medical attention," the official said.

Abdullahi Awale, a security official in the Somaliland capital Hargeysa, said the incident was being investigated.

According to the UN refugee agency, the number of migrants fleeing the unstable Horn of Africa and arriving in Yemen rose by 50 percent in 2009, reaching a record high of 74,000.

The number of Ethiopians making the journey across the Gulf of Aden or Red Sea -- a route described by the UN as "the busiest and deadliest in the world" -- doubled in 2009, while the number of Somalis remained steady.

More than 300 people drowned or did not survive the trip last year.


UNDP Training programme for community leaders.

Hargeisa (Reliefweb, Feb 09, 2010):- In Somaliland, UNDP supported four training events for female community leaders in Hargeisa, Buroa, Borama and Berbera, in collaboration with the Somaliland HIV/AIDS Network and the Somaliland AIDS Commission.

These trainings increased their knowledge on HIV and AIDS and placed female community leaders at the forefront of community-based advocacy and raising awareness.

Using the Compassion in Action toolkit developed by UNDP's HIV/AIDS Regional Programme in the Arab States, the female religious leaders were sensitized about key issues: misconceptions that increase the chances of contracting HIV; stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV; and the important role that religious leaders and community members play in helping to reduce the number of new HIV infections and caring for the sick.

These trainings helped to develop common messages on prevention, treatment, care and support for people living with HIV.

Community leaders have a great responsibility in leading the fight against HIV/AIDS and advocating for shared communal responsibility in addressing the primary socio-cultural and behavioural risks associated with the spread of HIV.

Their open interaction with their members can enable them to inform and educate and encourage positive change regarding sensitive issues which are often not discussed by the community members.

The trainings were attended by over 100 female community leaders drawn from all over Somaliland.


Somaliland elections: Observers welcome progress towards setting date for poll

February 8th, 2010

For further information contact: Jo Barrett, t: +44 (0)7940 703911, For immediate release

As part of the UK-based team coordinating election observers for the much-delayed presidential elections in the internationally unrecognised Republic of Somaliland, Progressio today welcomes recent progress made to resolve the Somaliland voter registration process – a key sticking point – and calls on all parties to push ahead and set a date for the poll.

Progressio, the Development Planning Unit at University College London (UCL) and Somaliland Focus UK say in a joint statement: “Since September 2009 we have seen a marked improvement in the situation, when all three of Somaliland’s political parties signed a six-point agreement by which the government guaranteed that a further extension of office would not be sought and that the disputed and delayed process of agreeing a voter register would be recommenced. The agreement was subsequently approved by Somaliland’s upper house, the Guurti (House of Elders).”

The statement continues: “This development was quickly followed by improvements in the relationship and renewed understanding between the country’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the donors who are providing funding and technology for the voter registration process and the election itself. We are heartened by this progress, and look forward to completion of necessary processes (namely, agreement on a voter register) to allow an actual date to be announced. Indeed, as election observers, it is impossible for us to proceed with making plans for our mission until a date is set.”

It concludes: “Despite lack of international recognition of its claim to official statehood, Somaliland – “Africa’s best-kept secret” – has been characterised by many as a beacon of democratisation in Africa in contrast to the chaos in neighbouring Somalia. However, the delaying of the presidential poll is causing severe damage to Somaliland’s reputation. We therefore urge all stakeholders to do their utmost to maintain the positive momentum to ensure the poll is carried out, with as little delay as possible. This must include genuine commitment from all players and a realistic approach to the time needed to ensure a smooth and proper political process.”

The UK-based team, along with FOPAG (Forum for Peace and Governance) in Somaliland, was invited to lead the election observation mission by the Somaliland National Electoral Commission in January 2009. The team has been tasked with coordinating international election observers from four continents and preparing a report on the conduct of the campaign and poll following the vote. Support for the mission is being provided by the UK government.

Somaliland Focus (UK) Chair, Michael Walls, said: “While Somaliland’s progress since 1991 has been remarkable, the next election marks a significant new step in establishing a legitimate system of national government. We applaud recent successes and look forward keenly to agreement on a voter register and the announcement of a viable election date with genuine cross-party support in the near future. Without those steps, the genuine achievements of the past 19 years will be dealt a profound blow”.

To read the full text of the statement, see: http://bit.ly/b6u92C. Notes to Editors
1. For further information or to arrange an interview with a member of the coordination team, contact Progressio’s Media Officer, Jo Barrett, on +44 (0)7940 703911 or email jo@progressio.org.uk
2. Somaliland’s Presidential elections have been repeatedly delayed. The poll has previously been scheduled for March/April 2008, December 2008, March 2009 and September 2009.
3. Somaliland is situated in Somalia’s northwest. It declared unilateral independence from the failed Somali state in 1991 and has since been a haven of relative peace whilst violence and instability has characterised Somalia, its capital Mogadishu and more recently the Gulf of Aden.
4. Progressio’s involvement in the mission follows its leadership of the international monitoring team for Somaliland’s inaugural parliamentary elections in 2005, judged by observers as “basically free and fair”.
5. Progressio has been working with local communities in Somaliland since 1995 by placing skilled workers with local organisations specialising in advocating for the rights of women, youth and people with disabilities as well as supporting basic health service provision and people living with HIV and AIDS. Progressio also actively supports progress towards democratisation and stabilising the country.
6. The Development Planning Unit (DPU) is an international centre specialising in academic teaching, practical training, research and consultancy in the field of urban and regional development, planning, and management. DPU is part of University College London (UCL).
7. Somaliland Focus (UK) was established in London in 2005 with the aim of helping to raise awareness amongst decision-makers in the UK and elsewhere about the territory of Somaliland and to support Somaliland’s progress towards state-building and social and economic development.


Somalia: Calm Returns to Las Anod Town After Large Demonstrations

Shabelle Media Network (Mogadishu) 7 February 2010

Calm has returned to the Las Anod town, just a day after large demonstration against the administration of the breakaway republic of Somaliland happened in the town on Saturday, witnesses told Shabelle radio on Sunday.

Large riot organized by the more people including women and children had happened at Las Anod town in Sol region yesterday which caused more casualties of deaths and injures as it continued in the town.

At least 2 demonstrators were killed and 5 of the security forces were injured in the town as the demonstration continued in Las Anod town in Sol region.

Reports from the town say that the demonstration started as most of the people in the town had infuriated the activities of the security forces of the region who detained more people including teachers operating schools in the town.

Locals said that the calm situation was unreliable saying that hundreds of people are ready to make another riot against the administration of Somaliland in the town once again adding that there were also more police forces deployed to the town to assure the security.

We had tried to contact with the security officials of the Somaliland in the Sol region to know more about the disagreement between the people and the administration, but it was too difficult to get them through the telephone.

The tense situation of the town comes as several members and ministers of Somaliland had reached at the town recently which caused the situation to be chaos and as there is no comment from the officials of the region so far.


Why Should I Send My Daughter to School?

February 7, 2010, http://somalilandpress.com/

Nimo was an 18 year old orphan girl born into a poor family, she lived with her mother in the Sheikh Nour village in the outskirts of Hargeisa. As many other young people in this area, she can not afford to continue her higher education. She completed 26 June Secondary school last year and according to her examination results, she became first female student with the highest score in Somaliland’s whole Secondary Schools education.

Nimo was brilliant student who completed her four-years secondary school education after walking 5-kilometers walk from her home each day. She comes from a female-household and her mother was really disappointed with her staying at home. She said, my daughter was a good student and showed a lot of potential and interest in education but unfortunately, she insisted the family can not pay for her higher education fees. “So as far as I know this, why should I send my daughter to school?” she said.

Culturally, parents sent their sons to schools instead of daughters, only few families encourage their daughters to attend schools. Therefore, it was primitive believes saying that educated women only work while the ideal women in our society should look after her children, fetch water, clean and cook when her mother goes to the market. Others believe that women are possible to neglect their domestic duties and disobeying their parents due to the higher education they might have achieved. But those days are exhausted and invalid today.

For that reason, it was unbelievable that girls in Somaliland especially at Hargeisa are more advanced than boys in education; today our society are more comprehensive and ignoring all primitive ideas towards female communities and different sectors of society as a whole. Girls have taken up a positive role in our society in development and no area is more evident than education, as they are more sincere than boys.

Today, if you look up around the streets in Hargeisa in the afternoons girls spent their luxury time going in the private schools. Six out of ten persons you pass on the streets were young girls who are carrying hand bags full of books.

Me, as a youth I believe that women deserve to be given a chance to educate same as men. As result of that, it’s quite comprehensive that the educated mother builds up the society from the base and teaches her children good habits such as kindness, honesty, telling the truth and respect. Really educated mother is an industry of constructive society she develops the child physically, mentally, and spiritually. Similarly, encourages her children in doing good things and also helps them with their studies by checking all their homework and preparing them a program to follow. But not all the mothers.

Apart from all of the above, she does so many other jobs. Educated women are very aware of the part she has to play in their society. She understands her responsibilities towards her self, her family and her country and that is how Islam believes as their right.

Do you know the history of the women’s struggle in the west? In 9th century French experts and philosophers held a conference which titled “is the soul in the women human or animal” they finally agreed that she is human but the objective in life is to serve for the man and make him happy. My sisters in faith, is that people believe like that told us today women’s rights.

Islam respects, venerates and honors our mothers and sisters. We have good examples in the Qur’an like Maryam, Balgisa and etc. Islam also absolutely rejects every thing that is against human rights. Let’s live with a life full of rights, respect, love and cooperation.

Written by: Farhan Abdi Suleiman (Oday)


Lessons from Somaliland on self reclamation from mayhem

February 6, 2010, http://somalilandpress.com/11452/lessons-from-somaliland-on-self/

Any reader may wonder if anything other than piracy, warlords tussle and the sound of bombs can ever come from Somalia.

Such negative perception of Somalia is understandable if one is to refuse the de facto break-up of Somalia into two disparate parts that have had paradoxically different trajectories since 1990. Prof Iqbal Jhazbay’s recent book, Somaliland: An African Struggle for Nationhood and International Recognition, deals with that part that has attracted huge academic interest but little media attention. In this study, Prof Jhazbhay provides us with a detailed analysis of a part of former Somalia that ironically seems to escape international attention for doing well.

He takes us through a historical journey of the internal struggles in what was viewed as the most successful attempt at re-drawing of colonial demarcation at independence. From a brief history of the genesis of Somaliland alienation from the union project to its unique liberation movement that set the stage for the move from insurgency to clan-based democracy, Jhazbhay provides an interesting academic analysis of Somaliland’s effort to re-establish an independent nation-state.

He also reviews in broader detail the import of its colonial legacy and powerful clan structures on the reconciliation process and the role of its diaspora in providing an important cushion to the minimal support it receives from the international community for its reconstruction process. It is a classic analysis of how a society can retract itself from chaos and establish a relevant and rooted social contract. While the rest of Somalia seems to have failed to move forward from Hobbesian chaos, Somaliland’s remarkable success is rooted in its bottom-up approach that has employed local traditional norms and structures.

The descriptive analysis gives us adoptable format to execute a social contract where such is required. Although Prof Ali Mazrui suggests in his foreward to the book, that the study significantly contributes to our understanding of the Somali predicament, I am of the view that in terms of its theoretical contribution, there are bits where most African post-conflict societies can reflect on and even find useful and relevant, to their own progression. As an academic and activist with wide connection with continental actors, his analysis of the external factors constraining Somaliland’s aspiration for international legitimacy provides those interested with African diplomacy a mine full of geo-political intricacies. This is not to mention the very interesting analysis of the interaction between disintegrating forces with the paradigm change on integration of the African continent. Closer home, the relevance of this study to our post-election reconciliation process is what he terms “quadrilateral framework” that constitutes, inter alia, reconciliation and reconstruction.

The analysis of the bottom-up process of Somaliland reconciliation and reconstruction as central variables in acquiring lasting peace can be of significant value to our policy makers if we are serious on ensuring a continued inter-communal peace in affected areas. The public tussles between the top political actors in gatherings that are purporting to be facilitating communal reconciliation fall far short of the professor’s description of the bottom-up approach rooted in local tradition successfully employed by Somaliland.

Rift Valley will not be healed by the establishment of a flimsy political alliance of personalities but rather an elaborate interaction of the communities concerned and a honest and serious commitment by the government in the reconstruction of the economic lives of those affected. A public dance of political heavy weights or knee-jerk fundraising will never constitute reconciliation and reconstruction of the volatile region. I am of the view that whoever is interested in deep-rooted reconciliation and reconstruction of a polity such as the inhabitants of the Rift Valley, Jhazbhay’s study is a must-read.

ahmed.aideed@gmail.com


Somaliland town quiet after deadly riot

LAS ANOD, Somalia, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- All was quiet Sunday in the Somaliland city of Las Anod, one day after large-scale anti-government protests broke out, witnesses said.

Calm was the rule in the city Sunday, Shabelle Radio reported. But on Saturday, a riot rocked the city in the breakaway Somali republic of Somaliland, during which at least two demonstrators were killed and five security forces members were injured.

Shabelle cited local reports saying the demonstration was caused by unhappiness over the tactics of the regions' security forces in detaining citizens, including the town's schoolteachers.

Despite the calm, Shabelle said the situation was still fragile with further anti-government riots possible. Observers said more security forces had been added to local police forces.


New Global Health Partnership Stregthens Work in Somaliland

HARGEISA, 6 February 2010 (Somalilandpress)( Source: THET) – King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre formally launched a new global health partnership with the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) on 4 February 2010.

Renewing an existing 10 year partnership between THET and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, (one of the founding members of King’s Health Partners) this new partnership will allow King’s Health Partners and THET to take steps to develop further their shared agenda and create a new centre of activity within King’s Health Partners.

The new partnership aims to expand delivery of the ‘Health Systems Strengthening’ work, as well as to promote greater involvement of younger members of the health profession by creating further opportunities to be engaged in and learn about global health.

The launch saw guest presentations and speeches from representatives of the existing partnership organisations as well Edna Adan Ismail, former Foreign Minister for Somaliland and Professor Christopher Whitty, Chief Scientific Advisor and Director of Research at the Department for International Development.

The event was held at the Weston Education Centre based on the King’s College Hospital site, which will now be the home of the Somaliland team from THET, to strengthen the joint working on this partnership.

Robert Lechler, Executive Director of King’s Health Partners said; “We view Global Health as an important part of the work we are doing across clinical care, research, and education and training. As an Academic Health Sciences Centre, we aim to influence healthcare both nationally and internationally. This new partnership with THET will play a key role in our aspirations to be a leader in global healthcare education, and is soon to form part of a wider Institute of Global Health Education and Training at King’s Health Partners.”

Pia McRae, Chief Executive at THET said; “We are delighted to be extending our collaboration with King’s Health Partners, following ten years of successful partnership in Somaliland supporting both the training of health professionals, as well as the development of a health infrastructure. We share some key values with King’s Health Partners including an interest in how to support UK health professionals in providing service to developing countries through working alongside (and at the request of) overseas colleagues. Going forward, we aspire to build on our shared commitment to increasing the understanding, education and awareness of UK health sector students, as well as staff, in global health issues and the needs of developing countries.”

Andy Leather, Director of the King’s International Development Unit, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, added; “King’s College Hospital have had a long standing relationship with THET and I am excited that this extended partnership as King’s Health Partners will not only further strengthen the capacity building and educational work in Somaliland but will also catalyse research partnerships with institutions there.”


Appeal For Urgent Humanitarian Assistance and Livelihood Support For Humanitarian Crises Prevention in Somaliland

Hargeisa, 6 February 2010 (Somalilandpress) – Predictions were made that food security and nutrition situation may worsen in most parts of Somaliland by Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) of FAO in its early warning briefs.

Some of the reasons cited included:

i. Poor “deyr” rains that preceded by dry “Hagaa” season which negatively affected pastural livelihoods.
ii. Very critical nutrition situation reported in agro-pastoral population, based on a data for rapid assessment.
iii. High numbers of children, identified as acutely malnourished, that require rehabilitation. For Togdheer pastoral population, the situation was classified as serious.
iv. Insufficient water and pasture for livestock herds through the “jilaal” dry season (January to March 2010), which will cause early water trucking in Sool, Haud and Haud of Hargeisa.
v. Very low Livestock production and re-production due to poor conception rate during the post “jilaal” and “Gu 2009” as well as livestock diseases during, “Hagaa 09”, that resulted in death and abortion of camels and goats. In Awdal region, cattle and sheep had weak body conditions.

Recent assessment carried out by National Environment Risk and Disaster (NERAD) also confirmed the gravity of the drought faced by the people.

The facts are:

v The ”Gu” rains were below normal
v The “Karan” rains were below normal
v The “ Deyr” was also below normal
v The “Heis “rains in Guban areas didn’t also rain normally
v In certain areas in Sool, Sanag and Togdheer, there were no rains

As a result of above facts, poor pasture, scarcity of water, food and weakend human and animal health has been experienced. Recent Reports received from all regions confirmed (Viz: Togdheer, Sool, Sanag, Awdal,Maroodijeex,and Selel) that both pastoralists and agro- pastoralists are facing serious, but devastating drought. The affected population is estimated to be 40% of the total population of Somaliland of 3.5 million which equals to 1.4 million people.

A serious humanitarian catastrophe seems to be imminent, which is beyond the capacity of national authority, that requires to be prevented.

The government of Somaliland, therefore, appeals to international community (i.e. Governments, UN Agencies and other humanitarian organizations as well as the business communities and other benevolent institutions for urgent humanitarian assistance and livelihood support to avert worsening of the humanitarian crises.

In addition, assistance and support to urgent water trucking, construction and rehabilitation of boreholes as well as rehabilitation and desilting of “Berkads” and ‘Dams’ and the supplies of necessary medications for affected human and livestock populations will be needed to avert break-out of epidemics. Nutritional support to the weak and sick will also be necessary.

The situation is critical and may continue to worsen in the coming months. It requires rapid and fast responses from the international community, the business community, humanitarian and benevolent institutions to deliver needed humanitarian assistance and livelihood support.

Ali Ibrahim Mohamed, Minister of National planning, coordination and Relations with International Organizations


Speaker of the Somaliland Parliament received at the Swedish Foreign Office.

Stockholm(Qarannews-Feb 05, 2010 ): The Speaker of the Somaliland Parliament, Mr. Abdirahman M. Abdillahi was received at the Swedish Foreign Office in Stockholm on the 3rd of February.

Speaker Abdillahi met with Ms. Maria Fahlen, special envoy to Africa at the Swedish Foreign ministry and Ms. Anna Hamrell of the Africa desk at the Swedish Foreign office.

During their meeting Speaker Abdillahi and Ms. Fahlen discussed the current situation in the Horn of Africa, and Somaliland continuing democratic process. Ms. Fahlen who recently attended the AU summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia gave a brief presentation of Sweden's focus on the forthcoming elections in Somaliland and Ethiopia, as well as, the historic referendum in Sudan. Ms. Fahlen stressed Sweden continued support to Somaliland in terms of humanitarian, capacity building and democratisation.

Speaker Abdillahi and Ms. Fahlen are expected to participate in a seminar on Africa on Friday, 5th of February. Ms. Fahlen last visited Somaliland in March of 2009.

Also attending the meeting were Representative Ibrahim Mahdi Bubu from the Somaliland parliament and Mr.Aidarus Sheikh Aden, Somaliland's representative in Sweden.


Saudi Agriculture Minister defends lifting ban on livestock from Somaliland

Riyadh (Qaran news-Feb 05, 2010 )- The Saudi Arabian Agriculture minister, Dr. Fahd bin Abdulrahman Balghunaim, stated that he has complete confidence in the certificates issued at the Berbera livestock processing centre in Somaliland operated by Gulf International of the United Arab Emirates.

In a press conference held at the ministry in Riyadh on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, Minister Bin Abdulrahman Balghunaim responded to an article in Al-Riyadh, a Saudi newspaper, which stated "that lifting ban on Somali livestock was hasty, and the ministry took the decision without sending an inspection team to the Berbera processing centre and the one in Bosaso, Puntland"

Dr. Bin Abdulrahman Balghunaim stated "The ministry took the decision to lift the ban after receiving a report from the World Organisation for Animal Health, OIE, who had sent expert technicians to both Berbera and Bosaso. The report confirmed that both processing centres had fulfilled the necessary requirements to process livestock for exporting to the Saudi Arabian market within the guidelines set by the OIE and the Saudi veterinary officials"

Minister Bin Abdulrahman Balghunaim acknowledged that the ministry received a request from the transitional federal government in Somalia's minister for Commerce, requesting that Saudi Arabia should not work with the Berbera processing centre, but a subsequent letter from the same minister negated the previous request.

There have been reports from various reliable sources that a businessman by the name of Mr. Abu Yaasir who has a controlling interest at the Djibouti livestock processing centre has been agitating for the resumption of the Saudi ban on livestock from Somalia.

Mr. Abu Yaasir had been in competition with Saudi businessman, Sheikh Al-Jaabari, for the Berbera processing centre project, but, had ultimately lost to Sheikh Al-Jaabari's bid.

The article in the Al-Riyadh newspaper included allegations that the Berbera processing centre was not up to standard and that the Saudi government rejected the request from the transitional federal government in Somali to ban livestock from Berbera in Somaliland.

The article in the Al-Riyadh argued for the resumption of the ban on all Somali livestock and contained quotes, exclusively from Mr. Abu Yaasir and his right hand, a Mr. Salah Al-Hindi from Egypt.


Somaliland: the other Somalia

by Sean McLachlan (RSS feed) on Feb 5th 2010 at 9:00AM http://www.gadling.com/2010/02/05/somaliland-the-other-somalia/

There are some places you just can't consider for a vacation. While even Iraq has recently opened up to carefully handled tours, Somalia remains out of bounds. What with an Islamist movement proudly proclaiming its ties to Al-Qaeda, and a decades-long civil war between rival clans, there's no chance of exploring the Somali culture and landscape, right?

Actually, that's only half true.

The Republic of Somaliland is the northern third of what most maps show as Somalia. Anyone paying attention to the news knows that Somalia hasn't been a unified nation for quite some time, but this one region, a little larger than England and home to 3.5 million, has managed to bring stability and a developing democracy to its people. Born out of the colony of British Somaliland, it gained independence in 1960 and immediately joined former Italian Somaliland to create what we now know as Somalia. A brutal dictatorship and a civil war later, it declared independence in 1991 and has quietly built a nation as the rest of Somalia disintegrated into chaos.

But no other country recognizes Somaliland as an independent state, which makes it very hard to get international investment and attention. Now Somaliland officials are hoping an increase in tourism will help to literally put their country on the map. It already has regular contact with its neighbors Ethiopia and Djibouti, and has representatives in several major capitals. The Tourism Ministry is busy making plans and there's a good website highlighting Somali Heritage and Archaeology.

Gallery: Somaliland: The Other Somalia

With a countryside only thinly populated by nomads, Somaliland has good potential for safaris. Lions, cheetahs, zebras, antelope, and other animals are easily spotted. Even more stunning are the well-preserved paintings at Laas Geel, believed to be some of the oldest in Africa. They're located near the capital Hargeysa and remained unreported until 2002. Colorful paintings of hunters and animals date back an estimated 9,000 years.

Other towns to check out are Barbera and Zeila, two ports with excellent coral reefs as well as old colonial buildings from British and Ottoman times. More important than bricks and mortar, though, is the chance to interact with a culture that has had comparatively little contact with the outside world. This is a rare chance to see a country unaccustomed to tourism, where there are no "tourist sites" and "local hangouts". For the adventure traveler, it's still pretty much uncharted territory.

After almost 20 years of independence, Somaliland is beginning to get some recognition from adventure travelers. The most recent edition of Lonely Planet Ethiopia has a short section on the country, and three young backpackers recently posted a video of their trip there on YouTube. A reporter from the Pulitzer Center has also covered the country on an online video. Somaliland could become the adventure travel destination of the new decade.

While Somaliland has some good potential, travelers should take care. Government bodyguards are required (costing $10 a day each) and there are few facilities for visitors. The country has also attracted the ire of Al-Shabab, an Islamist group with ties to Al-Qaeda that wants to take over the Horn of Africa. In 2008 a series of deadly car bombings blamed on Al-Shabab left two dozen dead in Hargeysa. Also, the countryside is not yet safe enough for foreigners to travel overland from Ethiopia on public transport. There are regular flights to Hargeysa from Addis Ababa and other regional capitals. The office for Somaliland in Addis Ababa (which is not recognized as an embassy by the government of Ethiopia) can issue visas and give advice. If you do decide to go, it's best to plan well in advance and talk to the government as soon as possible.


Pirates fire on Somaliland forces

BY AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE,

MOGADISHU, Feb 5 - A shoot-out erupted Thursday between pirates who seized a North Korean-flagged, Libyan-owned ship and coast guards in Somalia's breakaway Somaliland region, leaving one soldier dead, police said.

It was not clear what sparked the gunfight near Lasqorey, a coastal village which lies in area disputed by the Horn of Africa's northern self-declared states of Somaliland and Puntland.

"Pirates holding the cargo ship opened fire on our coast guards... They exchanged fire while heading to Lasqorey," Abdirisak Yusuf Aseyr, a Somaliland regional police chief, told AFP by phone.

Local elders said the pirates later anchored the cargo vessel off Lasqorey.

"It's about 10 kilometres (six miles) away from the coast now and there are about 30 of them (pirates) onboard the ship," said Mohamed Adan Dualeh, an elder.

The MV RIM, a general cargo vessel, was captured Wednesday in the Gulf of Aden north of the internationally recommended transit corridor.

The 4,800-tonne cargo ship owned by White Sea Shipping of Libya was not registered with the Horn of Africa Maritime Security Centre, the European Union Naval Force (NAVFOR) said.


Somaliland: The Identification of Governance - Westphalian frameworks and geo- cultural understanding

Despite its participation in the establishment of Somaliland's state template, the clan system is often neglected or simplified by scholars when being described in dualistic terms either as the core of the conflict facing Somalia's south, or as a phenomena too redundant for inclusion in the discussion concerning Somaliland's development processes. (Palmberg, 1999:64, 75, Meredith, 2006:154; Barth, 1969:16) Though, when included in development dynamics, the clan system is often identified as crucial for Somaliland's societal structure. In fact, I.M. Lewis describes kinship as the key to understanding conflict resolution, trade, and the entire political structure of the Somali society, and goes as far as identifying the social institution as the primary social organization of Somalia. (Bradbury, 2008:12-13) If this is even slightly the case one might ask why the clan system is so often excluded in development coherence. In fact, the whole concept seems rarely illustrated and instead only tenuously defined and discussed in development contexture.

Based on the ideas of Björn Hettne and Hans Abrahamson, the meager understanding of the clan concepts and its relation to Somaliland's state machinery might be due to the very definition of the role of the state. This, by claiming our international order, is constructed from the nation- state system 300 years ago starting with the Peace of Westphalia 1648, rigidly identifying the imagined needs and responsibilities of the state, based upon the conceptualization of sovereignty, central authority, security and justice. (Hettne, 2005) Somaliland's clan system, providing its members with 'security' and 'justice' while maintaining social construction of behavior, is therefore systematically ignored by the Westphalian order of understanding authority and security as centralized phenomena independent from social structures and non- state governance. (Abrahamson, 2003:a) Hence, Somaliland's use of geo- cultural factors goes beyond the essential functions and actors of governance as defined by the Westphalian order, creating another point of departure neglected by narrow modern- state templates.

To understand the importance of social institutions in nation building processes in the Horn of Africa it is crucial to learn from its historical experiences. The several foreign and colonial attempts striving for western state models have failed which indicates an even greater failure when the progresses of today's Somalia could not expand before International actors rest their case and held back its help efforts. The Somali clan context with its identities was simply too dynamic and poly- ethic for colonial simplifications. (Meredith, 2006:154, Barth, 1969:16) Hence it was not colonial attempts that constructed a "national landscape" that unified the people or provided them with a common sense of origin when nation building through colonialism simply could not outrival the clan identity as the primary sense of belonging, something which was seen as necessary from the Westphalian order. (Palmberg, 1999:64, 75) Words of Stuart Hall: "It is only through the relation to the Other, the relation to what it is not, to precisely what it lacks, that the 'positive' meaning of any term- and thus its 'identity'- can be constructed" (Baaz, 2001:6) Somaliland did not develop from a modernization process or hierarchic leadership based on a centralized state system but through a bottom- up, society led processes based on customary norms collected in the clan structure. (Kaplan, 2008, Doornbos, 2002) "(…) Somaliland's evolution shows that states should look inward for their resources and institutional models and adopt political structures and processes that reflect the history, complexity, and particularity of their peoples and environment. Instead of mimicking a Western style top-down system of governance, (…)" (Kaplan, 2008)

Additionally, Somaliland's institutional framework based on traditional norms and values, maintained in the clan context, is stated to have won legitimacy simply because of the social institutions enabling local people's integration in political institutions. Somaliland is now valued as a far better democratic profile than all its neighbors and includes the most democratic political institutions in the Horn of Africa because of its perceptiveness towards its cultural context. Furthermore, Somaliland has conceded several democratic milestones lacking in many states in the Middle Eastern and African region. (Kaplan, 2008, Simanowitz, 2005) And its political structure is said to have produced: "An unprecedented degree of interconnectedness between the state and society… in stark contrast to the past when previous regimes received enormous infusions of external assistance without which they could not survive, and as a result became completely divorced from the economic foundations of their own society" (Kaplan, 2008)

In brief, the Horn of Africa's environmental and political context requires collective strength and cooperation together with a sense of belonging that maintains security and safety in a precarious landscape. These needs have resulted in a special construction of social institutions used in Somaliland's development processes, ignoring rigid Westphalian definitions of governance, creating a political unit by customary mechanisms, social identities and structures of necessity for the creation and legitimization of the present institution building processes (Kaplan, 2008; Simanowitz, 2005) This is not to state that clan structures always profit from development by enabling interconnection between the civil society and the state nor is it to say that clan systems has been ignored completely when traditional anthropology now and then has tried to define it. This is rather to bring forth another dimension, in seldom highlighted, to enable additional knowledge regarding the relation between clan identity and development processes.

By Marta Edebol

References

Abrahamson, Hans a) Understanding World Order and Structural Change. Poverty, Conflict and the global arena. NY, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003
b) Det gyllene tillfället. Teori och Strategi för global rättvisa. Stockholm, Scandbook, 2003
Bath, Fredrik (1969.) Ethic groups and boundaries.The social organization of culture difference. Norway: Nye Intrykk.
Baaz Eriksson, Maria (2001.) Same and Other. Negotiating African Identity in Cultural production. Introduction- African Identity and the Postcolonial. Stockholm: Elanders Gotab
Bradbury, Mark (2008.) Becoming Somaliland. London: Long House publishing services.
Bradbury, Mark; Abokor, Yusuf, Adan; Yusuf, Ahmed, Haroon. (2003.) Somaliland: Choosing Politics over Violence. Review of African Political Economy No.97:455-478. ROAPE Publications Ltd., 2003.
Doornbos, Martin (2002.) Somalia: Alternative scenarios for political reconstruction. African Affairs (2002.) Royal African Society 101, pp. 93-107.
Gettleman, Jeffrey: b (2007.) Somali Clan Elders Urge Islamists to Leave Stronghold. New York Times January 1, 2007.[Online] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/01/world/africa/01somalia.html [2009-05-27]
Gattleman, Jeffrey:c (2007.) The Other Somalia: An Island of Stability in a Sea of Armed Chaos. New York Times, March 7, 2007. [Online]http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/07/world/africa/07somaliland.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1 [2009-05-27]
Hettne, Björn. Från Pax Romana till Pax Americana Europa och världsordningen. Stockholm, Santerus förlag, 2005
Kaplan, Seth (2008.) The Remarkable Story of Somaliland. Journal of Democracy. Volume 19, Number 3 July 2008. National empowerment for Democracy and The John Hopkins University Press, 2008.
Lewis, M Ioan (2008.) Understanding Somalia and Somaliland. A guide to cultural history and social institutions. New York: Columbia University Press.
Meredith, Martin (2006.) The State of Africa. A History of fifty years of Independence. Great Britain: The Free Press, 2005.
Palmberg, Mai (1999.) National Identity and Democracy in Africa. South Africa: Capture Press.
Simanowitz, Stefan (2005.) Democracy comes of age in Somaliland. Contemporary Review. Dec 1, 2005.

http://www.apd-somaliland.org/news/20091027martaarticle.htm


Sudanese Foreign minister’s remarks on Somaliland

ADDIS ABABA (Somalilandpress-Feb 3,10) — The Foreign Minister of Sudan, Mr. Deng Alor, who is currently in Addis Ababa for the annual African Union Heads of State summit gave a brief interview with members of Somaliland media.

Mr. Alor spoke extensively about the current situation in the Horn of Africa, and in particular the issue of Somaliland’s de-jure recognition and the deteriorating situation in Somalia.

Mr. Alor, the Sudanese Foreign minister stated “It is imperative that African leaders take stronger steps in addressing the deteriorating situation in Somalia. There are high level discussions all across Africa on what to do about Somalia; There is peace and progress in Somaliland which has given hope to the people there, but why can’t the same be achieved in Mogadishu?”

Sudan plays a key role in IGAD and the AU, and has shown its willingness to participate in several attempts to alleviate the worsening situation in Somalia.

Responding to a question from the Somaliland media regarding Somaliland role as an example to Somalia in bringing about peace and democracy, Mr. Alor remarked “Yes, it is possible for Somalia to achieve similar things; stability, peace, dialogue, inclusion, and so on, to give the people hope, but, once again, we come to the same question, if this possible in Somaliland, why not in Somalia?”

On a similar theme, Mr. Deng Alor addressed the question of why some African nations seem reluctant to face the issue of Somaliland de jure recognition. Mr. Alor responded in the following manner, “firstly, the African Union has to abide by its rules and regulations, having said that, no one in Africa is ignoring Somaliland. That is hard to do, when you take into consideration the remarkable achievements over the last 20 years, compared to the situation elsewhere in the region. But, frankly many African nations would like to see the issue resolved by Somaliland and Somalia. Nevertheless, it is obvious that ultimately, the will of the people has to be accepted.”

After decades of civil war, the people of southern Sudan will shortly participate in a referendum to decide their political future, as a sovereign state or to remain a part of Khartoum.

Source: Qarannews, 4 February 2010


Rayale’s Final Days in Power and his desperate attempts to hold on

by Ali H Abdulla, February 01, 2010, http://www.hiiraan.com/

African dictators use various tactics to consolidate their power. They use fear, bribes, arm-twisting, divide-and rule and a litany of other tools to hold-on to power against the will of the unfortunate people they happen to rule over. Furthermore, the coupling of dictatorship with an intelligence background is a recipe for an explosive mixture that could end up in a big explosion that affects millions of people.

For example, Rayale, the current president of Somaliland used to be a low ranking NSS officer in the collapsed Somali regime. He held on to this post into the final days of the regime. His elevation to the highest office in Somaliland after the death of his predecessor, Egal, has heralded an era of uncertainly and instability that brought the area at times to the brink of a meltdown.

Unlike his predecessor, the late Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, who used dialogue and wisdom to defuse potentially explosive situations, the NSS throwback uses military power and confrontation to stay afloat. In his reign, Somaliland development stagnated. The rich have become richer and the poor have become poorer. Money that could have been well spent on building roads, hospitals, water supplies and decent educational institutions has been diverted to support a military apparatus equipped with the latest weapon systems.

In his latest attempt to hold-on to power and discredit the opposition, he tried to paint Silanyo, the leader of the opposing Kulmiye party, as a unionist and threatened to throw him in jail if the later failed to apologize for what Rayale termed as high treason. Luckily for Silanyo, the people of Somaliland refused to buy into that claim and have welcomed Silanyo into Hargeisa like a hero. It is kind of surreal for a former NSS colonel who worked for a dictatorial regime in the most abhorrent institution, to portray the chairman of the SNM, one of the armed militia movements that plunged Somalia into a bottomless abyss, as a traitor and unionist.

Rayale has another, more dangerous card up his sleeve. He is probably reserving this card for the final showdown when all other tactics have failed. This card can potentially plunge the North into a conflict that puts the one to the South to shame.

In October 2007, Rayale used his military machine to illegally occupy the capital of Sool, Las Anod, on the pretext of being part of the old colonial British Somaliland. Using thousands of dollars to bribe some militia leaders in Sool, his armored vehicles rolled into the peaceful city of 85000.

The aftermath of the invasion is mass exodus for thousands of families who resented the occupation of their city. The current spate of mysterious explosions and turmoil has made life for the remaining families unbearable and most of them are contemplating moving as well. The most recent explosion targeted the Rayale appointed governor of Sool in the presence of another NSS throwback, Rayale’s Minister of Interior, Cirro. The NSS-like reaction of the Minister to the explosion was to impose long curfews, shut down the mobile network, and ban of the use of mobile phones in the city. Thousands of innocent families cannot communicate with their loved ones in the Diaspora or other cities inside the country.

Rayale knows that it would be impossible for his army to hold on to the city for long as some in the Somaliland opposition had expressed. Therefore, it is only logical to conclude that the costly invasion has a hidden political agenda. It is not a far-fetched assumption that the militia on his bankroll will start shooting in the opposite direction on Election Day prompting him to impose a state of emergency to postpone the elections yet again. He used this tactic before when he declared that thousands of votes in some parts of Sool such as Aynaba, that were affiliated with the opposition as null and void giving him a narrow victory of 80 votes.

Many in the opposition already attribute the recent spate of explosions in the city of Las Anod to the security services on Rayale’s bank roll. His NSS man in the city is in jail awaiting trial for the recent murder of the commander of the Somaliland forces in the area. The opposition has cried foul and insisted that the accused man be held in a Las Anod jail instead of being relocated to the infamous Mandhera jail where they fear Rayale will either set him free or eliminate him quietly.

Another card that Raylae has started using recently is terrorism. He is trying to portray the people of Las Anod as terrorists who are affiliated with the Shebab movement. Unfortunately, International Institutions like the ICG have fallen prey to these baseless claims and have started repeating them without any proof. A recent Somalilandpress communiqué went as far as painting the 12 Traditional Leaders in the area, Isims, as terrorists affiliated with the Al-shebab movement who are plotting to destabilize Somaliland. There are even reports of US and Ethiopian agents in the city to help Rayale and his regime bolster his grip on the city and its population.

These traditional leaders, who have stayed away from their homes in Las Anod for more than two years, have recently assembled in a small village known as Holhol to support the recently elected regional administration known as the Council for the Salvation and Unity of SSC regions in Somalia (HBM). The purpose of the Council is to unite the people of Sool, Sanaaga and Ayn (SSC) in North-East Somalia in their support for a United Somalia.

Rayale tried to interfere with the assembly and sent a contingent of his forces to the village to disrupt the meeting. Luckily, these forces failed miserably to disperse the Isims who have relocated to another village in the area to finalize their deliberations which are expected to end up supporting the new Council. HBM is expected to help the Federal government establish the rule of law and consolidate its power in the area.

The people of the Northern Regions should realize that the peace they have fought for so hard to achieve is under threat by Rayale and his NSS compatriots. They should say no to Rayale’s misadventures just as they said no to his attempts to incarcerate the leader of the opposition party Kulmiye which will hopefully win the election and live up to its Somali name of brining the Somalia people under one roof once again.

They should heed the advice of the respected Sheikh Mustapha who vouched for the importance of Somali Unity by using subtle, convincing and practical arguments in one of his recent sermons to the Diaspora. The Shiekh is based in Hageisa where Rayale masterminds his divisive policies and will hopefully escape the wrath of the dictatorial regime which has so far fooled the world into believing that it is the only democratic regime in the area.

They should also listen to Caasha Luul Mohamoud Yusuf who just last night visited us in our living rooms, courtesy of Universal TV, and was declared a Somali Abwaan (bard) by a panel of judges for her patriotic poem Gariir. Caasho was born in 1974 in Ballidhiig, Northern Somalia and is going to be a force to reckon with in the complex world of Somali poetry which has until recently remained a male dominated arena.

The likes of Sheikh Mustapah and Caasha Luul give us hope that Somali patriotism is not dead as some would have liked us to believe.

Ali H. Abdulla, aliegeh@gmail.com


Somaliland journalists meet with African leaders and UN Secretary-General in Ethiopia

Written by Somalilandpress, Feb 02, 2010

ADDIS ABABA, (Qaran News) - Reporters from Somaliland have been invited to the African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital who have been discussing a range of issues from security and conflict to development.

A total of four reporters from both government and independent media houses joined the 14th ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union which opened on Sunday built around the theme of ‘information and communication technologies' in Addis Ababa.

Mohamed Hussein Jama of Geeska Afrika (independent), Abdiweli Farah Jambir, Ogaal news (independent), Abdullahi Ali Sudi, Somaliland National Television ‘TV Qaran' (government) and Moha Farah Jirde from TV Qaran joined the the 53-member body's annual meeting with another 528 journalists from around Africa and abroad.

Moha is also the president of Journalists for African Renaissance (JAR), an African Union agency founded by members from Somaliland, Kenya, Botswana, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Ethiopia, with the help of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, a non-profit German political foundation.

The often flamboyant reporter and regular presenter in the state-owned Qaran TV, Moha Farah, who played an important role in convincing African heads of state to invite journalists from Somaliland to the conference thanked the Ethiopian government for their hospitality on behave of all African journalists. Ms Moha also thanked the AU leaders for "allowing the media free access." She praised Ethiopia's positive attitude towards free press and urged the international press to refrain from misleading the public via falsely depicted information about Ethiopia's press freedom.

She has over the years built up a considerable stable of contacts in Addis Ababa, which she says is home to thousands of diplomats, intellectuals and politicians. She emphasised the need for reporters from Somaliland in such gatherings by African leaders, who invited reporters from other continents.


A New Factory In Borama, Somaliland

Borama (Qarannews-Feb 03, 2010 ):– A new factory, Aloe East African Factory, has opened in the city of Borama. The factory will produce both personal hygiene and home maintenance products.

The opening ceremony was attended by various dignitaries from the Somaliland government, members of the Somaliland parliament, Awdal region officials, community elders and leaders, businessmen and other members of the community.

The Somaliland minister of Industry, Mr. Ahmed Ali Ubahle congratulated the people and officials of Awdal region for establishing the factory. Mr. Ubahle stated that the factory was the 46th new factory to be opened in Somaliland. Mr. Ubahle praised the owners of Aloe East African Factory for their initiative and pledged the support of the Somaliland government.

Also speaking at the ceremony, The Minister of Planning, Mr. Ali Ibrahim Muhammad highlighted the benefits that the country will derive from this factory in terms of employment and revenue generation. Praising the people of Borama for lifting the level of knowledge in Somaliland, the minister said, “for forty years Somaliland’s educated people poured into what used to be called Somalia, after that Somaliland’s educated class moved to the Gulf countries until it got to the point where it became difficult to find even teachers in Somaliland, but now thanks to the efforts of the people of Borama, both educational and technological know how are being reestablished in Somaliland”.

The Governor of Awdal region, Mr. Muhammad Sheikh Abdillahi talked about the products of the factory and expressed his belief that these items will surpass imported goods.

Mr. Muhammad Abdillahi Yonis of Aloe East Africa Factory remarked on the start-up process of the new venture and some of the initial challenges.

Mr. Abdi Dahir Ali, from the Amoud Foundation noted that this is a beginning and there will be better days ahead in the economic progress of not just the city of Borama, the Awdal region, but for the whole of Somaliland.


Somaliland Foreign Minister Meets US Assistant Secretary of State

Addis Ababa,(Qarannews-Feb 03, 2010 )- The Somaliland Foreign minister, Mr. Abdillahi Mohamed Duale met with Ambassador John Carson, Assistant Secretary of State at the United States State Department in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

At the meeting, Mr. Mohamed Duale and Ambassador Carson discussed areas of mutual interest between Somaliland and the United States of America, relating to the stability, security and democratization process in the Horn of Africa.

Ambassador Carson and his delegation were in Addis Ababa to participate in the African Union's annual Head of State meetings.

Whilst in Addis Ababa, the Somaliland Foreign minister, Mr. Abdillahi Mohamed Duale also met with several European delegations including, Baroness Kinnock, British minister of state at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Foreign minister Duale also met with Mr., Pekka Haisto, special envoy for Africa from the Finnish Foreign ministry, Mr. Mette Knudsen, Africa Department head at the Danish Foreign office and a delegation for the Norwegian Foreign office.


International Experts Say Somaliland’s Recognition Will Assist In Strengthening Accountability In Regions That Are Now Pirate Infected

Cambridge, 3 February 2010 (Somalilandpress) – A group of twenty-five scholars, diplomats, lawyers, military officers, shipping industry officials, and other experts on maritime piracy and Somalia from nine nations who convened at the Harvard Kennedy School in December 2009 have recommended that one of the ways of exerting control over and reducing the threat from pirates is to recognize Somaliland.

“If African states and the AU can be persuaded to recognize the now independent but otherwise unacknowledged polity of Somaliland, doing so will strengthen the incentives for Puntland, which aspires to greater autonomy, and parts or all of the remainder of Somalia to make similar progress in terms of political institution building.

Recognition of Somaliland will thus assist in strengthening accountability and governance in regions that are now pirate infected. Indeed, if Puntland knew that international engagement were possible, following on a full recognition of Somaliland, a powerful incentive would exist for Puntland to exert control over and reduce the threat from pirates on its soil,” the experts said


Somaliland Government Worries About Human Trafficking

HARGEISA, 3 February 2010 (Somalilandpress) – Ms. Fatima Sudi, Somaliland’s minister of Family Affairs and Social Development said the human trafficking in Somaliland has increased in recent months. In a press conference, the minister said the voluntary migration among young men & women has significantly decreased, but human trafficking is taking its place. Ms. Sudi pleaded with those who are involved to take action to stop it.

“This is something new to us but widely known in the war torn places. It is called human trafficking,” she said.

Ms. Sudi said the Ministry have been involved in finding solutions to end the illegal migration among the youth which they managed to get some positive achievements. She mentioned that human trafficking is now taking the role which is more dangerous and most of the people do not know about it.

“We thank [the] UN & NGOs who help us on finding solutions for the human trafficking. We extend special thanks to the government of Japan who funded IOM to assist us on the problem,” the minister said. “There are people who are experts on carrying out human trafficking activities. They trick people, they tell them there is a better place where they can go and get a better life, but at the end those tricked will be helpless and end up working as slaves.”

To illustrate the situation in southern Somalia, Ms. Sudi relayed the story of some children who were taken outside the country and later used as human spare parts in other countries. Nothing similar happened in Somaliland but this is the beginning of such actions in the country.

Prevention Activities

The minister said that the government started some activities to cope with the problem.

“There will be a massive awareness campaign in the regions of Awdal, Hargeisa, Sahil, Togdheer and Baligubadle,” she said.

Ms. Sudi said big signboards will be placed in these areas so people can better understand the danger of human trafficking. The minister asked the media outlets to carry out this message of awareness since this problem is new to this society.


Somalia: Selling of Human organs underway in Somaliland

HARGEISA (Mareeg Feb 3, 2010)—The minister for family affairs of Somaliland Faudmo Sudi Hassan said Wednesday there has been selling of Human organs in Somaliland.

She held a press conference in Hargeisa, the de facto capital of the breakaway republic of Somaliland, and expressed concern about selling of essential organs of Human beings in Somaliland.

She added that the government of Somaliland knows about some people who were taken to Asia to sell their essential organs.

The minister added that there are Somali girls currently held in Syria where their rights are being abused and described as something against the humanity and the Islamic region.

Fadumo discoveries the story of young children stolen from Mogadishu and then their organs transplanted other human beings. She warned against Somaliland people of the danger of abusing Human rights.


SOMALIA: My farm "is full of mines"

A de-mining official uses a metal detector to check for landmines in Somaliland (file photo)

ABUDA, 2 February 2010 (IRIN) - Mohamed Olhaye Nour, 60, last cultivated his farm in Abuda, 24km southwest of Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa, more than two decades ago.

"Before the war, our life was good; we did not worry about making ends meet," he said. "In an average year, our crop production was about 40-50 `jawan’ (one `jawan’ = 100kg sack of maize and sorghum mixed together).

"We kept 15-20 `jawan’ in reserve. We used the remainder in different ways, such as for bread, 'African cake' [maize meal] eaten with milk, or sorghum with milk."

Nour, who has two wives and 17 children, stopped cultivating his land because it "is full of mines". Two people who ventured onto the land got injured - one losing both arms. Nour has also lost 36 livestock to the mines.

Most of the unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Abuda was planted during the 1977-78 war between Somalia and Ethiopia, according to local residents. Some is from the 1981-91 war between the Somali National Movement and the Somali National Army.

According to Nour, many residents of Abuda were agro-pastoralists before these wars. Most fled to Ethiopia when clashes first broke out. When they returned in 1991, they found their farmland had been mined. Now they mostly survive as livestock keepers.

An anti-tank mine: Experts say more than 250,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance, including anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, are buried in Somaliland (file photo)

Experts in the self-declared republic say more than 250,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance, including anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, are buried in Somaliland.

UXO is scattered across northwestern Somalia, from Elayo to Loyada and from Bihen to Gestir.

Demining

Over the years, farmers wrote many letters to the Somaliland government requesting that the Abuda area be demined, Nour said. In 2009, the UK-based organization HALO Trust started demining farmland in this area.

Hargeisa, according to HALO, was heavily mined around military bases, refugee camps, private houses and the airport. The war between Ethiopia and Somalia also left behind large amounts of unexploded ordnance.

Some explosives have, unfortunately, been harvested from mines for illegal reuse. This is particularly the case with anti-vehicle mines and explosive ordnance. Another problem is that most mines in Somaliland are plastic-bodied, making them difficult to locate using conventional demining equipment, according to HALO.

"We started demining operations in this area [Abuda] in early November 2009 after we received complaints from residents," said Hassan Kosar, operations officer for HALO in Hargeisa. "We hope to finish in early May 2010, if we have adequate manpower capacity."

Mohamed Olhaye Nour points at his farm, which he says is heavily mined Two other mine clearance institutions now exist in Somaliland - the Mine Action Center and the National Demining Agency.

HALO is currently supporting the National Demining Agency to expand mine-clearing operations, because the Somaliland government's budget for demining institutions is limited.

"This is the first time a local institution is going to engage in mine clearance operations in Somaliland after HALO Trust trains 40 deminers for us," said Mohamed Were, operations officer for the Somaliland National Demining Agency. "[But] our problem is lack of funds."

At least eight hectares owned by 95 families in the Abuda area were mined, as well as several hectares further to the north.

"I have not cultivated my farm since 1988 but now that demining is going on, I hope the clearing of our farms will be completed before the rains come," Nour told IRIN.


African Union members are awaiting a report on Somaliland and other political issues in the Horn

Source Geeska Afrika, Feb 01, 2010

Hargeisa (Qarannews) - The Namibia Foreign Minister, Mr. Marco Mukoso Hausiku stated in an interview with Geeska Afrika, that African Union members are awaiting a report on Somaliland and other political issues in the Horn of Africa.

Speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, before the gathering of AU Foreign ministers, Mr. Mukoso Hausika, confirmed to members of the Somaliland media, that the African Union is awaiting the final report on the situation in the Horn of Africa relating to the political conflicts between Eritrea and Djibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia and the case of Somaliland continued campaign for international recognition.

Responding to a question from the Somaliland media regarding the international recognition of their country, Mr. Mukoso Hausika stated "It is not prudent for Namibia to commit itself to a position without receiving the forth coming report on Somaliland . But, we will judge the issue on its merits and take into consideration the conclusion of the report".

Mr. Mukoso Haukisa continued “ Namibia is willing to explore co-operation with all the people of Africa and the world. We would like to see more mutual co-operation between African nations, in terms of the exchange of ideas, knowledge and all manner of assistance"

Mr. Marco Mukoso Haukisa has been Namibian Foreign minister for the past seven years.

The Republic of Namibia formerly known as South West Africa gained its independence from South Africa in 1991 under the leadership of Sam Nujoma.

The Republic of Namibia is a multi-party democracy and a member of the Commonwealth.


Direct flights to Somaliland launched

by Daily Nation, Feb 01, 2010

Official from the Kenya Airport Authority moves dancers way from the runway after an East African Safari Air Express lands at the Kisumu Airport. The airline has launched direct flights to Somaliland. PHOTO/ JAMES NJUGUNA

By NATION Correspondent, January 31 2010 at 20:00

Travelling to Somaliland is now easier with the launch of direct flights to the city of Hargeisa in the country by East African Safari Air Express.

This follows the signing of a bilateral trade agreement between the airline and the Government of Somaliland last year.

However, no bilateral agreements have been put in place between the Kenyan government and the country

The firm will be operating scheduled flights twice a week, on Tuesday and Saturday’s.

Mr Hussein Ali Duale, minister of Finance of Somaliland, said this is bound to open the country to trade from the East African Community.

The two-hour flight from JKIA cuts down on a tedious 12-hour journey of connecting flights.


Somaliland: A Country Suffering From Little Land Use

HARGEISA, 1 February 2010 (Somalilandpress) – I wonder sometimes, if the evergrowing population of China or India ever know a country like Somaliland. A country of only 3.5 Million population, a country the land exceeds its population and so are its resources, yet suffering from lack of exploitation. I am a citizen of that country, and sometimes I hardly get an answer to questions related to our land, especially when my classmates ask me how big is our country. When I tell them the area of our territory, and our number they surprise and put their hands on their cheeks. Wonderful, they say we are a population of 25 million, and our main problem lies on the effort of getting a fertile peice of land to grow crops and vegetables.

Last Year, I travelled to a mountainious region with a group of students, mostly foreigners. I can’t really describe what I saw there, houses were built at the top of mountains, the cliffs, the lagoons and everywhere. Surprisingly, could you ever imagine a farmer using a donkey to dig his piece of land at the very top of a triangular shaped mountain. I asked myself, how could an old man in his late 70s can reach there. When you travel from city to city you will never see unused land, it is inhabitted and occupied. Farms and houses are there, and people are working.

This is not a very populated country, twenty five million is just too little to be compared to a country like Egypt with approximately 80 Million or to India, and let alone China, yet they are ready to invest their country. Every one is busy with his farm when you go to the country side and they mostly eat what they grow. Their villages is like their cities, some of them more congested and have the basic infrustructure. Some of our classmates told me, that they want to follow me to my country and settle there.

Contrary to the above mentioned, I spent my summer last year in Somaliland. I was very longing for my homeland. From the very minute I put my legs on my soil, I felt relaxed and free, but I was disappointed. The land between Berbera and Hargeisa, was too long yet without investment. We didn’t invest our country. Despite it is a coastal area, and may not be good in agriculture yet we could have used for other purposes. When you go east or west of Somaliland, the scenario is the same. I went many places during my visit, each time what was falling in to my mind was the land, the large hectors of land, that no one made use of it. Planes could have landed even without need to pave their way. Play grounds could have at least been built there.

The active things in these areas were desertification process and soil erosion. Then no one ever mentions that danger. We think that the outside world is the paradise, a haven or something similar. IF today a plane landed there, and asked the near persons if they want a lift to USA or Europe or to the Arab world, many would have said Yes from the bottom of their heart. However, if we are given fertilisers, bulldozer and machines and told to dig our land, and use it for agriculture, many of us could have put their hands in their bockets, saying It is difficult. It is difficult and hard because, we are people who need self made food and material.

We always talk about recognition, and some of us think that urbanisation is the solution, but we rarely realise that agriculture is our master economy. Most of our country is useful for agriculture. We have unlimited areas yet the number of farms we have are countable. Who will make use of this land? Our great grand fathers left like this, may be better because some of us have mis used and polluted it. Shall we leave it like this. The real citizen is that who makes use of his power house-the brain-that Allah has bestowed on us.The treausure that distinguishes as from other creatures.

The healthy mind tells that we Somalilanders should focus on agriculture. You may say I am living in cukoo world, because I am talking about agriculture when we depend on livestock. Yes, it is true that we depend on livestock , but if we shift to agriculture while keeping livestock will be the best solution. This is of course helpful in this very time, where we are suffering from rain shortage, drougths and similar facts. If we planned earlier, and not depend always on livestock we could have survived when the world is in economic depression. They say ‘ don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, and I say ” let us not always depend on livestock, while we have better options-agriculture, fishing, tourism etc.

Finally, I hope that we shall think twice,and will collectively work together. We are a nation of politicians, every one talks about politcs everyday, so let us not focus on politics, it will be straight when we provide our politicians with sorghum and maize from our land and not foreign food.

Written By: Ahmed Mohamoud Elmi (Shawky), Social activist and journalist. A reporter for Somaliland Education Network and Golisnews.com. shawqi06@hotmail.com


SOMALILAND: Las Anod Remains Isolated as American Secret Agent Arrives

LAS ANOD, (Somalilandpress-January 31, 2010) — Mobile and internet communications remain suspended for the third day in the Somaliland town of Las Anod, after minister issued an emergency decree.

All mobile and internet service providers were suspended on Friday night on orders from Somaliland’s Postal and Communication minister, Mr. Ali Sandule. The minister insisted communication providers must register all clients with proper Identification card and physical address to help beef up security.

The reasons for suspending communication in the town, is connected to an ongoing security operation in the town, after a week in which over five people including three police men were killed and wounded further eight including the governor of the region in a string of roadside bomb attacks.

According to local sources in the town, Somaliland security forces imposed a curfew on Friday from 8 pm to 6 am and raided a number of homes suspected of harboring perpetrators and bomb making materials.

Mr. Sandule told reporters that a number of materials were seized including mobile phones and bomb making materials. He added that mobile phones take cruel role in the bombs against Somaliland interest by acting as ‘bomb triggers’, for these reason and on rectification orders, he said all communication were suspended.

At least 40 people are believed to have been detained in connection to the remote-bombings. Most of those arrested consist of immigrants from Somalia, who are said to be experts in bomb making materials and pro-Puntland elements, who want to stabilize the region.

Most people believe the attacks were carried out on orders from Tribal chiefs known as Isimo or Garaad hailing from the Sool region who see themselves as part of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland becase of their tribal affiliation.

According to EJ Hogendoorn of International Crisis Group, the attacks appear to be have been carried out by Islamist elements in the Dhulbahante clan who have links with Al Qaeda’s Somalia wing – Al Shabab group.

Somaliland has enough forces to restore security to the town but it often keeps its military away from civilian area, there are no open gun fights, it’s often remote bombs and feels such requires intelligence gathering rather than a pre-emptive strike.

The town is bitterly divided along tribal kinship, pro-Islamists and Somaliland, and Somaliland is going to require a political solution rather than a force and so far has not used any force.

Sources in the town were also quoted saying: “an American and Ethiopian secret agents have arrived in Las Anod to assist the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) investigate the recent bombings. The American is believed to be bomb expert and will inspect materials obtained during the raids.”

The governor of Sool has sustained non-life threatening injuries and is currently in good spirit and recovering in the city of Burao.

Somaliland, which reinstated it’s statehood in 1991 after a never rectified union with the Somalia failed maintains some relative peace and the current unrest in the south is a great concern for Somaliland and neighbouring states, in particular Ethiopia.

Source: Somalilandpres


Analysis: Explosions Raise Fears Over Somaliland Stability

HAIRGEISA (IRIN-January 30, 2010) - The latest bomb explosion in Somalia’s self-declared independent republic of Somaliland raises concerns over the lack of government presence in the Las-anod area, says an analyst. Among those injured in the blast, which killed one person and injured five on 28 January, was the governor of Sool region, Askar Farah Hussein, who was admitted to a hospital in the town of Las-anod.

Commenting on the bombings that have hit the region since October 2009, Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin told reporters: “I have heard the opposition accusing the government of being behind the bombs; this is unfortunate, the government is investigating, but we need to know that the enemy wants [to stage] more attacks against Somaliland…”

The latest incident brings to five the bombings since October 2009 in Las-anod, capital of a region in contention between Somaliland and Puntland. Las-anod is part of Sool and Sanag region, to which the governments of Somaliland and Puntland both lay claim.

According to EJ Hogendoorn, the International Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa Project Director, the Somaliland government is strong enough to get the situation under control in Las-anod “but the problem is that there is minimal government presence in the area”.

“The area remains largely unadministered by both Puntland and Somaliland,” Hogendoorn said, adding that the region is inhabited mainly by the Dhulbahante clan, which has family ties to the ruling Harti clan in Puntland.

“The Sool and Sanag region is disputed by both Puntland and Somaliland for several reasons; the Dhulbahante are unhappy with both Puntland and Somaliland, and Islamist radicals have taken advantage of this to try to cause instability in the area,” Hogendoorn said. “Moreover, it is likely that there are significant oil deposits in Sool and Sanag, so both governments lay claim to the region.”

Fomenting instability

Hogendoorn said it appeared the violence was inspired by Islamist elements among the Dhulbahante that are sympathetic to Al-Shabab, the main Islamist group that has been waging war against the government in Somalia.

“The interest of these Islamist elements is to foment instability. What is clear is that they have links with Al-Shabab in south and central Somalia,” he said. “There is a similar dynamic going in Puntland, where the Islamist radicals have also targeted government officials in the past.”

However, Hogendoorn said analysts did not have any evidence that the bombings in Las-anod were orchestrated by Al-Shabab.

“There are a lot of Islamist groups in the whole of Somalia; it is difficult to speculate whether or not Al-Shabab is behind the latest incidents,” he said. “The best course of action would be for the Somaliland government to improve security in and around its installations in Las-anod and to have more presence on the ground.”

Police Commissioner Mohamed Saqadhi Dubad told IRIN that 23 arrests had been made in relation to the incidents and that investigations were ongoing to establish those behind the attacks.

“We consider the suspects [to be] coming from our enemy who don’t like our stability; of course they are external enemies,” Dubad said, declining to give any names.

On 26 January 2010, Dubad said, reports were made to police that a suspect package had been seen in Las-anod. The police collected the package but it turned out to be a remote-controlled bomb and it went off, killing two soldiers, Dubad said.

On 14 January, unknown armed men shot dead the Las-anod police commissioner minutes after he left a mosque.

Mohamed Abdi Dhimbil, the deputy governor of Sool, said: “A few days ago, unknown people threw hand grenades at a police station in the south, injuring three policemen.”

In late October 2009, an army commander and another official were killed following a bomb explosion. Dubad said: “Most of the incidents involved remote-controlled bombs, but more than 23 suspects, including officials from Somaliland, have been arrested and they will be on trial soon.

“We captured some explosive material in Hargeisa after a woman in the area notified us that a man had placed what looked like explosive elements on the road near Hawadle Mosque,” Dubad said. “One man was arrested over the incident.”

The bombings have caused fear and alarm among the public. ”Nowadays Somaliland security is fragile because you can see everywhere there are incidents taking place; for this reason we consider the government could be losing control of national security and we are worried,” said Mohamed Farah Qabile, a member of the Lower House of Parliament from the Kulmiye opposition party.

Mohamed Hashi Elmi, a former minister of commerce, said the government should explain to people who was responsible for the explosions.

On 17 January, Vice-President Ahmed Yusuf Yasin announced that national security would be given “the highest priority” in 2010.

Police commissioner Dubad said security for international aid staff would also be improved to facilitate access to many parts of Somaliland.

“We are improving security measures for international staff of aid organizations … because our enemy is targeting international aid workers as well as other foreign citizens who are helping our people in sectors such as education and health,” Dubad said.

He added that police would provide security for aid workers undertaking missions in various parts of the country, “even in their homes”.


Explosions Raise Fears Over Somaliland Stability

http://www.portalangop.co.ao/

Hairgeisa-1/30/10- The latest bomb explosion in Somalia's self-declared independent republic of Somaliland raises concerns over the lack of government presence in the Las-anod area, says an analyst.

Among those injured in the blast, which killed one person and injured five on 28 January, was the governor of Sool region, Askar Farah Hussein, who was admitted to a hospital in the town of Las-anod.

Commenting on the bombings that have hit the region since October 2009, Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin told reporters: "I have heard the opposition accusing the government of being behind the bombs; this is unfortunate, the government is investigating, but we need to know that the enemy wants [to stage] more attacks against Somaliland...".

The latest incident brings to five the bombings since October 2009 in Las-anod, capital of a region in contention between Somaliland and Puntland. Las-anod is part of Sool and Sanag region, to which the governments of Somaliland and Puntland both lay claim.

According to EJ Hogendoorn, the International Crisis Group's Horn of Africa Project Director, the Somaliland government is strong enough to get the situation under control in Las-anod "but the problem is that there is minimal government presence in the area".

"The area remains largely unadministered by both Puntland and Somaliland," Hogendoorn said, adding that the region is inhabited mainly by the Dhulbahante clan, which has family ties to the ruling Harti clan in Puntland.

"The Sool and Sanag region is disputed by both Puntland and Somaliland for several reasons; the Dhulbahante are unhappy with both Puntland and Somaliland, and Islamist radicals have taken advantage of this to try to cause instability in the area," Hogendoorn said. "Moreover, it is likely that there are significant oil deposits in Sool and Sanag, so both governments lay claim to the region."

Hogendoorn said it appeared the violence was inspired by Islamist elements among the Dhulbahante that are sympathetic to Al-Shabab, the main Islamist group that has been waging war against the government in Somalia.

"The interest of these Islamist elements is to foment instability. What is clear is that they have links with Al-Shabab in south and central Somalia," he said. "There is a similar dynamic going in Puntland, where the Islamist radicals have also targeted government officials in the past."

However, Hogendoorn said analysts did not have any evidence that the bombings in Las-anod were orchestrated by Al-Shabab.


Cambodia ship held by court, not taken by Somalis

HARGEISA (Reuters-Jan 30, 2010) - A Cambodian vessel reportedly hijacked off Somalia instead was detained in the Somaliland port of Berbera on court orders, a port official said on Saturday.

The Kenya-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme earlier in the week had said the MV Layla-S had been hijacked after discharging its cargo in the breakaway northern enclave of Somaliland last year.

However, assistant chief of Berbera port Bile Hirsi said the ship was held after a local businessman, whose goods were destroyed in a fire on board another ship that belongs to the owners Layla-S, asked the court to detain it.

"The ship is in Berbera port by the order of the regional court of Berbera, because Abdillahi Omar -- a businessman who had a lot of merchandise on the ship that burned outside the port last October -- made a complaint to the regional court and the court ordered that the ship should remain in the port," he said.

Bile said the businessman wanted compensation for merchandise destroyed in the Maria Star fire.

Somaliland, which declared itself independent in 1991, is proud of its relative stability compared with the south of Somalia, where hardline Islamist rebels control large amounts of territory and are battling a weak Western-backed government.


A Roadside Bomb Wounds Governor In Somaliland

Written by Qarannews, Jan 28, 2010, Source: Mareeg

Las Anod(Qarannews)-At least one person has been killed and four others including the governor of Sool region in Somaliland have been wounded in a roadside bomb that has targeted the car of the governor, witnesses said on Thursday.

It was last Monday when four Somaliland police officers were killed in a bomb hidden near a mosque in Las Anod town, the regional capital of Sool region.

Residents say the bomb was a remote controlled one and it has targeted the car of the Sool governor, Farah Askar. The governor has been wounded in the attack and is being treated in a hospital in the town.

Somaliland is proud of its relative stability compared with southern regions of Somalia, where al Shabaab rebels control large swathes of territory.

No group has claimed the responsibility of the attack, but it is suspected that al Shabaab militants whom Washington accuses of being al Qaeda's proxy in Somalia are behind the attack to destabilise peace in the region. In another develepment reported in somalipress Twelve traditional tribal chiefs from the Dhulbhante clan have been placed under house arrest by Somaliland forces in the town of Holhol.

In total, 14 tribal chiefs, known as Garaad or Isimo were expected to hold a political round-table discussions in the town of Holhol in the district of Huddun of Sool region, about 220km north of Las Anod on Sunday. The main focus of the Garaado Confederacy was to implement and establish a committee who would carry out attacks against Somaliland forces including political assassinations, remote bombing and creating unrest in the region. The conference was a follow up to a conference that was held in Nairobi early this year which was designed to create instability in the region. According to sources, the tribal leaders originally wanted to host the conference in the neighbouring semi-autonomous region of Puntland but leaders from that region blocked the meeting.

On Sunday morning, the tribal chiefs led by Garaad Jama Garaad Ali, traveled across the border to hold the conference inside Somaliland. Somaliland intelligence who received information before hand, notified the military, about midday, Somaliland forces surrounded and arrested all tribal leaders except two who escaped in a car including the chairman of the conference Garaad Jama Garaad Ali.

Somaliland forces have reportedly given them 24 hours to denounce violence against Somaliland forces and acts of terrorism.

It is believed that the Garaad leaders were behind recent blasts and attacks in the town of Las Anod which killed a number of Somaliland policemen and military officers. Most of these blasts are often being financed by Dhulbahante clan-men in the Diaspora.

The dhulbahante clan which mainly inhabits in the Sool region is divided between Somaliland and Puntland, many are still loyal to clan affiliation and consider themselves part of Puntland and the Harti-Darood brotherhood. While many see themselves as Somalilanders and believe the development of the region is better off under Somaliland.

Right: Garaad Jama Garaad Ismael & Garaad Abdisalam

During the Nairobi conference, the Garaad leaders urged their supporters to kill Somaliland forces and leaders in the region by any means necessary and they have vowed to disrupt democratic institutions in the region including elections. No one knows what the forces will do with the tribal leaders but they remain under house arrest. Somaliland also sent a heavily armed combat unit to the town of Tuka-Raq who secured roads leading to Garowe in Puntland. However, according to source close to the Puntland government, a number of ministers from Puntland have held a secret meeting with Somaliland military officials in Tuka-Raq, who requested Somaliland to spare the town of Tuka-Raq. In a meeting in Puntland Presidential villa, Puntland vice-finance minister, Abdi Halas, said in the presence of Puntland-vice president, Mr Abdisamad Ali Shire, that by meeting with Somaliland officials they have saved a lot of towns from Somaliland including Tuka-Raq. When he was questioned what Puntland forces would do, he said, Somaliland forces will withdraw from Tuka-Raq as part of the agreement.

Garaad Jama Garaad Ali

It is believed that Somaliland forces wanted to detain Garaad Jama Garaad Ali, who is accused of masterminding all the attacks against Somaliland forces. Somaliland is said to have made secret agreement with Puntland to hand over Garaad Jama in return Somaliland would withdraw from number of towns. Garaad Jama is currently believed to be hiding in the town of Sah'dheer in the Sool region, no one knows if he will return to Garowe.


SOMALILAND: Forces place 12 Dhulbahante tribal leaders under house arrest

LAS ANOD (Somalilandpress.26 Jan 26, 2010,) — Twelve traditional tribal chiefs from the Dhulbhante clan have been placed under house arrest by Somaliland forces in the town of Holhol.

In total, 14 tribal chiefs, known as Garaad or Isimo were expected to hold a political round-table discussions in the town of Holhol in the district of Huddun of Sool region, about 220km north of Las Anod on Sunday. The main focus of the Garaado Confederacy was to implement and establish a committee who would carry out attacks against Somaliland forces including political assassinations, remote bombing and creating unrest in the region. The conference was a follow up to a conference that was held in Nairobi early this year which was designed to create instability in the region.

According to sources, the tribal leaders originally wanted to host the conference in the neighbouring semi-autonomous region of Puntland but leaders from that region blocked the meeting.

On Sunday morning, the tribal chiefs led by Garaad Jama Garaad Ali, traveled across the border to hold the conference inside Somaliland. Somaliland intelligence who received information before hand, notified the military, about midday, Somaliland forces surrounded and arrested all tribal leaders except two who escaped in a car including the chairman of the conference Garaad Jama Garaad Ali.

Somaliland forces have reportedly given them 24 hours to denounce violence against Somaliland forces and acts of terrorism.

It is believed that the Garaad leaders were behind recent blasts and attacks in the town of Las Anod which killed a number of Somaliland policemen and military officers. Most of these blasts are often being financed by Dhulbahante clan-men in the Diaspora.

The dhulbahante clan which mainly inhabits in the Sool region is divided between Somaliland and Puntland, many are still loyal to clan affiliation and consider themselves part of Puntland and the Harti-Darood brotherhood. While many see themselves as Somalilanders and believe the development of the region is better off under Somaliland.

During the Nairobi conference, the Garaad leaders urged their supporters to kill Somaliland forces and leaders in the region by any means necessary and they have vowed to disrupt democratic institutions in the region including elections.

No one knows what the forces will do with the tribal leaders but they remain under house arrest.

Somaliland also sent a heavily armed combat unit to the town of Tuka-Raq who secured roads leading to Garowe in Puntland. However, according to source close to the Puntland government, a number of ministers from Puntland have held a secret meeting with Somaliland military officials in Tuka-Raq, who requested Somaliland to spare the town of Tuka-Raq.

In a meeting in Puntland Presidential villa, Puntland vice-finance minister, Abdi Halas, said in the presence of Puntland-vice president, Mr Abdisamad Ali Shire, that by meeting with Somaliland officials they have saved a lot of towns from Somaliland including Tuka-Raq. When he was questioned what Puntland forces would do, he said, Somaliland forces will withdraw from Tuka-Raq as part of the agreement.

It is believed that Somaliland forces wanted to detain Garaad Jama Garaad Ali, who is accused of masterminding all the attacks against Somaliland forces. Somaliland is said to have made secret agreement with Puntland to hand over Garaad Jama in return Somaliland would withdraw from number of towns. Garaad Jama is currently believed to be hiding in the town of Sah’dheer in the Sool region, no one knows if he will return to Garowe.


Somalia: Somaliland's opposition rebuffs Riyale's allegations

26 Jan 26, 2010, http://www.garoweonline.com/

Somaliland’s Kulmiye political party criticized a claims by president Dahir Rayale and members of his government ministers that the Kulmiye party chief is campaigning for all inclusive Somalia.

Mohamed Abdi Gabose, Kulmiye party chief of election campaigns held a press conference in Hergeisa to denounce Riyale’s assertion that Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo is unpatriotic.

“We don’t want to reintroduce Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo to the Somaliland people, the government and UDUB party. He is a great national who spent most of his lifetime in the hardest way because he wanted Somaliland to get independence. He is a brave man who champion for the eradication of problems facing his people,”

Gabose said the government is forcing the party leader to apologize for what he has never done.

“The people who were against Somaliland’s independence are now accusing Mr. Silanyo. They are saying he can’t return to his country until he apologizes to the government.”

In a recent press conference held at the presidential palace, President Dahir Riyale Kahin pointed accusing fingers at the KULMIYE party and its leader Ahmed Silaanyo, saying it is fronting the Somaliweyn agenda in the foreign trips.

The political squabbling between Somaliland leaders is increasingly intensifying towards the elections, which was postponed twice in the past but now scheduled to e hold on April.


Bomb kills 4 policemen in breakaway Somaliland

By Hussein Ali Noor

HARGEISA (Reuters Jan 25, 2010) - A bomb hidden near a mosque killed four policemen in Somalia's northern breakaway enclave of Somaliland on Monday in the latest attack on security forces in the region, police sources said.

Somaliland is proud of its relative stability compared with southern regions of the failed Horn of Africa state, where hardline al Shabaab rebels control large amounts of territory and are fighting a weak Western-backed government.

Washington accuses al Shabaab of being al Qaeda's proxy in Somalia, and security experts say the group wants to extend its influence north -- aiming to destabilise Somaliland and the neighbouring pro-government, semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Monday's blast, which came just days after unidentified attackers hurled hand grenades and fired at the main police station in Las Anod near the Puntland border on January 12, wounding three officers.

The police sources said the device had been hidden among milk cans left near Las Anod's Grand Mosque, and it detonated as they inspected the cans. Two policemen were severely wounded.

In two separate violent incidents in the area late on Sunday, gunmen ambushed and killed a senior police operations officer as he returned home from evening prayers, and a woman was killed by an explosion near Las Anod's hospital.

Earlier this month, Somaliland's security forces said they had foiled an attack on a Hargeisa mosque where the imam had spoken out against suicide bombings carried out by al Shabaab insurgents in southern Somalia.

Al Shabaab hit Somaliland and Puntland with synchronised suicide blasts that killed at least 24 people in October 2008. A court in Hargeisa has sentenced five men to death in absentia for those bombings, and said they were on the run in other parts of Somalia. Somaliland has long sought international recognition as sovereign state. It declared itself independent in 1991.

Analysts worry a simmering political row between the president of Somaliland and opposition parties over delayed elections could trigger a re-arming among clan militias, further violence and more turmoil for al Shabaab to exploit.


Somalia: Somaliland police officers killed in bomb attack

25 Jan 25, 2010, http://www.garoweonline.com/

At least two police officers have been killed and three others were wounded in a bomb explosion in the disputed northwestern Somali town of Las Anod, the capital of Sool, in the break-away republic of Somaliland.

The blast occurred on Monday morning when the police officers picked up a remote controlled bomb hidden near a mosque in the town, killing the two officers on the spot.

The three injured officers were transferred to a hospital in Burao, the second largest northwestern town of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland.

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion and the Somaliland authorities have not yet commented about it.

The explosion comes days after a senior commander in Sool region warned of assassination plots targeted on him and other top officials, blaming it on the regions Police commandant.

The town is disputed by the Somaliland and its neighboring semi-autonomous state of Puntland and has been witnessing rampant insecurity in the recent past.


US National Endowment for Democracy Hosts Chairman Silanyo in a Conference on Somaliland in Washington D.C.

Somaliland Globe (Washington, 20 Jan, 2010) Mr. Ahmed Silanyo's visit to Washington has prompted a renewed interest in and a focus on Somaliland by the United States. Speaking in a conference organized by the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Mr. Silanyo provided an in-depth assessment on Somaliland, gleaning to the conference attendees a wide variety of aspects of Somaliland's historical, political, security and economic realities.

KULMIYE's presidential candidate appealed to the international community to lend a hand to the democratization effort that is ongoing in Somaliland, and warned against the negative consequences of denying the Somaliland people of free elections for the regional security.

The Chairman of KULMIYE party, accompanied by his Foreign Secretary, Dr. Mohamed A Omar, stressed the need for the United States and the donor communities to provide an increased development aid to Somaliland to mitigate potential radicalization of the youth in the absence any educational and or economic opportunities. He also emphasized on the need to combat the threat of terrorism and piracy in the Horn of Africa by establishing a joint front with the international community and asked the US to partner with Somaliland in dealing with this serous threat.

Interest in Somaliland has hereto forth been dormant in the US policy circles due to the lack of any meaningful advocacy by the current Somaliland government. Mr. Silanyo's visit to the US capital seemed to have heralded a new US interest in engaging with Somaliland for the mutual interest of the two nations.

The conference was attended by officials from the US State Department, US AID, NED, former US Ambassador to Ethiopia, David Shinn, Former US Assistant Secretary of State, Hon. Princeton Lyman, friends of Somaliland, scholars that follow the affairs of the Horn of Africa and others.


Somalia: Somaliland leader speaks about security, elections

20 Jan 20, 2010- http://www.garoweonline.com/

The president of Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland has spoke about wrangles in the upper house, opposition groups’ allegations and recent insecurity in the Sool region.

In a press conference held at the presidential palace in the capital Hergeisa, President Dahir Riyale Kahin said the elections will be hold as per the plans, rebuffing claims from the oppositions of delaying tactics.

"No one will stop the elections but am warning about such sentiments. We must uphold our principles," he said, while refereeing to assertions from the opposition groups.

He accused the opposition of propagating election issues in a bid to use it in their plan to destabilize the country.

President Riyale pointed accusing fingers particularly on the KULMIYE party and its leader Axmed Siilaanyo, currently in the US, saying it is fronting the Somaliweyn agenda in foreign trips.

Commenting about the recent blasts that killed senior Somaliland security officials in Las Anod, the capital Sool region, the president said they are part of destabilizing mechanism perpetuated by groups that are against Somaliland’s existence.

"The blast that occurred in Las Anod is just the same as the one which happened here (Hergeisa). The people behind the blasts, whom I can't name, are against our existence," he added.

He continued: "There are certain things that are meant to draw our attentions. It is unfortunate for the opposition to claim that the government was behind blasts which was targeted on the country even the one that rocked the presidential palace. The government investigates and finds ways to prevent such acts, and we are warning the population about it."

On the other hand, President Riyale refuted claims that his government is behind internal strife in the country’s upper house.

"The government is behind the squabbling, in fact, we are in the forefront for the peace in our country. The government is supporting every agency to perform its constitutional duties accordingly," he said while urging parliamentary the upper house committee to play key role in ending the quarrel.

His remarks come as presidential elections, which have been postponed twice in the past, are to be held in April 2010.


Somaliland Police kill 2 civilian

GAROWE ONLINE, 19 Jan 19, 2010

Security forces in self-declared republic of Somaliland have shot dead 2 people in Wajale, Somali-Ethiopia border city in North West Somalia.

Reports from Wajale say Police officers spread bullets on a vehicle that the two were traveling in. The body of the two are kept in a Hargeisa hospital.

The police have not commented about the incident, which attracted public outrage.

Residents of Hargeisa and Wajale conducted demonstration to condemn the killing. They described the murder as a brutal incident, calling on authorities to bring the officers before a court of law.


Somaliland: From A Danish Prespective

Written by Soren Villadsen, Jan 19, 2010, http://www.qarannews.com/

Somalia itself is now dissolved as a state or country while Somaliland has reverted to its post July 1st, 1960 status as an independent nation.

In the northern part of Somalia, which for nearly 20 years been a country called Somaliland. And Somaliland is not Somalia - rather the contrary.Somaliland has led a bitter and bloody liberation war to regain its historical autonomy, and have managed to create a country and state. A border, resting on historical experience and divisions are also located between Somalia and Somaliland, and it is now well protected by security forces from Somaliland, which has had luck and skill to intercept terrorists from Somalia who want to destabilize the government in Hargeisa, capital of Somaliland.

And one must remember that although Somaliland is only a small part of the former Greater Somalia, however, it covers an area the size of Great Britain minus Scotland. It is thus a major task to protect the border between Somalia and Somaliland, and Somaliland solve this problem themselves without outside assistance.

The war that ravaged Somalia in the 1980s and early 1990s, was also the beginning of the end for the Greater Somalia, from the beginning was an artificial construct, created by the colonial powers and with no internal consistency, and has never posed any nation. The war raged since 1982, with enormous human and material casualties, but the people of Somaliland wanted autonomy and freedom from the various regimes that succeeded one another in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Somaliland declared itself (again) independent in 1991 as a response to the deteriorating political, security and social realities, not least after strong public pressure. Somaliland had and has a strong and united people desire to be an independent country and in particular to escape from the reign of terror in Somalia. The country has had a democratically elected government, political stability and good protection of human rights.

The boundaries of Somaliland, follows the former British protectorate borders, and the British presence in the area is not the prettiest example of good governance - the area was grossly neglected and starved, and on top of this neglect must Italiano historical ravages and neglect in this area certainly highlights. There should be a bill to pay for the former colonial powers, but it does not happen, and it should not discourage others from contributing!

Without going too deep back in history, it sadly noted that while enormous sums from the international community are posted in Somalia, hoping to bring this' country on its feet, the international community have turned a blind eye to the fact that there now exists a well established and legitimate and peace-loving country, based on historical roots in the northern region, Somaliland. It has neither received international recognition or been accepted as a partner in international development cooperation. Somaliland survives because of transfers from citizens with a background in Somaliland, which sends money home to their families and villages, which far exceeds what the UN make contributions in the development, even with small grants from some donor countries.

Somaliland has a constitution and other key legislation that fully meets international standards in terms of good governance, democratic rights of the people and the rights and opportunities for all groups in society. There is a democratically elected parliament and their democratically elected councils in districts that are comparable to our municipalities. There are always important reforms are underway to improve the systems and to try to create better living conditions, including reforms of municipal autonomy. These reforms are advanced and good for all parties to draw lesson from.

Throughout Somaliland national budget is much smaller than for example the municipality of Roskilde social spending. Here, Denmark could make a difference.

It is at all interesting to observe that for the visitor in Somaliland, which looks at the social and political environments, it is obvious that Somaliland on a range of issues is far ahead of its neighbors. This is particularly true for legislation and political institutions, and not least in terms of social stability. One can perhaps argue that the isolation, Somaliland has experienced for many years, have contributed to the development of the particular political institutions, which combines a modern form of government with the traditions and experience from Somaliland history.

The problems in the country is all about extreme poverty, the series of droughts and water shortages, threats from Somalia as well as obstacles to international cooperation with other governments.

Deprivation and poverty are the major problems in this country, and unless these issues are resolved, it is feared that extremists would find better living conditions in Somaliland, than it would otherwise have been the case.

Somaliland is a Muslim nation, but in strong opposition to the more fanatical regimes and in particular the various warlords in Somalia who base their reign of terror of violence and extreme interpretations of Islam.

In Somaliland, I met with an able and competent woman minister and senior female officials, so there is absolutely also developing to see when it comes to women and gender in Somaliland. How would this image be in Somalia? It is not hard to guess.

The meeting with the people, civil servants, mayors and others is a positive occurrence, that shows the contrasts in the region. Somaliland wants peace, stability, human rights and does so strongly opposed to the way the warlords act on in Somalia, which they in any possible way.

Unfortunately, very few media or politicians interested in the people's destiny and overlook the opportunities for positive development and strategic alliance with a well-organized country in the middle of a sea of violence and terror.

Denmark could here the forefront of an active foreign policy, not based on military intervention.

When you consider what other areas have declared themselves as independent, has received in development assistance - Kosovo is an obvious example - it is sad to note that while the so far fruitless massive military and other investments in the desperate situation in Somalia could feed a whole continent of the poor, so the international community has chosen to ignore Somaliland. I wonder why Denmark and the EU and others react so negatively in this case and why the media are their faithful followers?

Somaliland is in a way a bright spot in an otherwise depressing and negative story about how bad things can go when the colonial powers and local forces are not in harmony Why is it apparently so important to cling to the false hope that a Greater Somalia may arise based on human rights and good governance? Somaliland has long realized the hopelessness of this and have built their own country based on law and order, security, good governance and democracy.

The general answer to why Somaliland should remain the forgotten and neglected country, is that African leaders from states that are also threatened by its democracy. Why Denmark and the EU contribute to the Somali disaster should also include areas that have chosen a life of independence from the mayhem in Mogadishu?

In addition, there are examples of breakdowns of state power in African countries has not led to chaos, but rather better conditions in the affected areas. The best example is perhaps Namibia, which South African occupation became independent and democratic in 1998 with a constitution that probably could and should inspire aspiring constitutional fathers and mothers in many countries. Another example is Eritrea. It can thus be done, and why not? In addition, a significant interest in finding stable partners in the region, and Somaliland is a good example of such a potential partner.

But why have we in Denmark, in parliament and in the media as a narrow and negative attitude to Somaliland?

What has this country but made other than to seek his freedom and development?

Why could there not at least set up a Danish representative office in Hargeisa - the capital of Somaliland?

It has indeed been made in Palestine, but it is far from meeting the same criteria for international recognition as independent state, as is the case of Somaliland.Part of the explanation is probably the media impact of focus on the violent incidents in Somalia and U.S. strategies in the area and UN acceptance of an indivisible Greater Somalia.

There has not been in Denmark any political or media-related attention to the fact that Somalia over the years has been divided into autonomous regions, covering a remaining and internally divided Somalia, where various warlords haunts and aspiring terrorists to hatch, a breakaway country, Puntland, which has not quite the same history and the democratic legitimacy of Somaliland and finally just Somaliland, which meet all criteria for international recognition.

There are many political, strategic and humanitarian reasons in the current situation to support Somaliland. On the one hand, one could thus support a very poor country and meet our international commitments to fighting poverty and on the other hand, one could support Somaliland, its institutions and preserve it without the Somali terrorist regime.

Denmark could here the forefront of an active foreign policy, not based on military intervention.

Denmark and Europe have a strategic and political interest in supporting and recognizing Somaliland. The country has a strategic location in relation to shipping in the area and are highly interested in all initiatives to support law and order in this part of the world. The country will under no circumstances be integrated in Somalia - and why should it be integrated into one of the world's worst regimes? A strong European alliance with Somaliland would be a strategic holding.

Denmark supports indirect Somaliland, but with a very modest amount, and through the overall UN strategy, geared towards the former Greater Somalia and not to the specific circumstances of Somaliland. So there is nothing special DANIDA project or program in Somaliland, and support for UN work, apparently and according to staff in the organization seeks a Somali reconciliation is perhaps not the way forward.

It is inappropriate that the assistance to Somaliland are channeled through one organization, namely the UN, and not through several donors working in Somaliland conditions. There is tremendous need for a reassessment and improvement of our efforts. While the killings, executions and cutting off limbs escalates in Mogadishu in Somalia, Somaliland was trying to create a future of security and prosperity. But without international support looks difficult for a country where wages are one USD per day.

The desperate situation in Somalia breeds violence and terror. We have now also discovered in Denmark. The building of democratic, but destitute Somaliland could be a good counterweight to these developments in Somalia. During my collaboration with government and with municipalities in Somaliland, it has been clear that the country is seeking cooperation with democratic societies, recognition and social and economic development supported by an improved central and local government. The problem is lack of money. Throughout Somaliland national budget is much smaller than for example the municipality of Roskilde social spending. Here, Denmark could make a difference.

Finally, could the media - instead of helping it staged the secrecy of Somaliland - help with real information about this country and its unduly harsh fate. Somaliland is in a way a bright spot in an otherwise depressing and negative story about how bad things can go when the colonial powers and local forces are not consistent, and structures are created that nobody wants. Somaliland wants at least not to be or become a part of Somalia, which they know too well. Since you can move freely and safely in Somaliland, it is easy for reporters to work there.

Soren Villadsen, PhD in public management and a partner in the Nordic Consulting Group, Denmark


Essential education and health supplies reach Somali children

By Iman Morooka, January 15, 2010, © UNICEF Somalia/

Morooka Hodan, 10, reads from a Somali language textbook during class at Sheikh Nur School, Hargeisa, Somalia.

HARGEISA, Somalia, 14 January 2010 – Until the most recent school semester, every textbook at Sheikh Nur Primary School was shared by at least four students. But thanks to a new supply, students can now follow their lessons in their very own textbooks.

UNICEF - with funding from the Government of Japan - is supporting over 180,000 school-age children and 3,000 teachers around Somalia. During the current school year, UNICEF will be providing textbooks and school supplies - including blackboards, chalk, pens, pencils and exercise books, as well as registers, maps, and recreational supplies.

Sheikh Nur School is one of 790 schools that benefited from this recent distribution Of supplies.

Hodan, 10, is one of the 1,700 students enrolled in the school, which is located in one of the poorest neighbourhoods of Hargeisa: “I want to become a doctor when I grow up because my mother wants me to help people. I know that I have to study hard to succeed in my dream,” she said.

‘Once a country of warlords’

UNICEF is currently the sole provider of textbooks and school materials for primary schools in Somalia, and is training teachers and community education committees, and supporting incentives for teachers to help keep schools open.

© UNICEF Somalia/2009/Morooka. A teacher reads to the second grade class during a Somali language lesson at Sheikh Nur School in Hargeisa, Somalia.

UNICEF’s goal is to help communities reduce dropout rates and increase new enrolment. In some schools, there are only one or two textbooks for the entire school. “Strengthening our support to education is important to ensure that parents keep sending their children to school, especially those families that are struggling to meet their basic needs,” said Safia Jibril, Education Specialist for UNICEF Somalia.

Almost half of the population of the country, or about 3.6 million people, are now facing a humanitarian crisis caused by ongoing conflict, prolonged drought and high food prices. The timely provision of essential supplies is pivotal to ensure better access for Somali children and women to quality services.

In December, at a ceremony to hand over the donated supplies, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Japanese Embassy in Kenya, Seiji Okada said, “Although Japan was once a country of warlords, now it has become a developed country thanks to our education and good schooling system. We are very glad to support your school to ensure that you receive good education, and to prepare you to lead the future of your society.”

A vital lifeline

With funding from the Government of Japan, UNICEF also supported Maternal and Child Health Clinics (MCHs) and Health Posts around Somalia, providing around 1.2 million people this year with free supplies of essential medicines and vaccines.

At Sheikh Nur MCH in Hargeisa, regular vaccinations, growth monitoring, as well as primary health care services are provided daily to people like Khadra Ali, a mother of three whose husband has been having trouble finding work. She comes for vaccinations and prescriptions.

“I now make sure to vaccinate my younger child, after my older son got measles, because I didn’t bring him for vaccination on time,” she said.

© UNICEF Somalia/2009/Morooka. A health worker at the Sheikh Nur Maternal and Child Health Clinic in Hargeisa, Somalia, weighs a baby as part of the routine growth-monitoring conducted at the facility.

As quality health services are extremely limited in the country, these primary health care facilities are a vital lifeline to vulnerable children and women.


Gunmen attack police station in Somaliland

By Hussein Ali Noor, January 13, 2010

HARGEISA, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Unidentified attackers hurled hand grenades and opened fire at a police station in Somalia's northern breakaway enclave of Somaliland, wounding three officers, police sources said on Wednesday.

Somaliland is proud of its relative stability, unlike southern regions of the failed Horn of Africa state, where hardline al Shabaab insurgents control large amounts of territory and are fighting a weak Western-backed government.

Washington accuses al Shabaab of being al Qaeda's proxy in Somalia, and security experts say the group wants to extend its influence north -- aiming to destabilise Somaliland and the neighbouring pro-government, semi-autonomous region of Puntland.

Somaliland police sources told Reuters that an unknown number of attackers threw two grenades at the police station in Las Anod, near the border with Puntland, late on Tuesday before opening fire on the building with assault rifles.

Three policemen on duty there were wounded, two of them seriously, hospital staff said.

The police sources said the town was placed under curfew overnight with extra patrols, and that officers later found a Toyota pickup truck believed to have been used by the gunmen.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The assault came just three days after security forces in Somaliland said they had foiled an attack on a Hargeisa mosque where the imam had spoken out against militant suicide bombings.

Officials said six rockets and two mortar bombs had been recovered from Imam Sheikh Aden Sira's mosque after a suspected bomber was discovered carrying them in a jacket.

POLITICAL TENSIONS INCREASING

Sira had been critical of suicide bombings carried out by al Shabaab in southern Somalia, and said he received death threats.

On Wednesday, the police sources said one man had been arrested in connection with the Hargeisa mosque incident, and that another was being hunted. They did not elaborate.

Al Shabaab hit Somaliland and Puntland with synchronised suicide blasts that killed at least 24 people in Oct. 2008.

A court in Hargeisa has sentenced five men to death in absentia for the bombings, which struck the Ethiopian embassy, the local president's office and a U.N. building. It said they were on the run in other parts of Somalia.

Somaliland, which has long sought international recognition as sovereign state, declared itself independent in 1991.

Analysts worry a simmering political row between the president of Somaliland and opposition parties over delayed elections could lead to clan militias re-arming, an outbreak of violence, and more turmoil for al Shabaab rebels to exploit.

Somaliland's upper House of Elders remained closed for a third day on Wednesday amid wrangling over positions on several committees. Security forces said they had locked the building to prevent another outbreak of scuffling between rival lawmakers.

The former British protectorate is governed by an opposition-led House of Representatives, which is elected by the people, and an upper house comprised of senior clan elders. (Editing by Daniel Wallis and Robin Pomeroy)


Somaliland forces help free Yemeni-flagged ship

12th January 2010, http://www.businessghana.com/

Somaliland forces have helped in releasing a Yemeni-flagged container ship held by Somali pirates for nearly three weeks, Yemeni Interior Ministry said on Sunday.

Al-Mahmoud ship, carrying 15 crew members on board, was freed from Somali pirates on Friday with the help of the Somaliland naval forces, said the Interior Ministry in a statement posted on its website.

"The Al-Mahmoud ship left Aden port on Dec. 18 and was hijacked during its sail through the Arqabah area in Gulf of Aden," the Yemeni coastguard was quoted as saying in the statement.

The ministry provided no details about the casualties, but said the ship is expected to arrive in the city harbour of Al-Mukalla in Hadramout Province in south Yemen on Sunday.

Despite international warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, piracy is still rampant in one of the world's most important and busiest shipping lanes.

According to statistics released by the Yemeni coastguard, 41 cargo vessels along with 521 sailors of different nationalities were seized by hijackers in 2009.


Somaliland: time of trial

EJ Hogendoorn, 11 January 2010, Opendemocracy.net

A relatively stable statelet in the Horn of Africa needs wise international intervention to bolster its nascent democracy, says EJ Hogendoorn.

The Horn of Africa’s unsought status as one of the most volatile regions in the world is underlined by the deep-rooted conflict in Somalia and the endemic tension between Ethiopia and Eritrea. This makes even more impressive and welcome the progress of the self-declared independent state of Somaliland in creating a stable, rules-based government. However, an electoral crisis now threatens to derail this achievement. Somaliland’s political leadership has the main responsibility in solving it, but constructive support by the international community will be vital in ensuring that the territory continues to defy the trend of conflict that has damaged its neighbours.

Somaliland, a former British protectorate, declared its independence from the rest of the Republic of Somalia in May 1991, following the collapse of the military regime in Mogadishu. It remains unrecognised by any country in the world. Yet Somaliland has followed a very different trajectory from much of the rest of the “failed state” of Somalia.

A process of political, social and economic reconstruction has brought security and relative stability. Somaliland’s incipient democracy has drafted and approved a new permanent constitution; smoothly handed power from one president to another; and held three peaceful elections. Yet the democratic transformation is far from complete, and recent developments could see Somaliland slip back towards the kind of instability and lawlessness experienced in the rest of Somalia.

The immediate crisis stems from the failure to hold elections even with the expiry of President Dahir Rayale’s term in May 2008. The latest in a series of postponements came in September 2009, when the two opposition parties threatened a boycott over reported fraud that they charged made the official voter-registration list unusable. An escalation of the dispute was averted only by an agreement to delay the vote, revamp the discredited electoral commission and refine the list.

Behind these problems lies a persistent winner-takes-all political culture, in which wide-ranging attempts to manipulate the political process have corrupted governing institutions and undermined the rule of law. A failure to protect democratic institutions now could open the door to the remobilisation of militias and a violent conflict. This would be a tragedy for a polity that has done so much to avoid being drawn into the Horn of Africa’s maelstrom of war and destruction.

There is a double challenge here for Somaliland’s political actors: in the short term to resolve the electoral crisis, and in the long term to improve the political culture. It will require Somaliland’s political parties to democratise, and open up political space for other organisations to contest local elections; and its electoral institutions to be professionalised and depoliticised.

A regional example

The international community should lend encouragement to the Somaliland government as these processes take place. The British government in particular should make close monitoring of Somaliland a regular part of its policy towards the Horn of Africa.

There are also three immediate steps that European Union member-states can take to support Somaliland’s democratic process and help it find a way out of its electoral crisis.

First, Somaliland’s international supporters should provide technical assistance, financial support and political cover to the new national electoral commission (NEC) – which, though crucial to the process, lacks experience. This would be invaluable in enabling the NEC to do its work effectively and resist political manipulation.

Second, the international community should dispatch international election monitors and help train additional local observers who can work in insecure rural areas, to ensure that the entire electoral process is free and fair.

Third, there is a profound lack of voter education and civic awareness, which highlights the importance of instilling democratic values in Somaliland’s younger generation. Here, international supporters can assist in the preparation of materials on democratic practices and election laws for schools and local communities.

In a violent region that has been the source of so much bad news Somaliland remains a place of exemplary if incomplete stability. It still has the potential to be a model for state reconstruction, and can play an important and progressive role in the fight against piracy and extremist Islamism. Somaliland must be given the help it needs to succeed.


Somaliland forces help free Yemeni-flagged ship

SANAA, Jan. 10 2010(Xinhua) -- Somaliland forces have helped in releasing a Yemeni-flagged container ship held by Somali pirates for nearly three weeks, Yemeni Interior Ministry said on Sunday.

Al-Mahmoud ship, carrying 15 crew members on board, was freed from Somali pirates on Friday with the help of the Somaliland naval forces, said the Interior Ministry in a statement posted on its website.

"The Al-Mahmoud ship left Aden port on Dec. 18 and was hijacked during its sail through the Arqabah area in Gulf of Aden," the Yemeni coastguard was quoted as saying in the statement.

The ministry provided no details about the casualties, but said the ship is expected to arrive in the city harbor of Al-Mukalla in Hadramout Province in south Yemen on Sunday.

Despite international warships patrolling the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, piracy is still rampant in one of the world's most important and busiest shipping lanes.

According to statistics released by the Yemeni coastguard, 41 cargo vessels along with 521 sailors of different nationalities were seized by hijackers in 2009.


SOMALILAND: Foundation stone laid for new livestock quarantine station

BERBERA (Somalilandpress) — Suleiman Al-Jabiri, a Saudi tycoon and livestock investor, is constructing a second livestock quarantine facility in the Somaliland port town of Berbera worth millions, Berberanews reports.

Somaliland’s livestock minister, Idiris Ibrahim Abdi and Mr Suleiman laid the first foundation stone on Saturday for the new facility which is expected to house more than 1.5 million heads.

“The plant will have international standards and will equally be shared by all Somali livestock traders in the region,” Mr Idiris told local media.

The facility is expected to boost Somaliland’s livestock exports that’s disease-free to neighbouring countries and the Middle East, which accounts for over 90 per cent of its trade.

The ceremony was attended by Somaliland ministers, regional Sahil authorities, local traders and Hassan Al-Hussein, the chairman of Gulf International, the company that will construct the facility.

Early last year, Al-Jabiri completed a $5-million livestock quarantine station and has since exported thousands of live animals to the Arabian peninsula.

Saudi Arabia relaxed a eleven-year ban on Somaliland livestock last October and Somaliland animals have been steadily on high demand in the Saudi Kingdom ever since. Livestock market is estimated to be worth $250-million annually in Somaliland.


Three Somaliland nationals build the first ever helicopter

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress) — Three men from Somaliland who, ever since they were young dreamed of building a helicopter have designed and built their own helicopter in their own backyard using scrap metals and an old engine from a van.

The trio, Mohamed Abdi Barkadle, Saed Abdi Jide and Abdi Farah Lidan said the purpose of their helicopter was to be used to fight fire in the city and surrounding area. They receive no major sponsors, financial nor material support from any one including the government, it is a three men vision and ingenuity.

This is the first ever helicopter built in any Somali speaking state. The fact that the trio could do so much with so little will inspire a lot of Somalilanders.

To many Somalilanders, this is historical moment for Somaliland and it is possible very soon others will start manufacturing their own electronics and devices.

This is the time to support these promising Somalilanders!, all stakeholders and regulatory agencies should rally round and assist these men to achieve their goal.


Somaliland forces say attack on mosque foiled

Jan 9, 2010 By Hussein Ali Noor

HARGEISA (Reuters) - Security forces in Somalia's northern breakaway enclave of Somaliland said on Saturday they had foiled an attack on a mosque in Hargeisa where the imam had spoken out against militant suicide bombings.

Somaliland prides itself on its relative stability, unlike southern parts of the failed Horn of Africa state, where hardline rebels from the al Shabaab group control large swaths of territory and are battling a weak Western-backed government.

But al Shabaab, which Washington says is al Qaeda's proxy in Somalia, wants to extend its influence north into Somaliland and neighbouring, semi-autonomous pro-government Puntland.

Mohamed Saqadi Dubbad, the commander of Somaliland's security forces, said six rockets and two mortar bombs were recovered from Imam Sheikh Aden Sira's mosque after a local woman saw a suspected bomber carrying the explosives in a jacket.

"She thought he had stolen what he was carrying and ran to grab him," Dubbad told reporters. "The man could not free himself, but he threatened the woman, saying: 'I will blow you up with me if you do not release me,' so she released him."

Imam Sira had been critical of suicide bombings carried out by al Shabaab insurgents in southern Somalia, and officials said he had received death threats from the militants.

Al Shabaab hit Somaliland and Puntland with synchronised suicide blasts that killed at least 24 people in October 2008.

A court in Hargeisa has sentenced five men to death in absentia for the bombings, which struck the Ethiopian embassy, the local president's office and a U.N. building. It said they were on the run in other parts of Somalia.


Somalia: Concern over deteriorating food security in Somaliland ..

ALLAYBADAY, 8 January 2010 (IRIN) - Low agricultural production, caused by poor rainfall last year in Somalia's self-declared republic of Somaliland, has put at least half of its three million people at risk of food insecurity, agricultural officials warn.

"We are very worried that the situation could get worse because last year the crop production in the western regions of Somaliland - particularly Awdal, Gabiley and Hargeisa - decreased so much compared to 2008," Abdulkadir Jibril Tukale, director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture, said.

For example, Tukale said, Gabiley was the only region expected to record over 90 percent crop production, "which will provide some stocks for only the Hargeisa region, but Togdher and Awdal regions will depend upon food aid and loans".

Mohamed Muse Awale, chairman of the National Environment Research and Disaster Preparedness Agency (NERAD), noted that in November 2009, government and NGOs estimated that the livelihood crisis caused by rain failure had affected at least 40 percent of the population; that figure, he said, had since risen to 50-60 percent.

District officials in Allaybaday, in the Midwestern Gabiley region, have expressed concern about the livelihood crisis following the recent rain failure in the Deyr and Gu seasons.

Hassan Abdi Ali, the mayor, said some 12,000 families in the district had been affected, many of them losing livestock.

"We are very worried about the livelihoods of these people because they have not received any support, other than about 120 families to whom we distributed some food items."

Livestock dying

Hassan Abdi Abdillahi, an agro-pastoralist from Taysa area, north of Allaybaday, told IRIN: "I ploughed about five acres [2ha] that used to get me about 50 sacks [50kg] of maize and sorghum but this year my harvest produced only 15 sacks, which is very difficult to survive on in the forthcoming months with my family of 10 children."


Somaliland: Education Flourishing Since Independence.

Source IRIN, Jan 06, 2010

Since 1991, investment in new and existing school infrastructure has boosted literacy and numeracy in Somaliland, in sharp contrast to neighboring Somalia

School enrolment [in primary and secondary schools] has increased dramatically. In 1991, we had only 1,019 students enrolled in schools but by the year 2009 some 45,223 students were in school," Abdi Abdillahi Mohamed, the director of planning in Somaliland's ministry of education, told IRIN.

Ali Abdi Odowa, director-general in the education ministry, attributed the increase to rising awareness and the construction of many primary schools.

"Hundreds of schools have been built both in urban and rural areas and adult education has also started," he said.

Somaliland, he said, plans to ensure that at least 75 percent of the population is able to read and write by 2015.

According to Mohamed, 225,853 students attended primary school and 21,331 attended secondary school in 2008/2009, while 26,156 were in adult education.

Some 6,820 students are currently enrolled in technical colleges and vocational schools.

"We have also added two social science subjects in high school - business and agriculture - which we hope will encourage high school leavers to be self-employed," Mohammed said.

However, the ministry had received complaints from displaced persons and pastoralists about school fees and the lack of access by their children to schools.

"Somaliland's constitution stipulates that all elementary and secondary education is free; there are no fees paid by students but of course there is what we call contributions paid by parents to support voluntary teachers and teachers' salaries," he said.

In remote areas, the ministry has established a pilot project where teachers follow pastoralists and teach in mobile schools.

"This project is in Togdheer region... Teachers and the school follow the pastoralists wherever they go, and we pay such teachers more than the others," Mohamed said.

"We have also started school feeding centres: Pastoralists' children are fed in boarding schools in villages when their families are on the move in search of pasture.


Combating rape in Puntland and Somaliland

Civil society in Puntland are alarmed by the rape to which women in camps for the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Bosaso are subjected, according to IRIN. A 35 year old woman told IRIN reporter that her daughter had been raped. IDPs are from the southern Somalia. It is not known whether rapists are IDPs or people who hail from Puntland. "We are seeing more and more women who have been raped in the displaced camps," Hawa Ali Jama, of We Are Women Activists (WAWA) told IRIN In October the Universal TV reported that Somaliland traditional leaders met in Hargeisa for an awareness raising seminar about rape.

Unlike the Puntland, victims of rape in Somaliland are Somaliland women. “We investigate any rape allegations. When we decide to press charges against rape suspects, traditional leaders of the rapist and the rape victim come to us to say they had sorted out the matter traditionally. This encourages rapists,” said a Somaliland police officer who attended the seminar.


Water and sanitation upgrades improve life for Somali children and women

© UNICEF Somalia/ 2009/ Morooka. Jamilah, 11, fills up jerrycans at the new water kiosk near her house in Dheenta Village, Somalia.

By Iman Morooka

DHEENTA VILLAGE, Somalia, 06 January 2010 - The people of Dheenta village didn’t have safe water until two months ago. But now, thanks to the UNICEF-supported new water system, about 300 families are benefiting from a regular supply of clean and safe water.

The solar-powered system in Dheenta village - located about 35 kilometres east of the city of Hargeisa - is one of the new systems established with funding from the Government of Japan.

Water is scarce in Somalia, where only 29 per cent of the population has access to safe water, and only 23 per cent have access to improved sanitation facilities. UNICEF has supported the provision of safe water to 100,000 people this year by establishing new - or rehabilitating existing - water systems.

Ensuring sustainability

Jamilah, 11, is the youngest of twelve in her family, so fetching water is her task. It used to be arduous, taking two hours every day to walk back and forth from the closest valley with shallow wells. Now she simply goes three times a day to the new water kiosk.

Abdi Matan, the Water System Operator for the new water system in Dheenta village, Somalia, performs one of his twice-daily cleanings of the solar panel that generates energy to operate the system. “I don’t mind fetching water every day because I can help my mother. Now I come to the kiosk three times a day after school, and still, I have time to study what I learned in school,” said Jamilah.

Rahma Omar, pregnant with her fifth child, also had to walk a long distance until the water kiosk was installed: “Both humans and animals drank from the same source. Water was sometimes discoloured, and children used to get diseases and suffered from diarrhoea,” she recalled.

The solar powered systems are much cheaper to operate and maintain than systems operated by traditional fuel, which is crucial in this region that has seen declining livelihoods due to drought.

“With communities getting poorer, this is an appropriate way to ensure sustainability of water provision,” said Hassan Egal, WASH Specialist with UNICEF Somalia.

Expanding access

UNICEF’s water and sanitation interventions in Somalia have also included promoting hygiene and sanitation in schools and health facilities. By constructing latrines and hand-washing facilities, UNICEF was able to benefit 12,000 children and women.

For the first time, the children of Ali Jama Primary school in Hargeisa have latrines in their school. Rahma Ali, 17, says that she couldn’t enjoy her break before the latrines were installed.

“I had to go all the way home to use the bathroom during my break, and sometimes I was late for class. But now, instead of walking home, I can read and have snacks during the break,” she said.

Generous contributions are making it possible for UNICEF to continue working with partners to ensure that long-term and sustainable solutions continue to be put in place to improve the quality of life for Somali communities.


A world away from devastation of Mogadishu

By JOHN FOX, Daily Nation (Kenya)January 02, 2010

Despite its name, the propeller-driven Dash flies slower than its companion, the Dornier jet – taking three hours or more from Nairobi's JKIA to Hargeisa. And for most of the time, you are flying over the parched yellow-browns of northern Kenya and into Somaliland.

I was in for a surprise when we reached Hargeisa. The last time I was there was back in 1999, and my memory was of a smallish and rather ramshackle town. But it was a very proud town: capital of what was once the old British colony that had disentangled itself from the chaos of Somalia to the south and east (previously, the old Italian colony, but that’s not the reason for the chaos, you’ll understand).

Yes, Somaliland had good reason to be proud. It had regretted its hasty decision at Independence in 1960 to join the ‘‘Greater’’ Somalia, and so activated one of the five points of the star on the new Somalia flag (the ones left out were Djibouti, the Ogaden in Ethiopia and, of course, north-eastern Kenya).

After the rapid disintegration of Somalia following the fall of Siad Barre in 1991, Somaliland reverted to its old name, declared its independent statehood, and set about rebuilding its institutions and infrastructures.

The minefields were cleared; order was restored; the roads were opened up; money flowed in from the diaspora by means of an informal but highly effective system based on trust; and a government was established through a concentrated series of consultations using traditional approaches to conflict resolution. But, concerned about the possible effects of creating a precedent, the rest of the world didn’t recognise Somaliland’s separateness. It still doesn’t. Despite the progress the country has made.

The progress is for anyone to see in Hargeisa now – in the expanded estates, the wide streets, the flamboyant buildings, and in the mushrooming advertising hoardings. It’s not a Dubai, a Nairobi or a Kampala – but it’s a world away from the devastation of Mogadishu.

I wasn’t able to properly explore the city because, though the threat to security is not at all as strong as it is to the east and south, it is still a possibility. And so I became a kind of prisoner in the Ambassador Hotel – a very comfortable place, I must say, in which to be a kind of prisoner.

But on one of my six days, I was able to escape. We drove out west in a convoy to Borama, the capital of the Awdal region, and just 10 km from the border with Ethiopia. For over two hours, we travelled through a flat and fairly arid landscape, even though the rains had not long ended.

‘‘When I was a boy,’’ my Somali companion said, ‘‘there were lots of trees along this way – many different varieties. But see how few there are now – and look at how the thorn bushes have taken over.’’ We also passed two crippled and rusting tanks – reminders of the bitter civil war that had raged across these plains.

Before this trip, I had re-read one of my favourite books about the Horn – Gerald Hanley’s, Warriors: Life and death among the Somalis. A British officer during the Second World War, he was also a kind of prisoner, marooned in charge of a platoon of Somalis for months on end in the bush to the north of Mogadishu.

This is how Hanley describes the people he had come to respect in more ways than one: ‘‘Of all the races of Africa, there cannot be one better to live among than the most difficult, the proudest, the bravest, the vainest, the most merciless, the friendliest: the Somalis.’’ And that is why I am looking forward to going back to Somaliland and Puntland a few times during the year ahead.

John Fox is Managing Director of IntermediaNCG Email: fox@africaonline .co.ke


Somaliland gets thousands more children into school

Written by Hayley Jarvis, SOS Children Village, Jan 04, 2010

Hargeisa(Qarannews)-Tens of thousands more children are going to school in Somaliland, pushing up the literacy rate from 20 per cent to 45 per cent, in the last 10 years.

In Somaliland, the number of children enrolled in primary and secondary schools has risen massively since 19991, when the territory self-declared itself independent from the rest of Somalia.

The semi-desert country on the coast of the Gulf of Aden declared independence after the overthrow of Somali military dictator Siad Barre in 1991. Though not internationally recognised, Somaliland has a working political system, government institutions, a police force and its own currency.

Somaliland has lobbied hard to win support for its claim to be a sovereign state. "School enrolment has increased dramatically,” said Abdi Abdillahi Mohamed, director of planning in Somaliland's ministry of education. “In 1991, we had only 1,019 students enrolled in schools but by the year 2009 some 45,223 students were in school."

In the school year, 2008 - 2009, about 225,853 children attended primary school and 21,331 attended secondary school, while 26,156 were in adult education. Some 6,820 students are c enrolled in technical colleges and vocational schools."We have also added two social science subjects in high school, business and agriculture, which we hope will encourage high school leavers to be self-employed," Mohammed said. Raised awareness and the building of many new primary schools have driven the surge in school enrolment, said Ali Abdi Odowa, director-general in the education ministry. "Hundreds of schools have been built both in urban and rural areas and adult education has also started," he said. By 2015, Somaliland, he said, plans to ensure that at least 75 per cent of the population can read and write

In spite of the progress, though, the education ministry had had some complaints from homeless people and people living off the land about school fees and the lack of access to schools for their children. Somaliland's constitution lays down that all primary and secondary education is free and there are no fees paid by students. But Mohammed admitted, there is what is known as contributions paid by parents to support voluntary teachers and teachers' salaries.

In more cut off parts of the country, the ministry has set up a trial project where teachers follow farming communities wherever they go and teach in mobile schools. The ministry has also started school feeding centres. Farmers’ children are fed in boarding schools in villages when their families are on the move in search of pasture."


Foreign Policy Magazine article on Somaliland: excerpts

by Greame Wood/staff editor, Atlantic, Jan 04, 2010,http://www.qarannews.com

Abkhazia and Somaliland along with a dozen or so other quasi-countries teetering on the brink of statehood, is in the international community's prenatal ward. If present and past suggest the future, most such embryonic countries will end stillborn, but not for lack of trying…. Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian separatist enclave within Azerbaijan, issues visas with fancy holograms and difficult-to-forge printing. Somaliland, the comparatively serene republic split from war-wasted Somalia, prints its own official-looking currency…Call them Limbo World. They start by acting like real countries, and then hope to become them…

In the late 1980s, the dictatorship of Siad Barre killed hundreds of thousands in Somaliland as a result of bombings in its main city, Hargeisa, and the countryside. When Siad Barre fell, Somaliland rapidly asserted itself as an independent state, and it is now approaching 20 years of relative peace….

Like the Abkhazians, the Somalilanders are helpful…as I found from the moment I stepped into their small representation office in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. At most African embassies, the diplomats regard visa applicants as captive sources of revenue. But rather than a droopy-lidded kleptocrat, the Somaliland office produced a slim, energetic young man with an endearing eagerness to show off his country. He came out to stamp my passport and sat down next to me to sketch a map of the complex land journey between Addis and Hargeisa….For $20, he pressed into my passport a full-page visa, as official-looking as any in Africa.

Once on the Somaliland side of the border it took about two hours of off-road driving -- through hills of desert scrub, past herders crouching in huts made of discarded U.N. and USAID flour sacks -- before I met anything resembling a sign of government. At the edge of Hargeisa, a hilly town whose lights were the one glowing dot on the horizon as I drove, two men with machine guns intercepted the car to demand my papers. This, I thought, would be my cue to do what one does at so many other African places, which is to wink and offer smokes and a small bribe in exchange for safe passage. But before I could phrase my tentative offer, they found the inky blue stamp in my passport and waved me through, asking only that I register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the next day.

Unlike Abkhazia, Somaliland did not exactly enchant me as a place beautiful enough to die for. Perhaps it was the heat -- well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with nothing to drink, due to strict enforcement of the Ramadan fast --

The Somalilanders, of course, had already done quite a bit of dying for their land, and they missed no chance to tell me how cynical and cruel the international community had been by not recognizing their state. At the foreign ministry office set up to stamp in the rare tourist, two excitable Somalilanders pointed out that Somaliland had multiparty elections, a free press, and an anti-terrorism policy that the government enforced with zeal. It had done all this without recognition and without help from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, or any other agency that requires an international rubber stamp to operate. If this was illegitimacy, other African governments should try it…

And in any case, what was the alternative? A reconstituted Somalia would require reconnecting Somaliland with what may be the world's most spectacularly failed state. Where Somaliland has a fledgling coast guard, Somalia has flourishing pirates, and where Hargeisa has a form of democracy, Mogadishu has howling anarchy punctuated by fits of sharia law…

Yet this is the alternative urged by nearly everyone in the region. Arab states are reluctant to see Somalia, a fellow Arab League member sliced up…The African Union worries that the Somaliland example will leader to border disputes…Somaliland, of course, retorts by pointing out that it was an independent state on 26th of June 1960, which joined in a union with Somalia on 1st July 1960… Moreover, Somaliland asks whether peaceful and responsible democracy isn't something worth incentivizing….


Burao: Steps Towards Development

BURAO (Somalilandpress) — On 28 December 2009, Burao Local Authority has commenced a new project in which new asphalt roads will be implemented inside the city, these two roads will also connect east and west-main roads of the city. It is the first time a project of this magnitude has been implemented in the city since the collapse of the former Somali military regime in 1991.

A number of equipments, including bulldozers, dump trucks and shove loaders were moved to north of city up to the newly appointed District of Qoyta, which is about 25km out side the main centre of Burao.

Prior to the selection of this location [Qoyta], the mayor of Burao, Mr Mohamud Ahmed Hassan surveyed various suburbs in the city to find a suitable location to house the workers and equipment.

While on a visit, I asked the mayor, how he plans begin the project.

In which he replied: “I just bought this bulldozer that arrived in pillaged condition from an individual. I searched for it’s spare parts, I found some parts from old scrapes of bulldozers and others I personally ordered them from Addis Ababa. Once we completed building the bulldozer, we were able to clear the land for the roads.”

Mr Mohamoud said, his staff have prepaid every thing to make this project possible but he urged the residents, in particular the business community to help and contribute.

The people of Burao explicitly appreciated the local authority’s commitment and vision for social and public services. Meanwhile the Mayor has been awarded a local excellence prize at Barqawo Hotel last night. Most of the workers at the mayor’s office are seen as active and energetic staff who have great passion for their city and people.

Mr Ahmed, the Director of Finance also said Burao Municipality has expanded and rehabilitated a number of other roads that were either closed or too narrow for modern traffic.

It is worth noting that this project means great deal to the people of Burao as well as Somaliland because often this unrecognized republic lacks the financial and equipment to construct fully paved roads and similar infrastructure.

In addition to that, the city has progressed in different ways, merging new modern hotels and beautiful buildings which are erected in the heart of it, attraction, beauty and decoration of the city is expanded for example Barqaawo2 is one of fascinating buildings consist 3 upstairs containing Hotel, Restaurant, Meeting Halls and College, and also City Plaza Hotel is located east of Burao and Egal Hotel at North. And so many are employed

Finally it is my pleasure, to call upon all citizens, living here and abroad to take a role in this project, which has proved to be difficult to implement by public institutions without the support of it’s people. Similarly such improvement has been presented currently in capital city of Hargeisa, sharing with public and some residential areas, and they contributed imperative role in many roads.

The assumptions that Burao city is violent and divided is rather a deception. I have been here now nearly two months and I was proved wrong. There is sense of self-liberty, brotherhood and optimism in Burao. Burao is unique in comparison with other main cities that I had experience.

For instance Burao does not exploit donkey cart water carriers, in the word fattened donkeys in the city are less utilized, man-made wheelbarrow comprise of two small wheels pushed and driven by men carrying with at one time least six plastic cans used and gives the water to the city. When I asked one of the district council, why the city doesn’t make use of donkeys, replied me “we don’t drink donkey’s water it farts on” it may be the high engrained with life stocks prompted them to hate single usage of donkey, particularly camels

o High hospitality and trustful people, I perceived in the city respect, openness and frankly welcome which roots back ancestral valuable cultures, which means pure Somaliland traditions they still related to unlike any other city I ever go.

o It is a city where tribal affiliations in any public operation still visible, it is a place where you can meet yet high rank officials overtly discussing and arguing about share of their lineage tribes or clans even overly published vacant position for national, international institutions despite tough examination must hardly be passed by the applicant.

However Burao joined highly decent and strenuous work performances in recent times and has huge potential to become an economic powerhouse. And also explicit and plain words exchanged by from subordinates to heads its strongest terms.

Burao like many developing cities is under threat because many skilled youth are migrating else where creating a brain-drain which in tern has created a slow development and progress. The wealth of nations and cities are measured by content of knowledge inherent in that society and Burao will invest greatly on similar projects and the youth.

Mustafe Hassan Ahmed (suxufi) Email: msuxfi@gmail.com


Somaliland: Company Eyeing Freeport May Sign Big Contract

December 30, 2009, http://www.theinquirer.com.lr/story.php?record_id=2057&sub=14

Bollore Africa Logistics, one of the companies that expressed interest in the bid for the Freeport of Monrovia may sign an agreement to manage the port of Berbera and oversee $ 700 million of upgrades to the facility in Somalia’s breakaway northern Somaliland region According to information, the Foreign Minister of that country, Abdillahi Duale said discussions are already in an advanced stage. Duale said last week in an interview in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa that they have already made a basic agreement.” Representatives of Bollore, an investment company controlled by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, have met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Somaliland President Dahir Riyale to discuss the agreement which will probably be signed next year, he said. Berbera port handles food aid and other cargo bound for landlocked Ethiopia.

According to the information, port revenue provides approximately 75 percent of the Somaliland government’s $ 50 million in annual revenue. Somaliland, a former British protectorate that merged with Italy’s Somali colony in 1960 to form Somalia, has remained largely free of violence during the 18-year civil was in central and southern Somalia. Recently, it was reported by this paper that Bollore Group, a leading investor and port operator on the African continent has expressed its interest “to invest, operate and maintain” the Freeport of Monrovia for certain number of years. The group is involved in all areas of port operations, infrastructures, including construction of roads and railways relating to port concession they had secured over the years. It now has new branches in Namibia, Djibouti, Mauritania, Maputo and Ethiopia.

Besides, it is the most extensive integrated logistics network in Africa and has its presence over 50 years in most African countries. It is also involved in services from vessel operations up to inland distribution and is now involved in ongoing densification and extension of its network. The group has its presence in 41 countries, with more than 200 agencies and 16,650 permanent staff. Financially, sources said it has 1.600 euros annual income and more than 200 million euros investment; five million square mile of warehouse space.

Further inquiry by this paper discovered that the company’s main activities are terminal operator, stevedoring, shipping agencies, freight forwarding, and trucking. Others are inland container (for landlocked countries), barging, dredging, railways, airfreight, warehousing commodities, logistics project as well as oil, gas, mining logistics operations.

One of its major achievements in port concession over the years has been 150 million Euros investment in ports such as in Abidjan, Tema, Tincan, Doula and Libreville and that target reached increased in productivity, traffic and revenue for port authorities. Besides it has provided concession with “state of the art” operations system and standards.


High level Kenyan delegation visits Somaliland

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress. December 23, 2009) — A Kenyan delegation comprising of seven members visited Somaliland’s capital on Tuesday morning for talks on wide range of issues of common concern.

The delegation headed by Kenya’s Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Farah Maalim, visited Hargeisa after receiving an official invitation from Somaliland’s parliament speaker, Mr Abdirahman Irro.

Upon arrival, the Kenyan delegation were received at Egal International airport by Somaliland’s parliament speaker, Mr Abdirahman Irro, Finance minister, Mr Awil Ali Duale, Interior minister, Mr Abdullahi Ismael Ali, mayor of Hargeisa, Mr Hussein Mohamoud, and members of parliament.

At the airport’s VIP room, Mr Maalim told local reporters that their main objective was to gain first-hand experience of Somaliland and also find more about the living conditions of the displaced people from neighbouring Somalia.

Later in the evening, Mr Maalim met with the Somaliland president where the two discussed ways to further cement and develop bilateral relations between the two democratic states.

President Rayale briefly discussed the situation in Somaliland and it’s past history before thanking the Kenyan officials for their visit. Rayale also said it was unfortunate that African states, in particular East African nations were not acknowledging Somaliland’s democratic success and its ability to setup a functioning institutions without outside help.

Mr Maalim, on behalf of the Kenyan delegation, thanked the president, government and the people of Somaliland for their warm welcome and host.

The delegation will spend few days in Somaliland and are scheduled to meet with various political leaders, civil society and other officials before they return to Nairobi.

This is the first such visit by high level delegation from Kenya since Somaliland reclaimed it’s statehood from Somalia, after a brief never-ratified union between the two states failed.

The visit, though brief, is seen rich in content and a step forward in Somaliland’s regional policy.


Bolloré May Sign $700 Million Port Agreement With Somaliland

By Jason McLure

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Bolloré Africa Logistics, a unit of Bollore SA, may sign an agreement to manage the port of Berbera and oversee $700 million of upgrades to the facility in Somalia’s breakaway northern Somaliland region, Abdillahi Duale, the foreign minister, said.

“Our discussions are already in an advanced stage,” Duale said today in an interview in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. “We have already made a basic agreement.”

Representatives of Bolloré, an investment company controlled by French billionaire Vincent Bollore, have met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Somaliland President Dahir Riyale to discuss the agreement which will probably be signed next year, he said. Berbera port handles food aid and other cargo bound for landlocked Ethiopia.

Port revenue provides approximately 75 percent of the Somaliland government’s $50 million in annual revenue. Somaliland, a former British protectorate that merged with Italy’s Somali colony in 1960 to form Somalia, has remained largely free of violence during the 18-year civil war in central and southern Somalia.


Somaliland: Government Receives Guantanamo Prisoners

HARGEISA, (Qarannews-Dec 19, 2009 ) – Two Somalilanders who were prisoners at Guantanamo Bay arrived Somaliland today. The prisoners who arrived in a private jet were handed over to Somaliland authorities by officials from ICRC.

Although the media were not allowed to enter the VIP room at Hargeisa Airport, officials from Somaliland government have officially welcomed the prisoners and immediately handed over the to their relatives who were there at the airport.

The two prisoners were Mohamed Suleiman Barre and Ismail Mohamed Arrale who spent years in Guantanamo Bay after they were caught by the American forces. The two were accused of having ties with Al-Qaeda network.


Studying Medicine in Hargeisa, Somaliland

06 November 2009

Abdilahi Abdi Ali (22) is a first year medical student from Hargeisa, Somaliland.

Do you live with your parents or on your own?

I live at my parents’.

How’s university life in Somaliland?

The university in Somaliland is easy and enjoyable. As we have only two medical schools in Somaliland, many students from various regions in Somaliland come here to study. We share different life experiences with eachother. But during exams, we don’t usually get time to discuss.

In which study year are you?

I’m in the first year after medical preparatory which takes two semesters.

How many years is medical school in Somaliland?

Medical school consist of six years of study and two years of internship, in which the student works as a physician and even conducts surgeries in all Somaliland hospitals.

How many hours a week do you spend on your study?

We spend 25-30 hours on studying in the first three years which are mainly theoretical lessons. In this time students are required to cover all basic sciences related to the field. But last three years studying take longer as practical lessons are carried out at public hospitals.

Is it possible for everyone to study medicine (considering the costs) in Somaliland?

It is possible for many somalilanders to study medicine at Hargeisa medical school in terms of financial situation. The annual fee is $450, other expenses are about $400. Government gives small support on yearly bases, but the medical association of Somaliland supports even more. Few students get scholarships and grants. However, the people who score highest marks in entrance get the admission, but this is a small percentage of the applicants.

What do you think is the best part of the medical education in Somaliland?

There are many good things, one of the best things are the lecturers. They are the doctors who work in the field and in the hospitals and they have real experience. They can give the students cases of their own experience as well the knowledge of medicine.

If you can change one thing of the medical education in Somaliland, what would that be?

We don’t have university medical laboratory where we can perform practical lessons. And students go to public hospitals to do practical on real patients which creates difficulties to some students.

If you compare studying medicine in Somaliland with studying medicine in other countries, what do you think is the biggest difference? Studying medicine in Somaliland is different from studying in any other country both educationally and socially. In education, the oldest medical school in Somaliland is just ten years old, after the civil war. And many things are not as they supposed to be but every thing is getting forward. Socially, of course, there are differences between Somaliland and other countries. Somalilanders are good at many things while the opposite is possible to many other things.

Describe your life in 2020….

In 2020, I’m already full cardiologist. And I hope I will help many patients who are really in need to get a qualified doctor who can take care of their health problems.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 December 2009. Copyright © 2009 Global Medicine.


Education Boost For Students in Somalia

School-Children-in-SomaliaMore than 180,000 Somali children and 3,000 teachers across the country have received textbooks and other learning materials donated by the Government of Japan. The consignment included; blackboards, chalk, pens and pencils and exercise books, as well as registers, maps, and recreational supplies and will last for one year at Hargeisa, Northwest zone. The country has also benefitted from a 4 million US dollars contribution made by Japan that UNICEF and other partners are providing Somali communities with essential services; health, education, water and sanitation.

The country has been adversely affected by the soaring food prices, drought exacerbated by climate change, and deterioration of livelihoods. 3.64 million people are currently facing a humanitarian crisis, half of whom are children. The funding will provide critical support to aid agency, UNICEF efforts to ensure that children even in the most difficult circumstances receive quality education, a service identified by many Somali communities as their top priority. “As people’s coping capacities are eroded by prolonged conflict, drought, and high food prices, children’s enrolment in schools is often compromised while families struggle to meet other basic needs,” said Ms. Hannan Sulieman, Deputy Representative in UNICEF Somalia.

UNICEF is currently the sole provider of textbooks and school materials for primary schools in Somalia and is providing training for teachers and community education committees, as well as incentives for teachers to help keep schools open. Deputy Chief of Mission of the Japanese Embassy in Kenya, Mr. Seiji Okada said that Japan will see Somalia receive a good schooling system to be self reliant after decades of civil unrests in the country

http://www.newstimeafrica.com/archives/9614


Education - Challenges of working in Somalia

All is well that ends well. After taking a rigorous journey to get to Merka, Central/Southern Somalia in July 2008, Habiba Haji Mohamed right and Asha Aden Dirie (second right) get down to learning at the mentors' training.

Mentoring teachers – overcoming tremendous odds to boost education

Merka, Central/Southern Somalia, 17 November 2005 - Early this year on on 27 July 2008, six people left Kismayo a port-town in southern Somalia headed for Merka, almost 300 km to the north, to a attend a training course organized by UNICEF for 53 mentors of teachers. Little did this group realize that the journey would immensely challenge their will and spirit.

The six were to join other people from Central and Southern Somalia for training to improve their mentoring skills. In Somalia, mentors advise and help thousands of teachers in their work. They help teachers create effective lesson plans, give tips on classroom management and teaching methods that are child-centred and participatory, and offer motivational support and guidance to teachers who work in particularly demanding and challenging conditions. Both mentors and teachers are encouraged to give extra attention to female students. A major challenge in Somalia is that many teachers have never been trained. Some are simply volunteers.

At 10.00 am the mentors, five men and one woman, were at Kamsuma Bridge which lies 80 km north of Kismayo. At this stage, one mentor called a regional UNICEF Education officer, Mohamed Mohamoud Hashi, to update him on their progress travelling to Merka. At sunset, the group arrived in Jiirada Mubarak, 120 km north of Kismayo. A flood-drenched landscape welcomed them as the Jubba River had burst its banks. The mini bus driver the group had hired would go no further.

The mentors faced a dilemma: return to Kismayo, or attempt to secure alternative means, or walk to Marerey 30 km away, the next stop along the way. Two members of the team communicated with their wives and faced the additional burden of convincing their spouses that they had to continue on the challenging journey. At Marerey the mentors hoped to get a ride to Merka on one of the planes that deliver khat, an amphetamine leaf akin to the coca leaf of South America. Khat is widely chewed in Somalia.

The group agreed that there would be no turning back. The mentors started plodding their way through the mud and water to Marerey. The creepy darkness of night made matters worse as did the occasional lion’s roar and the curdling response of the laughing hyena. The animals seemed to mock the mentors' will and spirit.

At some stage, Habiba Haji Mohamed, the lone woman in the group could take it no more. Her spirit and energy were low. She was drained, desperate and tired and could only manage the occasional stagger. Finally she collapsed into the water and told her colleagues she would go no further.

Her colleagues decided that one member of the group would stay with Habiba while the others proceeded to look for ways of transporting her. The mentors were in luck as they located a donkey cart. Soon they headed back, collected Habiba and their other colleague. Habiba would not be left behind! Weary for the night’s tribulations, daylight found the group at the Marerey Airstrip.

The mentors waited in anticipation for the plane to Merka as it appeared on the horizon. Their hopes were short-lived. A staccato of gunfire broke the silence as the plane started its descent. A lone gunman at the airstrip had let loose a volley of shots from his AK47 rifle into the air aborting the landing as well the groups' travel plans.

The mentors again contacted UNICEF Education staff members, Hersi Ainab and Marian Abkow, by phone in Merka. Their advice: ‘’Take the first available vehicle to Afmadow then to Bu’ale. At Bu’ale, take another vehicle to Mudul Barave and from Mudul Barave, hire another vehicle to Merka!” What awful luck! More hours on the road. The mentors had to hire different vehicles from one location to the next in order to avoid getting embroiled in disputes over vehicle hire while crossing different clan territories.

The group had barely reached Mudul Barave when the stark realities of the dangers of travel within Somalia confronted them again. This time the predators were bandits who had ambushed a vehicle leaving passengers stranded. Unfortunately, two of the passengers were not so lucky and lay dead along the road. Pensive, the mentors journeyed on and, finally after about 30 hours of being continuously on the move, they reached Merka with great relief and a warm welcome from UNICEF staff and fellow mentors.

The group from Kismayo soon settled into the training but flashbacks would come back: unpredictable drivers, 30 km of muddy floods, roaring lions and laughing hyenas, rides on a donkey cart, a lone gunman’s staccato shots, and the tragic deaths of fellow Somalis in a roadside ambush. During this entire ordeal the mentors never gave up on their dream of helping to provide a better education for children in Somalia.

In Merka, the six travellers joined a group of 53 primary teacher mentors to learn about topics such as teaching and learning methods, gender issues, life-skills and counselling. Mentors also networked and shared ideas with each other. Slowly, the group from Kismayo turned their backs on their challenging journey and hoped that Somali children too would surmount the odds they face every day to get an education.

** The above experience highlights the continuous challenges of working in Somalia. It is also indicative of the determination of UNICEF and Somalis to provide an education for Somali children against great odds. As UNICEF’s Back to School Campaign takes root, more challenges will need to be conquered to ensure that access to education is a realistic possibility for many Somali children.

UNICEF intends to train more female mentors like Habiba. At the session in Merka, only seven out of the 53 mentors were female. One of the challenges of getting more women to participate is that they are often the sole breadwinners in their families and are more preoccupied with other daily living tasks. Lack of information and poor English language skills also hampers their participation.

For more information contact: Dr Noel Ihebuzor, Head Education Programme, UNICEF Somalia. Email: nihebuzor@unicef.org or Dr. Brenda Haiplik, Project Officer, Primary Formal Education. UNICEF Somalia. Email: bhaiplik@unicef.org. UNICEF Somalia has its main office in Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya. Noel and Brenda can be contacted on phone: 254-(0)20-623950; 254-(0)20-623955, ext. 277.

http://www.unicef.org/somalia/reallives_2203.html


UN-HABITAT gives Somaliland tax collector a big boost

Nairobi, 3 Nov 09

A Geographic Information System (GIS) established in Hargeisa Municipality with technical assistance from UN-HABITAT has helped to increase annual property tax revenues by 248 percent, from USD169,062 in 2005 to USD588,754 in 2008.

The GIS in Hargeisa started in 2004 as part of the UNDP Governance and Financial Services Programme and continued in 2005 under the Urban Development Programme for the Somali region, funded by the European Commission and UNDP.

The main challenge was to assist the local authority to find ways of increasing municipal revenue to enable investments in basic public infrastructure and services. It was decided to devise a rapid, cost-effective approach to collect complete, up-to-date household-level data for the whole municipality.

However, the system had to provide quick, visible results to attract political support. It also had to be simple and incorporate on-the-job training to allow easy operation and maintenance by municipal staff. A building-based geographical database with a limited number of relevant variables for each building would be a perfect fit.

The first step was to build a spatial database consisting of a map that shows the location of each and every building in the municipality. To do this, a high-resolution geo-referenced satellite image of Hargeisa was created to provide a record of all the buildings on the base map in a table that also generates unique numbers to identify each building. This exercise took three weeks to complete.

The second step was to build a property database giving details such as the name of the building occupant, the floor area, plot area, the number of floors, building material and quality, service connections, and property type.

In the third phase, this was enhanced using ordinary digital photographs taken on the ground. The results showed that there are 59,000 buildings in Hargeisa, 37,000 (63 percent) of them residential and 7,200 (12 percent) commercial. Some 10,800 (18 percent) properties were as yet undeveloped. The information gathered was then used to determine tax rates.


Burao Water Supply Project

UN-HABITAT, 2009. http://www.unhabitat.org/

Burao is the second-largest town in the northwest region of Somalia (also known as Somaliland). During the civil war – from 1988 to 1996 – large parts of Burao city (including the town’s piped water system) were destroyed or severely damaged. About half the pre-war population of 100,000 fled to refugee camps in Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and other countries. Gradually, the population has returned to the town, and under the guidance of an inspirational mayor, reconstruction activities have been initiated, largely on a self-help basis.

Location: North West Region
Branch: Regional Office for Africa and the Arab States
Partner: Governments: Government of the Netherlands, Government of Somaliland, Authority: Burao Municipal Authority, Ministry of Mineral and Water Resources, Institution: Burao Water Agency (BWA),
International Organization: UN-HABITAT Donor:
Theme: Urban Development and Management,Water and Sanitation,Waste Management,Post conflict assessment and reconstruction
Cost: US$561,584

Background:

Despite some major improvements that resulted from the Urban Settlements Governance and Management Programme, by the end of 1999 the Burao Water Agency management capacity was still relatively weak. The administrative and managing skills were rudimentary, and there was a need to develop additional capacity to increase the efficiency of water production, water distribution, and revenue collection, among other things.

To render continued support to the Burao urban water sector, a project proposal was prepared in 1999 and a funding agreement between the Government of the Netherlands and UN-HABITAT was signed in July 2000. The resulting Expansion and Management of the Burao Water System Project was implemented by UN-HABITAT, in partnership with the Burao Municipal Authority, the Burao Water Agency, and other relevant stakeholders.

The main objective of the project was to provide assistance in the rehabilitation, expansion, operation, and management of the Burao water supply system. In addition to capital-intensive inputs (e.g. new boreholes, distribution pipe extensions, and office equipment and furniture), capacity building was a very important component. The project trained Burao Water Agency staff in various aspects of urban water supply systems, such as operations, management, administration, finance, and planning for infrastructural development.

The intervention targeted four principal areas of intervention, which the Burao Municipal Authority and the water agency identified as critical components:

* Increasing water production.
* Extending the distribution network.
* Upgrading, equipping, and furnishing the Burao Water Agency offices.
* Enhancing staff capacity and improving operations of the technical, administrative, financial, and management departments of the Burao Water Agency.

The project results were numerous and impressive. Water production increased by about 130 percent, from an average of 540 m³ per day at the onset of the project to a volume of 1,245 m³ in 2003. Over the same period, the maximum pumping capacity went up by 169 percent. The availability of clean and affordable piped water substantially increased, while dependency on unsafe water from shallow wells was reduced. The Burao piped water supply system was extended by 4.8 kilometres. Between 2000 and 2004, the number of households with a water connection rose from 665 to 2,184. The number of communal water kiosks increased from 90 to 152.

Meanwhile, revenue collection almost tripled between 2000 and 2002. Towards the end of the project, the average monthly revenue was five times higher than the income in 2000. Volumes of unpaid and unaccounted for water were almost halved. Staff levels at Burao Water Agency remained relatively constant, despite significantly increased levels of operations. Efficiency grew, with monthly revenue collection per staff member increasing by 175 percent. The agency was finally able to pay off long-standing debts. Awareness on water-related issues greatly improved among local counterparts and stakeholders in the Burao water sector. Staff were trained in accounting, financial management, and budgeting procedures, as well as surveying and mapping techniques. The offices were furnished and equipped. Finally, normative support was provided to central authorities, in particular for the ongoing development of policies and mechanisms for water sector regulation, oversight, inspection, and enforcement, as well as the creation of public-private partnerships.


Somaliland communities say ‘No’ to female genital cutting

© UNICEF Somalia/2009/ Shepherd-Johnson

In northwest Somalia, community representatives publicly declare that their villages have abandoned female genital cutting.

By Denise Shepherd-Johnson

NAIROBI, Kenya, 14 December 2009 – Last month, hundreds of men, women and children gathered in a Somali stadium in the early morning heat to witness a historic declaration: the collective abandonment of female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C) by representatives from 20 communities.

The event, attended and lauded by women’s activists, religious leaders and local government officials, was the culmination of over three years’ work by the international non-governmental organization Tostan and its local partner, the Somaliland Culture and Sports Association (SOCSA).

As representatives of each of the 20 communities stepped forward to endorse the Declaration, UNICEF Representative in Somalia Rozanne Chorlton called the event “truly momentous”.

Somalia has one of the highest prevalence rates of FGM/C in the world - more than 98 per cent of women between the ages of 15-49 have undergone the process.

Community effort

By promoting the development of critical thinking and decision-making skills, the UNICEF-supported Tostan programme empowers communities to prioritize public issues and resolve problems together.

© UNICEF Somalia/2009/ Shepherd-Johnson. Yurub (centre) has pledged never to circumcise her youngest daughters, age three and four.

In this way, 14 communities that initially participated in the programme influenced six more villages to join them in making the declaration of FGM/C abandonment.

"These communities, as true agents of change, have talked to their neighbours, shared experiences and made an informed decision to uphold the rights of children and women. Today’s declaration is a result of that consensus. UNICEF will continue to support initiatives that put communities at the centre of development and social change,” said Ms. Chorlton during her address to the gathering.

A similar public declaration in October 2009 saw 14 communities from northeast Somalia also collectively proclaim their abandonment of FGM/C.

Commitment from families

Even without the official declaration, the Tostan programme has been changing Somali lives.

“I was already active in my community and became a community management committee member in my village of Daami,” said Yurub, a 40-year-old mother of four girls, who has already pledged never to circumcise her youngest daughters. “I realized through the Tostan programme that I should no longer cut my girls. Some women have challenged me but my husband supports and encourages me. I am confident in my decision and I am committed to it.”

With funding from the Swiss Committee for UNICEF, the Tostan community empowerment programme was conducted successfully in 28 communities in northwest and northeast Somalia and will expand to additional communities in 2010.

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/somalia_52125.html


SOMALIA: Burying stigma in Somaliland

People living with HIV are shunned by family and friends

HARGEISA, 14 December 2009 (PlusNews) - When a young HIV-positive woman recently passed away in Hargeisa, capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, none of the women in her family volunteered to carry out the traditional Islamic rite of washing the body before burial.

"Her clothes are still hanging where she died because people think they can be affected if they touch them," said Abdillahi Omar, a man in his 40s. Eventually, a group of HIV-positive women volunteered to wash the woman's body.

Most people in Somalia still avoid touching or associating with people living with the virus. "Each one of us who has announced that he or she has HIV/AIDS was thrown out of his or her family. I was a soldier ... as soon as they got the information [about my HIV status], I was told not to enter the camp - they considered me as being the epidemic itself," Omar said.

"Our children are sent back home by the school administrators for no reason other than the fact that their parents have HIV ... we experience it daily," said Amina Ali*, a mother of four.

Need for education

Experts attribute the intense stigmatisation of people living with the virus to ignorance and the strong association of HIV with immorality and 'non-Muslim' behaviour; United Nations estimates say less than 10 percent of the population have accurate knowledge about HIV transmission.

"I know that HIV can be transmitted by using the same toothbrush as someone who is infected, or if the same [injection] needle used on an HIV-positive person is used on you," said Sa'id Ahmed, a student at the University of Hargeisa. "If someone in my family had AIDS ... of course I would feel the fear of the disease."

If someone in my family had AIDS...of course I would feel the fear of the disease

Sexual intercourse is the main method of transmission in Somalia, but Ahmed did not mention sex as a way of transmitting HIV and there is no HIV education in schools.

"We have carried out a lot of awareness to reduce the stigma, as well as giving people information about how the disease transmitted," said Hassan Omar Hagga, director of training at the Somaliland AIDS Commission (SOLNAC) secretariat.

Somalia's most recent progress report to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS noted that widespread stigma and discrimination were among the factors raising HIV vulnerability.

High stigma and low risk perception mean few people are tested for HIV, and the country's antiretroviral (ARV) programme is still in its infancy. "Of an estimated 13,000 people living with HIV in Somaliland, only 800 have access to ARVs," said Mohamed Hussein Osman, executive director of SOLNAC.

New law

SOLNAC has also been trying to push through parliament proposed legislation giving rights to people living with HIV, and making it illegal for doctors to reveal a patient's HIV status without their permission.

"[The draft] law criminalises discrimination against the people who live with the disease, specifies their requirements for care, and stipulates punishments for those who try to deliberately transmit the virus," said Hassan Omar Hagga.

Somaliland has an HIV prevalence of 1.4 percent, but recent data suggest that the Horn of Africa could be moving from a concentrated epidemic to a generalised one.


Somaliland & drought: the tale of one elderly.

soure:HPost

Balli Hiile, 9 December 2009 (Somalilandpress) The town of Balli Hiile lies about an hours drive south east of Burcao in eastern Somaliland. Miles and miles of monotonous semi-desert landscape surrounds the village, nothing but acacia trees, termite mounds and small prickly shrubs scatter the land.

Somaliland forms the north western part of Somalia. Declaring its independence from the south in 1991, the region has been striving for international recognition of its independence ever since. Despite a fledgling democracy, its own currency and remaining relatively stable, its claim has never been recognised.

Like the rest of Somalia, Somaliland’s people are in the midst of the worst drought they have seen in a decade. Water points are drying up, animals are dying and with them, thousands of people’s way of life is disappearing too.

For ten years, the inhabitants of Balli Hiile have been noticing this change in the weather. “80% of the village has left because the rains haven’t come” our guide, Fardus who works with Oxfam in Somaliland, tells us. Many of them will have walked 100km with their animals to the Ethiopian hinterlands in search of rain and something for their livestock to eat.

“Those who have left will pass information down the roads from village to village, sending news if they’ve found rain and pasture”, she says.

Only those not able to move and help are left behind. One of those is Abdilahi Ahmed Ali.

Abdilahi is 80 years old and has lived in Balli Hiile since 1958.

“When I look at the landscape now, I think of hungriness”, he says, looking out at the parched land surrounding him. “When I was a boy, the village was full of green, we had the best quality fodder.”

The community told us that this year, the rains have failed completely, allowing nothing to grow and decimating the livelihoods of a village that relies solely on its livestock for survival. “Each family will lose livestock”, says Abdilahi. “Last year we lost about 40% of our animals, this year we’re hoping it will be no more than 20%.”

Oxfam’s partner HAVOYOCO has been working with the community in Balli Hiile to conserve soil and water by rehabilitating water points and rebuilding crumbling berkads, large holes dug into the ground in which water can be stored.

“We nearly died a while ago,” says one local stallholder in the village. “We had food, but no water to cook it with.” When the community was at crisis point earlier this year, Oxfam though its partner trucked in water to keep people alive.

Despite the devastation of his village and its way of life over the past ten years, Abdilahi still has hope. “We are expecting rain, all we need is rain”, he says.

But if the rains continue to fail and more animals die, many of Balli Hiile’s inhabitants will be forced to give up their way of life and flee to the towns to beg for money and food.

But Abdilahi was adamant that he will not leave his home and the place he loves. “The only thing I can do is lie down here, I’m not going anywhere. I prefer to die in my house.”


Somaliland Election Trapped Between New Technology And Enemies Of Democracy

HARGEISA, 10 December 2009 (Somalilandpress) – For the second time, Republic of Somaliland defused another election dispute in limited time, which could have harmed the democratic process. The ruling and opposition parties signed six terms agreement that replaced old members of National Election Commission.

The new commission has difficult job ahead including clearing the mistakes in voter registration system. A high-tech biometric technology is been used in the registration; however, the use of such technology was too early for Somaliland due to lack of public awareness and infrastructure in the country. Somaliland is one of the first African countries to use such sophisticated technology to empower democracy.

Moreover, the registration process challenged tribal demography that is sensitive in Somaliland and the region in general, because all tribes wanted to score high in the census. This led many tribesmen to enroll two or three times, which tripled the expected number. The capacity of the server could not process the high number. At this point we can say, modern technology undermined the growing democracy of Somaliland.

In Ireland, political parties and communities rejected introduction of new biometric registration system, urging that public are not ready to adopt it.

In Kuwait, the parliament rejected the proposed introduction of biometric and DNA identification systems in the country, because they believed that no electronic voting system can be trustworthy and it is a genuine threat to the democracy. They forced the governments to halt proposal until enough public awareness achieved. Saudi Arabia faced similar faith in the voter registration.

Somaliland, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait has tribal and cultural similarities, and they could have fail if tried, and face similar problems with Somaliland. However, I believe that Somaliland people and government were braver than their counterparts in the Arabian Peninsula for accepting the electronic voting.

Today, the electronic voter registration is witnessing obstacles and became threat to democracy process in Somaliland. Analyzers advised Somaliland to carry out awareness programs before the election, in order to familiarize the system to win the trust of the public.

Somaliland authority must demand better server or ask the supplier to upgrade it. This will accelerate the process of removing the duplications. The current server is not capable of handling the database of 3.5 million, and should be upgraded.

Somaliland held three consecutive elections including municipal council, parliamentary and presidential. The winning margin in the latest presidential election was very close (80 votes). The opposition accepted the election results peacefully unlike regional countries where thousands lost their lives in election disputes. At this point, Somaliland earned respect from world community in its campaign to promote democracy and without international support. The most remarkable is that neither election experts nor crisis diffusers helped Somaliland to solve its election disputes.

In addition, the peaceful power transfer to the Vice President Dahir Riyale Kahin after sudden death to founder and father of modern Somaliland Mohamed Ibrahim Egal was another golden achievement in the history of Somaliland. Egal was savior and rescuer of Somaliland.

During the power transfer, BBC Somali Service posted report saying that Isaac tribe, who make majority in Somaliland, will not allow minority tribes to lead the country. According to BBC, this means that Dahir Riyale Kahin, who is from minority tribe, won´t take over as new president. BCC analysis failed and Riyale sworn in as third president of Somaliland in less than 15 years and again he was reelected for second term in office.

After voter registration installed, the Somaliland elders – Upper House of the Parliament (Guurti) – took backseats to give the technology and democracy enough space to practice, but closely monitored the development from distance. Voter registration server output was not accurate due to the weak hardware specifications.

However, after technology failed and created political chaos in the country due abovementioned reasons, the elders stepped in again to defuse the tension between the politicians. At the beginning the elders had communication gap with sponsor of voter registration system – Interpeace.

Enemy attacks:

The enemies of Somaliland are trying to fail the upcoming presidential election including Al-Shabab terrorist organization along with other groups stationed in Nairobi, Kenya who receive support from Transitional Government of Somalia led by Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

This group headed by close associates of Somali Foreign Minister Jangali and wants to disturb Somaliland election and stability.

Al-Shabab is planning to carry out Taliban-style suicide bombing during the Election Day, but the Somaliland forces are better equipped and trained, and will not allow them.

In other hand, the international community including AU, UN, EU and USA are supporting the elections in Somaliland, and vowed to send election observers. The world started to feel the democracy development in Somaliland.

Somaliland needs diplomatic recognition, not a financial aid because they reached self-satisfactory and established necessary public services alone. The Nairobi administration should not allow armed groups to plan terror against Somaliland on Kenyan soil.

By Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi, Email: az.almutairi@yahoo.com


Election Technicians Arrive in Somaliland

HARGEISA(Qarannews Dec 09, 2009 )– The long awaited voter registration server technicians have finally arrived in Somaliland and have commenced their work.

These technicians are expected to shift through the recent data generated from contentious voter registration drive in Somaliland. They are also expected to resolve any technical glitches and determine whether the server is able to perform its intended tasks.

The National Elections Commission board, currently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for second consultations with donor nations, are expected to exercise a firm control over the voter registration server repairs.

The arrival of the foreign technicians constitutes an important step toward the forthcoming Somaliland presidential election and was part of six point accord between Somaliland´s political parties.


Somaliland: A Way out of the Electoral Crisis

Written by INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP – NEW BRIEFING, Dec 08, 2009. http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=6420&l=1

OVERVIEW

The stalled electoral process has plunged Somaliland into a serious political crisis that presents yet another risk of destabilisation for the region. If its hard-won political stability collapses under the strain of brinkmanship and intransigence, clan leaders might remobilise militias, in effect ending its dream of independence. The political class must finally accept to uphold the region’s constitution, abide by the electoral laws and adhere to inter-party agreements such as the electoral code of conduct and memorandum of understanding signed on 25 September 2009, so as to contain the crisis and permit implementation of extensive electoral reforms. International partners and donors should keep a close watch on developments and sustain pressure for genuinely free and fair general elections in 2010.

President Rayale’s third term of office should have expired on 15 May 2008. The election that was to have been held at least one month earlier has been rescheduled five times, most recently for 27 September 2009. The new National Electoral Commission (NEC) has yet to set a sixth date.

The latest delay was ostensibly caused by the unilateral decision of the previous NEC not to use a voter registration list tainted by massive, systematic fraud. This prompted both opposition parties to declare an election boycott and suspend cooperation with the commission. The resulting impasse triggered yet another crisis. Publicly the political elite sought to blame the NEC, its technical partner, Interpeace, and each other, but the crisis was one largely of its own making.

The recurrent rescheduling of elections and the fraud-tainted voter registration process are symptoms of deeper political problems. While President Rayale and his ruling party have benefited most from more than a year and a half of additional time in power, all the political stakeholders are in some way responsible for the selection and continuation of an incompetent and dysfunctional electoral commission, rampant fraud during voter registration, frequent skirting of the constitution and failure to internalise and institutionalise democratic practices.

The crisis was defused in late September, when the parties – under strong external and internal pressure – accepted a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreeing to a change in the NEC’s leadership and composition, use of a “refined” voter registration list and delay of the elections to a date to be determined by the NEC, with input from independent international experts. The MOU brought the parties back from the precipice, but it is a vague document that must be complemented by additional measures to prevent new crises.

Somaliland has made remarkable progress in its democratic transformation, but political wrangling and wide-scale attempts to manipulate the political process have corrupted governing institutions and undermined the rule of law. Democratic participation, fair and free elections and effective governance need to be institutionalised and made routine, or non-violent means to resolve political crises could be replaced by remobilisation of militias, with significant risk of violent conflict.

Improving the political culture will necessarily be a long-term, internal process, but as a start the institutions that manage elections – the NEC and the office of the voter registrar – need to be professionalised and depoliticised and the electoral laws and agreements adhered to strictly by both political parties and voters. International partners should encourage and support the government and parties to do the following:

* Civil society and international supporters must shield the new, inexperienced NEC from political pressure as it organises the presidential elections, and the NEC itself must actively resist succumbing to manipulation. The new commissioners must focus on preventing electoral fraud, working with international experts to develop a calendar for the vote, identifying problems with the current voter registration list and developing solutions for extensive duplicate registrations. The NEC also should be given the resources to hire adequate staff.

* All parties have agreed to the need for a revised registration list. The problem is that the list clearly still contains too many duplicate records and is not trusted by the political parties. Priorities for the new NEC should include hiring a competent, impartial permanent registrar and complementing the list with alternative methods and mechanisms for voter verification and fraud prevention, such as using indelible ink to identify those who have voted, limiting polling hours and imposing driving prohibitions to prevent parties and clans from transporting people to multiple locations. The emphasis should be on improving the process of updating the database and transferring the capability to do so to the Somaliland staff.

* Because of concerns for its accuracy, the registration list should not be used to determine the number of ballots and ballot boxes for particular areas, since that could lead to ballot stuffing where there was greater registration fraud. Agreement is needed on the number of boxes and ballots to be sent to the polling stations.

* Unconstitutional extensions of mandates must stop. Separate elections should be held for both the House of Representatives and district councils in 2010. More contentious will be renewal of the Guurti, presently the non-elected, clan-nominated upper house of the parliament. The constitution provides its members should be selected every six years, but does not stipulate how. Renewal has not happened since 1997, and the procedure needs to be defined urgently.

* The constitutional provision limiting the number of political parties able to compete in legislative and presidential elections to three has resulted in the monopolisation of power by the parties and leaders who were in place when the constitution was adopted. A new law clarifying how these three parties are to be chosen and permitting changes, coupled with a permanent system for the registration of new and independent political associations, should be adopted to encourage competition and accountability in political life.

* The new NEC, with donor support, should identify established, reputable local NGOs to prepare pre-election voter education and civic awareness campaigns. Materials should be developed for schools, and the education ministry should require classes on democratic practices. Clerics should be enlisted to raise awareness of election laws.

* Local NGOs, with foreign technical aid, should help train party and civil society observers to detect fraud, resist political and clan pressures and carry out nationwide election monitoring, partnering where possible with international monitors.


SOMALIA: Rise in mental health disorders worries Somaliland officials

HARGEISA, 7 December 2009 (IRIN) - Health officials in Somalia's self-declared independent region of Somaliland have expressed concern over a rise in mental illness, which they attribute to post-war trauma, joblessness, drug abuse and khat use.

"Mental health problems have increased in Somaliland because of several reasons; that is why in October 2008, the Ministry of Health and Labour established a new department to deal with mental disorder coordination," Mustafe Hussein Hirsi, the mental health coordinator in the ministry, said.

He said public and private hospitals across the region had recorded an increase in mental disorders, "for example, here in the Hargeisa Group Hospital, we had 140 patients in 2008 and now we have 180 patients".

Hirsi said Somaliland public mental hospitals lacked adequate facilities to handle the caseload.

"Berbera Hospital was built in the late 1920s as a jail; the patients were held in small rooms without air-conditioning or a fan yet it is in a coastal climate area," Hirsi said.

Mental hospitals also receive limited support from donors, he said.

"[The] World Health Organization [WHO] gives us the drugs but we do not get any other support except personal donations by members of the public; for example, today, Abdillahi Mohamed Dahir, chairman of the Union of Somaliland Journalists, gave us some money raised by Somaliland’s diaspora in Bristol in the UK," Hirsi said.

He said aid agencies had displayed little interest in supporting efforts aimed at alleviating mental disorders.

"Aid organizations, both international and local, often work on HIV/AIDS and female genital mutilation but it is rare to see organizations who are interested in helping this community of the mentally challenged, who are suffering everywhere in the country," Hirsi said.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is marked every 3 December. This year's theme was "making the [UN's] Millennium Development Goals disability-inclusive".

WHO said it was holding a three-month training programme in Hargeisa for health workers dealing with mental health issues.

"Health workers from Somaliland, Puntland and south-central Somalia are attending that training," said Mohamed Mahamud Ali, WHO medical officer.

Officials of the mental health department of Hargeisa Group Hospital said the workshops undertook practicals in the hospital, under the guidance of a visiting WHO psychiatrist.

Omar Elmi Dihod, one of the few psychiatrists in Somaliland, said the increase in mental disorders was higher in males than females because of post-war trauma, khat consumption and stress.

"I worked for Hargeisa Group Hospital's mental sickness department between 1991 and 1998, where I met a number of teenagers who had different kinds of mental sicknesses," Dihod said. "But when I researched their backgrounds, I found out that when they were in refugee camps in eastern Ethiopia they used to chew khat a lot to prevent insect bites, and for this reason, they got mental sickness."

Some of the mental patients have been in hospital for so many years that they have lost touch with their relatives, citing the case of Fadumo. "This woman, named only Fadumo, no one knows who brought her to hospital or where she is from but we know that she was admitted in 1970s, she has yet to recover," Hirsi said.


Somalia: Somaliland TV Director denounces Press Now and NUSOJ

06 December 2009, http://www.somaliweyn.org/pages/news/Dec_09/6Dec22.html

The Director General of Somaliland National TV in the breakaway state of Somaliland in the north of the Somali Map honorable Mohammed Musse Diriye, who is also a vivid member of a certain Union of Journalists in Somaliland has strappingly called null and void to the outcome a recent seminar for Somali Journalists which was held in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

The seminar was jointly conducted by Press Now and NUSOJ and it was attended by several Somali journalists from all edges in the country.

“It is not something which a healthy common sense can absorb that Press Now and National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) to come up with their own concept, and select Journalists from Somaliland and lure them to Nairobi to something of their own interest, and fill up their brains with something of their own whishes, Somaliland is an independent nation with law and order it would have been much better for the two bodies to contact the authority of Somaliland particularly with the Ministry of Information, but very unfortunately this has not happened, and so thus we are not supporting the whatever the outcome of the seminar was, and as well as whatever Mustaf Shiino the option man of the two bodies has brought back to Somaliland” said Mohammed Musse Diriye the Director General of Somaliland National TV giving an interview to Somaliland National TV on Friday night.

On the 25th of November 2009 NUSOJ has merely invited Somali Journalists particularly radio directors from a cross the country, but due to some irregularities done by some irresponsible members in NUSOJ in Mogadishu there were some radio stations who have sent two members from their stations.

The General Secretary of NUSOJ Omar Faruk has nothing to do with the act of biases done by some individuals whom he has trusted in Mogadishu as his representatives on the ground. Somaliweyn English News Desk.


In The Heart of Somaliland, a Climate Tragedy

- Louis Belanger (Huffington Post)

Muhammed interrupted me by pounding the ground, laughing out loud and exchanging a few words with Seleban Yussuf, the village’s elder sitting next to him. “Unbelievable. Can you believe this guy came all the way from America to see Somaliland?,” he said in Somali. “All the way just to talk to us. Sorry Mr. Louis, carry on.” Indeed, Muhammed Yassin Abdel Llahi was right. There aren’t too many people that make the journey to Somaliland these days. The place is sort of the forgotten corner of what used to be a united Somalia.

It has a President, a lower house, an upper house, its own money, and more importantly has been relatively stable for over 15 years. If you imagine Somalia as the number seven, Somaliland is at the top left corner, bordering tiny Djibouti and Ethiopia. It’s one of the most underdeveloped regions I have ever seen.

Father of seven, Muhammed is the head of over 450 households, based in Ununley, in the heart of Somaliland. He tells me of “changing weather”, of his seven children being away and of the drought that has hit the region and its people. All of the households are pastoralists, caring for animals and living a nomadic life.

The communities we met in Ununley told us that they’ve seen the climate changing in the last decade but “more drastically in the last four years”. In Eastern Africa this means a lack of rain which affects every aspect of life for pastoralist communities. Little rain means no green pastures from which animals can feed themselves. The lack of water and irregular rains have become a critical problem for tens of thousands of herdsmen in the region

As a result, many animals become weak, sick and simply start dying one by one. The Ununley community lost 40% of its livestock last year as animals in search of green areas crumbled under the heat, including the stronger ones like camels and cows.

“This is new for us. We have never seen so many animals dying so quickly. There is even a new phenomenon when a cow or even a camel just collapses and dies right there. They would usually fight for a day or two. I think it’s an illness they have,” Muhammed tells me.

Faced with recurring poor rainy seasons, loss of livestock, loss of lives even, community leaders are wondering what to do next. They are even considering leaving the arid rural areas for the towns in search of a different life. But they are not there yet.

“The thought of splitting our community to go to cities is hard to imagine. What will we do? Beg? For now, we can only pray for rain. With a few days of rain, everything can be good again,” the 45 year old leader told me, nervously biting his nails.

Oxfam’s partner in the region, Candlelight, recently responded to community requests to coordinate water projects. With the communities, it builds water dams, truck water into villages and improve water basins, called Burkads. In some instances, this has literally saved lives.

“Without water, people and livestock will die, but Oxfam has saved this from happening,” explained Safia Hussein Ibrahim, a local villager. “Now we have cash, we can buy food for the children and fodder for the animals. We only ask those who have something to train those who are strong, educate people, give them healthcare. We are expecting God to change our situation in a good way.”

With a few weeks left of what should be the rainy season, the people of Ununley are still hopeful. Despite having lost so much and seen their way of life threatened in the last decade, one thing that has not gone away is their resilience. A few rain showers before the end of the year. That’s all they pray for. Inshallah.


World Bank delegation arrives in Somaliland republic

Source Qarannews, Dec 1, 2009

A delegation from the World Bank arrived in Somaliland Republic yesterday on a visit to hold discussions with the Somaliland government on a range of subjects related to the current development projects taking place in the country.

The World Bank delegation was welcomed at Egal International Airport by the Somaliland minister of Agriculture, Mr. Aden Ahmed Elmi, officials from the department of protocol and local World Bank staff.

Speaking to the media at Egal International Airport, the Somaliland Agriculture minister, Mr. Ahmed Elmi, stated that the main focus of the World Bank delegation will be on the funding of several projects designed to develop the agriculture and livestock sector of the Somaliland economy.

The World Bank delegation are expected to hold a series of meetings with various Somaliland departments and agencies, as well as, visiting the cities of Borama, Buroa, Gabiley, Berbera and other parts of the country in the next few days.

In a related event, the Somaliland minister for Livestock, Dr. Idris Ibrahim Abdi was presented with a certificate of recognition by the World Bank delegation for the leadership role played by the department in resolving the Saudi Arabian ban on Somaliland livestock which had been lifted recently.

Dr. Ibrahim Abdi played a key role in the construction of a new animal processing centre in Berbera which has contributed greatly the lifting of the Saudi Arabian ban.

According to sources from the Arabian Peninsula, the recent arrival of Somaliland livestock in the Saudi Arabian markets has been met with a positive response and a steady demand.


Women Appointed To UCID’s Top Positions

HARGEISA, 28 November 2009 (Somalilandpress) – Somaliland’s UCID party appointed Fadumo Ali Madar to be the party’s secretary of foreign affairs. UCID also appointed Zaynab Muhammad Omar as the chairman of the women’s section of UCID party’s London branch. The appointments were announced by the party in a press release dated on Nov 15, 2009.

Some of Somaliland’s women leaders have recently expressed disappointment with the lack of women in the upper echelons of the government and the three political parties. The biggest culprit in this regard is the ruling party which has instituted an unwritten, rigid, quota system that divides ministerial positions according to clans to the point that if a ministerial is vacated for some reason, it is filled with a male from the same sub-clan as the minister who vacated the position.

This system has resulted in the virtual exclusion of women from top government jobs. President Dahir Rayale Kahin even objected to the only female nominee to the electoral commission and forced her to withdraw her candidacy whereby she was replaced by a male.

UCID’S nomination of two women leaders is a positive step in the direction of women assuming leadership positions in Somaliland’s politics.

UCID celebrated this week the eight anniversary since its establishment. The celebration took place at Hargeysa’s Imperial hotel, and was attended by political leaders, sultans, intellectuals and other distinguished guests. During the celebrations, UCID presented its development program for Somaliland for the next 10 years.

Source: Somaliland Times


Consultative Forum for International Agencies, Government Representatives, Religious and Traditional Leaders Held in Hargeisa

HARGEISA, 25 November 2009 (Somalilandpress) – A consultative meeting forum hosted by the International Horn University funded by Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and Finish Church Aid (FCA) was held at Ambassador Hotel in Hargeisa. The forum brought together some Religious & Traditional leaders, Civil Society and Government Representatives.

The conference was intended to be forum to debate on constant issues touching the impact of the activities carried out by the Aid Workers as well as to build the confidence, respect and understanding between the Traditional leaders, Religious Community and International agencies for mutual benefit and identify areas of future collaboration to improve efficiency as well as enhance security in the areas of operation.

The forum was officially opened by the president of the International Horn University who mentioned that some of our people believe a wrong idea from International NGOs which is making westernization to the domestic Communities. Participants were from the religious and traditional leaders, civil society, government officials and representatives from the International NGOs working in Somaliland.

During the one-day session, it has been discussed about how the Aid Workers carry out their humanitarian actions while considering the cultural sensitivity of the local Somaliland communities. It has been highlighted the importance of respecting the cultural and religious believes of the local communities during different interventions from the international aid workers.

Some of the religious and traditional leaders mentioned the sensitivity of the local population that the international NGOs are spreading Christianity and western ideologies among them. They said people see the NGOs as a tool to change people’s believes along with the limited humanitarian aid they provide. They said it is the NGOs to proof their stance by respecting the local cultures.

It has been highlighted the importance of engaging the local communities in the planning, implementation and intervention stages of the projects so that people it will enable people to fill the gaps and fulfill their basic needs. Some participants said the donor driven policy is not going to work at this stage.

Officials from the Somaliland government highlighted the importance of collaborating with the government in all the projects. They said it is important for the government to know who is doing what and where so that it will be easy for the government to provide the necessary support in terms of security, accessibility and others.

Representatives of the International NGOs said they are here to deliver the humanitarian needs and not to intervene people’s believes and cultures. They said being from different countries they sometimes don’t know about the local costumes and that can sometimes bring clash of cultures or cultural shock. They said they do their best to consult their local staffs and respect the community leaders when it comes to believes and cultures.

In this light, it has been suggested that the NGOs should employ cultural and religious consultants to avoid any violations against the social and cultural believes of the local people. It has been also mentioned that the NGOs should collaborate with the traditional and religious leaders when implements projects in any area of the country. That will make the local populations collaborate with the NGOs.

Some of the participants complemented that role of the NGOs in the development and emergency situations in Somaliland. They mentioned how Somaliland’s people survived with the assistance of the UN/INGOs during the mass displacement in 1988 until now where many development projects have been successfully implemented by the humanitarian workers.

During the session, it has also been discussed about the security. The traditional and religious leaders said it is their responsibility to protect the aid workers in the field. They mentioned that Islam prohibited harming those who are helping the needy and the Somalis are good at hosting the guests in all conditions.

At the end, the participants and the organizers of the conference agreed to hold more of this kind to enable people exchange ideas and discuss the issues concerning all.

The conference was a follow up of another one which took place earlier this year which has been discussed the role of the International Aid Workers in Somaliland.


Report on the Situation Of Birth registration In Somaliland

Universal Birth Registration project

© 2007 Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK - Tel: +44 (0)1865 741111

There are both problems and prospects for birth registration in Somaliland.

In post-colonial Somalia birth registration was done at the hospitals. Then the birth certificates were issued by the municipalities based on that birth registration. There have always been problems for birth registration in Somali society. The first problem is that Somalis do not have a culture of birth registration and generally assume that birth registration as well as getting a birth certificate as a waste of time and at worst as a nuisance. People here assume that a child’s identity is established when they are born into a specific linage system of clan, sub-clan and sub-sub-clan. The clan linage system or genealogy is of course outmoded and does not serve the needs of identity of modern states which establishes a child’s citizenship thereby guaranteeing his or her rights and delineating his or her obligations as a citizen.

The second problem with birth registration in Somali society is the fact that a lot of children are born to nomads, far away from the hospitals. And even in the towns where there are hospitals, many children are born at home, and not in the hospitals, with the help of traditional birth attendants. This means that many births go unrecorded.

In recent years, however, there have developments which have made the demand for birth registration as well as birth certificates in Somaliland more pressing. These include administrative, legal and civic needs.

* The administrative needs for birth registration include the demands of school regulations and employment regulations, etc. Many schools are now demanding that the age of the child be firmly established upon entry to school for the first time as well as at different stage in the formal education, and at certain other situations such as the transfer of the child from one school to another. In the employment field there are now rules which set the minimum age for government employment at 18 years. Therefore, one has to proof one’s age before being employed by the government.

* The Legal needs for birth certificates are quite crucial as the courts, the police as well as the custodial corps have to establish someone’s age before deciding to treat him as minor or an adult. In general the are three parallel laws in Somali society that set the age of adulthood at different times. The Sharia laws of Islam recognize someone as an adult at 15 years. The codified laws of Somalia recognized childhood at 14 years. The traditional laws of Somali society “Xeer” also set the age of majority at 15 years. And as can be seen they are at variance with the international norms and regulations, which recognize anyone below 18 yeas a child. Thus, there is just total confusion here as to who is a child and who is not. The dilemma of minors who come into conflict with the law came to the fore recently when a young woman from the North-East visited Hargeisa and was accused of espionage by the police. In court there was a lot of dispute about here age until the court finally decided her age at 17 years, which may not be regarded as a minor in the eyes of Somaliland law.

* The Civic needs : Recently Somaliland has had municipal elections and then presidential elections. Currently the political campaign for the election of members of a house of representatives on September 29th is going on. In all these elections the voting age has been set at 18 years. And it has been noted that, in the absence of birth certification and proper documentation of age, there will be serious difficulties in the voting process, which difficulties could jeopardize the very integrity of the elections. For example, many youngsters, both boys and girls, participate in the elections. Yet in the absence of proper age certification, it is very difficult to decide who is 16, or 17 or 18 or 19 years of age.

In light of the above, there has a realization of the importance of birth registration in Somaliland if society has to make civic advances (i.e. practice of proper democracy) and social and economic progress. There is also concern in the

http://ssl.brookes.ac.uk/ubr/files/3/70-Somaliland_Country_Report.pdf


Local Resources for Development, the experience of Somaliland’s General Assistance & Volunteer Organization (GAVO)

Mark Fried, From Poverty to Power - www.fp2p.org

At the beginning of the 1990s, a dozen young men from different sub-clans began to meet in Berbera, their hometown of 15,000 in the arid region of the Horn of Africa known as Somaliland, where most outsiders assume civil society to be nonexistent. Their childhoods had been shattered by Somaliland’s civil war, and they wanted to do their part to help rebuild. In 1992 they founded the General Assistance and Volunteer Organization (GAVO) in the hope that through volunteer action they might begin to address some of the town’s pressing social problems.

They sought the advice of their Koranic teacher, who told them they should try to help the most destitute. The most destitute were clearly the large number of local residents suffering from war traumas who had no adequate care.

GAVO’s founders started with the patients at the local psychiatric hospital. Their first activities were simple: cutting the patients hair and nails, taking them out to a cool plateau on Fridays, and washing their clothes. Soon they realized that they had to reach beyond themselves, and beyond the boundaries of family and clan, if they were to raise the resources to meet patients’ needs, since the hospital was not receiving any government or foreign funding. Such outreach, they rightly feared, could fuel mistrust among public authorities and in society at large.

But they reached out in any case. First they approached the municipal government, formally in charge of the hospital but utterly bereft of resources to run it. Then to local merchants, some of whom had relatives at the hospital. They took business people to visit the hospital. And the donations began to flow.

Shame and stigma complicated their work. Many in the town associated mental illness with sorcery, so GAVO used popular theatre to sensitise the community.

Within four years, GAVO had managed to improve the conditions of patients at the hospital, to set up an outpatient clinic, to help demystify mental illness, and in the process garner the material and moral support of local merchants and municipal authorities.

This case study was written as a contribution to the development of From Poverty to Power: How Active Citizens and Effective States Can Change the World, Oxfam International 2008. It is published in order to share widely the results of commissioned research and programme experience. The views it expresses are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Oxfam International or its affiliate organisations.

GAVO’s impressive local resource base came to include the municipal government, wealthy livestock exporters, butchers and a wide array of local merchants. Food and livestock came from market vendors and exporters and traders, while diesel fuel for a generator came from importers. Hay merchants provided fodder and charcoal traders offered charcoal. And the state too chipped in when the governor, and then the local government provided office space, the electric company power, and the local government water.

It was clear from Oxfam’s first contact with GAVO’s leadership in 1999 that the organisation’s local resource base was a source of strength and legitimacy, which a traditional project package could undermine by discouraging local donations and weakening accountability to GAVO’s local constituency, both strategic pieces of their development. Oxfam could see the organisation lacked financial management skills, English language skills, and exposure to other organisations in the Horn of Africa – small but important things that Oxfam could help provide. Oxfam and GAVO undertook three months of consultations and reflections – a process which GAVO found ‘introspective’ and somewhat ‘disquieting’, but which helped the group focus on long-term organisational sustainability.

Funding was not to be the main feature of the relation with GAVO. Oxfam’s total financial contribution from 1999 to 2002 ($44,830) was intentionally modest with a good percentage available on a matching base. First priority was given to the recognition of GAVO’s values and principles, which were documented in the organisational profile as a kind of ‘live’ mirror to reinforce self-awareness.

Second, Oxfam created a series of opportunities for GAVO to share its experience of successfully anchoring its development work in the local economy. It had never occurred to many of Oxfam’s partner organisations elsewhere in the Horn of Africa – or to most donors – that a local resource base is not only feasible but also essential for effective social change, because it gives people a stake.

Third, Oxfam offered GAVO exposure to development literature and direct interfaces with some key development thinkers (Alan Fowler, Allan Kaplan, Goran Hyden and Thandinka Mkadawire). Through this process, GAVO gained self-confidence and its membership showed a remarkable ability, both individually and as a group, for internalising and applying some of the concepts they viewed as relevant.

‘[These encounters] offered a clear picture of how patience, thoughtfulness and approachability can be more powerful than bullets to achieve change,’ said Farhan Haibe of GAVO. ‘Rather than bringing new frameworks they tried to give us more fire to think for ourselves. The core principle I learned is that self-awareness and understanding your relations with others is the basis of good development work.’

The organisation expanded, taking on full management of the hospital and launching a programme for street children, which they identified as a second key problem to be addressed. Their local support grew, and they established a membership structure that incorporated both businessmen and local officials as part of the organisation.

At the same time they moved from sensitisation and service-provision into advocacy, because they recognised that changes in government policy regarding child rights were essential if the problems of street children were to be addressed. And they involved both their business and government partners in the decision to move in that direction. Local groups concerned primarily with the welfare of their fellow citizens, like GAVO, are often viewed by external resource providers as of little significance to ‘development.’ They are small, usually ‘traditional’ rather than ‘progressive’, and distant from the grand challenges a nation faces, as spelled out in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Yet such groups provide opportunities for communities and ordinary citizens to discuss and act on some of the development challenges they are all facing. Their activities may be small-scale and local, but they can be instrumental in the development of a democratic culture, and of skills useful in making decisions on a larger-scale, such as policy formulation. GAVO traveled just such a route – from charity to service-provision to public outreach to advocacy.

In 2000, the Gulf States re-imposed a ban on livestock export from Somaliland. This measure seriously undermined the economy of Somaliland and the ability of the Berbera business community to sustain its financial and material support to GAVO. At the same time, increasing poverty created a demand for the organisation to expand its development work. Hence, GAVO was forced to look for alternative funding both locally and externally.

The organisation’s credibility was by then well established and the municipality encouraged it to assist UN HABITAT to rebuild the Berbera market. This was largely a ‘make or break’ challenge, because markets are the heart of the local economy, and are highly sensitive matters. The potential for disaster was enormous.

GAVO’s relational skills and intimate knowledge of its community, both of which emerged from its reliance on local resources, proved to be invaluable assets in meeting the challenge. They engaged religious authorities, held public meetings with vendors and the buying public, made it evident that they had no hidden agenda. Transparency and a capacity to listen were the keys to their success.

In the past five years, the organisation diversified its expertise and expanded its work to other communities of Somaliland. GAVO is now engaged in the promotion of participatory local governance in various localities with a view to deepening the country’s democratisation process, and is now advising Oxfam on a programme designed to support the realignment of relations between public authorities and citizens elsewhere in the Horn of Africa.

This case study was written by Mark Fried in July 2007. It is one of a series written to inform the development of the Oxfam International publication From Poverty to Power: How Active Citizens and Effective States Can Change the World, Oxfam International 2008. Mark Fried is Policy Coordinator for Oxfam Canada.

The paper may be used free of charge for the purposes of education and research, provided that the source is acknowledged in full. The copyright holder requests that all such use be registered with them for impact assessment purposes. For copying in other circumstances, or for re-use in other publications, or for translation or adaptation, permission must be secured. Email publish@oxfam.org.uk

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/resources/downloads/FP2P/FP2P_Somaliland_Local_Resources_CS_ENGLISH.pdf


CASE STUDY Somaliland and Puntland

www.make-development-inclusive.org

‘Enhanced Quality Learning Project’ as an example of the twin track approach: a case study from Somaliland and Puntland

International Aid Services (IAS) has recently received EC funding of €600,000 for a project they are implementing with partners in Somaliland and Puntland. The project is ‘twin track’ in the sense that general support to the educational system will be provided which will benefit all children and make schooling accessible to all children, targeting increased access to education for girls and for children with disabilities. The project aims to have the maximum number of children with disabilities included in mainstream school with adequate support provided. Specific support will be given to special education units, and all staffing for the educational units will be covered by the Ministry Of Health. IAS will work in partnership with the Somali Association for Special Education (SASE) and the Ministries of Education in Somaliland and Puntland.

At the same time as working on inclusion of children with disabilities in the mainstream system, IAS is working on empowerment of children with disabilities and their parents. They are supporting the development of parents associations in order for them to advocate, with their children, for the rights of their children with disabilities in the educational system, and in society as a whole.

Inclusive Education for children with disabilities can contribute to the quality of education for all children by improving the capacity of the education system to respond flexibly and creatively to the individual needs of the children, through teacher training and learning aids. This project will include a package of construction inputs for 5 schools, including adjusted sanitary facilities, concrete paths and general disability access. The construction of separate latrines will also encourage more girls to attend school, as this was identified as a key constraint to girls taking up formal education.

Inclusive Education for children with disabilities can contribute to the quality of education for all children by improving the capacity of the education system to respond flexibly and creatively to the individual needs of the children, through teacher training and learning aids. This project will include a package of construction inputs for 5 schools, including adjusted sanitary facilities, concrete paths and general disability access. The construction of separate latrines will also encourage more girls to attend school, as this was identified as a key constraint to girls taking up formal education.

Disability specific component of project

Aim:

- Increase the empowerment and participation of persons with disabilities
- Parents associations are developed and strengthened
- Parents associations and children mobilize to challenge public opinion on children with disabilities
- Parents and children are empowered to advocate to policy makers, teachers, and the public for the rights of children with disabilities
- Development of support services Special needs education system is strengthened

The twin track approach to disability inclusion in the education sector Enhanced Quality Learning Project Universal primary education, including children with disabilities

Disability inclusive/ disability mainstreaming component of project

Aim:
- Ensure that all development projects include a disability perspective and are fully accessible to all persons with disabilities
- Capacity building for Ministries of Education to allow the sustainable improved management of the education system by the ministries themselves, thus facilitating long term improved access and quality in the education sector in these two regions, ensuring that mainstream schooling is accessible to children with disabilities.

A package of construction inputs for 5 schools, including adjusted sanitary facilities, concrete paths and general disability access.

Teacher training and learning aids to assist teachers to include children with disabilities

In situations of extreme poverty, as in much of Somaliland, children with disabilities are extremely marginalised: their numbers and needs are exacerbated and they are seldom prioritised in the allocation of scarce resources. In addition to working on including children with disabilities within the mainstream educational system, this project tackles underlying causes for children with disabilities being excluded. Parents associations are being developed and strengthened to work with their children to advocate to policy makers, managers, teachers, and the public for the rights of children with disabilities. These associations are mobilizing to challenge public opinion on children with disabilities and build a society where children with disabilities are accepted on an equal footing with others.

Lessons learned and how this is an example of the twin track approach

- The project targets the education sector as a whole and aims to develop sustainable improvements in educational quality for all children
- The project specifically addresses the accessibility of the mainstream school system for children with disabilities (including a disability perspective in the education sector)
- The project also includes disability specific components, needed to ensure the equalisation of opportunities for children with disabilities
- The project specifically empowers parents associations and children to advocate for the rights of children with disabilities and promote sustainable change in how the educational system, and society in general, treats children with disabilities
- The cooperation between NGOs, government agencies, special needs education associations, and parents associations supported by the EC shows how the twintrack approach is by nature multi-stakeholder

For further information please contact: International Aid Services, Andreas Zetterlund, International Liaison Officer, Siktgatan 8, 162 88 Vällingby, Sweden, info@ias.nu,

Or check online: www.ias.nu IAS is also a member of EU CORD, based in Brussels: http://www.eu-cord.org/
http://www.inclusive-development.org/cbmtools/part3/studies/EnhancedqualitylearningprojectinSomalilandandPuntland.pdf


THE WOMENS VILLAGE EDUCATION (WOVE) PROGRAMME IN SOMALILAND

Emily Oldmeadow or Emma Page, Africa Educational Trust, London WC2E 8JR

The overall aim of the WOVE Programme is to empower women living in rural and pastoral nomadic areas in Somaliland by improving their access to literacy, numeracy and life skills education in health, nutrition, hygiene, environmental awareness and women’s and children’s rights.

The programme has six objectives namely:

(1) To enable 4000 women living in rural and pastoral nomadic areas in Somaliland to access and complete locally developed and delivered functional literacy, numeracy and relevant life skills programmes.

(2) To develop local capacity in the remote and rural areas of Somaliland for delivering locally based education and training projects, especially projects for women.

(3) To develop the teaching skills of fifty women living in remote and rural areas of Somaliland, especially their skills in teaching adult literacy, numeracy and life skills to women.

(4) To encourage and foster capacity at the village, regional and national level to make fair and transparent decisions making and in applying equal opportunities for people from different clans and minority groups.

(5) To encourage and foster a continuing and sustained reading habits and use of literacy in rural and remote areas of Somaliland by the local development of relevant and suitable Somali curriculum and supplementary reading materials for adult basic readers.

(6) To promote peace and reconciliation amongst men and women from different ethnic and clan areas by developing and fostering positive working relations between village and regional community groups from the different areas involved in the project.

In order to achieve these objectives a Participatory Impact Assessment (PIA) was conducted to identify community and stakeholder views on desired outcomes, impacts and indicators of attainment to be used for the project. Following this a local curriculum development workshop was held to design and develop local relevant teaching and learning materials suitable for teaching literacy, numeracy and life skills to women in rural and remote areas, specifically in health, nutrition, hygiene, environmental awareness and women and children’s rights. The facilitators and all participants were from Somaliland.

Following the workshop the Somali project co-ordinator and two regional assistant project officers worked with local organisations to develop fair and transparent procedures for selecting the target villages and the individual beneficiaries within those villages. Regional and village selection committees and monitoring groups were established and each group received training from the local project staff.

Fifty women were then selected as prospective teachers. Each was selected in consultation with the local village committee, where potential women with previous teaching experience were chosen. All received training in the use of the locally developed WOVE curriculum. The village committees then worked with the local project staff to select 2,000 women for the first phase of the literacy, numeracy and life skills course. The classes were arranged in the home villages at times and locations suitable for and acceptable for the women enrolled. Following the establishment of the classes the project then provided training workshops and financial support to help local writers and artists to produce reading materials relevant to and suitable for adult basic readers, especially women living in rural and remote areas. Twenty short booklets, on topics relevant to the lives and interests of the learners were written, illustrated and printed locally and multiple copies were distributed to all WOVE classes.

The project is now entering its third year. To date over 3,000 women have attended the literacy, numeracy and life skills courses across Somaliland and approximately 20,000 copies of the supplementary reading materials have been printed and distributed to the WOVE learners and other students. In the third year of the project women learners in each WOVE village will be encouraged to prepare and submit a short proposal for a Women’s Community Project. In preparing the proposal they will be asked to demonstrate how their literacy, numeracy and life skills have improved their ability to act together to help their local community. A project committee with representatives from the village groups from each region will then be asked to review and select the projects for small grants to enable the women to implement what the local community considers to be the best proposals.

http://www.balid.org.uk/pdfs/WOVE_Programme_Somaliland.pdf


LIVESTOCK TRADE AND EXPORT:Animal health certification in Somaliland — A great investment opportunity!

© IBAR Communications, November 2009, http://www.au-ibar.org/documents_public/solicepoped.pdf

A success story of collective efforts in Livestock production, trade and export is a typical success story of Somaliland — it is a success thanks to the people who made the vital collective efforts:

* Livestock keepers — they raised their production output of healthy animals
* Traders and exporters — they organized more efficient networks of competent people ensuring that the animals reach their export destinations in good condition
* The Government of Somaliland and public institutions — they provided the technical services and managed to maintain a secure environment, laying the ground for producers and traders to reach sustainable profit margins
* The private sector inside and outside the country — they invested heavily into marketing and infrastructure development, resulting in an overall performance improvement
* The international community — they mobilized substantial financial resources to re-establish veterinary services

Overcoming setbacks

Despite these efforts and substantial investments, the livestock industry suffered from setbacks in recent years. The most serious one was caused by the suspicion that live animals leaving the country might carry transmittable diseases, which triggered import bans by Arab countries.

These bans impact on the entire Somaliland economy. The key stakeholders came to the conclusion that fundamental policy changes and thorough interventions were required to prevent the suspicion of disease from reoccurring. Since then there is a common understanding that the overall performance of the livestock industry in Somaliland would have to be substantially improved.

New developments

Rising demands for products of animal origin and changes in certification practice are transforming the livestock trade worldwide. Bilateral agreements between exporting and importing countries increasingly refer to international animal health certification standards. Exporters have to use scientific methods to demonstrate that their products are free from contagious diseases. The authorities of importing countries come under more and more pressure to be fair and apply the same animal health standards to all internal and external suppliers.

Why investing into a better animal health certification system? On the international markets livestock from the Horn of Africa faces tough competition through Latin America and Australia. It is high time to arm ourselves and get our industry organised.

Otherwise we will completely lose access to the lucrative Middle East markets — and possibly with it the opportunities to sell to other parts of the world as well. Traditional ways and means have served Somaliland well, but they will not suffice for a future on the trading parquet of a globalised world.

We need new approaches to reach international standards and satisfy the importers. The veterinary services need additional investments for improvement. These investments will surely yield good returns. However, this alone will not be enough. A number of important issues need to be addressed urgently:

First issue — information sharing and transparency

Livestock importers rely more and more on online information sources to gauge the animal health status of a country and review the commodity prices of live animals, meat, hides and skins, milk, etc. The prime source in this regard is the online database WAHID (World Animal Health Information Database) of the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health). This system captures data on animal diseases, control measures, the condition of veterinary services, laboratory capacity, disease reporting history to OIE, vaccine production and campaigns.

Furthermore it includes economic data on animal population sizes and information on legal frameworks. The European Union for example surveys animal health legislations in potential exporting countries and demands a minimum set of information before it may decide to look at the situation in the field.

Considerable data on the state of Somaliland’s livestock population and veterinary services were generated in recent years which many of our customer countries overseas demand before allowing imports. Since Somaliland does not make their data available to them, it constantly loses great sales opportunities. Somaliland needs to make new efforts to improve the access to their data either by posting them to WAHID or by creating their own internet appearance for Somaliland.

Second issue — improved coordination and participation

Animal trade and export is a highly specialized business that requires smooth interaction of producers, exporters, public administrations, private institutions and service providers. Informal and traditional arrangements are of great value and served the Somaliland’s industry very well.

However, for foreigners they are difficult to follow. Roles and responsibilities of the stakeholders do not have to be changed but should be made more transparent. They have to be defined and governed by appropriate legislations, so that foreign importers can comprehend the institutional relationships and identify the right authorities for their inquiries. The role of the two houses of parliament will be of paramount importance for the passing of legislation that regulates livestock production, trade and export. Later this new legislation should be made easily accessible to the people of Somaliland as well as to the authorities of importing countries.

Third issue — strengthening the animal health certification system

Animal health certification is the ultimate responsibility of the veterinary authority of Somaliland. It is a complex exercise that starts at the producer level and ends with the delivery of live animals, chilled carcasses and meat products to consumers. But animal certification is not only important to protect local consumers from health hazards; it also supports the export sector. This is achieved by delivering healthy animals to slaughter, inspecting carcasses and the hygienic handling of meat products. Another key role is played by the livestock owners who are not only responsible for the rearing of animals in healthy conditions. They also report diseases to veterinary authorities and prevent contact between sick and healthy animals and bring healthy animals to the markets. Livestock traders and exporters ensure that animals are marketed and transported to export ports or slaughterhouses in an optimal health and nutritional state and under appropriate animal welfare conditions. Veterinary services should ensure and certify that animals originate from areas free of notifiable diseases, have been clinically inspected and properly tested to ensure that they are neither sick nor contagious. The process of veterinary certification must not be restricted solely to the end of the marketing chain—that is only to quarantine stations, holding grounds and slaughterhouses. The process has to start at the producer level — which is ideally at the household or primary market level — and continues along the marketing chain for good technical and economical reasons.

* It is much easier for a veterinarian to determine the health status of an animal with the support of the owner who knows where the animal grazed, drunk water, interacted with sick animals or showed signs of disease or poor health. Knowing the disease status of the area of origin — possibly through continuous disease reporting and structured disease surveys — allows testing for only those diseases that were reported in the area, thus reducing the testing expenses.

* Screening animals at the source is not only more efficient in terms of disease control. It ensures for only fit animals to enter the marketing chain which cuts costs as they would have to be culled later. Repeating clinical inspection and screening while the animals move to their final destination reduces the risk that unfit animals are exported. To ensure that the same animals undergo repeated inspection along the marketing chain, it is necessary for them to be properly identified, either individually or as a flock, and the records of the inspections to be properly filed to allow for a tracing of their origins at later stages. Concentrating all certification procedures close to the final outlet has a number of disadvantages:

* Animals have to be kept for 21 to 30 days in quarantine stations where costs for feeding, handling and watering can be high.

* Often the “all in—all out” principle is not applied strictly or the animals are not sufficiently separated. Making the risk of diseases spreading inside quarantine stations usually high as well.

* Finally, given the fact that the animals mixed in the quarantine station come from different areas, all of them have to be tested for all diseases occurring in Somaliland, thus increasing the number of tests to be carried out.

Quarantine stations are however an important component of the certification process to perform final clinical inspections and targeted testing as well as for the audit the process. Furthermore, quarantine stations are a useful place to rest animals for a few days before their final shipment. Consumers in the importing countries are more and more concerned about welfare of animals during transport. Shipping well-rested and properly fed animals helps reducing their stress, thus improving their welfare. For the animal health certification system, to be credible and fully accepted by importing countries and local consumers, it needs to be technically sound, properly documented and auditable. Auditable means a verification that procedures were in fact applied appropriately. Each stakeholder along the marketing and export chain should be fully committed to the certification process and aware that inappropriate handling can have serious consequences for him and the entire livestock industry.

Fourth issue — Increased regional collaboration

In the Horn of Africa animals are often marketed across national boundaries. Each country wants to reap maximum benefits and competes with its neighbours to offer the best support to livestock exporters. This competition can result in a drop of the unit price and overall profits while the total number of animals exported through a given port rises, with detrimental effect to Somali producers — however advantageous to consumers in the Middle East. A balance must be found between the legitimate interests of the major stakeholders.

Equally important will be the regional coordination of trading and exporting activities, so that facilities are better utilized and animals do not have to endure unnecessary long transport. Some regional economic communities such as IGAD may facilitate this process with the technical support of AU/IBAR, FAO, COMESA. A coordinated approach at regional level can reduce the expenses for animal health certification, enhance the movement of animals across national boundaries and address problems associated with the Rule of Origin.

An all-inclusive effort for improvement The Somali Livestock Certification Project (SOLICEP) supports Somaliland’s efforts to overcome some of the most pressing problems their livestock sector is facing currently by offering an opportunity to the people of Somaliland to contribute to the design if an animal health certification system that is:

* technically sound
* in line with international standards
* acceptable to livestock importing countries
* affordable by the local livestock industry
* adapted to the nomadic and semi-nomadic
livestock production system

To achieve these ambitious objectives, the project plans to assist the Department of Veterinary Services of the Ministry of Livestock with financial grants and technical assistance. Veterinary staff will improve their technical skills around the reporting of inspection and certification activities and will be capacitated to operate at main livestock markets along the trekking routes and export facilities. The entire private sector will be involved in the design of the certification system, ensuring that all stakeholders agree and later adhere to the rules.

Local authorities are expected to safeguard the activities of the livestock service providers, both public and private. The Government of Somaliland is expected to enact regulations that can improve the efficiency of the animal health certification system and provide a basis for law enforcement. SOLICEP will organize regular meetings with neighboring countries of Somaliland to promote the integrative geographic aspect of the approach. Further meetings will be organized with livestock importing countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa for Somaliland authorities to present their animal health certification system and build confidence with its trading partners.


Somaliland on verge of observer status in the Commonwealth.

Written by Qarannews, Nov 16, 2009, Source: Geeska Afrika

London (Qarannews) - Reliable sources have confirmed to the Geeska Afrika newspaper that Somaliland is on the verge of official observer status within the Commonwealth member nations.

According to these sources, there have been recent meetings between officials from the United Kingdom and representatives from Somaliland held in London to study the possibility of Somaliland's observer status at Commonwealth summit and meetings.

If Somaliland is successful in its aspiration for observer status, it will not have an official voice, but Somaliland is expected to benefit in terms of diplomatic and economic relations with Commonwealth member states.

In early 2008 members of the Somaliland parliament were invited to participate in Commonwealth parliamentarians meetings held in London, however, it is the first time that Somaliland will have been granted observer status at any official Commonwealth member summits or meetings.

There has been no comment from either the Somaliland government or the Commonwealth secretariat, but according to Geeska Afrika newspaper, informed sources have confirmed a motion to grant Somaliland observer status at Commonwealth meetings and summit will be proposed for consideration.

The Commonwealth member nations comprise of mainly English speaking countries with strong ties to the United Kingdom. Somaliland is a former British protectorate which became independent on the 26th of June, 1960.


Saudi Lifts Decade-Long Ban on Somali Cattle Imports

Written by Arieh O’Sullivan, November 16, 2009, http://www.themedialine.org/

Political expediency and increasing demand for prized livestock seen as cause for ending embargo.

East African traders have started shipping live cattle from Somalia to Saudi Arabia for the first time in a decade after Saudi King Abdullah lifted a ban on Somali livestock.

The lifting of the ban coincided with the current pilgrimage season – a time when demand for meat is high – and a renewed effort by the kingdom to foster better relations with East African nations.

The Saudis lifted the ban, originally imposed for fear of diseases such as Rift Valley Fever, after it was agreed that health officials could monitor the importation of live animals.

The Saudi Ministry of Agriculture issued a statement saying the ban was lifted to secure supplies of "livestock at reasonable prices" for locals and pilgrims during the upcoming Eid Al-Adha and Hajj season. The ministry emphasized there will be strict enforcement of animal health legislation and all imported live animals will be scanned for potential diseases.

Officials in Somalia and the breakaway region of Somaliland praised the decision and initial reports from the Horn of Africa nation say the cattle trade has boomed. Over half a million animals are reportedly expected to be imported within the next few weeks.

While there is an enormous seasonal demand for fresh livestock, analysts are citing political expediency as a catalyst for the lifting of the ban.

The decision came amid a Saudi effort to improve relations with East African nations as the Saudi-East African Forum opened this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“It is clear that the lifting of the embargo was timed to coincide with this, in order for Saudi Arabia to show a better face,” Rashid Abdi, a Somalia analyst for the International Crisis Group told The Media Line.

According to Abdi, the Saudi ban was not entirely over health issues, but was a political power play.

“The Saudis have wanted to punish Somaliland for breaking away, so they used the ban to get their way,” Abdi said. “Now that the Saudis are trying to improve their relations the ban has been lifted.”

Livestock exports of Somali cattle have been a mainstay of the nation’s economy, devastated by 18 years civil war. Despite the closure of its main export market and a severe drought, the Somali cattle industry has thrived.

When the ban was in place, cattle ranchers reduced their dependency on Saudi trade by seeking out alternative markets. Similar measures were applied to the sheep and goat markets.

Gulf States have become keen consumers of Somali beef, and Somali cattle have been smuggled into Saudi Arabia for years. Some have speculated that Saudi Arabia decided to lift the ban in order to better regulate livestock that was already reaching the country.

“If the Saudis think they are indispensible they are mistaken,” Abdi warned. “The Somali economy is resilient and the whole dependence on Saudi Arabia is waning.”

The Somali cattle industry’s traditional practices are one of its main strengths. Cattle farmers have shunned crossbreeding, genetic manipulation and chemical feeds, and eschew some basic veterinary practices to tackle diseases. This has led to the much-prized “organic” bovine: free-ranged and flavorsome.

“The Arabs have been hooked on livestock from Somalia for years,” Abdi said. “They are very specific about what kind of animals they want and it is the Somali cattle.”


Drought forces Somali farmers into town

By Helen Vesperini (AFP)

BERBERA, Somalia — Somali livestock farmers who have converged massively on the port of Berbera after losing all their animals said that this year's drought is the worst in ten years.

"We were in a drought for the past six months. It was very severe. We lost 50 percent of all our livestock. Then it rained and the rain brought other problems -- disease, deaths and flooding," Berbera Governor Ahmed Abdulahi told AFP at the weekend.

"This last drought was the worst we've had in the past ten years," he said, adding that those displaced by drought, added to people displaced by fighting in south and central Somalia, represented a burden for the town.

George Tabbal, who is in charge of UNICEF's water and sanitation projects in Somaliland, says that Berbera's water supply -- an out-of-town system of wells and pipes dating back to the Ottoman Empire and rehabilitated by UNICEF, has been adversely affected by the drought.

"There is huge pressure on the system," he said.

Temperatures in this Gulf of Aden livestock port can go beyond 50 Celsius in the hot season.

"In this climate water really is a question of life and death," the Berbera governor said.

A former British protectorate, Somaliland broke away from the rump Somalia 10 months after Somali strongman Mohamed Siad Barre was ousted in 1991.

More stable and economically viable than central and southern Somalia in recent years, Somaliland is seeking international recognition as an independent state.

Weris Issa, a wizened old woman dangling a baby granddaughter on her lap infront of a health centre at Jamalaye displaced camp, came into town six months ago after she and ten other family members lost the last of their animals.

"We lost all our livestock and we came to town. We have nothing," she said.

18-year-old Qadan Aden, a baby at her breast and a toddler clinging to her skirts said her family's 40 goats all died five months earlier, as did 23 out of their 27 camels.

Qadan Abdi Nur, 20, lost her last goat in May of this year and was likewise obliged to come into town.

"The combination this year of drought and high food prices is driving people into malnutrition," said UNICEF Deputy Executive director Hilde Frafjord Johnson on a visit to the region.

Many families interviewed said they lost their last animals in June or July.

Some families stayed behind in the grazing lands, but not because they have livestock left, rather because they survive on remittances from relatives in the diaspora.

Others lost their livestock years ago and have lived as urban poor ever since, never managing to save enough to buy more animals.

Kosar Mohamed, draped in a red veil, was forced to come into town in 1988. Three of her seven children have died of diarrhoea.

"A long time ago I lost all my animals and I came to town. But the drought now is the worst I've ever seen," she said.


UNICEF delegation visits Somaliland

Hargeisa (Qarannews.Nov 15, 2009 ) - The Somaliland Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Abdillahi Ismail Ali today welcomed Dr. Linda Richter, Executive Director for Child, Youth, Family and Social Development, UNICEF, at Berbera International Airport. Dr.Richter and her delegation paid a short visit Somaliland to inspect and evaluate current UNICEF sponsored projects in and around the city of Berbera.

The UNICEF delegation led by Dr. Richter flew in from Nairobi and is on a tour of East Africa, having already visited Kenya and Ethiopia. The delegation visited several project funded by UNICEF including the expansion and refurbishment of the Berbera Water Agency. During their short visit to Berbera, the UNICEF delegation also visited several health centres and local authority facilities around the Sahil Region.

The Somaliland Minister of Planning and International Co-operation, Mr. Ali Abdi Ibrahim also gave a press briefing on the visit. Mr. Abdi Ibrahim, a former UN staffer, described the visit as a boost to Somaliland's efforts to develop and strengthen its working relationship with international agencies such as UNICEF.

Dr. Richter and her delegation departed for Asmara, the capital of Eritrea later on in the evening.


Struggle for education and development in Somaliland’s eastern periphery

Horn of Africa Bulletin, Volume 21, No. 5, MAY 2009

Introduction

Visiting Somaliland once in a while shows the enormous progress made in the country, largely through people’s private investments and some help from the international community. New shops, restaurants and even industrial plants open every year, schools and universities are built. NGOs and UN organizations carry out programmes ranging from water and sanitation to health care, support of local municipalities and so forth. These investments can be understood as ‘peace dividend’ since in Somaliland many projects can be implemented that are impossible to conduct in southern Somalia, due to ongoing war and violence there. Closer observation, however, reveals that most of these developments and investments in Somaliland are centred in the capital city of Hargeysa, in western Somaliland.

The other towns in the country seem increasingly marginalized –with regard to economic development and other infrastructure. In the long run, the centralisation of most resources in the capital city may even cause confl ict, as the post-colonial history of Somalia (up to 1991) shows, where Mogadishu fl ourished to the detriment of Hargeysa and other places. This article is based on data gathered during a recent trip to the towns of Burco and Laascaanood in eastern Somaliland. It highlights observations about the ‘centre-periphery’ problem in the country, particularly with regard to education and development.

Burco – a marginal centre

Burco is the second largest town in Somaliland. A committee for the development of Burco, formed in 2003 and including locals as well as Diaspora Somalis related to Burco and its surroundings was the driving force behind the development of the town. Burco University had been established in 2004. It started in a rented building and moved to the present location one year later. The committee for the development of Burco had strongly supported the university. Currently, about 200 students study here, taught by about 30 teachers, some of whom come from as far as Sudan and Uganda. Besides the more usual subjects such as Business Administration, IT and Islamic studies, the university offers a degree in veterinary medicine. This makes perfect sense since Burco, the capital of Togdheer region, is home to Somaliland’s largest livestock market and livestock husbandry is the economic backbone of many families as well as the country (besides remittances and taxation on Khat and other imports).

Additionally, the university engages in an externally funded teachers’ training programme that reaches out to the Haud region and the Nugaal valley. The yearly budget of the university is based on funds from the government of Somaliland,fees for the teachers training as well as the students, alongside some support from international NGOs. Recently, the vice-chairman of the university went to Nairobi, together with the heads of the universities of Hargeysa and Amuud (near Booroma in the far west), in order to establish some cooperation and possibly long-distance learning programmes with universities there.

Burco University is fully operational and financially stable. The most pressing need is equipment for establishing a scientifi c laboratory where the students of veterinary medicine can practice. In order to overcome this shortage, the fourth year students of veterinary medicine will have a chance to join their teacher at Khartoum University and use the laboratories there. Of course, the number of university students in Burco is still very modest, compared with about 3,000 at the University of Hargeysa. The job prospects of many graduates from Burco University may also not be the best, at least not in Burco itself. This is where the issue of marginality comes in. Burco is a centre of livestock marketing. But it does not offer much infrastructure and prospects to other businesses. Infrastructure in Somaliland develops often where international NGOs operate. But only one international NGO has its offi ce in Burco. Very possibly, many graduates from the local university will try their luck in the capital city of Hargeysa or abroad. To go ‘abroad’ in a context where the old Somali passport is hardly working and the new Somaliland documents are not recognised often involves ‘illegal’ migration (in Somali: tahriib). This means that many of the possible future leaders and middle class of Somaliland will attempt to leave through the Sahara or on an overcrowded boat to Yemen and, if they survive and succeed, a possible future as migrants and refugees abroad rather than on a career in their own country will be the outcome.

Laascaanood – a pure periphery

Laascaanood is located towards the border between Somaliland and Puntland. The town and the surrounding areas are contested between both sides. Until fi ve years ago no fi rm state administration was in place here. In January 2004 Laascaanood came under Puntland’s control. It was retaken by Somaliland in October 2007.

Nugaal University was founded in 2004. The local committee for education and development of Laascaanood and Sool region instigated and supported the process of university-building. The Diaspora added to the endeavour and some teachers came from abroad to start teaching at home. Since then, however, Nugaal University had experienced diffi cult times. During Puntland’s rule (January 2004 to October 2007) peace was not guaranteed in Laascaanood.

Revenge killings happened frequently, and by chance, a close relative of the first chancellor of the university got involved in those affairs, with the consequence that the chancellor had to leave the town for safety reasons. There was a confl ict between his successor and some of the teachers leading to the closure of the university in 2006. Much of the equipment that had been donated by the Diaspora and the local community to the university was looted in those days. The local committee for education and development decided to start again from the scratch. As chairman a Somali from the UK was installed and a new building was rented. The replacement of the lost equipment is still in process.

Currently about 100 students are taught by around 10 teachers, some of whom come from abroad. The university offers degrees in IT and Business Administration. The human and financial resources for opening additional courses are lacking. The government of Somaliland started to fund the university. Besides that, student fees and some support from the local and the Diaspora community keep the institution running. Nonetheless, the budget is not enough to pay the salaries of all teachers, and some of them work on a voluntary basis for the university, while earning their living elsewhere. Moreover, there is still no appropriate building for the university.

The President of Somaliland gave a plot of land belonging to the government to Nugaal University. But the university cannot afford to build a real campus. This, besides other issues, has to do with the drying up of Diaspora support after the takeover of Somaliland. While the majority of the local population has aligned itself with the new administration, many members of the local Diaspora refuse to accept the change of power. In their eyes ‘home’ has been taken over by a ‘foreign power’.

Although Nugaal University functions, it faces difficulties. Its development is hampered by the ‘front line’ situation of Laascaanood. While some troops of Somaliland and Puntland are deployed to the region, this front line exists primarily in the heads of members of the Diaspora, local traditional authorities who have turned to politics and politicians in Hargeysa (Somaliland) and Garoowe (Puntland).

These are the actors that effectively hinder the development in the town in general and of Nugaal University in particular and make Laascaanood a pure periphery. The Diaspora hardliners stopped their support because of the ‘occupation’. For the same reason, most traditional authorities left the town to the countryside or to Garoowe.

The government of Puntland hardly ever sent anything but soldiers and completely dropped out after Somaliland’s takeover. Hargeysa gives a helping hand to the university since last year.

However, a university, particularly one for which funds are very limited, has to be embedded into a striving local economy in order to fl ourish. The latter is missing. No international organisations are present in the town that is considered an unstable place by both government offi cials and representatives of the international (NGO) community in the capital city of Somaliland. Most of the students of Nugaal University, who will graduate in late summer this year, will defi nitively have to look for ‘greener pastures’ either in Hargeysa (or Garoowe) or abroad.

Conclusion

In the towns of Burco and Laascaanood local developments, e.g. in the sector of higher education, are largely driven by (transnational) community initiatives. But these initiatives are extremely limited in scope and (fi nancial) potential, compared with what is going on in Hargeysa, where Diaspora engagement and international aid have been centralized over the last few years. In the worst case, the continued centralization of these resources will lead to a massive brain and business drain from the peripheral regions to the capital city, which again will damage the overall economy of Somaliland and can lead to feelings of injustice among the population.

In order to avoid this, the government and the international organisations operating in the country should work out a plan how to support development in the various parts of the country. Regarding higher education, it is clear that most students in Burco and Laascaanood cannot afford to come to Hargeysa or Amuud in the west of Somaliland for studying. Their living expenses far away from home would be too high. Thus, local universities need support. In a second step, it has to be guaranteed that the graduates of the universities can be absorbed locally. This can be achieved if the peace that has so successfully been built in Somaliland and the investments of the local and Diaspora communities are supplemented by a fair allocation of the international resources attracted by Somaliland, particularly in form of aid and employment by international NGOs and organisations.

Markus V. Hoehne

Is a PhD candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale,Germany. His research focuses on identity and confl ict in northern Somalia (Somaliland and Puntland) where he conducted fi eld research in 2003 and 2004. Additionally, he currently participates in a research project funded by the European Union on ‘Diasporas for Peace’ that involves new field research in Somaliland. For further details see: www.eth.mpg.de/people/mhoehne/index.html http://www.life-peace.org/sajt/filer/pdf/Horn_Of_Africa_Bulletin/HAB05May09.pdf