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That Freedom Shall not Perish

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In East Africa, A Bright Spot Amid The Anarchy

http://www.npr.org/.NPR | October 27, 2010. http://news.opb.org/article/16809-in_east_africa_a_bright_spot_amid_the_anarchy/

Most of the news from Somalia comes from the capital, Mogadishu, and it's mostly bad. But there is a different part of Somalia where things are much better.

It's called Somaliland, and in addition to holding successful democratic elections several months ago, it is trying to improve its economy and build relations with the outside world.

Relatively Peaceful

At a recent trade fair in Somaliland, people behind booths are trying to hawk their products and attract some foreign investment. There also are lots of cops walking around with AK-47 assault rifles.

One vendor is selling honey. Across the way, gemstones are for sale.

In Somalia -- a country in the Horn of Africa synonymous with war and anarchy -- holding a trade fair is a big accomplishment. An event like this one is unthinkable in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, some 500 miles to the south. There are simply too many bombs, mortars and snipers.

But in Somaliland, even with the cops and the guns, it seems relatively normal.

Guelleh Osman mans a booth promoting frankincense to make perfume. He says one reason he can operate at all is because Somaliland is relatively safe compared to the rest of Somalia.

"Security is very good," Osman says. "It's been like that for a long time. When we're discharging cargos, for instance, I sometimes go and visit our warehouses. I go at 3 a.m. in the morning. It's not a problem."

By most measures, Somaliland is an East African success story.

There's just one hitch -- Somaliland considers itself an independent country. But nobody else does. And that costs Somaliland.

Exporters here often can't get letters of credit from overseas banks. And citizens can't travel without a foreign passport.

"Our country has been destroyed by civil war," says Mohammed Omer, who runs the Hargeisa plastic factory, which makes trash and shopping bags. "Therefore, we are rebuilding. But it's too hard. Nobody recognizes us. Therefore, it's not easy to rebuild without assistance."

Increased Outside Interest

Somaliland occupies a poor, arid stretch of land along the Gulf of Aden. It's sort of Somalia's panhandle, and it is home to lots of camels, cactus and about 3.5 million people.

Somaliland, declared independence from Somalia in 1991 after the dictator Siad Barre was overthrown in Mogadishu.

As southern Somalia fell into anarchy, Somaliland slowly righted itself.

It set up a bicameral legislature of elders and representatives that balanced clan politics with modern government. And it largely disarmed its people.

But African governments want to see Somalia remain intact, so they and the rest of the world have refused recognize the Somaliland government.

Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omar sums up Somaliland's accomplishments: "We are a peaceful country," he says. "We've been running our own affairs independently for 19 years. We have a good track record on the fight against piracy, the fight against terrorism."

Last month, Somaliland got some good news from Washington.

Johnnie Carson, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, said the United States will send more diplomats to Somaliland and increase its modest level of aid.

Why the new interest?

The U.S. is trying to block al-Shabab, a militant Islamist group that controls most of Mogadishu and wants to take over the whole country.

Carson hopes Somaliland and its neighbor, Puntland -- another breakaway Somali region -- can help.

"We think that both of these parts of Somalia have been zones of relative political and civil stability," Carson says. "And we think they will, in fact, be a bulwark against extremism and radicalism."

Hussein Abdi Dualeh, the minister of mining, energy and water resources for the Republic of Somaliland, grew up there but is a naturalized citizen of the United States and spent the last two decades working in the energy sector in California.

Like many members of the new cabinet in Somaliland, he says he has returned home to help out.

At first, nobody in California understood.

"When I was leaving my old job, I had a hard time explaining to people that I'm going to Somaliland," he says. "Everybody said, 'Whoa! What did you say? You're going to Somalia?' I said, 'No, I'm not. I'm going to Somali-LAND.'"

Obstacles Prevent More Assistance

At the recent trade fair, vendors said they received few offers of help.

And some visitors -- mostly international donor organizations -- said they are still constrained by Somaliland's status.

On his first visit anywhere in Somalia, Richard Walker of the African Development Bank, said he was surprised by the vibrancy of Somaliland.

"It was a lot more positive than what I expected," he said. "The street traders, the people, the trucks coming in -- there's a lot going on there. People trying to get on in a bad situation."

Walker would like to help Somaliland build much-needed roads, but it may only qualify for something more modest, like financial management training.

And the reason is simple -- Somaliland may be the best thing going in Somalia, but nobody outside considers it a state.


Somalia: Somaliland forces intensify anti-terror operations in Burao

25 Oct 25, 2010 - http://www.garoweonline.com/

Authorities in the self-declared separatist region in northwestern Somalia called "Somaliland" have intensified security operations in search of a suspected terrorist leader wanted in neighboring Puntland region of Somalia a day after Somali news agency Garowe Online reported the terrorist is hiding in parts of Somaliland, Radio Garowe reports.

Garowe Online has reported that Mohamed Said Atom, leader of a group of insurgents in Galgala hilly area whom Puntland officials accuse of being a member of Al Shabaab terror organization, hiding in Burao town of Somaliland.

Puntland troops have seized the last insurgent outpost in the hilly jungles of Galgala, according to the region's top army commander, Gen. Saeed Dheere.

Mr. Abdirahman Fohle, the Somaliland-appointed Burao police chief, told reporters in Burao on Sunday that security forces are conducting raids on houses and arresting suspected linked to Al Shabaab, a terror group waging a violent insurgency to topple the Western-backed interim government in Mogadishu since 2007.

"We have arrested several suspects," Mr. Fohle told reporters in Burao, a town long suspected of hosting Al Shabaab elements and serving as a transit hub for insurgents traveling from Western and Arab countries to southern Somalia to join Al Shabaab insurgents.

Mr. Fohle denied reports that Mr. Atom is currenty hiding in Somaliland, particularly in Burao area, but added: "We will arrest him or anyone else who is a threat to regional security."

Somaliland police have urged Burao residents to "report" any activities.


Somaliland: an African exception

Author: Gérard Prunier Date: 6 October 2010

Source URL: http://mondediplo.com/2010/10/06somaliland

African Charter Article #24: All peoples shall have the right to a general satisfactory environment favorable to their development. (Click for full text...)

Summary & Comment: The British left Somaliland functioning - unlike the Italians in Somalia. Fifty years after the end of colonialism, the breakaway region has peace and democracy, but no international recognition. Somaliland had successful elections in June whereas Somalia continues to deteriorate. The author explores the history of what went wrong. DH

To the south lies Somalia, the archetypal failed state. To the north, Somaliland, which in June organised one of the most democratic elections Africa has seen for a long time. The explanation for this contrast lies in history. When Britain occupied the north of Somalia at the end of the 19th century, it intended only to prevent the French from gaining a strategic outlet on the Red Sea, and provide cheap food for its colony in Aden, in the Arabian desert. The British were not concerned with making money from the territory and were content to run it at arm's length, interfering little with the indigenous system of governance and (effective) mechanisms for resolving conflict in a nomadic society.

The Italians took a radically different approach when they colonised the south. At the Berlin conference to divide Africa in 1884-85, a newly unified Italy demanded recognition, despite its political and economic backwardness as compared with the rest of western Europe. Italy's colonial ambitions were neither strategic nor economic: it sought compensatory glory (and to populate new areas to stem the emigration of its citizens, particularly to the US and Argentina). Fascism did nothing to temper Italy's pretensions; the fascist government used the imperialist project to provide its people with a compensatory psychodrama, resulting, in the 1920s, in massacres in its colonies and the destruction of indigenous mechanisms for social control.

The Somali people were divided by colonisation, but bound together by culture. They saw independence as the path to unification. Creating a Greater Somalia became a key nationalist aim, and led to the unification of the colonies under the first free Somali government in 1960. This created tension with the Organisation of African Unity, set up in 1963, which insisted on respect for colonial era borders (1).

But the new country was built on a paradox: territories divided by history found themselves together again within the framework of an ambiguous pan-nationalist project which gave them an artificial sense of unity. The test of this came in 1977 when Somalia, under the dictator Mohamed Siad Barre (2), invaded the Ogaden, an ethnically Somali region of neighbouring Ethiopia and the cornerstone of Greater Somalia. The war ended in a defeat with the triple effect of destroying the grand nationalist project, turning Somali clans against each other in their search for a scapegoat, and causing Siad Barre to make the clans in the north (former British Somaliland) pay for the conflict. A million refugees from the Ogaden arrived in Somalia on the heels of the retreating army. Siad Barre settled them in the north and armed them. He not only gave them wide administrative powers but a free hand to plunder.

The danger Somalis had always chosen to ignore - fragmentation of the clans - now came about, with the dictatorship's blessing. With the dream of a Greater Somalia dead, the government encouraged some clans to suppress others, redrawing the north-south border inherited from the colonial era.

Rebellion in the north

In 1981 the north rebelled, beginning a 10 year civil war in which all those excluded from power rose up, one after another, against the dictatorship. It fell in 1991 leading to the collapse of the Somali state, since no confederation of clans proved able to replace the regime's scheming with constructive alliances.

The north took the opportunity to declare independence and withdraw from the fratricidal conflict into which the south had sunk. Although the first few years were chaotic, the 1993 Borama inter-clan conference provided the country with representative institutions which assured its democratic foundation. While Somaliland found its feet relatively quickly, the south plunged deeper into chaos. From 1992 to 1995 the "international community" occupied southern Somalia, at the behest of the US. Operation Restore Hope did anything but that - the 35,000 soldiers deployed by more than 30 armies, at a cost of $5bn, achieved nothing and were evacuated after two and a half years (3). Weakened by outside interference, Somalia also suffered from internal stresses. Since 1992 there have been 14 attempts to reform the government. All have failed.

This is where the colonial legacy is most evident: in the north, Somaliland incorporated its ancient clan mechanisms for managing conflict into English common law to create its own form of democracy. In the south, where Italian imperialism and fascism had eroded the indigenous system but contributed no new political or legal functions, the uncontrolled clan system hindered the emergence of any form of government, even an authoritarian one. Somalia's Transitional Federal Government (TFG), in place since 2004 and recognised internationally, only controls a few streets in the centre of the capital Mogadishu - and even that is due to the support of 6,000 soldiers from the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom). The TFG has been torn apart by personal quarrels and corruption, and has to deal with an Islamist insurgency which, in July, launched terrorist attacks in Kampala, Uganda, to provoke an international crisis. In fact nationalism has more influence in Somalia than Islamism, and it offers the militants of Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen (movement of fighting youth) the opportunity to rebuild a national consensus around the idea of resistance, and to assuage the fears provoked by their extremism.

Absence of recognition

Up to now Somaliland has managed to keep its distance from the violence next door which has led to tens of thousands of deaths, a million refugees, and two million internally displaced over the last 20 years. The irony is that the "international community" refuses to recognise this oasis of peace and democracy, while it continues to give legitimacy to Somalia on the basis of the 1960 unification, even though it is a state in name only, incapable of meeting any democratic criteria or of re-establishing peace. While the US, UK, and France are beginning to question the wisdom of this policy, inertia and convention stand in the way of Somaliland's recognition. Western powers do not want to offend the Arab world, which sees Ethiopia - a Christian "foreign body" in a predominantly Muslim region - as the enemy. Egypt has always wanted a strong and united Somalia to serve as an ally against Ethiopia (4), and the existence of Somaliland interferes with this strategy.

That is why Somaliland needs to be beyond reproach. "They will expect more from us than from others, but give us less," predicted a former vice-president of Somaliland just before the election. But Somaliland still has a long way to go: the outgoing head of state, Hassan Dahir Riyale Kahin, who came to power in May 2002, did not have a spotless democratic career. As vice president, he replaced President Mohamed Ibrahim Egal when Egal died of natural causes in May 2002. He then manipulated the Guurti (upper house of parliament) in order to have the elections postponed so he could stay in office. In September 2009, threatened by popular revolt and a rebellion in parliament, he asked the army chief of staff to move on the capital Hargeisa, with the probable aim of suspending parliament. But, after thinking about it for 24 hours, the head of the army refused to take part in this "legal coup", and the president was obliged to set a date for elections.

Somaliland's constitution limits the number of political parties to three. Riyale Kahin runs Udub, a party he formed with Egal, the "Father of the Republic". Seventeen years in power encouraged the familiar pattern of clientelism and nepotism, but while these are common in Africa, in Somaliland they are limited by a free press, genuine freedom of speech, for which a robust civil society battled hard, and a legislative body that is not totally corrupt. Udub's old opponent, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, created a strong and organised opposition in the Kulmiye party. The joker in the pack is the small new party Ucid, led by Faisal Ali Warabe, which combines the positive element of openness to women, minority clans and intellectuals, with a dangerous complacency towards Islamist extremists. As a result, Ucid is often perceived as opportunist, ready to use any means to dislodge the two traditional parties. Warabe is much younger than Kahin or Silanyo, and does not belong to the civil war generation. He does not see Somaliland as a miracle of willpower, but as a normal political entity, and this attitude has brought him support among young voters.

The election went ahead smoothly on 26 June, and on 1 July the national electoral commission declared Silanyo the winner with 49% of the votes. Kahin got 33% and Warabe 17%. The turnout was 88% of 1.09 million registered voters. The role of the 70 foreign observers was largely symbolic, to legitimise the process, which took place in a visibly calm atmosphere. So can the goodwill and good organisation of the elections mean that Somaliland, which has lived without international aid for 20 years, will achieve the recognition it desires? Probably not, at least in the short term. Too many people are opposed - including those nostalgic for a Greater Somalia, Islamist extremists and conservative diplomats. Some of its supporters fear that, in any case, full recognition will only aggravate the antagonisms that have devastated Somalia. Perhaps an intermediate status is possible, where Somaliland would have most of the legal and commercial advantages of recognition, and not provoke too much opposition.

{Gérard Prunier is researcher at CNRS, Paris, and former director of the French Centre for Ethiopian Studies in Addis Ababa}

{Translated by Stephanie Irvine}

(1) Article 4b of the Organisation of African Unity charter required its members to respect the borders that existed when they achieved independence. A Greater Somalia would have brought together the former British and Italian colonies as well as French Somaliland (modern day Djibouti), the Ethiopian province of Ogaden and the Northern Frontier District of Kenya, all populated by ethnic Somalis.
(2) Siad Barre was a carabiniere under Italian colonial rule and throughout his life maintained great respect for his "boss", Benito Mussolini, whose style of government he shared.(3) See Philippe Leymarie, "The ruination of Somalia", Le Monde diplomatique, English edition, November 2007. (4) The situation has worsened since the denunciation of the 1959 Nile Waters Treaty. The rebellion, largely anti-Egyptian, is led by Ethiopia and brings together the non-Muslim countries on the Nile (Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania and Kenya).


Police mount security operation in eastern Somaliland town, arrest suspects

BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Oct 23, 2010. Jamhuuriya, Hargeysa, in Somali 22 Oct 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Somaliland police last night arrested a number of people suspected of involvement in insecurity in Burco, eastern Somaliland.

The police were seen searching vehicles at intersections in the city and outskirts. The operation disrupted traffic in the city.

The reason behind the operation is unclear. However, the deputy police commissioner, Col Abdirahman Fohle [as published], declined to give further details about the operation in which many people were arrested. He said the mission aimed at beefing up security in the city.

"The operation conducted by the police in Burco is aimed at improving security. Many suspects were arrested and they will be investigated," said the deputy police commissioner.

This is the first major security operation to be conducted by the police since Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo took over as the country's president three months ago.

Residents of Burco have been speaking about the operation.

The exact number of people arrested during the operation remains unclear.


Somaliland's diaspora: From manager to minister in a flash (Feature)

By Michael Logan Oct 23, 2010. http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/africa/features/article_1593507.php/Somaliland-s-diaspora-From-manager-to-minister-in-a-flash-Feature

Hargeisa, Somalia-- Just four months ago, Hussein Abdi Dualeh was an engineer with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), managing maintenance contracts and living a comfortable life with his wife and three sons.

Today, he's helping run a self-proclaimed - although internationally unrecognized - nation in the Horn of Africa.

Dualeh, 54, is typical of the highly-educated diaspora politicians who have returned to Somaliland - a breakaway state in the north-west of war-torn Somalia - to serve in the new government of President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo.

'I came for the inauguration and they told me: `You`re not leaving,`' says the erudite and articulate Dualeh, who heads up the Ministry of Mining, Energy and Water Resources.

He's only half-joking.

Silanyo, elected in late June, slashed the size of his government and looked to the diaspora to fill key posts in his 20-member cabinet.

As well as the energy docket, the information, planning, foreign affairs and fisheries ministries are in the hands of Somalilanders who have just returned after decades in the United States, Britain and Canada.

'They promised to have an effective government and to have qualified people in the right positions,' says Dualeh. 'The president realized he would have to look elsewhere and tapped up quite a few people from overseas.'

Dualeh, like many of his peers, left a Somalia languishing under the brutal reign of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, who seized power in 1969 and oversaw 21 years characterized by repression and civil war.

While Somaliland was struggling to reclaim the independence it gave up in 1960 - when the former British protectorate joined with Italian Somaliland to form the Somalia of today - Dualeh was pursuing his education and career abroad.

He graduated with a degree in petroleum engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1983 and worked at Chevron for five years.

In 1989, two years before Siad Barre was finally ousted and Somaliland declared its independence, Dualeh joined Metro.

Somaliland set about quietly rebuilding as the rest of Somalia descended into the failed state it has become today.

The stability and democratic credentials of Somaliland are a stark contrast to the rest of the Horn of Africa nation. The ineffective Western-backed government in Mogadishu is hemmed in by Islamist insurgents who control much of south and central Somalia, and pirates based in the breakaway region of Puntland terrorize international shipping in the Gulf of Aden.

The international community is showing increasing signs of backing Somaliland with aid, if not recognition, viewing it as a buttress against al-Qaeda-linked militant Islamist group al-Shabaab.

But the freshly arrived ministers, still reeling from culture shock, still have a big job on their hands.

Somaliland`s annual government budget is 50 million dollars - half of the value of the contracts Dualeh managed for Metro.

The self-proclaimed state is drought-prone and poverty-stricken, with poor infrastructure and high unemployment. Its 3.5 million residents are heavily reliant on livestock - although there is real innovation and growth in the telecommunications and money-transfer industries.

The capital Hargeisa is a dust bowl, where goats pick through rubbish littering the side of the bumpy dirt roads and makeshift huts housing displaced people far outnumber the few big houses erected by the diaspora.

It's a far cry from Los Angeles.

'It's a sacrifice. I was making a six-figure salary and drove a Merc, but dropped it all to come here,' says Dualeh, who has left his family behind in California. 'I want to see if I can help the country of my birth.'

While the personal sacrifice is tempered by the fact Dualeh has given up a job as an anonymous middle-manager to become a important man, he and the other diaspora ministers appear to have a genuine desire to help Somaliland fulfill its potential.

Not everyone is happy with the appointment of people who have lived the high life abroad to such exalted positions, however.

Ahmed Hassan Ahmed, who lived in India, the US and Canada over the last 30 years, returned to become the Director of Awareness in the Ministry of Information. Ahmed - who ironically has the remit of educating the returning diaspora on Somaliland`s culture - admits there is resentment among the locals.

'The biggest complaint is that there are so many expats (in the government), but it`s my country too,' he says.

Despite the grumbles, many others believe the diaspora brings back valuable skills and experience, and Dualeh says Somaliland was always in the hearts of those who left.

'Even though we were never here, we lived it,' he says.


Somalia: Al Shabaab rebel Atom 'hiding in Somaliland': Report

23 Oct 23, 2010 - Garowe Online, http://www.garoweonline.com/artman2/publish/Somalia_27/Somali_Al_Shabaab_member_Atom_hiding_in_Somaliland_Report.shtml

SPECIAL REPORT | "Atom is living in Burao and Somaliland authorities have not taken any active steps against him," said a reliable source in Hargeisa.

Reliable sources tell Somali news agency Garowe Online that a man wanted as a terrorist by the Puntland government in Somalia, and whose assets were frozen by the Obama Administration this year, is reportedly "hiding in Somaliland", a self-declared separatist region in northwestern Somalia that is actively seeking U.S. and international aid.

Garowe Online has conducted a months-long investigation into the whereabouts of Mr. Mohamed Said Atom, an arms smuggler allegedly allied to Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab insurgents who have been waging war in southern Somalia since 2007.

In July, Mr. Atom declared war on the elected government of Puntland and demanded that the government dismantle its counterterrorism forces, popularly known as PIS forces but renamed by Puntland President Abdirahman Farole as the Puntland Intelligence Agency (PIA) earlier this year.

Puntland's government blames Atom and Al Shabaab for a string of unprecedented bombings and assassinations targeting Puntland government officials, soldiers and civilians in major towns like Bossaso and Garowe, Puntland's state capital.

Last week, Puntland government troops seized the last insurgent outpost in the hilly Galgala area, located around 60km southwest of the Gulf of Aden port city of Bossaso, Puntland's commercial capital. READ: Troops seize 'last insurgent outpost' in Galgala: Puntland general

'Atom fled before Galgala war'

Mr. Atom, the ring-leader of Al Shabaab militants in Galgala who declared war on Puntland, "fled before the Galgala war started" and left his comrades to face Puntland troops alone, according to military sources, who also believe that Atom is hiding in Somaliland-controlled regions.

Security sources say Puntland troops have killed more than 100 militants and captured dozens in a military offensive that began on Aug. 8 to flush out what government officials call Al Shabaab militants led by Atom in the Galgala area.

Atom reportedly "lied" to his comrades-in-arms before Puntland troops began the military offensive targeting his Galgala hideouts, telling his supporters that he will "facilitate the arrival of fighters via Burao town" sent by Al Shabaab insurgent chiefs in Mogadishu, according to sources. Burao is a provincial capital in Togdheer region, controlled by Somaliland authorities.

The alleged Al Shabaab fugitive Atom did not return to Galgala, however, as Puntland troops pushed deeper into the hilly jungles and finally seized the the last insurgent outpost. Government forces are now hunting down the fleeing insurgents, officials say.

Bossaso has enjoyed a respite from bombings and assassinations in recent months as the government’s military crackdown and counterterrorism efforts in major towns is yielding results, according to intelligence sources.

"Atom is living in Burao and Somaliland authorities have not taken any active steps against him," said a reliable source in Hargeisa, adding: "Somaliland authorities are busy reinforcing security in [the capital] Hargeisa but have neglected other regions like Burao."

Last month, fundamental security cracks were revealed after Somaliland's separatist government failed to stop more than 200 heavily armed ONLF rebels from landing along Somaliland shores and traveling by land to cross into Ethiopia.

The ONLF is an ethnic Somali rebel group active in Ethiopia with reportedly close ties to Eritrea, Ethiopia's arch-foe in the volatile Horn of Africa sub-region.

That incident proved to be an embarrassment for Somaliland's new government, led by former clan warlord-turned-President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, because Somaliland could not prevent rebels from threatening the security of neighboring states, like Ethiopia, Djibouti and Puntland.

Safe in Somaliland: Al Shabaab wounded fighters

There is reason to believe that Somaliland's government is utilizing most of its resources in securing Hargeisa, the second capital of united Somalia and the seat of Somaliland's separatist administration since the outbreak of the Somali civil war in 1991.

Somaliland President Silanyo is actively campaigning to make Hargeisa a hub for international operations intended for Somalia as a whole, including offices to be used by world governments and organizations such as the United Nations.

However, various sources contacted during Garowe Online's investigation confirmed and corroborated stories that "wounded fighters" arriving from "the Galgala front" are receiving medical treatment in towns under Somaliland control, including Burao and Erigavo.

Somaliland aggressions

Under Somaliland's former president, Mr. Dahir Riyale, Somaliland funded and provided military assistance to Atom's fighters in Galgala, according to Puntland government documents dating back to 2006.

That policy was part of Somaliland's "illegal practice" to destabilize Puntland by using proxies and to turn attention away from the real issue of "Somaliland military aggressions in Sool region," the documents revealed.

It is not clear what connections Mr. Atom might have with Somaliland's new administration under President Silanyo, but Somaliland security forces have raided houses over the past three months in Burao, seizing explosives material and arresting suspects linked to Al Shabaab, according to Somaliland officials.

Since 2007, Burao which is Somaliland's second-largest town has been the primary transit hub in Somalia used by foreign fighters and Somali militants heading to wars in Mogadishu, and more recently, in Galgala area of Puntland.

Somaliland's new Silanyo administration has publicly appealed for what Interior Minister Mohamed Abdi Gabose calls "security cooperation with Puntland," but authorities in Puntland say Somaliland must first take active steps against Al Shabaab elements inside Somaliland.

"Somaliland wants to tell the world that its peaceful, while hiding dangerous elements in major towns like Burao," said a Puntland government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Ahmed Abdi Godane, the elusive leader of Al Shabaab who hails from Somaliland, was quoted as saying that Al Shabaab insurgents "should not interfere in Somaliland until Puntland is destabilized first."

" Plans to destabilized Puntland have failed and so now Atom and his Al Shabaab supporters have infiltrated a major town in Somaliland," concluded the Puntland government official, whilst referring to Al Shabaab's operations in Burao.


Ethiopia, Somaliland seek closer ties in anti-terrorism effort

BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Oct 22, 2010. ENA website, Addis Ababa, in English 21 Oct 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC.Text of report in English by state-owned Ethiopian news agency ENA website

Addis Ababa, 21 October 2010 - Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Desalegn Hailemariam said Ethiopia would work together with Somaliland administration in the areas of security and economy.

While conferring with Foreign Affairs Minister of Somaliland Muhammad Umar here on Thursday [21 October], Desalegn said Ethiopia is desirous to work with Somaliland in the stated areas.

He expressed appreciation to the measures taken by the Somaliland administration on the terrorist attack attempted by the faction of the [rebel] Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) recently.

Appropriate anti-terrorist measures should further be strengthened, he said.

Desalegn said Ethiopia gives high regard to the efforts mobilized by the Somaliland to restore peace and stability in the region, according to a spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Muhammad said on his part Somaliland has friendly relations with Ethiopia and it would be further strengthened.

He underlined the importance of the peace accord signed between the Ethiopian government and ONLF.

Muhammad said the agreement would close the room for Eritrea which is bent on destabilizing the peace and stability of the Horn of Africa.

He expressed concern over piracy being perpetrated in southern Somali and stressed the need that countries in the region should work together to address the problem.

The two officials had also exchanged views on wide ranging issues including ways of fighting terrorism.


SOMALIA: Stability in Somaliland boosts education prospects

Ali Mohamed Ali, the director-general of Somaliland's Education Ministry: Somaliland allow Somalis from south-central Somalia access to public services, despite considering them as refugees

HARGEISA, 22 October 2010 (IRIN) - Somalis from south-central Somalia and those in the diaspora have taken advantage of the stable environment in the self-declared republic of Somaliland to put their children through school there, boosting enrolment in private and public education institutions in the region, officials said.

"About 10 percent of 200,000 primary-school children are from south-central Somalia," Ali Mohamed Ali, the director-general of Somaliland's Education Ministry, told IRIN.

Authorities in Somaliland allow Somalis from south-central Somalia access to public services such as healthcare and education, despite considering them as refugees.

Ali said: "The late president of Somaliland [Mohamed Ibrahim Egal] said all Somalis, wherever they are from, have similar rights as Somalilanders, except political rights. It is not only the Somalis who are in our public schools; we have students even from the Oromo community of Ethiopia."

Abdi-Rahman Mohamed Mal, the former education director-general, said Somaliland's 392 public primary schools had only 2,367 teachers, with 40 percent of Somaliland children having access to education.

Mohamed Ali Warsame, 14, originally from south-central Somalia, is a beneficiary of Somaliland's generosity. He is a student at a boarding school, Abaarso-Tech, 23km northwest of Hargeisa, the Somaliland capital.

Warsame's school is one of two high schools in the region approved by the Somaliland National Examinations Board to admit intermediate school leavers. The two schools admit only students who attained the highest marks in their intermediate examinations. Each admits at least 50 students per year.

Taking refuge

Civil society organizations estimate that half a million Somalis have sought refuge in Somaliland in the past 19 years.

"At least 300,000 Somalis from south-central Somalia live in centres for the internally displaced in Somaliland while about 200,000 others live in Somaliland's main urban centres," Saleban Ismail Bulale, chairman of the Horn of Africa Human Rights Watch, said.

In addition to south-central Somalis, hundreds of those in the diaspora have also taken their children to Somaliland in search of education and cultural experiences.

Khalif Abdi, an American Somali studying at Abaarso-Tech, said: "One of the interesting things I am learning about here is 'Laxoox' [Somali pancakes]. I am also learning the Somali language because I have to converse with fellow students in Somali.”

Abdi said his parents sent him to Abaarso-Tech not only for the education but also to learn about Somali culture.


Abaarso-Tech s one of two high schools in Somaliland approved by the National Examinations Board to admit intermediate school leavers

Jonathan Starr, managing director of Abaarso Tech, told IRIN: "We have students here from Europe, Ethiopia and from [the rest of] Somalia; once they pass the entry examination, we admit them to the school."

Limited resources

With the high number of diaspora returnees and those from south-central Somalia, however, Somaliland authorities have expressed concern over stretching public service resources.

Ali, the education director-general, said: "International donors support Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti for hosting Somali refugees but the problem in Somaliland is that the international community does not consider the problems caused by the high number of diaspora returnees and refugees from Somalia... this has limited the provision of education, health and public service as a whole; already Somalilanders themselves do not have adequate public services."

He urged the international community to support Somaliland to improve its public services, including the provision of teacher training and improving schools of technology.


Djibouti leader discusses ties with Somaliland minister

BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Oct 20, 2010. ADI news agency website, Djibouti, in French 20 Oct 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. Text of report by state-owned Djibouti news agency ADI website

The Somaliland minister of foreign affairs, Mr Mohamed Abdillahi Omar, who arrived in the country yesterday [18 October] for a 48-hour visit was today granted audience by the president of the republic, Mr Ismail Omar Guelleh.

The talks between President Guelleh and the Somaliland minister of foreign affairs took place in the morning.

It is worth noting that within the framework of his working visit to Djibouti, Mr Mohamed Abdillahi Omar also met with the minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Mr Mahamoud Ali Youssouf.

The talks focused on the latest political developments in Somaliland and ways and means to strengthen trade relatiosn between the two countries.


Somaliland: Somalia's success story

By Tristan McConnell. October 21, 2010.http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/africa/101019/somaliland-us-policy

Somaliland looks good next to its restive neighbor and foreign investors are taking notice.

A man demonstrates outside parliament in London, United Kingdom to demand that the self-declared republic of Somaliland be recognized as an independent state, on March 17, 2004. (David Bebber/Reuters)

HARGEISA, Somalia — There is a part of Somalia where foreigners can walk the streets in safety, where the only guns are held by uniformed members of the state security services, where elections are held regularly and democratically, and where the people can dare to hope for a future of continuing peace and desperately-needed prosperity.

Somaliland, northwest of Somalia, declared independence in 1991 but has not been recognised by any other country in the world. Yet in the restive Horn of Africa, it is a rare success story that is gradually being accepted by the United States and others.

In September, the top U.S. diplomat for Africa announced a new “two track policy” toward Somalia, one that increases the focus on Somaliland and another semi-autonomous northern region called Puntland.

“Both of these parts of Somalia have been zones of relative political and civil stability and we think they in fact will be a bulwark of extremism and radicalism that might emerge from the south,” said Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary of state for Africa, in New York last month.

Carson stressed that the new diplomatic push did not amount to legal recognition and that Washington would continue to support the U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu.

For the capital of a country that does not exist, Hargeisa is a cacophonous place. Car engines and horns compete to drown out the call of the muezzin, ambling pedestrians compete with battered vehicles on the dusty streets that are lined with thickets of cactus and drifts of thorny acacia branches.

Little wooden stalls sell imported Chinese and Saudi plastic goods. Moneychangers squat behind dirty ramparts of Somaliland shillings. Bales of narcotic khat [2] trucked or flown in from the Ethiopian highlands are sold at little booths, their male customers stumble away in a stoned daze clutching bunches of green stems.

Telephone poles are wreathed in tangled wires, like a citywide game of cat’s cradle gone wrong. The anarchic wiring is testament to the recent unregulated growth in telephone services.

Clad in skeletons of wooden scaffolding, half-constructed buildings lean woozily as construction workers scurry up and down ladders. These are new hotels, office blocks, banks, apartments and mosques.

Hargeisa is a boomtown albeit in a chaotic, Wild West kind of way. The lack of formal economic development is a result of Somaliland’s lack of formal existence. Without international recognition Somaliland cannot benefit from World Bank or International Monetary Fund support and has received only piecemeal bilateral support from a handful of donors.

But that is set to change. During a visit to Hargeisa last week the U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, said the $100 million that Somaliland now receives from donors each year could double as a result of the increased engagement from foreign countries.

That would be a significant boost for a place where the government’s entire budget is only $50 million a year, mostly earned by the busy port at Berbera. Every day creaky wooden galleons from Yemen and elsewhere in the Arabian peninsula unload pallets of fizzy drinks and crates of washing machines, sacks of grain and cargo loads of 4x4s … things that Somaliland cannot produce itself, which means pretty much everything.

Once empty, the ships fill up with livestock and head back across the Gulf of Aden. The sheep and goats exported to Arab countries are Somaliland’s biggest foreign earner.

In the absence of legal recognition, Somaliland has developed a strange mix of pride and bitterness that was expressed by the Harvard-educated chancellor of the University of Hargeisa.

“We have seen the bottom of hell but we have built from the ground up with little support,” Hussein Bulhan said.

The campus houses eight faculties and educates 3,500 students. But just 12 years ago it was a refugee camp in the wake of a civil war that all but destroyed Somaliland before its declaration of independence.

“My expectation was that the American government would help but I haven’t seen much,” Bulhan said. “Instead, America has supported a recognised government [in Mogadishu] that exists only in the minds of a few.

“After 9/11 the focus has been fighting terrorists and too many resources have gone into putting out fires instead of building peace."

But the recent U.S. announcement has left Somaliland officials with an excitement they barely suppress.

“We welcome direct engagement and we are expecting wide-scale investment in our security, economic growth, health and infrastructure,” Foreign Minister Mohamed Omar said.

The aim is to shift the focus of foreign aid from humanitarian assistance to economic development to help get the poor and battered country on track, he said.

The new Somaliland government was installed after a much-delayed but ultimately peaceful and democratic election this June. President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo said he was “very happy” with the promised engagement from Washington.

“This country is peaceful and democratic, where the president, parliament and local councils were elected in free and fair elections, where rule of law reigns and where the streets are full of uniformed children with book in hand going to school, not hooded, with guns, going to war,” Silanyo told a gathering of foreign officials in Hargeisa.

http://mobile.globalpost.com/dispatch/africa/101019/somaliland-us-policy
Links:
[1] http://mobile.globalpost.com/dispatch/africa/101019/somaliland-us-policy
[2] http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/africa/090715/somalias-addict-economy


Somaliland- a non-existing country

Aug 30, 2010. http://mangomanjaro.se/2010/08/30/somaliland-a-non-existing-country/

Dreaming of traveling is a big part of traveling itself. When I was 13 years old, I read Desert Flower, the famous true story told by Waris Dirie, and that made me dream about going to Somalia.

Waris Dirie grew up in a nomad family in Somalia, but ran as a 12 year old away from her father who wanted her to marry a 60 year old man. Years later she became a world-famous model, as well as a human rights activist, especially known for working against female circumcision.

I read her book, and wanted to go to Somalia. So badly. I told my mum about my plans. She looked at me and stroke my cheek. “Going to Somalia is impossible these days”, she said.

This episode didn’t exactly make me less curious about the unreachable place far, far away. Therefore I had a VERY big smile upon my lips, as I five years later, celebrated Christmas in- guess where- SOMALIA.

Well, to be fair, I didn’t really go to Somalia-where-you-cannot-go, I went to the northern province, SOMALILAND, where you’re more than welcome, but that most people still don’t know about. Somaliland has it’s own well working government, but is still unrecognized by any state and organization in the world. Going overland from northwestern Ethiopia, I entered Somaliland on Africa’s east coast, a hot, dry, colorful desert country with absolutely unbeatable mangoes, something that has inspired the name of this site!

I had a wonderful time in Somaliland, where I sometimes had to travel with an armed guard and a permission from the local police. This was, however, as close as I could get to the origin of Waris Diries amazing stories, and believe me, she was right talking about her people and her country!

Some of the most friendly people I ever met, I met in Somaliland.


Money exchange in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland

At one point, me and a Canadian friend who I traveled with at the time, decided to go to the city of Burao- a place where we didn’t actually have an official permission to, but talking to local optimists, we felt like it could not possibly be a problem. So, off we went, all the long way from Berbera on the coast, to Burao, and as most trips in this region, it takes you half day before you even leave, waiting to fill the “shared taxi”, a sort of hitchhiking organized in town.

We got through the first checkpoint without any issues, and thought we were safe. The driver went on- I reckon we passed 10 or 15 checkpoints without anybody even asking for our passports.

But then there was one very last point to pass.

We had traveled in the heat of Somaliland’s desert all day, way too many people packed in the same car. We were all tired, but hopeful now, as we could finally see Burao from a distance.

The policeman by the checkpoint asked me and my friend to show our passports. We did. He asked to see our permission. We pretended we had no idea what he was talking about.

With our hearts beating like jungle drums, we saw this giant man taking our passports and disappearing on us. Somewhere, behind huge walls surrounded by barbed wire and kept by 20 or 30 soldiers, our beloved passports went. I started thinking about how I would tell my grandmother about my life in a Somalian jail house. Started to make up stories. Some of them came to sound really good. Really rough.

A few minutes passed. And then another few minutes. I guess I could say that this was, well- exciting.

Then finally, as I had just prepared myself for my new life and nearly accepted that I wouldn’t spend my 20th birthday in freedom, out came the same officer. I kind of thought he looked even bigger now, that I had realized how powerless I probably was.

To our surprise, he didn’t look mad. Actually, he didn’t even look angry anymore. In fact, his enormous face broke out in a fantastic smile, that I shall never forget.

“You come!” he commanded us, and I would say we looked quite confused, as we crawled out of the hyper-packed so called taxi.

He brought us through the gate, all the officers now greeted us and wanted to shake our hands. Some of them even mistook me for their sister, some called my travel mate their “brother”. Very friendly soldiers.

We got through the gate, and a whole new world opened in there. After all, it was Christmas, so what should one expect?

In front of us we found a big round table, filled with stuff to eat and drink. Around the table sat 10 or 15 men, in nice shirts , some of them wearing a tie, but still mostly dressed in traditional Somalian clothes. One of the men stood up, opened up his arms and said in unmistakable Norwegian: “Are you Swedish? I saw your passport! Welcome, Scandinavian friend, welcome!”

This was Eskil, Somaliland’s minister of agriculture, and he’s friends around the table were all ministers of Somaliland’s government. Oh, what a Christmas gift! They asked us to sit down and share their food, and they all wanted to hear stories about our trip through their non-existing country. We got to stay at their hotel over the night, in the easily nicest room I ever slept in all through Africa, and the next day they arranged a trip for us to town with their own private guard. No Somalian jail. No hostage-drama. No phone calls to grandma, just a postcard telling stories about the only non-existing-country’s government that have ever invited my for Christmas dinner… so far, that is!


Somaliland leader meets international donors

BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Oct 19, 2010. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 16 Oct 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Text of report in English by Somali newspaper The Somaliland Times website on 16 October. [Unattributed report: "Somaliland President Meets With International Donors"]

A large delegation of international donors visited Somaliland this week.

The delegation held talks with Somaliland President Ahmad Muhammad Mahmud Sillanyo on a host of issues.

The donor's delegation also toured the 5th Somaliland Trade fair that has opened this week in Hargeysa, met with civil society organizations as well as the managements of Somaliland's companies such as SOMTEL and Dahabshiil.

The Chairman of Dahabshiil Money Transfer Company, Mr Abdirashid Muhammad Said briefed the delegation on the worldwide services of the company such as money transfer, E banking, and wireless internet.

The visit by the international donors is part of the international community's recent decision to move its support for Somaliland from mostly humanitarian assistance to development and reconstruction. The change in the donors' policy is an indication of the international community's high regard for Somaliland's democratic strides in the last two decades. It is also a belated recognition of the importance of Somaliland for regional stability and security.

The following is the welcoming speech from the president of Somaliland, Ahmed Sillanyo, on the occasion of the meeting with International donors visiting in Somaliland

"Ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of the government and people of Somaliland, I wish to welcome all of you, distinguished guests, to our country.

Your presence with us here today is a great honour to us and represents the interest and support the international community is prepared to give to our country and its efforts to establish a stable, peaceful and democratic society, in a region known for its political volatility and the disruptive activities of extremist groups and international piracy. For us this will be challenging but an achievable goal.

My government is now just over two months old. Apart from security concerns my new administration also inherited a situation of public finances bordering on bankruptcy where civil servants had not been paid for months and huge debts owed to the private sector. Today, we have made substantial progress in this area, by improving the collection of revenues, fighting corruption and the suspension of non-essential expenditures. We are conducting radical changes in the civil service and their working conditions.

During our campaigns before elections, we promised to fight corruption and appoint an anti-corruption commission to stem out fraud, and to set up a Quality Control Commission to ensure consumer safety. We delivered both.

We said we would be mobilizing our people in self help campaigns to ensure every citizen contributes to their community's wellbeing and national development. We organized the first campaign to clean up and improve the environment of our cities.

On infrastructure, we promised to complete Hargeysa's second bridge, the four and half kilometre stretch between Borama and Dila and Hargeysa prison. Construction is underway in all three projects and on target.

We have been able to accomplish all that thanks to the commitment, support and hard work demonstrated by our people across the board, from parliament to government Ministers, business community, civil servants and ordinary citizens.

Our vision is to create a country that is independent, secure, stable, in peace with its neighbours, democratic and prosperous where every citizen can realize his or her potential. Those of you who have been to the Trade Fair must have witnessed a little about the creativity of our people.

Our country is strategically located to play a key role in the security, stability and democratization of the region and beyond. This is a role we are committed to. We cannot afford to fail either in our vision or in our role. I must say that we still face serious economic, social, political and security challenges, but we believe that there is no challenge that we cannot overcome, provided we receive the encouragement and support we need.

Justice is another area we promised to address to ens ure that the Constitution was upheld and the rights of the citizens were safeguarded. I issued a Presidential Decree disbanding the unconstitutional Security Committee and ordering citizens incarcerated under emergency laws to be released unless their guilt was determined by a court of law.

Somaliland has very good relations with its neighbouring countries like Ethiopia and Djibouti and wishes to continue to maintain that relationship to maintain peace in the region and to expand trade and economic cooperation.

Finally, this is a country called Somaliland that is peaceful and democratic where the president, the parliament and local councils were elected in fair and free elections, where rule of law reigns and where the streets are full of uniformed children with book in hand going to school, not hooded with guns going to war. We need the support of the international community. Thank you."


America Looks to Puntland and Somaliland to Improve Security in Somalia

Common Ground News Service, 19 October 2010, http://www.turkishweekly.net/news/108728/america-looks-to-puntland-and-somaliland-to-improve-security-in-somalia.html

Washington, DC - The United States has been involved in Somalia since the early 1980s, first during the Cold War and then in 1992 during the country’s massive famine by launching the humanitarian mission Operation Restore Hope. In the last decade, however, the United States has become even more involved, actively supporting the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) as a means of building peace in Somalia, which is now experiencing rising violence associated with the extremist groups Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam.

Yet as the country experiences rising violence, the semi-autonomous regions of Puntland in north-eastern Somalia and Somaliland in the Horn of Africa have been able to provide a greater level of security for their residents than the rest of the country and may provide the key to greater stability across Somalia.

Recognising the value of strengthening and supporting these regions, the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs announced this week that the US government will support Puntland and Somaliland with development aid and strengthen them within a framework of two-track engagement as part of a larger approach to ensure stability in Somalia as a whole. This decision reflects what many Somalis have stated they believe will be effective in stabilising their country for the long term.

Carson says that “the first track is designed to help the TFG become more effective and more inclusive and to give it the ability to provide services to its people.” Engagement with the Puntland and Somaliland regions is part of the second track, he added.

The aim of this engagement is to stabilise Somalia and undermine extremists by empowering local officials to provide security and ensuring that young people have jobs, making them less vulnerable to Al Shabaab and groups like them. Carson also stated that the US government will continue to support the TFG and the current Somali president, as well as other regions and clans interested in protecting their areas from extremists, which the TFG has welcomed in light of the threat from Al Shabaab.

Carson’s announcement comes at a crucial time for Somalia as the group is consolidating its control in most of southern Somalia, and suicide bombings and terrorist acts by Al Shabaab are becoming more brutal. The violence threatens not only Somaliland and Puntland, but also Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Yemen. Earlier this year Al Shabaab carried out suicide bombings in Uganda, for example, killing more than 70 World Cup spectators.

This two-track engagement acknowledges the hard work in peacebuilding that Somaliland and Puntland have taken on, and demonstrates a concrete grasp of what Somalis want: employment for youth, development aid, infrastructure that facilitates the delivery of services and a strong state police to keep the peace.

In the past, the United States focused on providing humanitarian aid and supporting counterterrorism efforts; this policy change allows the United States to not only to focus on these short-term goals but also to provide a foundation for long-lasting change through agricultural development, infrastructure, economic development and security.

These two regions already have their own parliaments, presidents and police, but they are weak and they need this type of development support from the United States, the European Union and the Arab League. The success of indigenous peacebuilding in Somaliland and Puntland is an example that the rest of Somalia can follow. Strengthening their institutions will fend off the extremist threat emanating from South Central Somalia.

It will be important for the United States and the European Union to support other regions that are interested in building their own administrations. This will help these regions to jump start employment opportunities and development and to build their security force to defend against a potential extremist takeover.

Supporting those peaceful regions does not mean having to recognise them as countries, and the US government made it very clear that such engagement does not constitute recognition for Puntland and Somaliland as states.

The US has finally gotten it right by listening to what the Somali people want. It’s time the United States comes forward with concrete support in the form of economic development, infrastructure and security to alleviate the suffering of the people, understand the nature of terrorism in Somalia, and ensure that a democratic system of governance – and peace – takes root in Somalia.


West turns to Somaliland while rest of Somalia crumbles (Feature)

By Michael Logan Oct 19, 2010, http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/africa/features/article_1592348.php/West-turns-to-Somaliland-while-rest-of-Somalia-crumbles-Feature

Hargeisa, Somalia - In the centre of Hargeisa, the capital of the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland, a Soviet-era MiG jet sits atop a brightly painted plinth.

Its squat, deadly body is a reminder of the destruction dictator Mohamed Siad Barre ordered visited upon the city as Somaliland fought for independence from Somalia in the 1980s.

But beyond the memento of the bloody past, the scaffold-bristling skeleton of a multi-storey building rises into clear blue skies that once rained bombs.

The building - the new headquarters of Dahabshiil, a booming money-transfer company handling hundreds of millions of dollars in remittances from the diaspora - symbolizes a brighter future and shows why the international community is taking increasing notice of Somaliland's efforts.

Somaliland declared independence in 1991 when Barre was ousted. Since then, it has rebuilt Hargeisa and recast itself as a bastion of stability and democracy.

It is a stark contrast to the rest of Somalia, where Islamist insurgents lay siege to the latest ineffective government in the south and pirates based in the breakaway region of Puntland terrorize international shipping in the Gulf of Aden.

Just a few months ago, Somaliland held a presidential poll international observers deemed credible - a feat regional states such as Rwanda and Ethiopia couldn't pull off.

Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, the new president, slashed his cabinet and filled key posts with Western-educated technocrats. In response, dozens of representatives from the United Nations, European Union and the World Bank trundled through Hargeisa in a dusty convoy last week to discuss development with the new administration.

The UN estimates Somaliland receives close to 100 million dollars each year in aid - almost a third of what goes into Somalia and twice the budget of the Somaliland government.

Marc Bowden, the UN's Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, believes this could double next year.

'As people see the capacity and opportunity, I'm sure funding will increase,' he said.

The United States, which recently announced it will work more closely with Somaliland and Puntland, put 7 million dollars into Somaliland in 2009 through its aid wing USAID. By the end of this year that figure will have almost quadrupled.

Washington, concerned about the Islamist terrorism threat, has focused its support for Somalia on the Transitional Federal Government in the war-wracked capital Mogadishu.

The conflict, which has killed over 21,000 people and displaced over a million people since early 2007, has only intensified. The al- Qaeda-linked group al-Shabaab and its allies now control much of south and central Somalia.

Somaliland insists that, if supported, it can serve as a buttress against radical Islamism and fight piracy. Minister of Mining, Energy and Water Resources Hussein Abdi Dualeh, a Somali-American, believes the new US approach shows the message is getting across.

'The US has for some time been wasting money on ... Mogadishu,' he said. 'I think they realized ... aid we get here will not be torn up by shrapnel.'

Washington may be impressed by Somaliland's efforts, but al- Shabaab is not.

It killed around two dozen people in suicide bomb attacks in Hargeisa in October 2008. Today, concrete barriers shield hotels and government offices from car bombs and dozens of police toting automatic weapons protected the visiting delegation.

Although donors are upping their funding, there is a limit to what they can do while Somaliland remains unrecognized.

Much of the World Bank's funding mechanisms are out of reach due to Somalia's massive debt, bilateral relations are not possible and getting insurance and guarantees for exports is an uphill battle.

'The main problem is the recognition,' said Guelleh Osman Guelleh, who runs a business exporting Frankincense and Myrrh to France. 'It`s a big disadvantage being placed in the same bracket as the rest of Somalia.'

Somalilanders believe they should be recognized given the former British protectorate was briefly independent in 1960, before joining with Italian Somaliland to form Somalia - a decision they still regret.

'That other African states would then declare independence is used as an excuse, but Somaliland has been a nation state before,' said Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Omar.

Somaliland`s economy is dominated by livestock - the port of Berbera exports the largest number of livestock through a single port in the world - and diversification is seen as crucial.

Aid officials say developing the Berbera transport corridor to Ethiopia would boost the economy, while the private sector - thriving =in telecommunications and money transfer - has significant promise. = According to Dualeh, huge deposits of oil, gas and minerals are waiting to be exploited once issues of concessions handed out to foreign companies under the Barre regime are resolved.

Despite this promise, there is a long way to go.

In Hargeisa, mansions built by returning diaspora sit cheek-by-jowl with makeshift huts housing displaced people. Rubbish litters the side of roads that are little more than compacted sand. Somaliland faces huge unemployment, poverty, cyclical drought and a widespread debilitating addiction to the narcotic Khat leaf.

Yet many believe that given the right backing, the self-proclaimed state of 3.5 million people could disprove the notion that Somalia - which routinely tops the list of the world`s failed states - is beyond help.

Somaliland is colonial name, and as such, are contradictory to the term nationalism. Simply on the basis of the colonial roots, Indeed many former colonies have discarded their colonial appellations and adopted titles that are of more indigenous or un–colonial derivation.

So call Somali-land may discuss the details but you do not question its validity or wisdom at all, infact, when one adds up all the effort to create a clan stathood by few self-interest groups belonging to one single clan who don't have anything in common other than their hatred to all People of Somalia. The northern separatist group breath one and only one thing, which is tribalism, propaganda and saber- rattling against Somalian people is a common diet in Hargaysa.

The northern secessionist saga is still puzzling the minds of the concerned and the spectators alike. Theirs is a disgraceful road never before traveled by any Somali, how many lines of ethics should be crossed before one's inner soul finds peace with a downfall of this magnitude?.

The separatist group is desperately playing their ugliest card as they hope and lobby for the continuation of lawlessness in Mogadishu led by Axmed Cabdi Goodane, also known as Moktar Ali Zubeyr Godane the Amir of al-Shabab who is from Somaliland and to better their chances of achieving their ill-fated objectives, they are very determined to keep Mogadishu busy and burning. Many other Somalilanders in Shabab ranks were largely responsible for the instability of the South Somalia and kin and for the destruction of Somalia.

Hargeisa Central Prison is overflowing with innocent Somalian persons arbitrarily detained by the unconstitutional Security Committee. The largely dilapidated cells are filthy and overcrowded oozing with foul smell.

Northern secessionist is not strange to supreme ironies. Most of the innocent captives languishing in the overcrowded, untidy prison cells in Hargeisa and Mandheera are the yesterday´s heroes of SNM. With a new vicious dictatorship firmly implanted, history is repeating itself in Hargeisa today. How long would the people of Northern secessionist afford to tolerate the rule of the jungle and self-serving dictatorship?

Lost in oblivion, the Northern secessionist intellectuals continue to maintain a stony silence on healthy and constructive criticism towards clan "isaak" junta regime is a virtual taboo. Any justifiable sound criticism is erroneously feared to entail adverse effect on the quest for international recognition. The intellectuals are also losing sight of the downhill slippery slope that Northern secessionist is fatefully and gradually being propelled to. Alas, apathy and indifference are the order of the day.


Oil Prospects In Somalia

Source: http://blackswaninsights.blogspot.com/2010/08/oil-prospects-in-somalia.html. August 5th, 2010 | In Market Commentary

Contributed by: Nathaniel Crawford (http://www.blackswaninsights.blogspot.com) -

Here is an interesting collection of reports from Somalia Watch, which describe why Somalia could be the next major oil producer in the world. Based upon UN reports and early oil exploration activities Somalia could be the next Uganda which recently found oil. Somalia is a largely unexplored area due to ongoing civil wars and political chaos. But times have changed, especially in the Northern Region called Puntland which is a self-governing area independent of the central government. This is where Somalia's two major basins are located and where previous exploration activities were carried out by major oil companies before the beginning of the civil war. When it comes to current investment opportunities there is a company called Africa Oil Corp, which owns the largest land package in Somalia and is scheduled to drill its first exploratory well in the 4th quarter of 2010. I have an article about Africa Oil Corp Here. When it comes to oil exploration Somalia is currently under the radar to investors, but that may soon change in the next 9 months.

Here are a few key excerpts:

Geology of Somalia

The sedimentary cover of Northern Somalia includes post-Triassic continental and marine strata which accumulated in basins related to the disintegration of the Gondwanaland. Among these, the Berbera and Ahl Mado basins are the most important basins stratigraphically and hydrocarbon potential. Sedimentation in both basins begins with a Jurassic continental sandstone (Adigrat Formation) overlain by interbedded units of shallow marine limestones and shales (Bihendula sequence) in the Berbera Basin, and limestone-dominated strata with minor shale and sandstone interbeds (Ahl Mado Group) in the Ahl Mado Basin. The Cretaceous section, unconformable with the Jurassic sequence, is mainly continental (Yesomma Sandstone) in the Berbera Basin, but becomes shallow-marine, sandy to pure limestone with subordinate sandstone and shale (Tisje Formation) in the Ahl Mado Basin. By the end of the Cretaceous Period, a westward marine transgression permitted shallow-marine, Paleocene - lower Eocene limestone (Auradu Formation) deposition throughout northern Somalia. This is succeeded by thick anhydrite strata (Taleh Formation) overlain by Middle to Late Eocene shallow-marine limestone (Karkar Formation). The later is the youngest stratigraphic unit straddling the Gulf of Aden. Younger strata of syn- and post-rifting, continental to shallow-marine origin are confined in discrete basins along the coast of the gulf.

Based on published and unpublished data, the geology of these basins proves that oil and gas have been generated with favorable reservoirs, as well as structural and stratigraphic traps. Moreover, continuation of these basins across the gulf, matching the hydrocarbon-producing Marib-Hajar and Say'un-Al Masila basins of Yemen, raises the hydrocarbon prospect of northern Somalia.

Past Exploration

Although most oil experts outside Somalia laugh at the suggestion that the nation ever could rank among the world's major oil producers -- and most maintain that the international aid mission is intended simply to feed Somalia's starving masses -- no one doubts that there is oil in Somalia. The only question: How much?

"It's there. There's no doubt there's oil there," said Thomas E. O'Connor, the principal petroleum engineer for the World Bank, who headed an in-depth, three-year study of oil prospects in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia's northern coast.

"You don't know until you study a lot further just how much is there," O'Connor said. "But it has commercial potential. It's got high potential . . . once the Somalis get their act together."

O'Connor, a professional geologist, based his conclusion on the findings of some of the world's top petroleum geologists. In a 1991 World Bank-coordinated study, intended to encourage private investment in the petroleum potential of eight African nations, the geologists put Somalia and Sudan at the top of the list of prospective commercial oil producers.

Presenting their results during a three-day conference in London in September, 1991, two of those geologists, an American and an Egyptian, reported that an analysis of nine exploratory wells drilled in Somalia indicated that the region is "situated within the oil window, and thus (is) highly prospective for gas and oil." A report by a third geologist, Z. R. Beydoun, said offshore sites possess "the geological parameters conducive to the generation, expulsion and trapping of significant amounts of oil and gas."

UN Study

In an attempt to address the balance and provide a more considered view of petroleum potential, the World Bank and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) devised a regional hydrocarbon study of the countries bordering the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Financed by the UNDP, in co-operation with the governments of France, Britain and Canada, and several oil companies, the study began work in 1988. All the countries along this coastline participated from the outset, although Saudi Arabia has since dropped out, claiming it has its own plans for Red Sea exploration.

The study managed to collect all relevant technical information from both Ethiopia and Somalia before this year's fighting broke out. Results of analysis to date, which indicate that the region is definitely oil-prone as well as gas-prone, are to be presented at this month's meeting of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Eastern Hemisphere group, in London.

The full set of documents and articles is available at : http://www.somaliawatch.org/archivejuly/000922601.htm

About Nathaniel Crawford (http://www.blackswaninsights.blogspot.com)
Nathaniel is an independent investor in Los Angeles; he has a degree in History from Occidental College and enjoys trading stocks, options, and bonds.

http://www.straightstocks.com/market-commentary/oil-prospects-in-somalia/


Somaliland Redux

Posted by Shlomo Bachrach on Sunday, July 4th 2010

Once upon a time there were three Somalilands, French, British and Italian, carved out of the Horn of Africa by Europeans in a region that had known only rule by contentious Somali clans and sub-clans for a thousand years. The time before that is a historical blank.

Until the Europeans arrived at the end of the 19th century, Somali contact with the rest of the world was mostly through traders from the Muslim world across the Gulf of Aden and merchants to and from the interior of East Africa. The Somali clans had adopted Islam around the 9th century, regularly fought each other for water and pasture and periodically battled with Ethiopia about where the border should be.

Fate has recently put the three Somalilands into the headlines. They got there along very different paths to very different situations. The least understood of them is a place once again called Somaliland.

After the Suez Canal opened in 1869, Britain and others needed an Arabian port to refuel ships on the Asia route, and to supply fresh food. Aden, just across from the Horn of Africa was that port. Aden’s source of fresh meat was the Horn. Overcoming stubborn local resistance, Britain established a small colony, British Somaliland, on the northern coast, but was content to let colony-deprived Italy take the bigger Somali territory to the south to keep it out of French hands. France eventually developed its own tiny Somaliland colony and port at Djibouti, on its other side.

Fifty years ago last week (June 26, 1960), British Somaliland became independent. It had already decided to unite with Italian Somaliland, which became independent 5 days later. The result was Somalia, the first time that the Somalis ever had something other than clan rule other than a few Arabia-oriented local emirates that came and went over the centuries. (French Somaliland was both tiny and had a notable non-Somalia Afar minority.)

The British colony was dominated by the Isaaq clan, while the rest of Somalia had other clan loyalties. Many northerners had opposed the union with the south, and other divisions also emerged in independent Somalia, leading to a civil war in the 1980s. When the dust settled, the government of Somalia was gone (1991) and replaced by….nothing. Nineteen years later there is a nominal government in Mogadishu that even with outside help can claim only a small part of the city and nothing more. In the rest of Somalia, local and factional rule prevail.

Except in the former British Somaliland, which declared its independence in 1991, reclaimed its former colonial borders and set up a government which has proven remarkably enduring. Combining traditional institutions with a parliamentary system, it has created a political space where life is relatively normal despite the violence next door, some of which crosses the border from time to time.

However…a big however…not a single country has officially recognized the government of Somaliland. It has no diplomatic relations, though some governments and international agencies have an informal presence. It has a written constitution, and when the president died in office in 2002 (of natural causes), he was duly replaced by the vice president. The peaceful transition was widely noted, but deserved international recognition did not follow.

A few days ago an even more unusual event took place. Several peaceful elections had already taken place in Somaliland, with the party in power remaining in power. This time, on July 1, the opposition was declared the winner. The defeated president publicly accepted his defeat. A peaceful transfer of power to the political opposition is an achievement that many countries, not just ex-colonies in Africa, have yet managed.

No other country in the Horn of Africa has come close. For example, in May Ethiopia’s ruling party got 99.6% of the votes. Eritrea has never even had an election at all. Djibouti has a handcuffed and irrelevant opposition.

Somaliland is hardly without serious problems. Several eastern districts are claimed by Puntland (on the tip of the Horn), which is autonomous but is nominally still part of Somalia. Other problems also exist. But compared with the widespread authoritarianism in much of Africa, to say nothing of the anarchy next door, Somaliland is a major success that deserves support and encouragement. To begin, it deserves recognition.

Altering borders in post-colonial Africa has been considered taboo because once that door is opened, it has long been feared, scores of separatists would rush through. As a continent, Africa decided in 1964 to reject any and all border adjustment claims and accept colonial boundaries as fixed to avoid the nightmare that would follow.

This principle has been followed, though not absolutely. The formal separation of Eritrea from Ethiopia in 1993 tampered with it. With international approval, South Sudan will vote next January on whether to secede from Sudan.

But Somaliland, despite impressive success in creating a functioning state, is given little support.

Is it that no one wants to be the first to recognize Somaliland? Would others follow if someone led? There are occasional rumors that Israel wants diplomatic relations, but much as Somaliland wants a breakthrough, Israel is obviously the wrong candidate.

Both the nearly fictional Transitional Federal Government propped up by African Union troops and foreign money, and the various groups that flourish in the rest of the former Italian Somaliland, reject Somaliland’s demand for independence.

It is cruel and irrational for the world to insist that Somaliland be prevented from correcting a tragic mistake made in 1960. It claims, quite reasonably, that independence does not violate the principle of respect for pre-independence borders.

It’s time for the world to do the right thing and recognize Somaliland’s deserved independence.

http://peacecorpsworldwide.org/horn-of-africa/category/djibouti/


US eyes Somaliland as answer to Mogadishu's woes

Somalia surprise: Working gov't, no gunfire

HARGEISA, Somalia (AP-15 Oct 2010) — A new six-story office building will soon house a $1 billion-a-year business. The recently elected president has appointed smart people and won the admiration of the international community. Gunfire is nowhere to be heard.

All this seems too good to be true for the war-ravaged nation of Somalia. Yet Somalia this is, or more precisely Somaliland, a slice of the northern part of the country.

This former British colony joined Somalia a half-century ago but changed its mind in 1991 when the central government in Mogadishu collapsed and most of the rest of the country became mired in war. The United States, the United Nations and other international players don't recognize Somaliland as a separate country, but they are now lavishing new money and attention on the region.

Somaliland officials say the international community has wasted too much time and money on Mogadishu and its string of failed governments. They say the struggling but democratically elected government in the north deserves support and can serve as a bulwark against spreading terrorism.

In bullet-riddled Mogadishu and in much of the rest of Somalia to the south, a hardline Islamist insurgency is in control and is threatening the central government's tiny hold on the country. To the north, across the narrow Gulf of Aden, lies Yemen, a hotspot for Islamist militancy.

"This is a country called Somaliland that is peaceful and democratic ... where the streets are full of uniformed children with book in hand going to school, not hooded, with guns, going to war," President Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo told a visiting delegation from the U.N., EU, World Bank and African Development Bank earlier this week.

A six-story cement building dominates this city's skyline. Once completed, it will house the headquarters of a money transfer company that operates in 144 countries.

Yet Somaliland is bathed in poverty. Huts fashioned from scrap metal and wrapped in plastic sheeting dot the capital, crammed full of the internally displaced. Rusted cars are heaped in a jumble. Discarded plastic bags snag on cacti growing in the sandy ground. Goats and sheep wander the streets, seeking shade from the afternoon sun.

Since his June election, Silanyo has tapped Somaliland's diaspora to recruit U.S.- and British-educated technocrats to run the country. He slashed the size of his Cabinet, instilling confidence in the international community about the way he will run Somaliland, an area the size of North Carolina with 3.5 million people.

The successful election and the new government's serious approach merit increased attention, said Mark Bowden, the top U.N. humanitarian representative for Somalia.

Somaliland became independent in 1960 before joining Somalia only days later. Because no country has yet recognized its 1991 declaration of re-independence, the world community sees it as part of Somalia. Business leaders at a trade fair in Hargeisa this week said the lack of recognition creates impediments to economic growth: No access to credit, high insurance rates on imported shipping, severely restricted ability to travel.

Despite the poverty and restrictions, the government has capable, educated leaders who are infusing the town with a can-do spirit. Dahabshiil, the money transfer company building the six-story headquarters, facilitates the transfer of $1 billion from Somaliland's overseas diaspora. And many of those diaspora's leaders are returning here.

Hussein Bulhan, a Harvard-educated former professor at Boston University, is the president of Hargeisa University. He believes the U.S. should take notice and invest more.

"Following Sept. 11, the focus has become fighting terrorism," said Bulhan. "Too much focus has been put into putting out fires instead of building the peace."

Johnnie Carson, the top U.S. diplomat for Africa, announced last month that the U.S. is trying a new, two-track approach to Somalia that will see continued support of the Mogadishu government but also direct engagement with Somaliland and neighboring Puntland, another autonomous region.

More American diplomats and aid workers will travel to Somaliland, Carson said. USAID, the U.S. government aid arm, dedicated $7 million to Somaliland in fiscal year 2009. In 2010 that number is rising to $26 million.

"Where you have pockets of stability and pockets of people willing to actively contribute to develop the country as a whole, it just makes sense to develop their capacity," said a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Kenya who was not allowed to be identified because of State Department rules.

Bowden, the U.N. official, said Somaliland gets about $80 million to $100 million a year in aid money, but that the number could double.

Somaliland's trade fair highlighted the region's soap makers, tile makers and university offerings. Saeed Odugheal, 40, grew up in Britain but now owns a water bottling company here.

"Somaliland is Africa's best kept secret," he said. "What I want to see is a hell of a lot more development money. People talk about creating a democracy. This is a democracy. It's only right to support a country like that."

Carson said the U.S. will not recognize Somaliland as independent because the African Union will not do so. Somaliland Foreign Minister Mohamed A. Omar acknowledged that the AU is afraid that if Somaliland is recognized, other regions might clamor for the same. But he said Somaliland's situation is unique.

"We are not starting a new nation. We have been a nation before," said Omar, who holds a doctorate in political science from Britain's University of Birmingham. "We voluntarily joined with Somalia in 1960. We are withdrawing from that union."

Omar said the region would like to share intelligence with the West and receive more direct security aid, adding that the region has a strong record of fighting piracy and terrorism. Hargeisa was hit by a suicide bomb attack in 2008.

"Somaliland has been attacked by terrorists not only because they hate us, what I think what they are attacking is the principles and values we stand for, which is democracy," Omar said. "These are universal values that have been attacked. We need universal support and universal defense in order to defend those values."

Somaliland's minister of mining, energy and water resources traded a six-figure job in Los Angeles for his new role. He said without $40 million in repairs, Hergeisa's water system could collapse. The minister, Hussein Abdi Dualeh, urged the international community to switch its focus from Mogadishu to Somaliland.


Report on UNICEF’s Water Interventions Mapping (2005-2009)Northwest region

Somalia Water and Land Information Management
Ngecha Road, Lake View. P.O Box 30470-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.
Email: enquiries@faoswalim.org Website: http//www.faoswalim.org.

Full-text report 82 pages

1. Introduction

Water, in most parts of Somalia, has always been scare, and the problems have been aggravated by the destruction and looting of water supply installations during the civil war and the continuing conflicts, and general lack of maintenance. They are compounded with erratic rain patterns, which produce both droughts and floods. For example the Jilaal, the long dry season, is historically a period of hardship especially in the central zones of Somalia. In such a season water becomes scarce, demanding long treks by livestock and humans in search of sufficient water and pasture. Also in most areas the nomadic way of life is adapted to the low annual rainfall amounts of high spatial and temporal variability, which induce persistent droughts worsened by the arid geology. In contrast the geomorphology and river hydrology provide opportunities for settled agriculture, but also induce periodic flooding, and stress in the riverine communities.

1.1 Major Water Sources in Somalia

In order to implement various intervention activities for rehabilitating or developing the water infrastructures of Somalia, it is quite necessary to have a stock of the existing major water sources of the country. The major water sources of Somalia are listed below:

North West Zones (Somaliland)

The Major surface water sources in Puntland and Somaliland consist of:
i. Water pans or dams (waro or balliyo in Somali language)
ii. Springs
iii. Underground cistern (berkado or mugciid)
iv. Shallow hand dug wells
v. Deep water boreholes
vi. Subsurface dams
vii. Infiltration galleries

Great challenges were presented, but despite these challenges significant achievements were made. With over 30,000 Kilometres travelled in the country 2,254 sources were visited, inspected and assessed; 1,038 in Somaliland.

Table 1: Strategic Point Water Sources Surveyed by SWALIM
Location Number of Source Types
Northern Somalia (Somaliland)
Region Names Dam Borehole Dug well Other Spring Grand Total
Awdal           14 25 104 37 180
Woqooyi Galbeed 87 43 212 4  34 380
Togdheer        19 40 86  31 20 196
Sanaag          2  32 107 1  30 172
Sool            2  18 86  3  109

Table 2: Zonal/Regional interventions implemented by UNICEF (2005-2009)

Year 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 Total per region

North West Zone
Awdal           1 2  10 6  19 14
Woqooyi Galbeed 5 2  4  15 16 42 25
Togdheer        6 13 10 29 8
Sanaag          1 5  14 31 51
Sool            2 2  7  10 21
Sub-Total       5 6  19 59 73 162 

Table 4: Beneficiaries estimates of UNICEF’s WASH interventions (2005-2009)
Urban Water System Zone 
Location Beneficiaries

NWZ Borama 80,000
Gebiley    45,000
Berbera    42,000
4.2 Current Urban Interventions Mapping

UNICEF has been helping to improve water supply services in urban areas in Somalia since early in the 1990’s. UNICEF administered many water supply rehabilitation and improvement services in cities such as Bossaso, Borama, Baidoa, Erigavo, Gebiley, Berbera.

4.5.5 Erigavo Water Supply System

Rehabilitation works were implemented on GTZ Well No. 3. This well has 180 m3/hr of yield. A new 147 m3 capacity water tank was constructed and new six- and four inch PVC piping installed of 3 Km long. Five new kiosks, a generator and watchman rooms were also constructed. The borehole was equipped with a Grundfos submersible Sp k-45 pump and a Perkins PEP03 generator and a 40KVA electric motor. However, major drawbacks faced the pipeline for lack of junction boxes or saddle boxes or protected main halls. The system is not yet operational.

4.5.6 Berbera Water Supply System

According to the latest information received from UNICEF, major physical works were implemented on the water supply systems and included:
1) Excavations, dismantling and removal of 10,730 meters of the old Turkish and British 6 inch and 8 inch cast iron and asbestos pipes and replacing them with new 6 inch and 8 inch UPVC pipes; with the appropriate fittings (bends, elbows, unions, adapters, gate valves, air valves etc)
2) Installation/backfilling and testing of 3,500 meters of new 4 inch UPVC pipes between the old British tank and the Jaamalaaye new IDP settlement.
3) Cleaning and repair of the existing 13 spring collection tanks, repairing cracks on walls and installation of protective covering made of corrugated iron sheeting, timber posts and beams with mesh to the spring collection wells.
4) Desilting and replacing of inlets/outlets with new pipes, from the existing collection chambers at the Dubar springs.
5) Construction of 3 new chambers, rehabilitation of 12 existing chambers at the spring site and construction of 1one underground tank for regulating flow of water from the springs.
6) Construction of 3 new kiosks with an 870m long supply trench fitted with 4” UPVC pipes and 3 new water yards installed with 300 meters of 2” UPVC supply pipes to the three kiosks.

4.5.7 Gebiley Water Supply System

Intervention works on the existing water supply system was carried out in phases from the period 2005 to 2008 as summarized below:
1) Rehabilitation of the existing borehole head in addition to; installation of 1 Generator (Perkins 30KVA) and 1 one Submersible pump, SP17-18 with 16 pieces of riser pipes electrical cable and testing of the borehole yield.
2) Development of the pipeline with 12 Kilometres of a new 6 inch and 8 inch UPVC ring mains.
3) Construction of 5 new water kiosks complete with pipe connections, ground tank and a 225 m3 elevated steel tank.
4) Connection of one booster pump to the new transmission pipe to lift water to the new elevated tank was implemented.
5) First orientation workshop on PPP to Gebiley water users, community leaders,former water agency management and members of the municipal authorities.
6) Implementation of a collaboration of the Gebiley water supply system equipment inventory with the municipality and the existing Gebiley water agency.
7) Rehabilitation and equipping of the old water agency offices compound to serve as the main offices for the newly established utility company.
8) Installation of 1300 linear meters of new 4” UPVC transmission pipe complete with fittings (none return valves, gate valves etc), from the new well to the existing transmission line along the main road from Jameeco1 borehole.
9) Installation of 400 linear meters of new 4” UPVC pipes with rings to a section of the existing transmission pipe to replace old transmission mains from Jameeco1 borehole to the town.

4.5.8 Improvement to Borama Water Supply System

Modification interventions were implemented on the pipeline design of the town and supported by the rehabilitation of 4 boreholes by UNICEF. Each was equipped with submersible pumps together with a central power station located at the booster station. However only three of the boreholes are in operation as the fourth one was kept inoperative to avoid well depletion as part of sound water resources management policy implementation.

4.5.9 Other Ubran Interventions

Water management committees were established and training and capacity building offered. An example includes; workshops and programmes planned and implemented to enhance community awareness towards Borama water supply and Public Private Partnership. Similar trainings were offered in other major towns as mentioned earlier, e.g. Gebiley water supply system in the year 2006 where training on computerized billing system was offered to the financial and administrative staff of the existing water agency by an external consultant hired by UNICEF. Other technological innovations were also enhanced, with the introduction of computerized billing systems.

The total number of beneficiaries of the programme was found to be 1,724,250, with 526,250 in NWZ, 342,250 in NEZ and 855,750 in CSZ. 41% are rural population, 36% are IDPs and 23% are urban population.

http://www.delken.ec.europa.eu/en/publications/Unicef%20Report%20-%20Final%20Draft.pdf


Media Groups Condemn Suspension of Broadcaster in Somaliland

Michael Onyiego | Nairobi 12 October 2010
http://www.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Media-Groups-Condemn-Suspension-of-Broadcaster-in-Somaliland-104786639.html

With investors and the international community looking to increase ties with Somaliland, the recent suspension of a London-based broadcaster has media freedom groups questioning the breakaway government's commitment to democracy.

Somaliland has impressed international observers as a small outpost of democracy in an otherwise troubled region. While not recognized by any nation, the small region in northwestern Somalia has nevertheless been lauded for holding its third successful multi-party election in less than a decade. Presidential elections held in June were deemed by observers to meet international standards and produced a peaceful transfer of power from President Dahir Rayale Kahin to challenger Ahmed Silaanyo.

Bias accusation

Somaliland's reputation is in jeopardy, however, after the suspension Thursday of United Kingdom-based satellite broadcaster Universal TV. Information Minister Abdullahi Osman accused the station of bias and ordered it to stop operations indefinitely, without clarifying further.

According to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, the ban came shortly after the station broadcast interviews and discussions featuring the Sool, Sanag and Cayn Militia, a separatist group from Somaliland's eastern border.

Somaliland's borders have been inherited from the former British Colony of the same name. The Sool, Sanag and Cayn Militia advocates separation with the region in favor of Puntland, the semiautonomous state which neighbors Somaliland.

Call to lift suspension

Africa Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, Tom Rhodes, condemned the suspension.

"It certainly doesn't bode well for Somaliland's achievements in promoting democracy," said Rhodes. "This abrupt suspension clearly is an example that Somaliland has a long way to go. Somaliland actually bans any private broadcasters operating within its region. The only reason that Universal TV is viewed by the public in Somaliland is because it is broadcast outside from the United Kingdom via satellite."

The suspension of Universal TV comes as donors, as well as the international community, look to Somaliland to provide stability in the Horn of Africa.

On Monday, officials from the region met with a delegation of international donors interested in providing support for development, as well as anti-terrorism efforts.

High hopes for region

The United States also has expressed a strong interest in the region. In late September, United States Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson told journalists the U.S. would start to "aggressively" engage the Somaliland government in light of its stability compared with rest of the region.

Many still feel the breakaway state can maintain its status as an emerging democracy. The National Union of Somali Journalists called the episode "a major test" to the government's commitment to media freedom.

Tom Rhodes said the region could reaffirm its commitment to democracy by lifting the ban. "The first thing that Somaliland needs to do is, of course, lift this censorship with Universal TV and allow the reporters to continue reporting in Somaliland," Rhodes said. "The second thing, if not the first thing, should be to lift the suspension on private broadcasters working within the country. Somaliland already has a vibrant print press, with vibrant, independent broadcasters also working in the country. It is really the two steps forward that Somaliland needs to achieve its goals."

Rhodes said the government was negotiating with Universal TV and that he expected the station back on the air in the near future.

Universal TV is a Somali television network established in 2005 to broadcast news to the Somali diaspora. The network maintains correspondents throughout Somalia and the region. Some observers say Universal TV maintains a pro-Puntland stance, which has provoked the ire of the Somaliland government.


Somalia: Somaliland Government Blocks Broadcaster

11 October 2010. http://allafrica.com/stories/201010111951.html

Somaliland authorities have blocked a United Kingdom-based satellite broadcaster Universal TV in the breakaway republic in northern Somalia. The block comes less than four months after the region held peaceful elections.

Khadar Mahamed Akulle, the Somaliland office director of the station, expressed concern over the government's action so soon after the June elections.

"If the government started to do this, maybe they could create a crisis in the country," he told RFI.

Information minister Abdullahi Osman placed an indefinite suspension on the TV channel, but has not given a reason for doing so.

Mahamed said Universal TV staff are in talks with Somaliland authorities over the suspension.

Universal TV covers news for the Somali diaspora, with correspondents in Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya.

Somaliland declared itself a republic in 1991, but is not internationally recognised.

In its June elections, opposition leader Mohamed Silyano defeated incumbent Dahir Riyale.


CPJ faults Somaliland for obstructing UK satellite station

BBC Monitoring Media. London: Oct 10, 2010. Committee to Protect Journalists press release, New York, in English 7 Oct 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. Text of press release by New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) on 7 October

New York, October 7, 2010-Authorities in Somaliland should immediately lift a suspension order imposed against the UK-based satellite broadcaster Universal TV, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The order bars the station's correspondents from reporting in the breakaway republic in northern Somalia, Khadar Mahamed, Universal TV senior newscaster and producer, told CPJ.

"This abrupt order tarnishes Somaliland's press freedom record," said CPJ's East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. "We call on Somaliland authorities to lift the suspension immediately."

Information Minister Abdullahi Osman told CPJ that he imposed the indefinite suspension in a letter to the station. Although the minister's official statement accused the station of bias, Osman told CPJ there was no specific issue that led to the suspension. Still, local journalists noted the suspension came shortly after Universal TV aired interviews and a debate program concerning the separatist Sool, Sanag and Cayn militia based along the borders of Somaliland.

Mahamed said Universal TV management is in talks with Somaliland authorities over the suspension.

Established in 2005, Universal TV covers news for the Somali diaspora with correspondents based in places including Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya. In June, hard-line Islamist rebels called for the assassination of former Universal correspondent Abdulahi Ibrahim Dasar after he covered a South African newspaper's publication of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, according to CPJ research.

Somaliland, a self-declared republic since 1991, is not internationally recognized. Somaliland held elections in June during which minor incidents of media harassment were reported, according to CPJ research. Former opposition leader Mohamed Silyano won the presidential election, defeating outgoing president Dahir Riyale.


Somaliland Women’s Agenda Conference by NAGAAD

09 October 2010

Somaliland Women’s Agenda Conference which was held at Ambassador hotel, in Hargeisa from 4th to 6th October 2010 in the presence of the representatives of Somaliland government, the International humanitarian community, the United Nations and Civil Society. We are determined to strengthen our shared commitment to ensuring that the following Women’s Agenda is included in the National Development Plan (NDP) of Somaliland.

When we have identified the problems facing women with regards to:-
* Poor and low levels of education
* Lack of independent financial income and low employment
* Lack of access to and poor health care amongst women
* Limited participation of women in politics and decision making at all levels

We proclaim the following strategies to be fulfilled:

Education:-

* National awareness raising campaigns on the importance of girl’s education for the population of Somaliland.
* To train and employ qualified female teachers in public schools to act as role models for female students and reduce the dropout rate of girls from school at higher levels of education
* To financially assist poor families to educate their daughters with free schooling at lower levels and sponsorships and scholarships at higher education
* Care and attention to be given to girls with disabilities and provide them with a conducive learning environment
* Establish local schools to girls in rural areas such as mobile schools

Economy and employment:-

* To provide training to business women on business and marketable skills to access the job market
* To provide women with financial aid in the form of micro finance credits and loans to start up and invest in businesses
* Job creation and sources of income generation for women
* Improving the knowledge and skills of employed women to attain job promotion and setting up internships for graduate female to gain experience in the job market
* Assessment and research to be done on the statues of businesswomen

Health:-

* To establish effective, local and resourced and affordable health care services to address the health requirements of women in rural and urban areas
* Health promotion in society and awareness of illness and diseases in society
* To increase the number of female health professionals to see female patients
* To reduce and regulate the operations of pharmacies and control there distribution of medicines
* To regulate traditional healers and there distribution of traditional remedies and traditional practices that harm women such as FGM
* To improve the awareness and levels of hygiene and sanitation in society

Political participation

* To encourage traditional, clan and religious leaders to speak on the role of women in political participation and decision making
* To set up mechanisms to allow female participation in politics such as quota systems and affirmative action for female candidates
* For women to have special quotes to attain positions within their political party
* For women to establish female solidarity and unity amongst themselves to establish a common voice and support each other financially and politically

To campaign for women’s political Awareness and the realization of the 25% quota promised by the current government .

09 October 2010. http://nagaad.org/lag/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=75&Itemid=1


Somaliland: Censorship and Universal TV

Ahmed Kheyre. October 10, 2010. http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/191889

The recent decision by the Somaliland Information minister to suspend the broadcasts of a Somali cable station based in London, UK appears to be somewhat draconian and goes against everything Somaliland stands for.

It is no secret that this particular station is not a friend of Somaliland. There is a lack of journalistic objectivity in their broadcasts, let us be frank, there is hardly any journalism displayed in the contents of its programming. But, this should not be a reason to instigate state censorship.

This station is not the BBC, CNN, France 24, Al-Arabiya, Al-Jazeera or any other prestigious network. It is a small, Somali speaking station, which began with good intentions, but, like all things Somali, eventually reverted to negativism, nepotism, tribalism, and has now completely lost all credibility, similar to the BBC Somali Service and VOA Somali Service.

I can understand why most Somalilanders despise this station. If Somalilanders want to watch the songs and comedies on the television station, then that is Ok, but they can always switch off the political content.

There are several alternatives to this television station both in Somaliland and abroad. There is a choice and no one is forcing the viewers to watch the station.

That is why it is somewhat dismaying to see the new Somaliland government engage in what appears to be state sanctioned censorship. I think a free press, whether we like or not, is a must in a democracy. Furthermore, the majority of Somalilanders are aware of this station's allegiances, and in any case, this particular station appeals to those who are known opponents of Somaliland. So what is else is new!

So let them broadcast, the people of Somalilander are already aware of the station's aims, and nothing can hinder or thwart Somaliland's march towards international recognition.


Somaliland: Now it is Time to Muffle Freedom of Speech

October 7, 2010. http://harowo.com/2010/10/07/somaliland-now-it-is-time-to-muffle-freedom-of-speech/

Mohamed F Yabarag. Email: myabarag@yahoo.co.uk

Barely three months have gone since Ahmed Silanyo’s lopsided government came to office in “Somaliland”, and everything seems to be turning ugly for the new lot. You would expect any newly-elected government to enjoy a relative calm in office (political honeymoon if you like) at least for the first year without encountering serious problems/challenges that may hasten its inevitable downfall. But Ahmed Silanyo’s one clan dominated government is already on a collision course with the press community.

In addition to its new war with the press, this government is facing serious challenges from almost all fronts and consequently may have already alienated a large chunk of its ardent supporters. Sool and Eastern Sannaag have already gone to determine their own destiny. Awdal and Salal may follow suit.

Drawing a large contingent of its ministers from the Diaspora community in Europe and North America for their unwavering and often blind support for Kulmiye political party during opposition days, one of the new recruits, the minister of information, Abdillahi Geeljire, famous for having a slanging match with Rayaalle’s government officials from his then Canadian retreat in his infamous and rather ridiculous Doolaal and Dubbe critique on Somaliland.org site, has now picked up an unwinnable fight with the press when he issued a memorandum in which Universal TV, the London-based Somali channel, will be temporarily banned from operating in “Somaliland” soil until its reporters toe the line and become mouthpieces for the new government. A government controlled puppet, if you like. In which era Abdillahi Geeljire live?

One of the accusations labeled against Universal TV is the fact that its reporters are disseminating lies about “Somaliland’ and concentrating their coverage on areas/groups the information minister described as anti-Somalilanders such as the SSC liberation front that operates from Buuhoodle. Without mentioning it by name, he may also have in mind the current troubles in Awdal and Salal where the residents of these regions overwhelmingly voiced their anger and frustration against Ahmed Silanyo government’s heavy handedness in dealing with the recent ONLF fiasco as well as its lopsided nature.

The most ridiculous of all these accusations, according to minister’s press statement, is that Universal TV reporters failed to attend their mobiles when contacted by ministry of information officials. Minister, don’t forget mobile phones are personal properties and its owners can switch off and on whenever they like. What made this story rather bizarre is the fact that this is coming from someone who plied his trade in Canada as a political pundit or rather fittingly armchair commentator, someone who lived in the free world for many years and seen in his own eyes what the freedom of press is all about. They say the leopard never changes spots.

In this globalized village we live in, nothing can escape from the preying eye of the press. Many people before you have tried and failed spectacularly. You may ban Universal TV and others, but both information and disinformation will be beamed to our homes by the ever present online media that is prevalent in Somaliland more than anywhere else. In democratic countries such as the one you lived for all those years before seeking pastures land in “Somaliland”, there is no such thing as ministry of information (MIO). There are only spokespersons for each ministry and department. Ministry of information only existed in the old communist countries in Eastern Europe and other undemocratic countries in Africa and Asia.

Perhaps your next step is to throw pressmen and presswomen into the filthy Mandeera jail where your fellow ministers, Mohamed Hashi and Gaboose, were once kept by ‘Somaliland’s” former government. Mr. Minister, picking the press as your next battle ground will alienate many supporters of your government and may also precipitate your own downfall and consequent relieve from office. So, you better tread carefully before you become a footnote in “Somaliland” history like many fortune seekers before you.

Banning Universal TV and others from operating in “Somaliland” may put you in the headlines for a short period of time as the most able minister in Silanyo’s cabinet, but in the long run you may become a liability in the same cabinet, which could only mean one thing: losing your ministerial post and returning to your adopted country where another episode of Doolaal and Dubbe may be beckoning.


Should the U.S. Help Break Up Somalia?

Oct 7 2010, VIDEO: Johnnie Carson on U.S. policy towards Somalia

Last month, the United States announced a new policy toward Somalia. In a September 24 press briefing in New York City, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said that the U.S. would "work to engage more actively with the governments of Puntland and Somaliland," two autonomous regions within Somalia. This ends the U.S. policy of relating exclusively to Somalia's transitional federal government (TFG), which can be described as the country's central government only if "central" is understood to mean controlling several blocks of the capital with the help of 7,000 foreign soldiers. The change was driven by escalating violence in Somalia's south from the al-Qaeda-aligned militant outfit al-Shabaab, the TFG's clear ineffectiveness, and the relative security that both Somaliland and Puntland have enjoyed. Though this new policy falls far short of recognizing Somaliland's long-sought independence, thus creating a new African state and fundamentally reshaping the Horn of Africa, some observers believe the U.S. should now give independence a closer look.

The U.S.'s hope is that by engaging Somaliland and Puntland, those regions will be better equipped to contain the spread of violence. Carson made this clear, saying that both regions are expected to "be a bulwark against extremism and radicalism that might emerge from the South." He continued, "We hope to be able to have more American diplomats and aid workers going into those countries on an ad hoc basis to meet with government officials to see how we can help them improve their capacity to provide services."

Though Somaliland declared its independence on May 18, 1991, it is not internationally recognized; Puntland declared itself an autonomous state in 1998, but has not sought outright independence. Carson, by referencing these regions as countries, drew questions from reporters on whether the U.S. was contemplating diplomatic recognition of them as independent states. He replied that the U.S. "still recognized only a single Somali state." But Somaliland's representatives believe the U.S.'s policy shift does not go far enough.

I spoke with Saad Noor, the North American representative of the Republic of Somaliland, who believes that as long as its independence is not recognized Somaliland's relative stability will be in jeopardy. He noted that, at present, Somaliland cannot engage with international institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, or even the Universal Postal Union. Noor also pointed to businesses' hesitancy to engage in the region because Somaliland's status as an unofficial country makes it difficult to insure their investments. Without recognition, Noor claimed, "our people's hopes and adherence to the state will erode day to day. If you cannot employ and educate the young men and young women, if you cannot build roads, if you cannot bring businesses that provide jobs, everything will be in a state of continuous deterioration."

Noor is also unhappy that the U.S. is explicitly linking its Somaliland and Puntland policies. "Puntland never left the union," he said. "Puntland still flies the flag of Somalia and uses the same currency. They say that they would like to have a federal republic of Somalia."

Most of the scholarship to date regarding Somaliland's independence supports U.S. recognition. J. Schraeder made the case in a piece he wrote for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Matt Bryden proclamed that Somaliland "looks like a state, smells like a state and tastes like a state." (Honestly, it makes more sense in context.) To be fair, ideas that are far from being implemented frequently have more public advocates than adversaries, and only garner more opposition once they look like they could become a reality.

I spoke to a few opponents of recognizing Somaliland to get a better sense of the debate. Abdulkadir Hashi, Puntland's State Minister for International Cooperation, called me from Puntland and voiced a fundamental philosophical objection. "The world is coming together," he said, pointing to the European Union as one example. "So it doesn't make sense for Somali people to be split up." Puntland thus does not seek independence, and opposes independence for Somaliland.

Another opponent of Somaliland independence is Abdiweli Ali, an associate professor of economics at Niagara University who has advised some of Somalia's political entities. Ali told me that geopolitical concerns include territorial disputes between Puntland and Somaliland, which he believes could make cause conflict. Some of the clans in these regions identify with Puntland rather than Somaliland, for example. In my conversation with Saad Noor, he brushed this concern aside, pointing out that Somaliland declared its independence almost twenty years ago. "Why haven't those bad things happened so far?" he asked.

Another objection that Ali raised is the precedent that Somaliland independence might set. "If you allow Texas to secede, how can you deny Oklahoma?" he asked. Advocates of Somaliland independence point to the fact that it once was an independent country: the former British Somaliland Protectorate gained independence on June 26, 1960, and was recognized by 35 countries before voluntarily forming a union with the former Italian Somalia five days later. Peter Schraeder wrore that Somaliland independence would not "call into question the African mantra of the 'inviolability of frontiers' inherited at independence." Instead, dissolving the union "would constitute a unique case of returning to the boundaries inherited from the colonial era."

While Abdulkadir Hashi acknowledges that Somalia's north has historically been short-changed by the government in the south, he told me: "I don't think that the grievances of the Somaliland people, great as they are, really justify secession." He suggests that there may be intermediate solutions short of independence, such as giving the country's presidency to Somaliland.

Whether or not recognizing Somaliland's independence is the right solution, the U.S. would do well to understand the challenges that the region confronts. As Noor said, "Somaliland is held up as a shining example because of its successful recent elections and security situation. But it could lose its shine. The situation is not sustainable unless the international community invests in it." And it is clear that the U.S.'s engagement with Somaliland and Puntland will only grow increasingly important, since the new U.S. policy is an acknowledgement that the TFG is not up to the challenges that confront it. So the policy is not just about Somaliland and Puntland: it is also about admitting to ourselves that the violence in the South will not end anytime soon, and searching for ways to contain its spread.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross - Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is the Director of the Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is currently writing a book about the history of Ethiopia's war in Somalia.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/10/should-the-us-help-break-up-somalia/64163/


Somalia: Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin Issue #39, 1 - 8 October 2010

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). 08 Oct 2010

Key Overall Developments

Somaliland suspends operations of a TV network

On 5 October, Somaliland authorities suspended the operations of Universal TV network for allegedly failing to execute its media duties impartially. The National Union of Somali Journalists issued a press statement expressing concern over the decision. They called on the Somaliland government to lift the suspension

Gender Marker achieved

The Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) has endorsed gender as one of the project selection criteria in the Somalia Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for 2011. A greater familiarity and comfort with the Gender Marker was achieved through a workshop with all clusters. The Gender Marker is a tool that codes, on a scale of 0-2, whether or not a humanitarian project is designed well enough to ensure that women/girls and men/boys will benefit equally from it or that it will advance gender equality in another way. Other important measures the IASC has taken are the appointment and orientation of Gender Marker Focal Points for all of the Clusters; the development of two-four Minimum Gender Standards for each Cluster, which each project must meet to achieve a good Gender Code and the development of guidance notes on gender and the Gender Marker in the 2011 CAP.


Somalia: Somaliland Bans Universal TV

Garowe Online (Garowe) 7 October 2010

Somaliland Minister of Information, Abdullahi Osman Jama shut-down Somali's Universal TV, accused over propagating Somaliland affairs.

Abdullahi Osman Jama also known as Geel-jire claimed the station broadcasted programs that supports the SSC-Somaliland opposition group that based in Buuhoodle, a border town between Somalia and Ethiopia.

The minister said the TV channel has lost impartiality and insulted Somaliland population.

Meanwhile, Geel-jire claims that his phones to the Stations directors went an answered, prompting his office to take action against the channel.

Al-Shabab has also declared Universal TV "enemies of Islam" because they allegedly broadcast pictures of the prophet Muhammad and banned from the places where they controls.

Universal TV, a London-based broadcast airs only Somali language.


Somaliland authorities suspend broadcasts of popular London-based TV network

8 October 2010. http://www.ifex.org/somalia/2010/10/08/universal_tv_suspended/

(NUSOJ/IFEX) - The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) has expressed concern over the Somaliland authorities' decision to temporarily suspend, on the evening of 5 October 2010, the operations of the London-based private Universal TV network in Somaliland.

A letter issued by Somaliland Minister of Information and Public Orientation, Abdullahi Osman Jama, accused Universal TV of having "failed to execute its media duties impartially". The Minister, who asked the Somaliland law enforcement organs and the Interior Ministry to implement the suspension, added that Universal TV bypassed "international standards of journalism" and that its administration had refused to answer telephone calls from the Ministry, an allegation denied by Ahmed Abubakar, Director General of Universal TV who said that they did not receive any complaint or communication from the authorities.

"Any type of suspension or interruption of the routine work of the media is a breach of the freedom of communication and expression which are implemented through electronic media as well as print media. As a result, this suspension is against the basic principles and criteria of free media," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary-General.

NUSOJ has called on the Somaliland authorities to lift the suspension and allow for the resumption of operations by giving dialogue a chance in order to promote free and ethical media. "We reiterate our call to the Somaliland administration to open the airwaves for radio broadcasting. This is a major test to the new administration's commitment to free media," Omar Faruk added.

Universal TV is a leading and popular Somali television network based in London but broadcasting in Somaliland and the larger Somalia with a network of correspondents in many parts of the world.


Somaliland obstructs UK satellite station

http://cpj.org/2010/10/somaliland-obstructs-uk-satellite-station.php

New York, October 7, 2010--Authorities in Somaliland should immediately lift a suspension order imposed against the UK-based satellite broadcaster Universal TV, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The order bars the station's correspondents from reporting in the breakaway republic in northern Somalia, Khadar Mahamed, Universal TV senior newscaster and producer, told CPJ.

"This abrupt order tarnishes Somaliland's press freedom record," said CPJ's East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. "We call on Somaliland authorities to lift the suspension immediately."

Information Minister Abdullahi Osman told CPJ that he imposed the indefinite suspension in a letter to the station. Although the minister's official statement accused the station of bias, Osman told CPJ there was no specific issue that led to the suspension. Still, local journalists noted the suspension came shortly after Universal TV aired interviews and a debate program concerning the separatist Sool, Sanag and Cayn militia based along the borders of Somaliland.

Mahamed said Universal TV management is in talks with Somaliland authorities over the suspension.

Established in 2005, Universal TV covers news for the Somali diaspora with correspondents based in places including Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya. In June, hard-line Islamist rebels called for the assassination of former Universal correspondent Abdulahi Ibrahim Dasar after he covered a South African newspaper's publication of controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, according to CPJ research.

Somaliland, a self-declared republic since 1991, is not internationally recognized. Somaliland held elections in June during which minor incidents of media harassment were reported, according to CPJ research. Former opposition leader Mohamed Silyano won the presidential election, defeating outgoing president Dahir Riyale.


Somaliland paper urges US to implement new policy "quickly"

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Oct 6, 2010. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 2 Oct 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Text of report in English by Somali newspaper The Somaliland Times website on 2 October

Anyone who is familiar with our editorials can attest that we have been pushing for close to a decade now for the US and the international community to recognize Somaliland's independence and to provide economic, security, and political assistance to Somaliland. Along with the need for such assistance to Somaliland, we also often gave the rationale for it, namely, that Somaliland is too vital a player in ensuring international security in the Horn of Africa to be left to fend for itself. Our last editorial carried this message. But after our previous issue already went to press, we were pleasantly surprised that the US government finally announced a shift in its policy in the direction that this newspaper, successive Somaliland governments, and many well-informed observers of the Horn of Africa political scene have been advocating for many years. We welcome and applaud this shift in US policy.

With this announcement, the paralysing ambiguity in the US policy towards Somaliland has been lifted, at least theoretically. The US position is now clear, and it is based on political engagement and development assistance. This falls short of Somaliland's desire for full-fledged diplomatic recognition, but it is definitely a substantial forward movement in the US position. A potential downside to this move is that increased aid will give the US more leverage over Somaliland, but this is a risk that Somaliland, like many other countries, is willing to take, and should take.

Now that its position is clearer, the US government must act quickly, in consultation with Somaliland's government, and begin implementing this new policy. The best way to show US seriousness is for its top diplomat in Africa, Johnnie Carson to take a more visible role and lead these efforts.


President Silanyo accuses Eritrea of smuggling rebels through Somaliland

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Oct 6, 2010. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 2 Oct 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Somaliland President Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo accused the Eritrean government of training and arming Ogaden National Liberation (ONLF) militias then smuggling them to Somaliland so that they would clandestinely cross the border to Ethiopia and wage war there.

President Ahmad Sillanyo condemned the Eritrean government for organizing and sponsoring the landing of ONLF militants on Somaliland soil.

He said the Eritrean government's action is an act of terrorism, a gross interference in Somaliland's affair, and a threat to neighbouring countries.

The President emphasized that the Somaliland government has taken steps to counter this threat to the country's security and will take further measures.

The president made these statements in a graduation ceremony at the University of Hargeisa earlier this the week.


Off the Beaten Track: A Few Pointers for Navigating Somaliland (PHOTOS)

Mike Arkus, October 6, 2010. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-arkus/off-the-beaten-track-a-fe_b_748527.html

The northern section of Somalia, which proclaimed its independence in 1991, is free of the mindless violence tearing the rest of the country apart and offers rewarding sites from age-old rock paintings to spectacular escarpments to blinding white beaches -- much indeed to interest the visitor who ventures on this road less traveled.

Getting There From Neighboring Countries: Overland from Ethiopia is a relative, if potentially uncomfortable, cinch by bus from Jijiga; at the border group taxis drive on to Hargeisa, the capital, all easily doable in a day. Air travel remains suspended following a bomb attack against Ethiopian targets in Hargeisa in 2008.

From Djibouti, there are supposed to be daily landrovers, but these can take 20 hours or more, travel mainly at night to avoid the heat so you don't see much, and are subject to frequent breakdowns. So I went by plane. There are four flights a week by two companies, Daallo and Jubba, the latter suiting my timetable.

On A Wing And A Prayer: Well, it does at least have two wings -- but that's about all you can say for it -- and many a prayer on the part of yours truly. Jubba's 1,000-year old four-engine Russian Ilyushin 18 turboprop is something out of science retro-fiction. It's filthy, the seat belts don't work properly, corroded immutably and for eternity into maximum stretch for vast vodka-filled bellies; and don't even think of pulling down the table in the seat back -- I did, and it had repulsive calcified food remains from the 60s. Come to think of it, they could be mine; the last time I flew an Ilyushin 18 was in Cuba in 1966; perhaps this is the very same plane, and these the remains of my 1966 repast.

Fortunately it's only 45 minutes to Hargeisa. On landing, the Russian pilot is out on the tarmac giving a very suspicious glower at the outer right engine, tapping it as though it were a tuning fork to see if it sounds safe to take off again.

Security: Other than a deadly bomb attack in 2008 against UN and Ethiopian targets in Hargeisa, apparently by Al Shabab Islamists from the south, there has been little major violence. But security is pervasive with zillions of police and army checkpoints on all the roads. At the time I was there (July), just after democratic elections in which the opposition won and actually took power peacefully, it was possible to go by public bus to Berbera and the inland city of Burao and the Ethiopian border. Travel further east, where clan loyalties to the Puntland autonomous region of Somalia have caused tension and clashes, requires renting a 4X4 and an armed security police guard, the latter costing $15 a day. Unlike many other African cities, Hargeisa seems relatively safe to wander around in the center till at least about 10:30PM.

Sights and Sites: The premier tourist attraction is Laas Geel. Large rock overhangs on outcroppings on the vast savanna an hour from Hargeisa make a natural shelter against the elements on the 4,000-foot high plateau where 7,000 to 10,000 years ago some artistically inclined cavemen felt their home needed a make-over. They set to work with the rock minerals at hand -- deep red, white, yellow -- and produced some truly remarkably paintings. OK, the Mona Lisa, or Last Supper it ain't, but then old Leonardo had some 6,500 to 9,500 years of technological advances to work with. They're not the sort of rock paintings you have to strain your eyes and imagination to decipher. The deep red cows with udders waiting to be milked, the men in white shirts, the group dancing, and the family dog with his upturned tail certainly deserve to be put on UNESCO's World Heritage Sites List, regardless of non-recognized independence claims.

Berbera on the Red Sea coast is a bit of a wreck as are most of the cities, due to the heavy damage inflicted in the pre-independence civil war. But the coast is great for beachcombers even if searingly hot.

The drive inland to the plateau through spectacular mountain gorges is splendid, and the vast lonely plateau stretching out to the horizon with the occasional nomad 'homesteads,' permanent small mosques and milling camel herds is incredibly evocative. Finally the fantastic escarpment by Daallo mountain with its drop of thousands of feet near Erigavo in the east is truly awe-inspiring. For this I needed to rent a 4X4 at $200 a day with driver, guide and the armed security guard all in.

Money: compared with neighboring African cities, it is really cheap. For instance when I was in Hargeisa the Oriental Hotel charged $15 for a clean room with fan and shower and $4 for a great meal in a great setting -- a large indoor courtyard with pergolas and balconies -- right in the center of Hargeisa. Fortunately dollars are accepted everywhere, otherwise you'd almost need a donkey cart to cart your local money around -- at 6,000 shillings to the dollar, and 500 shillings the highest denomination. If you want to see Rothschild a la Somaliland, there's a whole lane in the market lined with money changers sitting on the ground, their little tables piled high with huge bricks of bank notes in bundles a couple of feet tall, some using the loot as foot rests. In Erigavo, it's even worse; they use the Somalia shilling and if Somalia's highest note is 1,000 shillings and it takes 32,000 shillings to equal $1, just do the math.

Talk Of The Town: If you're at a loose end in Hargeisa after dipping into the cacophonous effervescence of markets crowded with donkey carts amid the amplified calls of the muezzin, you could do worse than go to the Imperial Hotel, just beyond the walled presidential palace. The building is run down, but its meal and tea garden is the watering hole for the local literati, gliterati, politicati, and reporterati as it's bang in the center of government offices. Here, at little tables scattered amid copses of flowering bushes and trees, the latest scraps of 'news' can be gathered and regurgitated in the 'information bourse' as you seek out the latest Somaliland "deep throat" and generally fill up on local gossip, local color and local what-ever among the friendly patrons.


An interview with Professor I.M.Lewis On Success of Somaliland and failure of Somalia

Written by Farshaxan Group, Oct 05, 2010. http://www.qarannews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9120&Itemid=59. September 20,2010.

1. I.M.Lewis's books on Amazon
2. IM LEWIS, MASTER ETHNOGRAPHER OF THE SOMALI
3. I. M. LEWIS. Force and Fission in Northern Somali Lineage Structure

Professor I.M Lewis is a worldwide well-respected anthropologist. He has many writings; books, article, etc. He also delivers many historical and political lectures about Somalia and Somaliland. Not that he used the pen to clarify historical and ground-root differences of Somalia and Somaliland, he went to both countries uncountable times to experience and witness those dissimilarities in Culture, Social, and Political views as a first handexperience.

As a Farshaxan group, we are honored to have him accepted our request of interviewing him. Farshaxan group are established to preserve all historical and cultural events in Somaliland as well as to assist Somalia to learn more from those historical and political achievements which Somaliland established so far. Somaliland people established equivalence and compatibility between cultural authority and democratic authority as neither of them can be ignored nor belittled.

Professor I.M.Lewis recently published a great book with the name of "MAKING AND BREA KING STATES IN AFRICA The Somali Experience".In this book as well as his other books about Somalia and Somaliland, he emphasized the significant difference of the two countries (Somalia and Somaliland). The truth and reality on the ground field are revealed and supported by him as well as many other scholars. But there are always those who can not recognize that as they are ignorantly and selfishly acting as supporters of the Somali Democratic Republic, while at the end they are hurting that country's people(Somalia Community).

Professor I.M.Lewis in this book tried as he always does to present the reality of the ground, so Somalia will progress efficiently and wake up from the illusionary system that they keep adopting since 1991and for Somaliland to do better politically and economically.

Our Community is of people [Bulshadeenu waa duul]
Sincere and great modesty [Daacad iyo xishood badan]
Made of silken thread [Dun xariira weeyaan]
They mistreat none [Qofna uma daraadaraan]
They live in Allah's grace [Dar Alley ku dhaqantaa]
They are vulnerable to feelings [Dareen waa u dhagweyn tahay]
But mind you,Fools they are not [Ogow doqonse maahee]
Daala'an composed by Mahamed Ibrahin Hadrawi and Translated by Dr.Bulhan

The interview took place as follows:

Farshaxan Group: Professor I.M.Lewis, welcome to Farshaxan group and we appreciate your acceptance of our request.

I.M.Lewis: I welcome your interest.

Farshaxan Group: We would like to start getting to know your background. Can you please give a summary of your lifelong journey starting of where you were born, educated, etc. with dates?

I.M.Lewis: I was born in 1930 in Glasgow Scotland. When my father, a former journalist who had been Editor of the Mesopotania Times died we moved from London to my mother's family(Reer Abti) where we lived until I had completed a BSc in Chemistry at Glasgow University in1948. I then moved to Oxford University to study Social Anthropology, completing first a library research B.Litt. degree on Somali history, ethnography, and culture. I then moved, with my wife, Ann, in 1955 to carry out first-hand field research amongst the Somali people, based originally in British Somaliland(where my first child was born), and moving later to Somalia.

Farshaxan Group: What helped you to be a writer?

I.M.Lewis: My father was a journalist and my parents and grandparents valued literature and poetry.

Farshaxan Group: How many books did you so far write?

I.M.Lewis: About 20 see bibliography in Festchrift ‘Milk and Peace : Drought amd War'; Hurst, 2010

Farshaxan Group: How did you get involve in Somali and Somaliland affairs?

I.M.Lewis: By accident, when I was looking for a post-graduate research topic and met B.W. Andrzejewski and Musa Galal (and Abdi Telephone') who jointly inspired me.

Farshaxan Group: How do you differentiate Somaliland from Somalia culturally and politically?

I.M.Lewis: The democratic pastoral tradition is stronger in Somaliland than Somalia which has also suffered from Mafia corruption in the colonial and post-colonial periods.

Farshaxan Group: More than fourteen conferences were held to establish a central government for Somalia and all failed including the current with the help of all the world financially and politically. But Somaliland established a government of their own with no external support and just held one of the historic presidential elections in the world . What do you think that made that significant difference of both countries?

I.M.Lewis: Too much outside interference by ignorant people without any genuine interest in the Somali people as a whole. Intellectually their efforts were also vitiated by their obsession with top-down centralized conceptions of the state which did not easily accommodate the uncentralised bottom up style of democratic Somali style of decision-making which has been followed in Somaliland with promising results so far.

Farshaxan Group: How was it possible for Somaliland people to solve their differences in a democratic way in experience?

I.M.Lewis: Because they-Somaliland people- allow more room for traditional patterns of governance. Southern Somalia has been too strongly influenced by inappropriate European political models, especially from Italy.

Farshaxan Group: Somaliland held a presidential election recently that ended in successful way as well as they did before. What message does that send to the world?

I.M.Lewis: A very encouraging message which has not received as much attention as it should from European and US governments who preach democracy but ignore it when it is practiced in the indigenous cultures of the Third World.

Farshaxan Group: Somaliland people are so great into compromising and solving their issues. This is historically proven. What would you say about that?

I.M.Lewis: I agree with this assessment and think that the Somalilanders are very fortunate in this respect.

Best Wishes

I.M.Lewis. 15 September 2010

"Ioan M. Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and was Director of the International African Institute and Chairman of the Africa Educational Trust. He has taught Social Anthropology in Africa, Asia, North America, and Europe and written over twenty books, seven on various aspects of Somali society and culture. He is widely regarded as a world authority on Somali and a leading British social anthropologist".

-MAKING AND BREA KING STATES IN AFRICA The Somali Experience-

[Nin qabyaalad doojow] He who fosters clannism[is a fool]
[Doqoniimo waa cudur] And foolishness is a disease
[Haddii aad dux leedahay] If you had substance
[Bal docdaada eeg] Just look around you
[Inta dumar agoomo ah] How many are widow wives
[Inta dhiig dad la qubay] How much blood was shed
[Inta darib nin la cunay] How many men were eaten alive!
[Inta duul ku qaran jabay] How amny people suffered national defeat

By: Mahamed Hashi Dhamac "Gaarriye" and Translated by Dr.Bulhan

I.M.Lewis was born in January 1930 in Glasgow,Scotland.He is married to Ann with four children. His first child was born in Somaliland. In 1951 he got his Bachelor degree in Chemistry at Glasgow University.At just about that time,he did a research on synthesis of anti-malarias as he had the opportunity to see an advertisement of the Nuffied Foundation.

This foundation was established in 1943 by William Morris, later Lord Nuffield.

Lord Nuffield left school at an early age, but was able to own the first company that introduced mass production methods in British industrial companies. The main goal of this foundation was to promote what he called "advancement of social well-being".

After he had applied for that scholarship of Nuffied Foundation, he ended up getting a diploma in Anthropology in Oxford University. This could be given to be the turning point of Professor I.M.Lewis getting into social science field. He finally got his PhD in Scoial Anthropology in 1957.

He did many field researches in Somaliland and Somali. He had been to those two countries many times such as 1955- 1957, 1962, 1964, 1974, 1978,1980,1982,1986,etc.He accomplished many researches in those years that many of the so-called scholars never dreamed of beside them being born to Somali lineage.

He was honored by different institutions for his works and lectures over the years. He was a visiting professor to many universities in the world. Such as the University of California at Berkeley(USA),University of Natal, University of Helsinki(Finland),University of Rome(Italy),Rutgers University, Wolfson College (Oxford), University of Malaya, University of Kyoto, University of Addis Ababa(Ethiopia), Ecole des Hautes Etudes (CNRS)at Marseilles(France),University of Bergen(Norway),etc.

He authored more than twenty books such as Peoples of the Horn of Africa, Somali Poetry (with B.W. Andrzejewski), Understanding Somalia and Somaliland (Culture, History, Society), etc. We, the members of Farshaxan group are so happy to congratulate Professor I.M.Lewis for being honest and courageous to mention how Somaliland succeeded in different aspects of politics and economics, as well as what Somalia could have done to get rid of the illusion of so-called imported governments. He took time from his busy schedule to publish the reality on the field as well as He stated the main differences between the two countries Somaliland and Somalia.


I. M. Lewis Master Ethnographer of the Somali: Recipient of the I.U.A.E.S. Commission on Nomadic Peoples Lifetime Achievement Award.

by Philip Carl Salzman. http://www.berghahnbooksonline.com/journals/np/abs/2003/7-2/NP0702_awards.pdf

It is through the work of Professor I.M. Lewis that we have learned most fully and most deeply about the Somali nomads, that 'fierce and turbulent race of Republicans', as Burton, quoted by Lewis, calls them. From Lewis' accounts of the Somali, always graceful, sympathetic, and analytically sharp, we have been taught about Somali nomads' way of life, their engagements with the wider world, their history, and their contemporary circumstances and dilemmas. Thanks to Lewis' efforts, publications on Somali nomads serve as one of the richest repositories in the ethnographic literature on nomadic peoples.

Lewis' general ethnography of the northern Somali nomads, A Pastoral Democracy, subtitled A Study of Pastoralism and Politics among the Northern Somali of the Horn of Africa, was published in 1961, and shortly followed by the brief complementary monograph, Marriage and the Family in Northern Somaliland (1962). Then Lewis collaborated with Andrzejewski on a volume about Somali Poetry: An Introduction (1964). The first edition of Lewis' history of the Somali, entitled The Modern History of Somaliland: From Nation to State, appeared in 1965. Three subsequent editions have been published, the latest, with the title, A Modern History of the Somali, in 2003. In addition to several brief, introductory works on the region, Lewis' more recent works on the Somali include: Nationalism and Self Determination in the Horn of Africa (1984); Blood and Bone: The Call of Kinship in Somali Society (1994); and Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somalia, Afar and Saho (1998).

Those of us who are familiar with A Pastoral Democracy and Lewis' supplementary ethnographic monographs and articles can testify to how full and rich his accounts of Somali nomads are, and with what a masterful eye he examines events to discern patterns. If I may be allowed a personal reminiscence, the Somali were the first nomads I met, and I met them in Lewis' A Pastoral Democracy. I was intrigued by the Somali nomads, not knowing at the time how much I owed to Lewis for the fascination that I felt. Reading A Pastoral Democracy was a major step for me along a path I have trod for many years (although Lewis of course cannot be held responsible for any of my ethnographic or theoretical sins).

Lewis as we know did not stop at his ethnography of a tribal people. He pursued the Somali back through history, and forward through the passing of time, and outward geographically in order to contextualise Somali people, practices, and activities. He particularly focused on the interplay between Somali culture and social construction in patterns of change and transformation such as state-building and state-breaking and other engagement with the wider and contemporary world. Thus Lewis has not left his Somali nomads as impressive examples of their ethnographic kind, but has followed them in their real lives as they struggle to make a place for themselves in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Lewis' work is a demonstration, if any such be needed, that the postmodern rejection of repeated field research and of continuity of ethnographic focus is an arid conceit.

We can see in Lewis' more general anthropological work an additional contribution of his ethnographic studies. Lewis' profound knowledge of tribal society arising from his Somali research is reflected in the wisdom of his more general treatises, such as Social Anthropology in Perspective (2nd edition 1985) and Ecstatic Religion: An Anthropological Study of Spirit Possession and Shamanism (1971), where we find examples drawn from the Somali, but, more importantly, his appreciation of the organisation and dynamics of social life and culture rests firmly on knowing first hand how tribal society works. The Commission on Nomadic Peoples of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences, in recognition of Professor I.M. Lewis' outstanding contribution to the study of nomadic peoples, presents Professor Lewis with its Lifetime Achievement Award.

Philip Carl Salzman, Chair, Awards Committee

http://www.berghahnbooksonline.com/journals/np/abs/2003/7-2/NP0702_awards.pdf


Somaliland forces foil terror attack

afrol News, 4 October - "Somaliland security forces arrested 17 terror suspects and captured explosives, weapons and remote controls," according to the government of the breakaway state. The Islamist group Al-Shabaab was indicated as the perpetrators.

Somaliland - a peaceful, stable democracy that broke away from Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognised by any state - has again been at the focus of terrorists from neighbouring Somalia, according to the government.

Interior Minister Mohamed Gabose yesterday held a press conference in Hargeisa, the capital, where he displayed the weapons and other items confiscated during the raids against the individuals accused of terrorism planning.

Minister Gabose revealed that Somaliland police and army forces had raided several buildings in the country's three major cities: Hargeisa, Burao and Berbera.

The explosives and remote controls found in some of the ransacked houses led to the suspicion of terror planning and the detention of 17 suspects, he explained. Minister Gabose added that police believed there were still members of "the group" at large and that police were on a massive search to arrest these suspected terrorists.

According to a Somaliland government statement, the suspects allegedly "planned" a terror attack and acted as a "group". It was not informed whether the alleged terror attack was to be in Somaliland or whether the suspects were Somalilander citizens.

Further, it remained unclear whether the police raid had been provoked by earlier suspicions against some the 17 detained, or whether it had been a lucky strike by the Somaliland police. The Ministry statement however indicated there had been a general "security sweep carried out in the cities of Somaliland."

Minister Gabose during the Hargeisa press conference went far in indicating that the Somali Islamist group Al-Shabaab was behind the alleged terror plot in Somaliland. Al-Shabaab controls large parts of Somalia and has organised several terror attacks in Somalia and outside, including in Kampala, Uganda, in July.

Somaliland has been at the focus of Somali terrorists earlier, even kidnapping and killing foreign aid workers. Security in Somaliland however is generally high, both for Somalilanders and foreigners.

Last month, the US State Department announced it would deepen ties with Somaliland - although without recognising the state - among other reasons to join forces in the fight against Al-Shabaab.


Somaliland Thwarts Terrorist attacks

October 3, 2010. http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7020094898?Somaliland%20Thwarts%20Terrorist%20attacks#ixzz11KqO5WXx Abdi Hajji Hussein

Hargeisa, Somalia (AHN) - The Security forces of the break away republic of Somaliland thwarted an Al shabaab terrorist attack.

In a joint press conference in Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa, Mohammed Abdi Gabose, Somaliland’s interior minister and Somaliland's police chief, Ilmi Rooble Furre said that the security forces foiled plotted terrorist attacks against Somaliland and even showed explosives.

“The last few days our powerful police forces conducted search operations in different parts of Somaliland cities and towns and managed to seize more than ten explosive things, including remote control explosives and unexploded suicide vests,” Somaliland interior minister Gabose said.

The minister blamed the failed terror attacks on Somalia’s hard-line terrorist group Al shabaab, which claimed responsibility for the deadly bombings which happened in the Ugandan capital of Kampala on July 12th.

Law enforcement officials, said investigators are still busy in conducting their investigations however 18 suspects have been detained.

However, no one has claimed responsibility for any of the attempted attacks in Somaliland so far.

Somaliland and Puntland have been the most stable areas in Somalia after the collapse of the country’s military government in 1991.

Somalilanders recently elected new president, Ahmed Siilaanyo, in free and fair national elections.


Nutrition Situation Post Gu ‘10 Northern regions

Technical Series Report No VI. 32. September 17, 2010

Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit - Somalia
Box 1230, Village Market, Nairobi, Kenya
Website: www.fsnau.org
Email: info@fsnau.org

Full-text report

1. Executive Summary

Northern regions

The nutrition situation shows a varied picture throughout the country, with improvements in northern areas yet a sustained crisis in South Central areas.

From April to July 2010, FSNAU and partners conducted a total of 25 representative nutrition surveys (Table 1). Of these, 8 reported rates of global acute malnutrition (GAM) <10%, 7 reported rates in the 10-15% range, 7 reported rates in the 15-20% range, with the remaining 3 reporting rates >20%.

The median national rate of global acute malnutrition (GAM) is 15.2%, and 2.4% for severe acute malnutrition (SAM). This translates to an estimated 230,000 acutely malnourished children, of whom 35,000 are severely malnourished, representing 1 in 7 and 1 in 42, of all children under 5 years in Somalia. These national rates have indicated a slight reduction from the Deyr ‘09/10 six months ago, when 16% GAM and 4.2% SAM were reported, attributed mostly to improvements in the northern regions, Shabelle and Juba Regions. For South and Central regions, the area’s most affected by insecurity and limited humanitarian space; median rates are at 16.6% GAM and 4.5% SAM, translating into a caseload estimate of 90% of all the severely malnourished children in Somalia. These rates indicate a slight improvement in the GAM from 6 months ago, when median rates were at 19% GAM, with no change in the rate of SAM.

Northern regions

In the northwest regions, there is a mixed picture with notable recovery to Alert from the previous Serious situation in the East Golis Guban and Nugal Valley, and to Serious from Critical in the Toghdeer agro-pastoralists, mainly as a result of in migration of livestock and subsequent increased access to milk. Humanitarian support has also improved since July 2009. The Hawd pastoralists in the northwest are in a sustained Serious nutrition phase, attributed mainly to limited access to milk availability as a result of low calving in camels, sheep and goats. Given the population density, even without Critical or Very Critical rates of acute malnutrition, 21% of all acutely malnourished Somali children reside in the northwest, therefore integrated efforts to meet their needs are key.

Food Security Overview

Receded drought and improvements in parts of the north

The food security situation has improved in most pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods of the North, leading to a reduction of numbers of population in crisis from 14% in post Deyr 2009/10 to 10% in post Gu 2010. Good seasonal rainfall performance that improved livestock conditions and eliminated acute water shortages is mainly responsible for this positive development. However, Sool Plateau Pastoral of Sanaag region, which had suffered from four seasons of drought, still remains in HE due to significantly reduced livestock assets. On the positive side, Togdheer Agro-pastoral, previously identified in HE, has fully recovered from the crisis due to a significant improvement in cereal and cash-crop production.

REGIONAL NUTRITION ANALYSIS

Sool Plateau Livelihood Zone

The Post Deyr ’09 integrated nutrition situation analysis classified the nutrition situation of the Sool Plateau of Bari and Nugal regions as Alert from Serious in the Gu ‘09 The Alert nutrition was attributed to the normal rain performance, livestock in-migration and increased access to milk, water and income. The current season of Post Gu’10 integrated nutrition analysis has classified the situation in the livelihood zone as Sustained Alert. The nutrition improvement is likely attributed to increased milk access and humanitarian interventions in the region. Findings from a rapid weight for height assessment conducted in July 2010, based on the CDC calculator indicate a high probability that a GAM level of >5.0 % with a SAM rate of >0.6%, showing no significant difference in the both GAM and SAM rates. Although a higher proportion of assessed girls (>7.1%) were acutely malnourished compared to the boys (>2.4%) (Table 12). This difference was however not statistically significant. Analysis of MUAC measurements from 200 children (conducted in July 2010) from this livelihood zone indicates 2.0% of the children with MUAC<12.5cm and/or oedema. Data from health information systems (HIS) in the area indicates low numbers and a stable trend of acutely malnourished children screened at health facilities. The improvement of the nutrition situation in the livelihood is mainly attributed to improved household food security situation following normal to good rains received in the area, compared to the Post Deyr’09/10 season. Consequently, water availability, pasture and livestock body conditions were favourable, with more livestock in-migration resulting in increased meat and milk consumption and access to income. Although improvements in the nutritional situation in the area have been observed, the vulnerability of the region to natural shocks, e.g. drought, necessitates continued close monitoring of the situation.

4.8 Northwest Regions

The Northwest regions comprise mainly of pastoral livelihood zones namely: West Golis, Guban, East Golis of Sanaag region, the Hawd, Sool Plateau and the Nugal Valley. In addition, there are two agro-pastoral livelihood zones consisting of the Northwest agro-pastoral of Awdal and Galbeed region and Togdheer agro-pastoral of Togdheer and Sahil region. The livelihood zones cut across the administrative regions of Awdal, Galbeed, Togdheer, Sool and Sanaag.

Historical Overview Post Deyr ‘09/10 Food Security

The FSNAU Post Deyr ’09/10 integrated food security analysis classified the West Golis/Guban livelihood zone as Acute Food and Livelihood Crisis (AFLC), indicating no change in their phase classification from the preceding season, however, the food security indicators showed improvement. The Northwest agro-pastoral and the East Golis (of Sanaag region), Hawd and Nugal valley livelihood zones were also classified as being in AFLC, with the populations of Nugal Valley livelihood zone indicating a moderate risk of deterioration. The Togdheer agro-pastoral and the Sool Plateau pastoral livelihood zones were identified as being in a Humanitarian Emergency (HE). The estimated rural population in AFLC was 245,000 people, an increase from 240,000 people in the Gu ‘09. The total rural population in HE was 45,000. The population of the urban poor in AFLC increased to 200,000 from 150,000, while the number in HE also increased to 35,000 from 30,000 in Gu ‘09.

Nutrition

The Post Deyr ‘09/10 integrated nutrition situation analysis indicated improvement in most of the livelihood zones compared to the Post Gu ‘09. The West Golis and Guban livelihood zones indicated an improvement from Serious to Alert, while the East Golis of Sanaag/Gebbi valley livelihood zones showed slight improvement from Critical to Serious. The nutrition situation for the Sool Plateau livelihood zone improved from Serious to Alert. The populations of the Hawd of Sool livelihood zone also illustrated improvement from Serious to Alert, and the agro-pastoral populations of Awdal and Galbeed improved from a Critical nutrition situation to Alert. The Hawd of Hargeisa remained in a sustained Serious nutrition situation, while the nutrition situation of the agro-pastoral population of Togdheer remained Critical. The Hawd of Hargeisa, Sool Plateau, East Golis and upper Nugal Valley livelihoods indicated a risk to deteriorate, if the food security indicators in these areas did not improve in the Post Gu ‘10 season. The nutrition situation of the IDPs from Burao was classified as Serious, a slight improvement from the previous season when the situation was Critical, while the nutrition situation of the Berbera IDP population remained in a sustained Critical situation. The nutrition situation of the Hargeisa IDPs remained unchanged at Serious.See Figure 23 for Historical Trends.

Current Situation Post Gu ’10

Food Security

The FSNAU Post Gu ‘10 integrated food security analysis has classified the West Golis/Guban as Borderline Food Insecure (BFI), indicating an improvement in the food security situation of the livelihood. The Northwest agro-pastoral and the East Golis (of Sanaag region), Hawd and Nugal valley livelihood zones are classified as BFI an improvement from the previous season phase of AFLC. The Togdheer agro-pastoral population previously classified as being in Humanitarian Emergency in the previous season, shows a marked improvement in their food security situation and has been classified as Borderline Food Insecure after a favourable Gu ‘season. On the other hand, the Sool Plateau pastoral livelihood zone, despite showing an improvement in the food security indicators this season, in comparison to the Deyr ‘09/10, remains in Humanitarian Emergency (HE) as a proportion of the population still remains very vulnerable due to the effects of the previous drought seasons. The estimated rural population in AFLC is now 60,000 people, a decrease from 240,000 people in Deyr ‘09/10. The total population in HE is 25,000. The population of the urban poor in AFLC decreased from 200,000 to 125,000, while the number in the urban areas in HE, also decreased to 15,000 from 35,000 in Deyr ‘09/10.

Nutrition

The current Post Gu ‘10 nutrition situation depicts an improved nutrition situation in most of the livelihood zones compared to the Deyr ‘09/10 season. The nutrition situation remains stable at Alert for the Sool Plateau, and the Awdal and Galbeed agro-pastoral livelihood zones, also unchanged is the Hawd livelihood zone that remains Serious. Illustrating an improvement are the populations of the Nugal Valley and East Golis/ Gebbi livelihood zones, from Serious to Alert and the Togdheer agro-pastorolists from Critical in the previous season to Serious. A slight deterioration is noted in the West Golis/Guban livelihood zone, the situation is classified as Serious compared to the Alert phase reported in Deyr ‘09/10 . The deterioration is mainly attributed to normal seasonal migration patterns, hence reducing milk availability in the area. However, it is anticipated that in the coming season once milk availability resumes, the situation will improve. The nutrition situation of the IDPs from Burao is classified as Critical, a deterioration from Serious in the Post Deyr ‘09/10, while the nutrition situation of the Berbera IDP population still remains as Critical. The nutrition situation of the Hargeisa IDPs also remains unchanged at Serious. Malnutrition (GAM and SAM rates) and morbidity variables were disaggregated by gender and analyzed, the analysis indicated that there is no statistically significant difference between the two groups, indicating that boys and girls are equally affected by malnutrition and morbidity. However it has been noted in most livelihood zones that a higher proportion of boys are acutely malnourished in comparison to girls (see summary of key nutrition findings tables by livelihood zones). Chronic underlying issues in the region such as inadequate safe drinking water, health and sanitation facilities, poor child feeding and care practices, in addition to high morbidity rates and a precarious food security situation especially among the IDPs, remain major risk factors for the population.

A total of 6 small cluster surveys (33x6) were conducted in the Northwest region in the pastoral livelihood zones of West Golis Guban, East Golis/Gebbi, Sool Plateau, Nugal Valley, Hawd and the agro-pastoral livelihood zone of Awdal and Galbeed. The results from these assessments were analyzed using the CDC Probability calculator to determine GAM and SAM rates in the respective livelihoods. Comprehensive nutrition assessments were conducted in the Togdheer agro-pastoral livelihood zone and the IDPs of Hargeisa, Burao and Berbera, as the previous season had indicated a worrying nutrition situation in these areas. Due to the highlighted vulnerability of the populations in this livelihood zones, there was a need to monitor the situation more closely in the livelihood, therefore full comprehensive surveys were conducted. The detailed results of these assessments are discussed in the sections below and the results of the key indicators are summarized in the key evidence tables.

Pastoral Livelihood Zones

Sool Plateau Livelihood Zone of NW

An integrated analysis of nutrition, health and food security indicators indicate that the current nutrition situation in the Sool Plateau livelihood zone is Alert. The Post Deyr ‘09/10 integrated nutrition analysis classified the nutrition situation of the Sool Plateau of Sool and Sanaag region as Alert with a risk of deterioration. The results indicate a global acute malnutrition rate (GAM <-2 Z score or oedema) of >7.0% (Pr=0.90), and a severe acute malnutrition rate (SAM <-3 or oedema) of >0.6% (Pr=0.90). Analysis of MUAC measurements indicates the proportion of children with MUAC of <12.5cm or oedema as 2.5% (0-5.9) and <11.5 or oedema was 0.5%. Data from health information systems (HIS) in the area indicates a low proportion (<10%) and decreasing trend of acutely malnourished children screened at health facilities. An improved nutrition situation in the livelihood was noted, following the good performance of the Gu ‘10 rains in the Sool Plateau that replenished water catchments, and improved pasture conditions, translating to better access to livestock products and income for the households, leading to improved dietary diversity and milk availability and access. Though no disease outbreaks were reported in the livelihood zone, cases of diarrhoea and ARI were observed.

Interventions that aim at improving access to health facilities, rehabilitating malnourished children and supporting livelihoods and protecting vulnerable groups remain relevant. Continued monitoring of the chronic factors affecting good nutrition in the area, including food security indicators, inadequate safe water and sanitation, the lack of access to health facilities for a majority of the population in the region and sub optimal child care and feeding practices remains crucial.

East Golis/Gebbi Valley Livelihood Zone of NW

The East Golis and Gebbi Valley Livelihood zones are classified as Alert according to the Post Gu ‘10 integrated analysis nutrition situation. This is an improvement in comparison to the Post Deyr ’09/10 nutrition situation that classified the situation in the area as Serious. A GAM (<-2 Z score or oedema) of >9.3% (Pr=0.90), and a SAM (<-3 or oedema) rate of >0.1% (Pr=0.90) was recorded.

Results of the MUAC measurements report a low proportion of 2.5% children with MUAC measurements of <12.5cm or oedema and 1.5% with measurements of <11.5cm or oedema. Data from health facilities in the livelihood zone report low and a stable trend of acutely malnourished children. There were no disease outbreaks in the livelihood. However, the overall morbidity rate of children reported to be ill two weeks prior to the assessment was high at 19.1%. Poor sanitation, lack of adequate clean water and limited health facilities still remain chronic underlying factors affecting the nutritional status of the population. Limited physical access due to the mountainous terrain of this livelihood continues to pose a serious challenge to the access of formal services in the area. Previously, the livelihood zone received below normal rainfall for five consecutive seasons, including Deyr’ 09/10, this led to an abnormal out migration of animals and poor animal body conditions resulting in reduced household income and meat and milk consumption. The gum (frankincense) production was poor, thus affecting the supplementary income from those sales.

However the Gu ‘10 rains that have been experienced in the area have slightly improved the food security indicators, resulting in less stress and an improvement in the nutrition situation of the population in the area. Nevertheless the population remains vulnerable to natural shocks and therefore, close monitoring of the nutrition situation remains crucial. The chronic issues affecting the nutrition status of the population such as inadequate health and sanitation facilities, poor child feeding and care practices and lack of adequate safe drinking water, remain a challenge and require immediateattention, including the expansion of interventions aimed at rehabilitating malnourished children.

West Golis/Guban Livelihood Zone of NW

The current Post Gu ‘10 nutrition situation of the West Golis/Guban livelihood zone is classified as Serious. In the Post Deyr ‘09/10 integrated nutrition situation analysis; the nutrition situation of the West Golis/Guban livelihood zone was classified as Alert. The livelihood has historically been classified as having an Alert nutrition situation apart from the Gu ’08 to Gu ’09 period, when the region experienced four seasons of consecutive rainfall failure. The results indicate a global acute malnutrition rate (GAM <-2 Z score or oedema) of >13.8% (Pr=0.90), and a severe acute malnutrition rate (SAM <-3 or oedema) of >2.3% (Pr=0.90). The results of the MUAC measurements indicate a low proportion (3.5%) of children with MUAC measurements of <12.5cm or oedema and 0.4% with <11.5cm or oedema. The data from health information systems (HIS) in the area indicates a low number (<10%) and stable trend of acutely malnourished children screened at health facilities. According to qualitative data collected during the Post Gu ‘10 rapid nutrition assessments, milk availability was poor, however, it is anticipated to improve in the coming season (Deyr) as kidding and calving occur. This livelihood has historically demonstrated an association between its nutrition situation and livestock migration patterns, as the livelihood mainly rely on the Hays rains that come in January. The progressive recovery of the West Golis/Guban livelihood zone nutrition situation is a clear illustration of the importance of milk and livestock products in the nutrition status of a pastoralist population, and it further demonstrates the ability of pastoralist populations to recover from shocks, if appropriate interventions such as provision of clean water, adequate health and sanitation facilities and protection of livelihoods are well established hence improving the relevant food security indicators.

Therefore in the current Gu season, normal livestock migration is occurring and kidding and calving is expected in the next few months. This will make milk more readily available in the livelihood. The current lean season has therefore resulted in a slight deterioration of the pastoralist population’s nutrition situation. Feeding and health interventions in the area continue by MOHL, in partnership with UNICEF, World Vision and SRCS who continue to facilitate the rehabilitation of acutely malnourished children and have contributed to the reduced morbidity, as demonstrated by the low morbidity rates recorded. Although the change in the nutrition situation has been attributed to a normal lean season, close monitoring of the nutrition situation is required especially due to the vulnerability of the population to natural shocks such as drought.

The Hawd Livelihood Zone

The Post Gu ‘10 integrated analysis of the nutrition situation, classifies the current situation of the population in the Hawd pastoral livelihood zone as Serious, a sustained phase compared to the Post Deyr ‘09/10 situation in the Hawd of Hargeisa and Togdheer. The nutrition situation in the Hawd of Sool region is Alert. The livelihood reported a GAM (<-2 Z score or oedema) rate of >13.8% (Pr=0.90), and a SAM (<-3 or oedema) rate of >0.1% (Pr=0.90). Results of the MUAC measurements indicates a low proportion of 4.0% children with MUAC measurements of <12.5cm or oedema and 1.5% with <11.5 cm or oedema. The seasonal related unavailability of milk is directly affecting this pastoral population nutritional status. Data from health facilities in the area have indicated a low (<10%) and stable trend of acutely malnourished children reported in the health facilities. No disease outbreaks were reported in the area; however an increased number of diarrhoeal cases were reported during the onset of the rains, mainly due to the consumption of unsafe water. The immunization and vitamin A supplementation were below the recommended standards, and availability and accessibility of health services in the area remain a challenge. The area’s nutrition situation requires keen surveillance and it would be highly recommended that efforts to rehabilitate acutely malnourished children continues in addition to health, water and sanitation programmes.


Somalia: Edna Adan Maternity and Teaching Hospital

Source: Direct Relief International. Date: 29 Sep 2010

Somaliland is a difficult place to be a woman. Childbirth in particular brings with it serious risks--lack of access to trained health professionals, low uptake of antenatal care, and high rates of malnutrition, and prevalence of female genital cutting all increase the chances that complications may occur. While rates of maternal mortality are still some of the highest in the world, according to the Director General of the Ministry of Health, they have declined from 1,600 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1997 to 1,044 per 100,000 births in 2006. Edna Adan Ismail and her hospital in Hargeisa, the capital of the autonomous region, have contributed significantly to improving maternal health in this region.

The Edna Adan Maternity and Teaching Hospital in Hargeisa was established in 2002 to provide quality medical services for women and children. The first qualified nurse-midwife in her country, Edna spent over three decades working with the World Health Organization as an adviser on maternal and child health and served as both Minister of Social Welfare and Minister of Foreign Affairs for Somaliland. In her retirement from the United Nations, Edna dedicated her pension and other personal assets to build the hospital to address the grave health problems that endangered the lives of women and children. The hospital has expanded to provide care for all members of the community, and as the only referral and teaching hospital in Hargeisa, serves a vital role in the training of midwives, nurses, laboratory technicians, and pharmacists. Watch a New York Times video featuring Edna Adan Ismail

Direct Relief has supported the Edna Adan Maternity and Teaching Hospital since 2005. Donations have focused on improving the hospital's maternal health capacity, and in November 2005 Direct Relief supplied items to upgrade the operating theater and delivery room, including an examination table, operating room light, sterilizer, instruments, general and surgical hospital supplies, pharmaceuticals, and nutritional products. Direct Relief has provided the hospital with medical material support valued at over $1.1 million (wholesale).

In 2009, Direct Relief expanded its support to increase the hospital's ability to provide treatment and care for women with obstetric fistula, a tragic injury sustained during obstructed childbirth that leaves a woman incontinent and ultimately shunned by her family. In collaboration with the Fistula Foundation, Direct Relief has funded the construction and equipping of three operating theaters and the development of a training curriculum for midwives and nurses in obstetric fistula management. The grant vastly increases the hospital's capacity to treat patients and its role as a leading teaching facility in the region.

Direct Relief is committed to increasing access to obstetric fistula repair surgery. When asked about the importance of providing fistula repair Edna remarked: "I am grateful as a woman and human being to be able to help women like them. People think I have given something but they don't know how much I am getting. There is no bank in the world big enough to hold what I get from the satisfaction of seeing a woman who was leaking urine for 30 years leave the hospital and go home dry." http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/KHII-89S48J?OpenDocument&rc=1&cc=som


Hard earned Somaliland Democracy May be on the Verge of Collapse

Medeshivalley.com, Sep 28, 2010

Hard earned Somaliland democracy may be on the verge of collapse because of the current political atmosphere created by the policy of revenge that the new Somaliland government opted to pursue. Poor decision making coupled with revenge has become source of unrest among the Somaliland public both in Awdal and Togdheer as well as in Sool and Sanaag. For example, the recent decision by the government to replace a commander in Awdal region caused an uproar among the Sultans of the region who warned the government about the consequences of the change.

In less than a day the Government of Somaliland changed its mind and decided not to pursue the change order. Another event that took place at Hargeisa airport was similar to the above. The ex-head of Somaliland Bank Mr. Abdirahman Duale was prevented boarding a plane to Djibouti for business trip. The people of Togdheer saw this as unconstitutional and a revengeful act and threatened to stage massive demonstrations. Again the government of Somaliland changed its decision to ban the ex-governor from travelling abroad and decided to publically apologise to him (see Togdhheer: http://www.togdheernews.com//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5354&Itemid=10)Events like this are undermining the trust that the people of Somaliland had for their elected leaders.

Much time and effort has been spent by Silanyo government in removing all UDUB supporters from the government quarters. The matter is now getting dirty and out of hand and could lead to public unrest and continuous demonstrations in many regions of Somaliland. Neither the interior minister nor the finance has any sort of experience in good governance and have contributed to dirty politics of revenge to the Somaliland political system since their appointment.Both men have been jailed in Mandheera prison by the previous Somaliland government for various acts of undermining Somaliland security. They are both suspected to be Islamists that are very close to Al Shabaab.

For example: The Son of the current finance minister was killed in Mogadishu in 2006 while fighting along the Islamist group in Mogadishu. He was Briton who left Britain to fight along the terrorists in Somalia.The minister of Interior is also known for being from South Somalia and a close relative and personal doctor of the late dictator Siyad Barre who carried out the genocide against the people of Somaliland in the late eighties and early nineties.

The doctor has been serving Siyad Barre until he was deposed in 1991.The son of the current minister of Religious affairs is also and active leader of Al Shabab wing in Somalia ( see: http://www.medeshivalley.com/2010/09/son-of-somaliland-minister-al-shabaab.html)All the events stated above indicate that the hard earned Somaliland democracy is on the verge of collapse due to poor leadership on the part of the newly elected government of Somaliland. The government lacks both quality and sincerity.

Much praise has been said by the West and other stakeholders on the recent ambiguous Somaliland elections. It is now becoming a reality that the people of Somaliland made the wrong choice in electing Kulmiye leadership that has now lost direction.


Gunmen kill one, kidnap three in Somaliland

* Three kidnapped at roadblock
* Telecom company workers also kidnapped

By Hussein Ali Nur

HARGEISA, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Gunmen have killed one man and kidnapped three others in Somalia's northern breakaway enclave of Somaliland on Wednesday in the latest eruption of violence in the relatively stable area, a government official said.

The incident occurred at a road block linking Ainabo and Las Anod near the border with Puntland.

"It was raining heavily when gunmen sneaked on the checkpoint ... in the early hours. They killed the guard, wounded a soldier and kidnapped two civilians and a soldier," Assistant regional governor for Serar, Ibrahim Jama Mohamed, said.

Mohamed said one civilian escaped, and the gunmen's car was found abandoned due to the muddy conditions on the road.

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.

But Wednesday's attack is a reminder that it is not immune to violence experienced in areas around it. Early this month, gunmen shot dead a senior security official.

Local media reported on Tuesday that five Somaliland Nation-Link Company telecoms workers who were on a inspection and survey tour in east Sanag were kidnapped by gunmen in the port town of Las Qorey in northern Somaliland a day before. "When they tried to leave Las Qorey, after completing their work gunmen stopped them from leaving ... after opening fire on their car," Abdillahi Mohamed Weyrah, a journalist in the area, told Reuters.


SOMALIA: Somaliland and Puntland to cooperate on security

HARGEISA, 28 September 2010 (IRIN) - Somaliland and Puntland, once-warring territories in northern Somalia, have unprecedentedly agreed in principle to work together to tackle common security threats.

Troops from both entities have clashed over disputed borderlands in the past. They also differ over the issue of sovereignty: Somaliland unilaterally declared independence in 1991, and Puntland, while asserting a degree of autonomy, recognizes Mogadishu as its own, and Somaliland’s, capital.

"You can't choose your neighbours, whether it is a region or state; for this reason, from now on, we are going to work with the Puntland state of Somalia, in terms of security of the [Horn of Africa] region,” Somaliland’s Interior Minister, Mohamed Abdi Gabose, said on 26 September in the Somaliland capital, Hargeisa.

"Of course this does not mean we unite with Puntland or the other conflicted areas. We will discuss the [security] issues later," he said.

“From now on, we [Somaliland] want to work together on security matters because it seems there are anti-peace groups who want to threaten our peace,” he said.

The rapprochement follows renewed clashes in July in Galgala, an area on the Puntland side of the border, between Puntland’s security forces and troops loyal to Sheikh Mohamed Said Atom, a leader of an insurgency accused of having links to Al-Shabab, the main Islamist group fighting Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG). Atom and Al-Shabab have both denied such links exist.

"Of course the [Somaliland] government has its worries when it comes to the Galgala war because if these groups win or fail, either way it is not good for Somaliland because if they win they may try to enlarge their presence deeper in Somaliland," said Gabose.

Hargeisa is faced with another security concern – an armed group claiming to be fighting to liberate – and which is named after - the Somaliland border regions Sool, Sanag and Cayn. The group rejects the legitimacy of Somaliland’s government and sovereignty and says it has set up its own administration.

Increased engagement

Puntland Information Minister Abdihakim Ahmed Guled said of Gabose’s statements: “We welcome the openness of the new government in Somaliland and its aim to solve the problems in peace and negotiations.

“On our side, we are happy to hear that the Somaliland government is ready to work with us on security matters because at this time, there are new groups in the region who are killing Muslim people in mosques. These groups have in the past carried out suicide attacks in Hargeisa as well as in Puntland's port of Bosasso."

Meanwhile, there have been international moves to increase engagement with both Somaliland and Puntland, most notably by the United States, which plans to send more diplomats and aid workers there.

“We think that both of these parts of Somalia have been zones of relative political and civil stability, and we think they will, in fact, be a bulwark against extremism and radicalism that might emerge from the south,” Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnny Carson said on 24 September.

The US has stressed, however, that this initiative does not mark the beginning of a process to recognize Somaliland’s independence.

Commenting on the US move, Sally Healy, an associate fellow of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, told IRIN: “Both territories are quite effectively administered by authorities that are hostile to Al-Shabab and the spread of extremism in Somalia. Their strategic position is important in terms of the security threats emanating from the Gulf of Aden.

“They have important and influential diaspora communities in the west. So it makes a lot of sense for the US to do business with them instead of putting all their eggs in the TFG basket, which remains extremely fragile.”


Somalia: Somaliland appeals for 'cooperation with Puntland' a second time

27 Sep 27, 2010 - http://www.garoweonline.com/

A senior member of the government in Somalia's separatist region of Somaliland has appealed for cooperation with the neighboring state of Puntland, Radio Garowe reports.

Dr. Mohamed Abdi Gabose, a practicing medical doctor and Somaliland's new interior minister, told a press conference in Hargeisa Sunday that Somaliland "has started making good connections" with officials in Puntland.

"Somaliland and Puntland share many things that cannot be hidden or denied based on brotherhood for the common interests of both. From now on, we [Somaliland] want to on security matters because it seems there are anti-peace groups who want to threaten our peace," said Dr. Gabose, Somaliland's Internal Affairs Minister appointed by President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, who won Somaliland’s presidential election in June.

Dr. Gabose praised Puntland's government for the "war against insurgents and anti-peace groups" in the region.

Last month, Dr. Gabose said Somaliland authorities are worried about the Galgala militants allied to Al Shabaab who have been defeated by Puntland troops in the Golis mountain range that stretches between Somaliland and Puntland.

Separately, Somaliland's interior minister said local police have captured a "man suspected of the October 2008 bombings" in Hargeisa, which targeted the Somaliland presidential palace, a United Nations office, and an Ethiopian trade office in Hargeisa, capital of Somaliland.

He did not provide details of the suspect’s case, but Dr. Gabose said Somaliland had increased its "intelligence an security capacity to prevent further terrorist attacks."

No official in the government of Puntland has publicly responded to Dr. Gabose's offer of security cooperation between Somaliland and Puntland authorities.

The two neighboring stable regions in northern Somalia have been recognized as part of a "two-track" U.S. engagement policy for Somalia recently.

Somaliland and Puntland have had troubled relations over Sool and Sanaag regions since 2002, including sporadic military clashes.

Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole has demanded that Somaliland withdraw its troops from Las Anod, one of Puntland's major towns in Sool region, which was seized by Somaliland forces in Oct. 2007.

Somaliland's new administration President Silanyo has publicly stated that it will pursue "peaceful negotiations" on the matter of Sool and Sanaag regions.


Somaliland Foreign Minister Welcomes ‘Renewed’ U.S Interest

Peter Clottey 26 September 2010, http://www.voanews.com/

Somaliland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs said the willingness of residents living in the self-declared autonomous region to fully embrace democracy has played a pivotal role in making the area unattractive to hard-line Islamist insurgents, such as al-Shabab.

Mohammed Abdullahi Omar welcomed what he described as the renewed U.S. interest after a top official in the Obama administration said Washington wants to strengthen ties with both Somaliland and Puntland, located in the Horn of Africa.

“We are very pleased with the statement coming from the United States government stating that they will like to strengthen the cooperation and the relationship they have with the government of Somaliland. I think this is great news and we are very delighted with the increased and the renewed interest from the U.S. side in Somaliland.”

Omar also said the renewed interest will present his government with the opportunity to collaborate with Washington on a number of issues that “have got mutual interests for both countries.”

Johnnie Carson, the U.S assistant secretary of State for African Affairs, said strengthening relations with both breakaway regions of Somalia could help stave off growing threats of hard-line Islamist insurgents.

Carson said Washington will be supporting both self-declared autonomous regions by sending diplomats and more aid workers there.

Omar said his country is pleased with the revived U.S interest in Somaliland.

“Somaliland has been stable for the last 19 years and we have definitely adopted (a) system into our politics. And, we have had a free and fair presidential election a few weeks ago, whereby a new president won the election. This has demonstrated that Somaliland’s political system has matured.”

He added that Somaliland’s “matured” democracy has renewed interest not only from Washington, but also “other western countries, and made them change their view on Somaliland.”


US near de-facto recognition of Somaliland

afrol News, 27 September - The US government has announced it will "engage more actively" with Somalia's breakaway provinces of Somaliland and Puntland, including development aid. Stability here would prove "a bulwark against extremism and radicalism" in Somalia.

Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary at the US State Department's Bureau of African Affairs during a New York press conference announced tighter US ties with Somaliland, a de fact independent but internationally unrecognised state since 1991.

"We will work to engage more actively with the governments of Puntland and Somaliland. We hope to be able to have more American diplomats and aid workers going into those countries on an ad hoc basis," Mr Carson said, referring to both Somaliland and Puntland as "countries".

US diplomats there were to "meet with government officials to see how we can help them improve their capacity to provide services to their people, seeing whether there are development assistance projects that we can work with them on."

In the Washington view, "both of these parts of Somalia have been zones of relative political and civil stability, and we think they will, in fact, be a bulwark against extremism and radicalism that might emerge from the south," Mr Carson said.

Journalists asked Mr Carson what he meant by calling Puntland and Somaliland "countries, and whether Washington was contemplating some kind of a diplomatic recognition. The US diplomat however emphasised the US would not formally recognise the two breakaway states.

"We believe that we should follow the African Union position on this," Mr Carson said, in line with other states awaiting an AU decision. "We still recognise only a single Somali state. This is the position of the Africa Union, which is the most important and largest continental regional body," he added.

Mr Carson also said that, at the current stage, the US was not planning to open "new diplomatic facilities" in Somaliland or Puntland.

However, the announced deeper US engagement in Somaliland would include contacts on high political levels and, equally important, the direct development cooperation with the Hargeisa and Bosaaso governments.

US cooperation would include "a range of health, education, agriculture, water projects that they might want to develop, looking for ways to strengthen their capacity both to govern and to deliver services to their people."

In practical terms, the US goal to "strengthen their capacity" to govern will cement the existence of the Somaliland and Puntland states. It will therefore make a possible future reunification with the south - as demanded by Somalia - even less probable.

Mr Carson added that this was a marked policy shift by the Washington government. "In the past, we have not engaged these areas and political entities aggressively. We will now start to do so," he said.

The main reason given for this policy shift was the steadily deteriorating situation in south Somalia, where the "radical extremist group" Al-Shabaab is controlling large areas. Also, the coasts of Puntland and Somaliland are key to fighting piracy in the region.


Report says Kenya is on the verge of recognizing Somalia's breakaway regions

Sep 26, 2010 (BBC Monitoring via COMTEX) -- Kenya is on the verge of recognizing the breakaway region of Somaliland and Puntland to get Somali warlords to silence their guns.

The two are breakaway regions and have enjoyed relative peace for the last 17 years eliciting view whether they should secede. The two are petitioning the United Nations and the African Union to be acknowledged as sovereign states; different from the other war-ravaged central region that includes the capital Mogadishu.

Kenya's move is seen as one of the many efforts - spreading 20 years - to force the militia in Somalia to end fighting. A delegation of Kenyan MPs that visited Hargeysa, Somaliland capital, on fact-finding mission after peaceful elections and change of power on 26 June, have recommended that Kenya considers engaging diplomatically with the regions regarded as peace enclaves and semi-autonomous entities that have warded off insurgency, piracy, and terrorism.

The leader of the delegation, House Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim, told The Standard On Sunday the group's report is likely to be debated in parliament as an urgent matter of national importance given its security and economic implications.

"In the interest of regional peace, let's engage with Somaliland. Somaliland has had peace for 17 years and there is a lot the larger Somalia can learn from the relative stability. They combat terrorism and piracy that have been a major threat to international security," says Maalim, MP for Lagdera, which borders volatile Somalia.

However, the views of the delegation are unlikely to find favour in Mogadishu. Somali ambassador to Kenya Mohammed Nur told The Standard On Sunday that despite the two-decade old conflict, a unitary state is still the ideal situation.

"The problem Somalia faces today is that we have spent too much time in conferences that do not resolve the crisis. What we want friendly countries to do is provide the military and material support to beef up government efforts to restore peace and stability in Somalia," says Nur.

Somali President Shaykh Sharif Ahmad Sharif kicked off an international campaign last week during his address to the United Nations General Assembly when he appealed for action to stamp out the violence in his country. Nur sees no sense in "more and more conferences".

"It is the same message the president will be taking next week to another international conference in Madrid, Spain, that will address Somalia crisis. This is because we are aware the insurgents are threatening regional peace after the Kampala bombing," says the Somali envoy.

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Newsfeed/Article/119483669/201009260755/Report-says-Kenya-is-on-the-verge-of-recognizing-Somalias-breakaway-regions.aspx


Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia/Somaliland, Shamsul Bari*

A/HRC/15/48. 16 September 2010

Full-text report

III. Human rights in Somaliland

4. In Hargeisa, the independent expert was received by the new President of Somaliland, Mohamed Mahmud Silanyo. He was honoured to meet the President so soon after his formal inauguration. He benefited from the views of the President on, inter alia, the situation of Somalia as a whole.

37. The trip of the independent expert to Hargeisa, Somaliland, was very short mainly because of limited flight possibilities. However, despite his short stay, the independent expert was grateful to have been received by the new President of Somaliland, Mohamed Mahmud Silanyo, within two days of him assuming office. The assumption of office in Somaliland by the new President had created new hope not only for Somaliland but also for Somalia as a whole.

38. The independent expert told President Silanyo, inter alia, that the international community had high hopes that Somaliland would set an example of good governance for the region which would be based on principles of human rights and respect for the human person. He welcomed the President’s decision to dismantle the much criticized regional security committees which had served as arbitrary instruments in the hands of the executive without due process. He added that the President would have the opportunity to revise the Somaliland Human Rights Commission Act that the previous Government had enacted and make it fully compliant with the Principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles).

39. The President said that he was aware of the many challenges facing his administration. He had inherited a very difficult economic and security situation. There were extremist groups operating in Somaliland which was a matter of great concern for his Government and people. He referred to the recent suicide bombing by Al–Shabaab in Kampala was a lesson for the entire region.

40. The President recalled that in his first public statement he made a commitment to dissolving the regional security committees so that the courts would be able to fully exercise their jurisdictions. He pledged to strengthen the rule of law and respect for human rights. He promised to review the human rights violations committed under the previous regime and to release immediately those who were innocent and being detained illegally without due process.

41. The independent expert felt that the inauguration of President Silanyo to the highest office in Somaliland had opened new opportunities for Somalia and the region as a whole. The international community should take full advantage of the situation and make sure that the new Government was helped in every ways possible so that it could fulfil his commitments to human rights. The importance of the success of Somaliland for the future of Somalia as a whole could not be overemphasized.

42. While in Hargeisa, the independent expert also had useful meetings with United Nations agencies, representatives of NGOs/CSOs, including the Centre of Research and Development from Mogadishu, and the President of the Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights and Justice. They all shared the optimism generated by the recent elections and change of Government.

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900sid/SNAA-89H7XL/$File/full_report.pdf


Monthly Market Analysis - Somaliland, August, 2010

Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit - Somalia

Highlights

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWFiles2010.nsf/FilesByRWDocUnidFilename/EGUA-89BQJ5-full_report.pdf/$File/full_report.pdf

• The Consumer Price Index (CPI), measured by price changes for the items included in Minimum Basket, continued to stabilize in most regions of the country during the month of August. The CPI increased marginally (2-3%) in the Northeast and Central, while it reduced (1-5%) in the Northwest and in the South. The changes in the CPI are attributable to sorghum, sugar and wheat flour prices dynamics.

• Prices of locally produced cereals have started to decline primarily in main cereal producing regions, an indication of increased cereal flows of the Gu seasonal harvests into the main markets. Over the last one month, local cereal prices have declined by 2-30% in most regions with largest declines recorded in Shabelle and Juba regions. Conversly, the prices appreciated by 1-5% in Central. On the other hand, prices of imported commodities have either remained stable or declined in all regions of the country with a more uniform pattern observed in the South. An exception however is a slight increase in prices of wheat flour, sugar and petrol in the North and Central.

• As a result of declining prices of locally produced cereals, the purchasing power, measured by Terms of Trade (ToT) between daily labour wage and cereal, remained relatively stable in most cereal producing regions of the Northwest (NW) while increasing rapidly in the South in the last one month. While ToT (Labour to Cereal) has improved in most regions of the South and in the NW compared to the same month a year ago, it is significantly lower in Banadir (34%) mainly as a result of declining labour wage rates. The highest purchasing power increase is observed in the Shabelle and Juba regions while marginal declines were recorded in Central, Banadir and Northeast regions.

• Exchange rates between Somali currencies and USD have remained relatively stable over the month of August 2010, with marginal appreciation of 1-7% throughout the country. The appreciation in exchange rate is partly attributable to increased dollar supply from livestock sales.

Regional analysis: Northwest Regions

Indicator - 5-Year Average -- Aug-09 -- Jul-10---- Current Nominal Price -- Current Real Price --- % Change Same Month Previous Year --- % Change Prevous Month--- % Change 5-year avrg (2003-07)

Imported Commodities Prices

Diesel 1 litre        4,407 5,950 6,700  6635  5,795 12% -1%  51%
Imported Red Rice 1kg 3,541 6,510 5,640  5,690 4,956 -13% 1%  61%
Petrol 1 litre        5,134 6,558 6,945  7,095 6,204 8%   2%    38%
Sugar                 3,880 6,729 7,800  7,390 6,466 10%  -5%  90%
Vegetable Oil 1 litre 8,668 12,120 11,360 11,410 10,038   -6% 0% 32%
Wheat Flour 1kg       3,455 5,480  4,400 4,890 4,245 -11% 11% 42%
Wheat Grain 1kg       2,303 3,233  3,000 3,625 3,121 12%  21% 57%
Cereal Prices
Red Sorghum 1kg       3,016 3,200  2,925 3,063 2,622 -4%  5%   2%
White Maize 1kg       2,446 5,283  4,167 4,083 3,528 -23% -2%  67%

Livestock & Livestock Product Prices

Camel Local Quality (Head) 2,161,066 3,231,250 2,775,000 3,447,500 3 ,063,089 7% 24% 60%
Cattle Local Quality (Head) 838,070 1,404,667 1,270,000 1,375,000 1 ,221,621 -2% 8% 64%
Fresh Camel Milk 1 litre   4,858 6450 6,550 6,650 5,809 3% 2% 37%
Goat Export Quality (Head) 203,324 319,875 372,500 361,900 321,457 13% -3% 78%
Goat Local Quality (Head) 166,982 219,820 292,400 291,000 258,461 32% 0% 74%

Other Essential Items

Charcoal 50kg             21,943 34,360 37,950 43,400 38,462 26% 14% 98%
Cowpeas 1 kg              5,739  11,690 11,188 10,625 9,341 -9% -5% 85%
Unskilled Labor Wage Rate 28,362 32,640 38,000 39,000 3 4,552 19% 3% 38%
Firewood Bundle            2,543 3,833  9,300  9,300  8,163 143% 0% 266%
Local Sesame Oil 1 litre   18,421 29,950 30,094 31,125 27,555 4% 3% 69%

Construction Materials

Cement 50kg                      -     -    -   55,009 - - - -
Cooking Pot Aluminium 7 Litre    -     -    -   137,125 - - - -
Galvanised Iron Sheet Ga 26      -     -    -   285,000 - - - -
Hollow Concrete Block            -     -    -   3,675 - - - -
Jerrycan 10 Litre                -     -    -   7,500 - - - -
Plastic Tarpaulin 14m x 5 m      -     -    -   62,813 - - - -
Roofing Nails 15Kg               -     -    -   221,875 - - - -
Timber 2in x 4in x 20ft           -    -    -   157,917 - - - -
Woven Dry Raised Blanket            -  -    -   89,688 - - - -
Labour Wage(Daily)/Cereal(Rice(Kg)) 8  5    7    7  7    37% 2%   -14%
Local Goat (Head)/ Cereal(Rice(Kg)) 47 34   52   51 52   51%  -1%   8%
Consumer Price Index                 - 112  118  113   - 0% -4%     -
Purchasing Power Index               - 0   .89    0  .85 0 .89 - 0% 5% -
Exchange Rate (Somaliland Shilling per USD) 13,839 13,275 14,525 13,575 1 1,962 2% -7% -2%
* Data has been collected for the past 3/4 months only

SOMALIA: IDPs return as calm returns to Sool region

WIDH-WIDH, 15 September 2010 (IRIN) - Almost all of the hundreds of households displaced after clashes between the Somaliland army and the pro-Somali union, Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) group in Sool's Widh-widh district have returned home as calm returns, say officials.

SSC, named after the respective regions that are claimed by both Somaliland and the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, says it is fighting for the liberation of the regions while Somaliland says it is defending its territories.

Somaliland unilaterally declared statehood in 1991 but has yet to gain formal recognition.

"The displaced people have all come back to the town," Garad Abshir Salah, a traditional leader, said. "We have held a meeting with the people in Widh-widh discussing the issue of insecurity and we have decided to pursue our rights peacefully.

"We have been contacted by the new committee assigned to deal with the issue, and we have agreed to continue our discussion later," added Salah.

The committee was nominated by Somaliland President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo in late August to address insecurity in the eastern regions. The SSC leadership, however, insists it will only negotiate if Somaliland forces quit the territories.

"If they [Somaliland authorities] use traditional contacts, we can start talks to work together for the peace and co-existence of the people and discuss our differences. But for as long as their militia is in our regions, we will not accept any talks," Ali Hassan Sabarey, SSC's deputy chairman, told IRIN in late August.

Mohamed Isse, an elder in Widh-widh, told IRIN by telephone that fewer than 10 percent of the displaced had yet to return.

"But the problem is that the people have nothing to rebuild their lives with because they lost all their resources when they were displaced. Nothing was looted but everyone used up his resources during displacement," said Isse.

"Now, the Somaliland army is stationed in Widh-widh and we are working together to keep the security."

According to the army commander, Gen. Nouh Ismail Tani, Widh-widh is now "one of the safest places in Somaliland".

"Even [before] the army had no problem with the innocent people but they ran, afraid of being hit by stray bullets."


Northwest Somalia Post Gu 2010 Seasonal Assessment Coverage

Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit, Sept 23, 2010

Field Access and Field Data Locations
Field staff had normal access to all livelihoods in the Northwest regions in Gu 2010 Assessment

Main Livelihood Groups

Sources of Food and Income

Livelihood Groups & Main Sources of Food and Income

* 4 Pastoral Livelihoods (Hawd, Sool Plateau, Nugal Valley, and Golis/Guban Pastoralists)
* Primary sources of income of poor: sale of livestock & livestock products
* Primary sources of food of poor: purchase and own production
* Primary livelihood asset of poor: camel, sheep/goat
* 2 Agro-pastoral Livelihoods (Togdheer and Northwest Agro-pastoral)
*Togdheer Agro-Pastoral are more pastoral, however there is an increasing dependency on crop and fodder production. Main sources of income: sale of livestock & livestock products, self-employment and fodder sales. Main source of food: Own crop and food purchase
*Northwest Agro-pastoral are more agriculturists than pastoralists. Main sources of income: sale of crops, livestock products and labour; Main sources of food: own crop production and purchase.

Climate

Performance of the Gu 2010 Rainfall

Overall Statement: Largely good rainfall performance positively impacting both rangeland and crop conditions Gu Seasonal Rains (April- June 2010 )

* Start of Season: Unusual rains started early in 3rd dekad of Feb. ‘10 in most parts of the region, which were followed by Gu rains that continued till June ‘10.
* Temporal and Spatial Distribution: Duration and distribution of the rainfall was good in most livelihood zones of the Northwest regions
* Regions with some dry spells: Parts of Sanag region
* Normal to above normal rains in livelihood zones: Hawd, Nugal valley, Sool Plateau, west Golis-Guban and Agropastoral (150-200% LTM).
* Below normal rains in livelihood zones: Gebi valley of Lasqoray and parts of east Golis (40-60% of normal June ‘10)
* Pasture condition is good to average, except Gebi valley (Lasqoray) and parts of east Golis which is poor. Karan Rains (July – Sept. ’10.)
* Start of Season: Karan rains started on time in July ’10 and are still ongoing
* Temporal and Spatial Distribution: Karan rains are widely distributed in agro-pastoral areas of W/galbeed and Awdal regions
* Normal rains: in most parts of Northwest and Togdheer Agropastoral livelihood zones

Civil Insecurity
*Civil Security Situation:
* Overall the security situation in the Northwest remains stable.
* There is high political tension with sporadic open clashes between Somaliland Authority and clan-based militia from Buhoodle district of Togdheer region. However, efforts are made by elders and the newly elected government to promote peace in the area.
*Direct and Indirect Impacts on Food Security & Nutrition:
* Limited movement of transport
*Increased transportation costs

Livestock Rangeland Conditions and Livestock Migration ’10 July
* Good performance of Gu ’10 season
* Positively impact of rains on both pasture/ browse and water conditions
* Good to average livestock body conditions, however below average milk production due to low calving
* High to medium conception
* Normal livestock migration

Trends in Imported Commodity Prices

Markets Factors Affecting Commercial Import Prices:
*Appreciation of SLSh
*Decreased global rice prices
*Increased local cereal market supply decreased demand for imported cereals
*Low sugar market supply increased

IPC Summary: Progression of Rural IPC Situation

Pastoral of Sool-Sanag Plateau: HE: 50% of poor and AFLC: 50% of poor East Golis/Gebi of Lasqoray district (Sanaag region): AFLC: 75% of poor
* Food Access: Severe entitlement gap, unable to meet 2100 kcal ppp day
* Water Access: water availability normal, but access of the poor for human is constrained due to lack of back camel.
* Destitution/Displacement: diffused
* Coping: distress strategies, but decreasing
* Livelihood Assets: increased, but significantly below baseline

Main Contributing Factors:
*Limited asset holding
*Lack of milk production (camel)
*Reduced household income from own production (livestock/ milk sales)
*High indebtedness (loans)
*Increased expenditure on water for human consumption.

Main Contributing Factors: Togdheer Agropastoral

Rationale for upgrading from HE in Deyr ’09/10 to BFI Gu in ‘10:
* Good rainfall performance in Gu 2010
* Increased cultivated area due to FAO, UNHCR, etc. livelihood interventions (tractor hours, seeds): sorghum: from 560 ha to 2,950 ha, 427% inc.; maize: from 25 ha to 590ha - 1360% inc.
* Increased cereal production: 1,430% of Gu ‘09, 620% of PWA and 446% of 5-yr average (2005-2009)
* Cereal stocks: on average 4 bags for the poor households, that could last up to four months
* Increased income from cash crops: water melon, crop fodder and grass fodder
* Availability of saleable sheep/goats compared to last season due to improved body condition.


US to build ties with breakaway Somali republics

By MATTHEW LEE. Associated Press. Sep 24, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - The Obama administration plans to strengthen ties with two breakaway republics in northern Somalia to blunt a growing threat from Islamist extremists accused of links to al-Qaida, a senior U.S. official said Friday.

The U.S. will begin "aggressive" engagement with the self-declared northern republics of Somaliland and Puntland, while continuing support of Somalia's weak central government, as part of an effort to prevent the spread of radical ideology espoused by the al-Shabab militia, said Johnnie Carson, the top U.S. diplomat for Africa.

Carson said the U.S. will also promote development in areas controlled by local clans in south-central Somalia that are not allied with either the government or al-Shabab.

The planned U.S. effort to build relations with Somaliland and Puntland, which have been largely peaceful while the rest of Somalia has descended into chaos with no functioning central government since 1991, marks an important shift in U.S. policy. Al-Shabab has emerged as a significant threat to regional and international security in recent years.

"We think that both of these parts of Somalia have been zones of relative political and civil stability and we think they will, in fact, be a bulwark against extremism and radicalism that might emerge from the south," Carson said.

"In the past, we have not engaged these areas, political entities, aggressively," he said. "We will now start to do so."

Carson said the U.S. would not establish formal diplomatic relations with the two entities or recognize their independence, but would help their governments with agriculture, water, health and education projects. Diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, will lead the effort and increase their informal visits to Somaliland and Puntland.

The aim is "to see how we can help them improve their capacity to provide services to their people," Carson said.

Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 and has remained relatively peaceful while southern Somalia has degenerated into anarchy. Somaliland has its own security and police forces, justice system and currency, but it is not recognized by any other nation. Puntland, also in the north, declared itself an autonomous state in 1998.

Carson said the U.S. also plans to provide more aid to Somalia's Transitional Federal Government, which is under siege by al-Shabab and supported by an African Union military mission dominated by Ugandan troops.

He did not elaborate, but the U.S. has in the past supplied the African troops with weapons and other equipment and is providing training to Somali security forces.

To counter al-Shabab, Carson said, the U.S. would also look to support "local governments, clans and sub-clans" in south-central Somalia that do not back either the militia or the federal administration.

"We will look for opportunities to work with these groups to see if we can identify ways of supporting their development initiatives and activities," he said.

Al-Shabab aims to overthrow the internationally backed central government and impose a strict brand of Islam countrywide.

The group claimed responsibility for the deadly bombings that killed scores of civilians watching the World Cup finals in Uganda in July. Al-Shabab said it sought to avenge the deaths of civilians allegedly killed by shelling by African Union peacekeepers.


U.S. boosts ties with break-away Somalia regions

Sep 24, 2010

* U.S. targets Somaliland, Puntland for new outreach
* Says no plans for full diplomatic recognition
* Asian, Arab countries should contribute more - U.S.

By Andrew Quinn

NEW YORK, Sept 24 (Reuters) - The United States is increasing ties with two semi-autonomous regions in Somalia, hoping to build stability for the embattled central government and African Union forces deployed in the virtually lawless nation, a top U.S. diplomat said on Friday.

Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson said U.S. officials were developing ties with authorities in both Puntland and Somaliland, both of which declared themselves independent in the early 1990s when the Horn of Africa nation descended into civil war and anarchy.

Carson said the United States did not plan to recognize either government as an independent state. But he said increased U.S. cooperation, particularly on aid and development, could head off inroads by Islamist Al Shabaab insurgents, who stepped up their fight to topple Somalia's Western-backed central administration last month.

"Both of these parts of Somalia have been zones of relative political and civil stability and we think they in fact will be a bulwark of extremism and radicalism that might emerge from the south," Carson told a news briefing.

Carson said the United States would also reach out to groups in south central Somalia, including local governments and family clans, that are opposed to Al Shabaab but not aligned formally or directly with the government in Mogadishu.

Carson stressed he United States would continue to recognize only a single Somali state and would work to strengthen the transitional government of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, which has lost control of much of Mogadishu and much of southern and central Somalia to the Al Shabaab rebels. "We do not contemplate and we are not about to recognize either of these entities or areas as independent states," Carson said.

But he added that both regions could expect more concrete U.S. help with education, agriculture and water projects.

"In the past we have not engaged these areas and political entities aggressively. We will now start to do so," Carson said.

FUNDING MORE PEACEKEEPERS

The United Nations this week convened a "mini-summit" on Somalia on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, hoping to drum up fresh support for expanding the peacekeeping operation in the country.

Al Shabaab, which has links to al Qaeda, is increasingly seen as a regional threat and have used suicide bombers to devastating effect over the past two years, killing five government ministers and dozens of African Union peacekeeping troops. The group was also behind attacks in Uganda in July that killed at least 79 people.

There have been repeated calls to strengthen the African Union force, known as AMISOM, made up of about 7,200 troops from Burundi and Uganda.

Uganda has said it is ready to contribute more troops, but that it will need help to fund them. Carson said the United States was actively pressing both Asian and Arab nations to help with cash and military equipment.

"We believe that the problem in Somalia is both a regional and a global problem and in fact should be shared globally," Carson told a news briefing, arguing that increased piracy off Somalia's coast is a direct threat to both oil shipping and other trade between Europe and Asia. Carson said he had spoken to Japan about increasing its support, but believed countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia also had a direct stake in stabilizing Somalia.


Khat-chewing Contributes to Rise in Burao TB Patients

BURAO (IRIN - September 23, 2010) - The number of tuberculosis patients in Burao, in Somalia’s self-declared independent republic of Somaliland, has increased because of khat use as well as rising displacement due to drought and conflict, say officials.

“Currently, Burao General Hospital has 130 male and 30 female patients admitted to the TB ward,” Abdijibar Mohamed Abdi, a director of the TB unit at hospital, told IRIN. “One of the reasons for the high rate of infection among men is the chewing of khat, which is done in poorly ventilated rooms for many hours. Such men are also at greater risk due to hunger and sleeplessness as the chewing takes place mostly at night.”

Since 2009, Abdi said, the hospital has handled 1,200 TB patients. The hospital provides medication to 250-300 TB patients quarterly under the World Health Organization (WHO) DOTS system - directly observed treatment short course - whereby health workers ensure the patient takes the dose, he added.

Another contributor to the increase, Abdi said, was lack of access to health facilities by nomadic communities. “Such people do not settle anywhere and may not have enough TB education. As it is difficult to reach them since many often graze their herds far from health facilities, some of them end up spreading TB,” he said.

Moreover, he said, many people displaced due to either drought or conflict do not seek treatment. “When people are in such emergency conditions, personal health is not a priority.” Abdi said the hospital recently built two extra TB wards to cope with the rise in patient numbers.

Public health concerns

Hussein Mohumed Hog, a doctor in the Somaliland Ministry of Health, said TB was a “huge” public health problem in the Togdheer region, where Burao is located, and that the management of the disease had been complicated by non-payment of health workers in the past four months

“Togdheer region [in the east] has one of the highest rates of TB yet the health workers have not received salaries in the transition period since presidential elections in June; this is one of the staff complaints we have received,” Hog said. “The ministry is currently processing these payments and is planning to reopen most of the MCH [mother-child health centres] in urban areas in eastern Somaliland to follow up TB cases.”

Hog said Togdheer, Mudug and Bay were some of Somaliland’s regions with high TB infection rates, according to former Somalia health ministry reports.

Burao General Hospital was constructed in 1945 when the region was a British colony.

Abdi said the local authority in Burao had since renovated the facility, which also receives funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. This, he said, had given the urban population easy access to a health facility offering TB services.

“There is no shortage of drugs, which we get from the Global Fund through World Vision International and WHO,” Abdi said. “The local business community also supports some facilities in the hospital.”


Democracy Triumphs with Somaliland’s Second Peaceful Election

FrontLines - September 2010. http://www.usaid.gov/press/frontlines/fl_sep10/p05_somaliland100911.html

A poll worker dips a man’s finger in ink to indicate he has cast a vote during June elections in Somaliland.

This summer, Somaliland’s presidential election marked a rare, peaceful democratic transition in the greater Horn of Africa.

On June 26, the lead opposition Kulmiye party (Kulmiye means “bringing together”) received almost half of the more than 538,000 votes cast, while the ruling UDUB party (United People’s Democratic Party) won 33 percent of votes. Another opposition party, UCID (the Justice and Welfare party), received 17 percent of the votes.

With the election, Kulmiye party leader and veteran politician Ahmed Silanyo was declared the new president of Somaliland, with then-President Dahir Kahin Riyale issuing a statement assuring the people of Somaliland that he would respect the election outcome.

More than 500,000 Somalilanders cast their ballots. Some voters waited in line to vote at least five hours before polls opened.

USAID contributed over $700,000 to support the Somaliland presidential election process.

Eight hundred domestic observers monitored the process throughout Somaliland’s six regions. Political party watchers, trained by USAID implementing partner, the International Republican Institute, were deployed to most of the 1,782 polling stations, observing election day processes and ballot counting. Many poll workers were university students as local universities partnered with Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission to train students to administer the polls per Somaliland’s election law.

Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from Somalia in 1991. The autonomous breakaway area in northwest Somalia is not recognized internationally, although it held its first peaceful presidential election in 2002. After postponing the most recent election for almost two years, election watchers say that Somaliland has enhanced its democratic reputation by pulling off a second peaceful presidential vote.


Somaliland leader hold talks with UN delegation

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Sep 22, 2010. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 18 Sep 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Somaliland President Ahmad Muhammad Mahmud Silanyo met on Sept.14 with a UN delegation led by Mme Kyung-Wha Kang (the UN Assistant Secretary General who is also the Vice President of the UN Human Rights Commission).

According to Somaliland government's spokesman, Ms Kuyung-who praised Somaliland's President Ahmad Silanyo for releasing political prisoners and pledged to work with Somaliland on human rights issues. President Ahmad Silanyo on his part emphasized that Somaliland was founded on respect for human rights and his administration will continue on that path.

The UN delegation had the following members:

1. Mme Kyung-whakang DHC (VIP)
2. Scott Campbell, OHCHR-Geneva, Africa Division
3. Fiona Adolu, UNPOS HRO
4. Joachim Schmitz, UNPOS Security Chief
5. Sandra Beidas, Head of Human Rights, UNPOS/OHCHR

Credit: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 18 Sep 10


UN office for Somali affairs said plan to relocate to Somaliland

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Sep 21, 2010. AllPuntland.com website in Somali 20 Sep 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Reports reaching us from Somaliland indicate that United Nations offices in Nairobi, which deal with Somali affairs, will be relocated to Hargeysa.

Somaliland's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Muhammad Abdullahi Umar, who recently travelled to Kenya, and has now returned to Hargeysa, said UN's Somali office based in Nairobi, Kenya, will soon be relocated to Hargeysa.

The minister said decisions to move UN organizations to Hargeysa has been made due to the improved security situation in Somaliland.

"Preparations for the relocation of UN offices to Somaliland will start soon. It is true that the decision that has been made by the UN after the security situation in Somaliland was restored to its earlier level three," said Dr. Muhammad.

Somaliland's minister of foreign affairs said this on this return from a four day visit to Nairobi. He was accompanied by other cabinet ministers in his trip to Kenya.


Djibouti shuts border with Somaliland amid reports of rebel group presence

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

Djibouti has shut its border with Somaliland after armed groups last week landed at the Somaliland's Eastern shores which are very close to its border.

None of the officials in Djibouti and those of Somaliland have so far spoken on the reason for the closure of the common border, it is however believed to be connected to reports that members of the ONLF [Ogaden National Liberation Front] from Eritrea recently travelled through Somaliland's eastern shores which are very close to Djibouti. According to [Somaliland based] Jamhuuriya newspaper, Djibouti shut its borders with Somaliland last Tuesday [14th of September] in order to prevent armed groups from crossing over into its side of the border.

Sources at the Djibouti side of the border also indicate that the country has shut its border and has barred vehicles from travelling in and out of the country until further notice. It is not yet known when the border will be reopened.

The closure of the border has affected traffic on both sides as many vehicles planning to cross over to Djibouti are now said to be stranded in the town of Lowyacado in Somaliland while others are also stranded on the other side of the border.


Monthly Market Analysis - Somaliland, August, 2010

Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit - Somalia

Highlights

http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWFiles2010.nsf/FilesByRWDocUnidFilename/EGUA-89BQJ5-full_report.pdf/$File/full_report.pdf

• The Consumer Price Index (CPI), measured by price changes for the items included in Minimum Basket, continued to stabilize in most regions of the country during the month of August. The CPI increased marginally (2-3%) in the Northeast and Central, while it reduced (1-5%) in the Northwest and in the South. The changes in the CPI are attributable to sorghum, sugar and wheat flour prices dynamics.

• Prices of locally produced cereals have started to decline primarily in main cereal producing regions, an indication of increased cereal flows of the Gu seasonal harvests into the main markets. Over the last one month, local cereal prices have declined by 2-30% in most regions with largest declines recorded in Shabelle and Juba regions. Conversly, the prices appreciated by 1-5% in Central. On the other hand, prices of imported commodities have either remained stable or declined in all regions of the country with a more uniform pattern observed in the South. An exception however is a slight increase in prices of wheat flour, sugar and petrol in the North and Central.

• As a result of declining prices of locally produced cereals, the purchasing power, measured by Terms of Trade (ToT) between daily labour wage and cereal, remained relatively stable in most cereal producing regions of the Northwest (NW) while increasing rapidly in the South in the last one month. While ToT (Labour to Cereal) has improved in most regions of the South and in the NW compared to the same month a year ago, it is significantly lower in Banadir (34%) mainly as a result of declining labour wage rates. The highest purchasing power increase is observed in the Shabelle and Juba regions while marginal declines were recorded in Central, Banadir and Northeast regions.

• Exchange rates between Somali currencies and USD have remained relatively stable over the month of August 2010, with marginal appreciation of 1-7% throughout the country. The appreciation in exchange rate is partly attributable to increased dollar supply from livestock sales.

Regional analysis: Northwest Regions

Indicator - 5-Year Average -- Aug-09 -- Jul-10---- Current Nominal Price -- Current Real Price --- % Change Same Month Previous Year --- % Change Prevous Month--- % Change 5-year avrg (2003-07)

Diesel 1 litre 4,407 5 ,950 6 ,700 6 ,635 5,795 12% -1% 51%
Imported Red Rice 1kg 3,541 6 ,510 5 ,640 5 ,690 4,956 -13% 1% 61%
Petrol 1 litre 5,134 6 ,558 6 ,945 7 ,095 6,204 8% 2% 38%
Sugar 3,880 6 ,729 7 ,800 7 ,390 6,466 10% -5% 90%
Vegetable Oil 1 litre 8,668 12,120 11,360 1 1,410 1 0,038 -6% 0% 32%
Wheat Flour 1kg 3,455 5 ,480 4 ,400 4 ,890 4,245 -11% 11% 42%
Wheat Grain 1kg 2,303 3 ,233 3 ,000 3 ,625 3,121 12% 21% 57%
Red Sorghum 1kg 3,016 3 ,200 2 ,925 3 ,063 2,622 -4% 5% 2%
White Maize 1kg 2,446 5 ,283 4 ,167 4 ,083 3,528 -23% -2% 67%
Camel Local Quality (Head) 2 ,161,066 3 ,231,250 2 ,775,000 3 ,447,500 3 ,063,089 7% 24% 60%
Cattle Local Quality (Head) 8 38,070 1 ,404,667 1 ,270,000 1 ,375,000 1 ,221,621 -2% 8% 64%
Fresh Camel Milk 1 litre 4,858 6 ,450 6 ,550 6 ,650 5,809 3% 2% 37%
Goat Export Quality (Head) 2 03,324 3 19,875 3 72,500 3 61,900 3 21,457 13% -3% 78%
Goat Local Quality (Head) 1 66,982 2 19,820 2 92,400 2 91,000 2 58,461 32% 0% 74%
Charcoal 50kg 2 1,943 34,360 37,950 43,400 3 8,462 26% 14% 98%
Cowpeas 1 kg 5,739 11,690 11,188 10,625 9,341 -9% -5% 85%
Unskilled Labor Wage Rate 2 8,362 32,640 38,000 39,000 3 4,552 19% 3% 38%
Firewood Bundle 2,543 3 ,833 9 ,300 9 ,300 8,163 143% 0% 266%
Local Sesame Oil 1 litre 1 8,421 29,950 30,094 31,125 2 7,555 4% 3% 69%
Exchange Rate (Somaliland Shilling per USD) 1 3,839 13,275 14,525 13,575 1 1,962 2% -7% -2%
Cement 50kg - - - 55,009 - - - -
Cooking Pot Aluminium 7 Litre - - - 1 37,125 - - - -
Galvanised Iron Sheet Ga 26 - - - 2 85,000 - - - -
Hollow Concrete Block 10cm x 20cm x 40cm - - - 3 ,675 - - - -
Non Collapsable Jerrycan 10 Litre - - - 7 ,500 - - - -
Plastic Tarpaulin 14m x 5 m - - - 62,813 - - - -
Roofing Nails 15Kg - - - 2 21,875 - - - -
Timber 2in x 4in x 20ft - - - 1 57,917 - - - -
Woven Dry Raised Blanket 150cm x 200cm - - - 89,688 - - - -
Labour Wage (Daily)/ Cereal (Rice(Kg)) 8 5 7 7 7 37% 2% -14%
Local Goat (Head)/ Cereal (Rice(Kg)) 47 34 52 51 52 51% -1% 8%
Consumer Price Index - 112 118 113 - 0% -4% -
Purchasing Power Index - 0 .89 0 .85 0 .89 - 0% 5% -
Construction Materials *
Terms of Trade
Price Indices
Imported Commodities Prices
Cereal Prices
Livestock & Livestock Product Prices
Other Essential Items
* Data has been collected for the past 3/4 months only

Ethiopia rebels deny standoff with Somaliland forces

By Barry Malone

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters-Sep 15, 2010) - Ethiopia's ONLF rebel group denied on Tuesday that almost 300 of its fighters were surrounded in Somaliland after landing on the breakaway region's coast following training in Eritrea.

The assertions were made by Somaliland's army and its police force on Tuesday. The officials also said the Ethiopian military had joined the battle. Ethiopian government spokespeople were unavailable for comment.

ONLF sources in Ethiopia told Reuters the reports were lies.

"This is untrue," a senior ONLF member said. "There are no ONLF units in Somaliland. There are no ONLF units outside the borders of Ethiopia." An ONLF-linked website also denied that ONLF fighters were in Somaliland.

"There is politics and Ethiopian favour-seeking motives behind the spread of this rumour," Ogaden Online said.

The ONLF wants independence for Ethiopia's mainly ethnic-Somali Ogaden region and has warned international oil and gas companies to stay away or face attack.

Firms including Petronas and the Vancouver-based Africa Oil Corporation are exploring the Ogaden for potential oil and gas reserves.

"This is the largest number of insurgents to enter the country," the commander of Somaliland's army, Nouh Ismail Tani, told Reuters. "Their destination was Ethiopia but they were using our country as a crossing point. A joint operation is going smoothly. I hope it will not take more than 3 days."

Somaliland officials said the men had guns and were carrying 64 rocket launchers. Some of them had Eritrean currency and documents that proved they were trained in Eritrea, police commander Elmi Roble Furre said. Eritrea has long denied financing rebel groups in Ethiopia and Somalia. Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a 1998-2000 border war that killed at least 70,000 people, and relations between the two have been bitter since.

The United Nations sanctioned Eritrea in December, accusing it of financing Somalia's Islamist al Shabaab rebels. Eritrea denies that.

Ethiopian forces launched an assault against the ONLF -- who have been fighting for more than 20 years -- after a 2007 attack on an oil exploration field owned by a subsidiary of China's Sinopec Corp, Asia's biggest refinery.


Somaliland Army Drives Out Ethiopian Rebels

Peter Clottey 14 September 2010

Somaliland’s deputy minister for foreign affairs and international cooperation said its national army has driven from Somaliland territory Ethiopia’s Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) rebels who, he said, were trained in neighboring Eritrea.

Mohammed Yonis Awale said his administration has alerted Addis Ababa about the ONLF rebels wanting to use Somaliland to launch attacks on Ethiopia.

“They came to our coast by two boats and they took their weapons and their men from the coast by some two or three trucks to transport them to Ethiopia. While they were trying that we were informed and we chased them…into the mountains. We captured two of them and we slightly injured one of them. We took from them light weapons and some documents that indicated they belonged to ONLF,” he said.

Deputy Minister Yonis Awale said the rebels wanted to “penetrate Ethiopia’s territory.”

But, the ONLF rebel group denied that over 200 of their troops were forced out of Somaliland.

The ONLF rebels have been battling Prime Minister Meles Zenawi’s government for independence from what they call the original Ethiopia.

Somaliland official Yonis Awale said the ONLF rebels were carrying 64 rocket launchers and that some of them had Eritrean currency and documents that proved they were trained in Eritrea.

“All these indicated that they have been trained in Eritrea and their intention was to go into Ethiopia and start their fight with the Ethiopian government. (But), we intercepted them (on) the edge of the borderline between Ethiopia and Somaliland and so we shared the information with the Ethiopian government and the Ethiopia government closed the border,” Yonis Awale said

He also said Eritrea has been training and funding armed groups in the Horn of African region. But, Asmara has sharply denied the allegations as baseless and without merit.

The United Nations Security Council has imposed an arms embargo on Eritrea and vowed to slap financial and travel restrictions on its leaders for allegedly arming hard line Somali Islamic insurgents.

The embargo followed months of international frustration over Eritrea's alleged role in arming al-Shabab, an Islamic insurgent group that is fighting to overthrow Somalia's transitional government.


Ethiopian forces arrive in Somaliland to hunt down ONLF rebels

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Sep 15, 2010. Garoweonline.com in English 14 Sep 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

A group of rebels who were reportedly "surrounded" by security forces in Somalia's separatist Somaliland region have successfully crossed the border into Ethiopia, while Ethiopian troops have entered border towns in northwestern Somalia (present-day Somaliland), according to reports reaching Puntland-based Radio Garowe.

Somaliland Interior Minister Dr Muhammad Abdi Gabose told reporters Monday that the ONLF ethnic Somali rebels who are fighting against Ethiopia's government were being searched for by Somaliland security forces in Awdal region, at a mountain range where the international borders of Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti intersect.

Somaliland officials claim that the group of ONLF fighters, who reportedly number between 200 and 700 men according to conflicting reports, landed secretly at Zeylac coast in Awdal region of northwestern Somalia (present-day Somaliland).

Dr Gabose, the Somaliland government's interior minister, alleged that the suspected ONLF rebels were "trained in Eritrea."

But a senior member of ONLF who identified himself as the rebel group's deputy commander told Mogadishu-based radio stations that "no ONLF fighters are trained in Eritrea." He also denied that any ONLF fighters landed in Somaliland.

Some Somaliland-based media agencies have reported that fighting broke out in the mountain area, but these reports have not been independently verified. Inside sources say the reports of fighting could be an attempt to "save face" for the performance of Somaliland security forces.

Ethiopian troops arrive

Somaliland-based Jamhuuriya newspaper has reported that a force of 1,000-strong Ethiopian troops has entered parts of Awdal region in northwestern Somalia (Somaliland) to conduct military search operations in the mountain range.

There are reports saying that the group of suspected ONLF fighters have "already crossed into Ethiopia," where the ONLF has waged an insurgency since 1984 and is seeking self-determination for the Somali-inhabited Ogaden region of southeastern Ethiopia.

Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace and stability for nearly two decades. But analysts say the continued unrest in southern Somalia and the low-level insurgency in Ogaden region of Ethiopia is affecting Somaliland's security.

The bulk of Somaliland's security forces were sent to Sool region in 2007, leaving parts of the region vulnerable to security risks.

Reports that heavily armed anti-Ethiopia rebels landed on the coast and travelled by land for hundreds of kilometres creates problems for Somaliland's new administration, led by President Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo.

Since President Silanyo's election in June, Ethiopian government officials have expressed frustration with the new Cabinet ministers, some of whom Addis Ababa accuses of having links to Al-Shabab militants in southern Somalia.

In 1991, Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia but has not been recognized internationally. Somaliland claims colonial-era boundaries, but neighbouring Puntland contends that Sool and Sanaag regions belong to Puntland due to centuries-old kinship and blood ties.

Credit: Garoweonline.com in English 14 Sep 10


Somaliland police arrest eight terrorist suspects

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Sep 15, 2010. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 11 Sep 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

[Unattributed report: "Eight Terrorism Suspects Arrested in Buro"]

In a morning raid on 4 September, Somaliland police arrested eight terrorist suspects in Burco.

Four of those arrested are Somaliland citizens whereas the other four are from Somalia. Some of the arrested terrorist suspects are teachers in private schools while others are engaged in business activities.

Among the four Somalilanders who were arrested is one of the sons of Al-Shabab leader Muhammad Mahmud Nur (Farur). The son of Farur who was arrested ran a small business in Burco (another son of Muhammad Mahmud Nur Farur was recently killed in Mogadishu while he was fighting for Al-Shabab). Farur himself had moved from Burco to lead Al-Shabab's war in Mogadishu.

Somaliland's deputy commander of police, Col Abdirahman Liban Fohle revealed to the press that the arrests were made because they had information that the terror suspects had links with extremists groups in southern Somalia.

Col Fohle also asserted that the arrests were part of the government's efforts to strengthen the security of Togdheer Region.

The governor of Togdheer Region, Mr Yasin Muhammad Abdi, also confirmed the arrests and said that the alleged terrorists will be investigated and those who are guilty will be punished while those who are not guilty will be released.

Credit: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 11 Sep 10


Somaliland's Upper House passes extension of parliament's term

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Sep 15, 2010. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 11 Sep 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

[Unattributed report: "Upper House Passes Controversial Term Extensions"]

The Upper House passed an extension of the terms in office of their own institution as well as that of the parliament and city councils. The Upper House extended its term in office for three years and eight months, it extended parliament's term in office for two years and eight months, it also legislated that city councils should hold elections within a year and half.

The Upper House passed the extensions after they received a request from Somaliland's government to do so. The Upper House's decision was rejected by the three political parties. The government also seemed to disagree with the length of the extension time and suggested that further discussion is needed between the political parties, the election commission and the Upper House in order to find a reasonable solution.

The first deputy chairman of the Upper House, Shaykh Ahmad Shaykh Nuh and deputy chairman Saed Jama Ali insisted that the term extensions are constitutional and no one can block it.

Credit: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 11 Sep 10


Somaliland: Up to 300 Ethiopian rebels surrounded

(AP) – September 14

MOGADISHU, Somalia — Authorities in the self-declared republic of Somaliland say their troops have surrounded up to 300 Ethiopian rebels who entered the territory illegally.

Somaliland's military chief Gen. Elmi Robleh Furur said Tuesday the men were part of Ethiopia's Ogaden National Liberation Front.

He displayed weapons, military training manuals written in Amharic and Somali, and a wad of Eritrean bank notes allegedly seized from two men who had become separated from the group.

Eritrea has long been accused of financing and supporting rebels in its much larger neighbor, Ethiopia, with whom Somaliland enjoys good relations.

Somaliland has declared itself independent of war-ravaged Somalia in 1991 but is not recognized by any other state.


Ethiopia rebels deny standoff with Somaliland forces

* Somaliland says rebels en route to Ethiopia
* Officials say fighters trained in Eritrea
* Men alleged to be carrying Eritrean cash

By Barry Malone

ADDIS ABABA, September 14 (Reuters) - Ethiopia's ONLF rebel group denied on Tuesday that almost 300 of its fighters were surrounded in Somaliland after landing on the breakaway region's coast following training in Eritrea.

The assertions were made by Somaliland's army and its police force on Tuesday. The officials also said the Ethiopian military had joined the battle. Ethiopian government spokespeople were unavailable for comment.

ONLF sources in Ethiopia told Reuters the reports were lies.

"This is untrue," a senior ONLF member said. "There are no ONLF units in Somaliland. There are no ONLF units outside the borders of Ethiopia." An ONLF-linked website also denied that ONLF fighters were in Somaliland.

"There is politics and Ethiopian favour-seeking motives behind the spread of this rumour," Ogaden Online said.

The ONLF wants independence for Ethiopia's mainly ethnic-Somali Ogaden region and has warned international oil and gas companies to stay away or face attack.

Firms including Petronas and the Vancouver-based Africa Oil Corporation are exploring the Ogaden for potential oil and gas reserves.

"This is the largest number of insurgents to enter the country," the commander of Somaliland's army, Nouh Ismail Tani, told Reuters. "Their destination was Ethiopia but they were using our country as a crossing point. A joint operation is going smoothly. I hope it will not take more than 3 days."

Somaliland officials said the men had guns and were carrying 64 rocket launchers. Some of them had Eritrean currency and documents that proved they were trained in Eritrea, police commander Elmi Roble Furre said.

Eritrea has long denied financing rebel groups in Ethiopia and Somalia. Ethiopia and Eritrea fought a 1998-2000 border war that killed at least 70,000 people, and relations between the two have been bitter since.

The United Nations sanctioned Eritrea in December, accusing it of financing Somalia's Islamist al Shabaab rebels. Eritrea denies that.

Ethiopian forces launched an assault against the ONLF -- who have been fighting for more than 20 years -- after a 2007 attack on an oil exploration field owned by a subsidiary of China's Sinopec Corp, Asia's biggest refinery.


Somalia: Ethiopia troops arrive in Somaliland to hunt down ONLF rebels

14 Sep 14, 2010 -http://www.garoweonline.com/

A group of rebels who were reportedly "surrounded" by security forces in Somalia's separatist Somaliland region have successfully crossed the border into Ethiopia, while Ethiopian troops have entered border towns in northwestern Somalia (present-day Somaliland), according to reports reaching Puntland-based Radio Garowe.

Somaliland Interior Minister Dr Mohamed Abdi Gabose told reporters Monday that the ONLF ethnic Somali rebels who are fighting against Ethiopia's government were being searched for by Somaliland security forces in Awdal region, at a mountain range where the international borders of Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti intersect.

Somaliland officials claim that the group of ONLF fighters, who reportedly number between 200 and 700 men according to conflicting reports, landed secretly at Zeila coast in Awdal region of northwestern Somalia (present-day Somaliland).

Dr Gabose, the Somaliland government's interior minister, alleged that the suspected ONLF rebels wer "trained in Eritrea."

But a senior member of ONLF who identified himself as the rebel group's deputy commander told Mogadishu-based radio stations that "no ONLF fighters are trained in Eritrea." He also denied that any ONLF fighters landed in Somaliland.

Some Somaliland-based media agencies have reported that fighting broke out in the mountain area, but these reports have not been independently verified. Inside sources say the reports of fighting could be an attempt to "save face" for the performance of Somaliland security forces.

Ethiopian troops arrive

Somaliland-based Jamhuuriya newspaper has reported that a force of 1,000-strong Ethiopian troops has entered parts of Awdal region in northwestern Somalia (Somaliland) to conduct military search operations in the mountain range.

There are reports saying that the group of suspected ONLF fighters have "already crossed into Ethiopia," where the ONLF has waged an insurgency since 1984 and is seeking self-determination for the Somali-inhabited Ogaden region of southeastern Ethiopia.

Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace and stability for nearly two decades. But analysts say the continued unrest in southern Somalia and the low-level insurgency in Ogaden region of Ethiopia is affecting Somaliland's security.

The bulk of Somaliland's security forces were sent to Sool region in 2007, leaving parts of the region vulnerable to security risks.

Reports that heavily armed anti-Ethiopia rebels landed on the coast and traveled by land for hundreds of kilometers creates problems for Somaliland's new administration, led by President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo.

Since President Silanyo's election in June, Ethiopian government officials have expressed frustration with the new Cabinet ministers, some of whom Addis Ababa accuses of having links to Al Shabaab militants in southern Somalia.

In 1991, Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from the rest of Somalia but has not been recognized internationally. Somaliland claims colonial-era boundaries, but neighboring Puntland contends that Sool and Sanaag regions belong to Puntland due to centuries-old kinship and blood ties.


Somaliland forces 'surround ONLF rebels near Ethiopia'

13 September 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-11287682

About 200 suspected rebels are surrounded by Somaliland's forces near the border with Ethiopia, a Somaliland minister has said.

Interior Minister Mohamed Abdi Gabose told the BBC the men had arrived in the territory by boat and then travelled overland to the border.

He said documents the men left behind suggest they belong to the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF).

Somaliland has declared its independence from the rest of Somalia.

Its secession has not been internationally recognised but is far more stable than the rest of the country and in July held an election which saw a peaceful handover of power.

Mr Gabose said the armed group were surrounded in the mountainous region which borders Ethiopia and Djibouti.

The ONLF is fighting for the self-determination of ethnic Somalis in eastern Ethiopia, and has not yet commented on the allegations.

Eritrea has previously been accused of training ONLF rebels - charges it denies.

Eritrea and Ethiopia have a long-running border dispute.

Somaliland has previously helped the Ethiopian government in its fight against the ONLF.


Somaliland: Investment in the Berbera Port

http://www.unpo.org/article/11640. Sept. 10, 2010

The evidence of the foreign investment in Somaliland and the essentiality of its ports to regional growth shows that it represents a state worthy of recognition.

Below is an article published by The Somaliland Press:

French company Bollore Africa Logistics announced Thursday [09/09/2010] it won a tender to develop the Port of Berbera in self-declared state of Somaliland to help land-locked Ethiopia ease its maritime and port services needs.

Dominique Lafont, CEO of Bollore Africa Logistics, announced in Nairobi that the facility will help ease Ethiopia import and export needs through maritime transport system and open new income stream for the government of Somaliland.

“We shall be setting the port up as the national port of Ethiopia,” said Lafont.

The port will be run under concession basis, which marks the company’s entry into the infrastructure concessions in East Africa.

The company already manages the ports of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Cameroon and the Republic of Congo.

It also manages the rail lines of Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Cameroon.

“We are interested in entering concession agreements for ports in East Africa and along the Indian Ocean but the challenge is that most of the ports are run by the governments.”

“We are keen to work along the development of transport systems within the East Africa Common Market,” said Lafont.

The company has a strong presence in East Africa and around 40 African countries through its logistics arm SVD Tansami.

Ethiopia had two ports in Massawa and Assab in its former province, Eritrea but lost them when the province broke away to form an independent nation in 1993.

While it continued to use the same ports, which changed after the two countries went to war in 1998 when Ethiopia started using the port of Djibouti port that is 910 km east of Addis Ababa.

Meanwhile, the company through is local SDV Transami subsidiary has that its dry port facility in the Port of Mombasa will be completed next month.

The 10 million U.S. dollars facility built on a 10 hectare of land will help to decongest the Port of Mombasa that has been losing business to the Port of Dar es Salaam because of inefficiency.

“The intention is to have the new terminal as a holding ground that will ease congestion at the Port of Mombasa,” said SDV Transami’s regional managing director Mr Tony Stenning.

Since 2000, container traffic at the port has grown by eight per cent annually, according to the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).


Somalia: Somaliland interior minister 'worried' about Galgala militants

http://www.garoweonline.com/8 Sep 8, 2010

A Cabinet minister in Somalia's separatist region of Somaliland has expressed his worries about a group of militants fighting against Puntland government, Radio Garowe reports.

Dr. Mohamed Abdi Gabose, Somaliland's interior minister, told a press conference Tuesday in Hargeisa that the security situation in Somaliland is stable and that security forces are aware of all movements.

Dr. Gabose was asked by Hargeisa journalists what the Somaliland government thinks of the Galgala militants allied to Al Shabaab, who are led by a man named Mohamed Said Atom.

"They [Galgala militants] are a threat to Somaliland if they are defeated by Puntland or not," Somaliland Interior Minister Dr. Gabose responded to the reporter's question.

He explained that if the Galgala militants are not defeated, they are a serious threat to Somaliland security "because they are an armed force," adding: "If they are defeated, their remnants can commit acts of terrorism inside Somaliland."

Dr. Gabose stated that Somaliland's administration "does not have a clear strategy" to face off the Galgala militants but indicated that the administration was "very worried" about developments in Golis mountain range that connect Somaliland and Puntland.

Atom and the Galgala militants have hidden in the Golis mountain range and are being hunted down by Puntland troops, according to government officials in Puntland.

Puntland troops have seized all three facilities used by the Galgala militants, who have pledged their allegiance to Al Shabaab. Puntland accuses the Galgala militants of assassinations and bombings inside Puntland and government troops have seized facilities including training camps.

Separately, Somaliland's interior minister Dr. Gabose denied media reports that relations between Somaliland and Ethiopia have gotten worse since the June election of President Ahmed Silanyo in Somaliland.

Somaliland, located in northwest Somalia, unilaterally declared independence in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally.


Ethiopian minister in talks with Somaliland counterpart

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Sep 7, 2010. ENA website, Addis Ababa, in English 7 Sep 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Addis Ababa, 7 September: The foreign minister of Somaliland, Dr Muhammad Abadullhi Umar, has paid visit to Ethiopia from 5-7 September 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told ENA [Ethiopian News agency] in a statement on Tuesday [7 September].

The ministry said Dr Muhammad met and held discussion with foreign affairs state minister, Dr Tekeda Alemu.

The two officials have agreed to work closely and widen areas of cooperation between Ethiopia and Somaliland.

It was indicated on the course of the discussion that the newly elected Somaliland president Ahmed Mohmoud would pay an official visit to Ethiopia soon.


SOMALILAND: Higher education booms despite challenges

Ahmed Mohamoud Elmi. 05 September 2010. http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20100903174336536

Struggling to rebuild its infrastructure after years of civil war with Somalia, Somaliland saw its first university inaugurated in 1998 and has been steadily building its higher education system ever since. While significant challenges remain, higher education is booming as each year thousands of school-leavers pin their hopes on the country's universities and colleges.

By 1991 the infrastructure of Somaliland, on the eastern horn of Africa along the Red Sea, had been completely destroyed by 10 years of armed struggle with its eastern neighbour Somalia.

When the central government of that country collapsed in the same year, Somaliland broke away and re-established itself as a de facto independent republic (although its independent statehood remains unrecognised by Somalia and the international community).

With Somaliland's education system obliterated by war and anarchy, the country set about rebuilding and restoring.

Primary schools were given first priority, but seven years into this phase of its independence Somaliland's higher education system came back to life with the inauguration in November 1998 of Amoud University - the country's first post-war institution of higher learning.

There followed rapid growth in the number of universities and colleges, driven by increasing student demand for higher education.

Currently there are several colleges and more than 10 universities in Somaliland (each of the country's six governorates has at least one university). In terms of being able to offer higher education, this is a good starting point for a country with a population of 3.5 million people.

The leading universities are Amoud University in the west, Hargeisa University in the capital Hargeisa, and Burao University established in 2004 in Somaliland's second-biggest city.

These three universities' student population now exceeds 9,000, with high attendance by female students. The first medical doctors to be trained on Somaliland soil graduated in August 2007 from Amoud University.

Many of the universities are affiliated with foreign universities and examination bodies. For example, medical students at Amoud University sit for exams from England, while some of the universities receive visiting professors from foreign universities.

Admas University College (established in 1998 in Ethiopia and in 2006 in Somaliland) is regarded as the most notable of the foreign universities with a campus in Somaliland. The Ethiopian ministry of education recently accredited the institution's certificate, diploma and degree programmes.

Somaliland's universities offer vocational programmes, distance education and undergraduate degrees in diverse disciplines, but no postgraduate studies. This lack is probably due to the limited resources, including funds, of Somaliland's higher education system.

Most of the universities have been built with support from the people of Somaliland - whether within the country or in the diaspora - without significant foreign aid.

With a new government in power since July this year after free and fair elections, the country is more committed than ever to identifying funding solutions.

For, despite the growth and improvements in the higher education system, there remain myriad challenges, including limited resources, insufficient teacher and lecturer training, and low funding levels.

Among the biggest problems remains the country's lack of international recognition, which serves as a barrier to investment in higher education.

Generally, Somaliland's universities offer students a range of qualifications, and have the basic requirements in place for teaching and learning, although capacity and quality are sometimes low. For example, while universities offer students free internet and library access, libraries are for the most part short of books, reference and other educational material.

Over the past few years a number of organisations, including the African Education Trust and the European Union, have donated books and educational material to some universities, although such donations have usually fallen short in terms of the need.

Universities in Somaliland grant neither loans nor scholarships to students, and given widespread unemployment students are not able to get part-time jobs. Nonetheless, they manage to obtain the necessary fees.

Students are also not provided with residence facilities, although some universities are planning to move to the city outskirts and provide student housing.

Community engagement is emphasised, and students are expected to participate in offering HIV-Aids awareness, health care and conflict resolution programmes to communities.


Somaliland arrests eight people accused of having links with Al-Shabab

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Sep 4, 2010. Radio Voice of Mudug, in Somali 1230 4 Sep 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

[Presenter] Somaliland security forces have arrested eight people who are suspected to be linked to Al-Shabab Islamic Movement in Togdheer Region.

Reports reaching us from Burco town, the provincial capital of Togdheer Region in the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland say that eight people who are suspected to have links with the Al-Shabab Islamists were seized in the region. The security forces have arrested these young people for allegedly planning to carry out explosions in the town. They are now being held at the central police station of Burco where they are being interrogated.

The governor of Togdheer Region, Somaliland, Yasin Muhammed Ali, told the media that he believes the arrested young people arrived from outside Somaliland. He accused them of planning to carry out a blast. He stated that the police will investigate them.

The governor explained how Somaliland security forces were vigilant to take legal measures against any one who is suspected to be involved in acts of insecurity.


Opinion: Lessons from Somaliland

By Stephanie Hanson. September 5, 2010.(http://www.globalpost.com)

Reduce Somalia's violence by adopting policies of peaceful Somaliland.

BUNGOMA, Kenya — These days, Somalia is known for two things: its pirates and its Islamic militants. When Al Shabaab [2], the extremist Islamic insurgents based in southern Somalia, claimed responsibility for the July bombings [3] that killed 78 people in Kampala, international concern over the problem of Somalia spiked.

Somalia’s transitional federal government hangs on by a thread in Mogadishu. Despite several years of international support, including an African Union peacekeeping force, its authority remains tenuous. The international community seems torn over what to do next. At the end of July, the African Union was poised to widen the mandate of the AU peacekeeping force, but was deterred after the United Nations opposed it. What might be a constructive way forward in Somalia?

Somaliland, a peaceful enclave in northern Somalia, offers some valuable lessons. The autonomous area is not recognized by the international community, but it recently held successful presidential elections [4] that saw Dahir Riyale Kahin, the sitting president, hand over power to Ahmed Silanyo, a long-time opposition leader.

Somaliland is a small success story within the larger failed state of Somalia. To understand what might be possible in Somalia, it’s useful to examine the history of Somaliland.

In 1991, when the regime of Siad Barre collapsed, northern Somalia was left in disarray, much like southern Somalia. The area’s strongest political force was the Somali National Movement (SNM), which had been fighting against Barre’s government since the 1980s. The SNM declared Somaliland’s independence and created a transitional government that lasted until 1993.

Somalilanders believed the SNM was only representative of one tribe and wanted a more inclusive government. From 1991 to 1997, Somaliland held more than 30 peace conferences. These conferences happened at the local, district, and national levels and were largely funded by the local business community. They used indigenous conflict resolution techniques to build political institutions that were acceptable to the majority of the population.

By 1997, Somaliland had a basic government structure — a presidency, a judiciary and a bicameral legislature. The legislature had a house of elected representatives, and a house of tribal elders, called the Guurti. The Guurti was meant to provide a link between traditional governance structures and the state structures of Somaliland.

In 2001, Somaliland ratified a constitution, and in 2003, it held presidential elections that were decided by a margin of 214 votes. The outcome was not contested.

Somalia experts such as Ken Menkhaus believe the formation of Somaliland’s government was able to happen because it remained unrecognized by the international community and thus ineligible for foreign assistance. Since 1997, Somaliland’s annual budget is estimated at $20 million to $40 million for a population of 2.5 million to 3.5 million. By comparison, Somalilanders receive at least $200 million a year in remittances.

Running a government on a shoestring budget has drawbacks. The government has focused its investment on maintaining security, not economic development. Somalilanders remain poor. However, they are better off than the rest of Somalia. Though development statistics are extremely limited, available data shows modest improvements in health, education and income indicators since 1991.

Further, the limited budget might be what has held Somaliland together. In a Center for Global Development working paper [5], Nicholas Eubank argues that in the absence of foreign aid, Somaliland had to depend on local sources of revenue and thus, it had to consider voices outside the government. Somaliland’s business community has been instrumental in the formation of political institutions; it has lent money to the government, funded the security forces and financed peace conferences.

More than that, it’s possible that Somalilanders have greater trust in their government because it is not the beneficiary of large foreign aid flows. Somalis associate state predation with foreign aid, according to Africa analyst Alex de Waal. When Somaliland’s political institutions were established, preventing a powerful centralized government was very important to the population. As a result, Somaliland has a decentralized governance structure that allows individual districts to retain 10 percent of their customs collection. Districts are also allowed to impose their own taxation.

Somaliland’s government is still flawed, however. As Human Rights Watch has documented, it is somewhat repressive [6]. Security committees operate outside the formal judicial system and journalists are persecuted.

But Somalia is much worse. The transitional federal government, which is almost completely funded by international donors, has been trying to assert its authority since early 2007, with no signs of permanence. It hasn’t even managed to ensure basic security in Mogadishu. Whether Al Shabaab is growing more powerful is up for debate, but the group has certainly convinced those outside Somalia that it is.

The transitional federal government has not been able to do the same. I recently met a government official from Somalia’s Ministry of Public Works. He was a civil engineer, trained in England, who had returned to Somalia from abroad to take a government position. Was he building any roads, I asked. No, he said. There was no money, and in any case, if he was able to build anything, it would just be bombed. He was on his way to a conference in Kigali about infrastructure development.

Outsiders continue to believe, most likely because of the fear of a more powerful Al Shabaab, that they can influence the messy political situation in Somalia. It’s time to adopt the lessons of Somaliland to Somalia. The formation of political institutions will only work through an iterative process that involves all ethnic groups at the community level. This process should not be funded by the international community. The transitional federal government tried to form a parliament that represented all ethnic groups, and now has an unwieldy and ineffective body of over 500 people. Somaliland shows that the construction of political institutions is a slow process, one that needs local buy-in and most importantly, local funding.

Of course, the threat of Al Shabaab cannot be ignored. In a March report [7] for the Council on Foreign Relations, Bronwyn Bruton recommends that the United States adopt a policy of “constructive disengagement” in Somalia. Such a strategy would focus on limiting Al Shabaab’s influence and containing the flow of money and arms to the organization. Such a policy, in combination with giving Somalis the space they need to muddle toward their own governance structures, is the most pragmatic way forward for the international community.

Source URL (retrieved on September 5, 2010 18:28 ): http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/africa/100903/opinion-lessons-somaliland

Links:

[1] http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/africa/100903/opinion-lessons-somaliland
[2] http://www.cfr.org/publication/18650/alshabaab.html
[3] http://www.globalpost.com/../../dispatch/africa/100730/more-arrests-ugandan-bombings
[4] http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2010/07/21/horn-africa-ray-hope
[5] http://www.cgdev.org/content/publications/detail/1423538
[6] http://www.hrw.org/node/84298
[7] http://www.cfr.org/publication/21421/somalia.html


Guest Post: Could Tiny Somaliland Become the First Cashless Society?

Monty Munford. Sep 5, 2010

Bob Dylan once said that ‘money doesn’t talk, it swears’, but in Hargeisa the capital of Africa’s Somaliland it stinks. It literally stinks, reeking of rotten paper, like a leaky library in a monsoon.

That’s because there’s so much of it. For every dollar there are almost 17,000 Somaliland Shillings and the highest-denomination note is 500 Shillings, which is by no means the most common note in circulation. Money-changers sit within self-built stacks of money and children take wheelbarrows of it from one place to another, reminiscent of 1930s Weimar Germany when the Deutsch Mark became worthless.

By all criteria, cash doesn’t work here. Could tiny, unknown Somaliland become the first nation to become a cashless society? It is not only possible, it is almost certain. There is already a surprisingly strong base for this to happen. Thanks to a cobbled together-by-necessity system of money-transfer posts from Somaliland’s diaspora and a surging mobile banking industry, the country has to do away with cash. But first some background.

The currency is not formally recognised and neither is the country. Somaliland has no ATMs and credit cards are not only impossible to use, but are regarded as ridiculous items by local people. The country declared itself independent in 1991 after a brutal civil war with Somalia and now has a free press, a free market and a recent election was widely perceived as free and fair.

A significant diaspora send American dollars home by using Dahabshiil, an African version of Western Union that is extraordinarily efficient. Wherever in the world money is paid in, Somalilanders can withdraw American dollars within five minutes of funds being deposited via 24,000 agents and branches in 144 countries. Moreover they receive a SMS before that time telling them their dollars can be picked up.

I was thankful of Dahabshiil after arriving overland from Ethiopia. I had flown in from India after acting in my second Bollywood movie and was used to people escorting me from my trailer carrying umbrellas and catering for my every need. I would have needed a trailer if I had changed all my dollars; an obviously insane and unsustainable system.

Consequently, Selesom, the major mobile carrier has launched a service where cash is completely bypassed. Mobile banking in Africa is nothing new and is far more advanced in the West or Asia, but Somaliland can take this to a further level because the country itself doesn’t officially exist. The state itself runs on a budget of only $40 million dollars so entrepreneurship and innovation is vital to keep the country going as it strives for formal recognition from the rest of the world.

In less than six months more than 80,000 people in Hargesia have signed up with Selesom for its ZAAD mobile money service for money transfers, retail purchases and bill payments, a significant number in an already buoyant mobile sector of five carriers in a ‘country’ the size of England and a population of only 3.5 million.

Calls from Somaliland are the cheapest in Africa and fierce competition between the country’s carriers means calls from Somaliland are five to six times cheaper than other African countries. Mohamed Saed Duale, the founder of Dahabshiill has joined the fray and recently launched Somtel and joins Telesom, Telcom, Africa Online, Nationlink and Soltelco as the country’s sixth carrier.

The implications are clear. Somtel will use the 18-year money-wiring experience of its parent company to take on Selesom in the mobile money sector. The diaspora will continue to wire money home but the recipients will no longer need to go to a bank or visit the money-changers.

They will only need their mobile for all transactions and it means the money-changers will be kicked out of the Somaliland cash temples forever. Where Selesom has led, Somtel will attempt to dominate while the four other carriers will undoubtedly emulate.

So while the world wasn’t watching, a small peaceful country in the Horn of Africa that doesn’t officially exist will set an example that the rest of Africa will inevitably follow. Funny old world. Perhaps Dylan should write a song about it.


UK envoy to Ethiopia visits Somaliland to review government's issues

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Sep 2, 2010. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 28 Aug 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

[Unattributed report: Ambassador Norman Ling Visits Somaliland, Holds a Press Conference]

A delegation led by the United Kingdom's Ambassador to Ethiopia, Mr Norman Ling, visited Somaliland this week.

In a press conference at the ministry of health, Ambassador Ling said the reason they came to Somaliland was to find out the issues the new government wants to tackle and how it can be helped. The Ambassador emphasized that the UK and other western governments are pleased with the way the elections took place and are ready to assist the new government in the fields of health and development. "You have demonstrated here in Somaliland your commitment again to multi-party democracy and you have had a peaceful outcome in the transition from one government to next. We congratulate everyone who has contributed to that result," said Ambassador Ling.

The Ambassador mentioned that he came to Somaliland four months ago during the electoral commission's preparations for the presidential election, and he is happy to have come back again after the elections have taken place successfully. He also highlighted the fact that this is not only his view but also the view of the international community. The Ambassador said he had fifteen meetings, including meetings with government officials, businessmen and others, and he is going back with a good idea about the needs of the country in various fields.

Addressing the question of bilateral aid, the Ambassador explained, "If I may correct you, some of the UK assistance is provided directly to the government and will continue to be and that is in such areas as security which can't be channelled through international agencies. We were happy and we are happy to work directly as government to government and will continue to do so in the future."

The Ambassador also set a sort of precedent when he met with a Minister of Religious Affairs for the first time. Elaborating on his meeting with the Minister of Religious Affairs, Sheikh Khalil Abdillahi Ahmed, Mr Ling said, ""It was my first call on the ministry for Religious Affairs. I hadn't managed to get round the ministry before. We see the ministry as an important ministry within the government of Somaliland. It has been the case before and it is the case now. We are very keen to engage with it. We discussed with minister issues of common concern to us all including the issue of radicalization within Somaliland and the way in which one could address that. Radicalization is a particular concern not only amongst the youth here but also anywhere in the world including the UK and of course governments around the world have to develop mechanisms for tackling this issue. We talked in depth with the minister and his aides about issues such as youth unemployment, education, the curriculum, etc. These issues are not specific to the ministry of religious affairs only but concern other ministries such as Education and Economy ministries as well."

Credit: The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 28 Aug 10


Senior Somaliland security officer shot dead

HARGEISA (Reuters-Sep 1, 2010 ) - Gunmen have shot dead a senior security official in Somalia's northern breakaway enclave of Somaliland, the latest in a string of attacks on security agents and government officials there, an official said.

Colonel Abdi Esse Nur, regional commander of the custodian corps in Sool region, was killed outside his house in the eastern town of Las Anod late on Tuesday.

"Six armed gunmen opened automatic fire on Colonel Abdi Esse Nur when he came out of his home and was entering his car. He died on the spot," Sool regional governor, Abdillahi Jama Dirie, told reporters on Tuesday night.

Somaliland is proud of its relative stability and a peaceful handover of power in July after elections that were deemed by international observers to have been largely free and fair.

But such attacks are a reminder of its vulnerability to radical militants seeking to destabilise the region.

The al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab rebel group fighting to topple Somalia's interim government hit the breakaway region with a suicide bomb blast in October 2008.

In April, Somaliland deported four foreigners -- two Ethiopians, a Sudanese and an Eritrean -- it accused of involvement in a series of smaller bomb attacks on security force targets in late 2009 and early 2010.

Nur was the sixth senior security forces officer or government official to be killed in Las Anod since 2009, and the first since President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo took office on July 27.


Focus on Somaliland (Part 2): The scramble for education

Published on : 30 August 2010| By RNW Africa Desk. http://www.rnw.nl/africa/

Public universities do not exist in Somaliland but the private institutions are slowly and steadily shaping the future of tertiary education in this self-declared nation.

By Kassim Mohamed

A group of four young ladies converge at a corner of the compound to discuss their next lesson at Gollis University in Hargeisa. They are among the thousands of Somalilanders who attend as many as 15 of these private universities in Somaliland.

In a country where the education system was turned upside down after the civil war in 1988, things are now looking better.

Rise from the ashes

Dr Said Ahmed Hassan, a PHD holder from the University of Toronto and president of Gollis University, says he came back to contribute to his country’s rise from the ashes.

“We started this centre in 2004. We believe in offering programmes that can help the graduates finding jobs with less difficulty. If they don’t find them here, they can go to Kenya, Djibouti or even the Gulf countries.” says Dr Said.

Over the years, the institution has helped the Somaliland administration train many police officers and teachers. According to the president, they shape their courses to the need of the people of Somaliland.

“We train engineers here who can support and help Somaliland in building low cost housing. Houses in Hargeisa could cost 60,000 dollars. But Somali families are large with an average of seven children. So they can’t afford this kind of housing. That’s where we come in. Our graduates build them houses for six to seven thousand dollars.” says Dr Said Ahmed.

Taking into account the meager earnings of most residents of Somaliland, these private universities charge only 200 dollars per semester compared to a thousand dollars in a similar institution in Kenya.

Pride

Safari Hotel is a newly built lodge not far from Gollis University. Its vice-manager, Said Mohamed Ahmed graduated from the University of Hargeisa. Ahmed is proud of the achievements his country has made in the education sector and he is considered to be a fruit of it.

“There is a big difference in the situation today compared to 1994 when I was at school. There were landmines everywhere and my parents were always worried whether I will get back home safely. Thank God we are so peaceful and educated now.”


Focus on Somaliland (Part 1): huge task awaits new president

26 August 2010 - 4:07pm | By RNW Africa Desk. http://www.rnw.nl/africa/article/focus-somaliland-part-1-huge-task-awaits-new-president

The breakaway region of Somaliland has a new president since July 27, 2010. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud Silaanyo is the fourth president to be sworn in and is herald to Somaliland’s idea of independence. Many in Somalia think he has a huge task ahead of him.

By Kassim Mohamed, Somalia

To get an insight into the challenges awaiting Silaanyo, it is good to take a look at the history of the country.

After gaining their independence in 1960 from the British and Italians repectively, north and south Somalia became one. With what the Somalis at the time called the 'spirit of brotherhood' the Democratic Republic of Somalia was born.

After almost nine years of civilian rule, things changed in 1969, the Somalia republic fell into the hands of military rule. In a well choreographed coup, General Mohamed Siad Barre took over from the government.

Barre banned all political parties and cancelled the multi-party system that resulted to disquiet in the northern part of the country, now Somaliland. In 1981 the Somaliland elite launched the Somali National Movement (SNM) in London, in a bid to fight Barre's regime.

Barre retaliated with harsh security measures. Many from the political arena who dominated Somaliland were either killed or arrested while others had to flee the country. By 1988, a full-fledged war broke out between the two wary factions.

"They never wanted to hear about Siad Barre. They were so anti-him that it felt as if they wanted him dead." says Abdullahi Ali, a Somali elder who lived in the Somali capital Mogadishu at that time.

Hungry for power

Another Somaliland resident says Barre himself called for hostilities as he discriminated against them. "He never considered us as human beings; all he cared about was his power. Barre was the one who made us rebels towards his administration."

As a result Barre’s government flexed its military muscle. He destroyed the once vibrant Somaliland’s capital Hargeisa to rubbles; thousands were pronounced dead and some residents crossed the border into the neighbouring Ethiopia as refugees.

After a long and protracted warfare, the Somali National Movement (SNM) claimed victory and got the authority to rule Somaliland.

In 1991 Barre, the then president of Somalia is overthrown and the region of Somaliland embarked on a mission to be recognised as a sovereign state.

Huge task

Somaliland enjoys relative peace compared to the rest of Somalia, but experts say the new president has a lot on his plate. The region faces conflict from a rebel group Al-Ittihad Al-Islamiya based in the Gollis Mountains located on the country’s unrecognized eastern border.

Its leader Mohammed Said Atom is considered as a thorn in the flesh. He is identified by the United Nations as a main arms supplier to al-Shabaab.

The new president will also have to resettle more than 3,500 internally displaced persons living in Hargeisa. Most of them fled to Ethiopia at the height of the conflict between the region and Barre's forces in 1988. Since they came back, they are still not living in a conducive environment.

Many Somalilanders say they don’t want to live in the shadow of the past but want international recognition as an independent state.


Somaliland Former president Exclusive Interview

Geeska Afrika Editor, August, 17 2010. http://www.sunatimes.com/view.php?id=328

Exclusive Interview: Rayaale Urges the populace to Enhance Unity

Hargeisa (The Horn)Sunatimes- The former president of the republic of Somaliland Hon. Daahir Rayaale Kaahin, urged the people to enhance Unity, harmony and preserve peace and stability.

In an exclusive interview with our sister paper Geeska Afrika at Egal International Airport, the former president, who was on his way to join his family in France, emphasized that he would be remembered for many things including conducting of elections, extending the administration, education and health. The exclusive interview conducted on Wednesday was as follows:

Q: What is the message that you are sending to the people of Somaliland now that you are traveling out of the country?

I live the people with blessings and peace, I tell them to preserve peace and if God wishes I will come back, I am not vacated from the country, I am going to have a rest and then return back. Some people say that Rayaale should be named special envoy for somaliland’s recognition, following the good manner that you step down, which won you good reputation across the world.

Q: do you think of that?

May God accept, God knows what is coming but what Is for Somaliland is what is for me.

Q: What advice would you give President Ahmed Mohammed Mohamoud Silanyo.?

I read the speech in which I gave advises, I said rally behind him, I said follow him, and I cant see a place to turn back now.

Q: do you see the structure of the new cabinet which is smaller?

I cant comment on that. Every president makes his own government.

Q: What would you say about the new government and the relationship it would have with neighbouring countries?

Didn’t I convey that message in my speech (on the day the new president was taking oath ), I said that the relations that I made, I made for Somaliland take it from there and I advised the new government to keep the relationships. Therefore I hope every side would preserve for their side.

Q: What would you say to UDUB political party now that the election is over? UDUB party was only defeated in the elections but it is there and will come back for the second time if God wishes.

Q: Dahir Rayaale,you led the chad been the president of Somaliland for almost eight years, Up to now do you see signs of recognition?

Recognition could be reached if the effort is enhanced. This is the time it is closest and it keeps getting closer day after day but it requires keeping on striving.

Q: What do you think about our neighbour, Somalia where there are conflicts? Truly I pray to God to cool them before its flares reach us.

Q: What is the most important thing that you think will make the populace remember you. That you think you did that the people would never forget?

I will be remembered for many things and not one thing. I will be remembered for everything that I did for this country be it the extension of the administration to the entire country, be it four elections conducted in the country, be it the security of the country of which I have done a lot, helath and education. Therefore when I came in I did something in every part and I hope my friends will add to what I have left behind.

Q: The evening that election results were announced, although you took a great stand and conceded defeat, how why you feeling that evening?

My decision was stable and a happy one and not swaying one, it stood at one position

Do you think the respect that the Somaliland populace have for you is due to the great stand you made ?

The decision I made was not only great but a historic one as well which will be a role-model to those I have left behind. When it is said that you have been defeated he shouldn go out of the door. It will be a role model for Somaliland .

Q: What is your messge to the people living in Somaliland regions.?

I tell all of them to preserve unity and hold hands.


Minnesota’s Somalilanders celebrate their homeland’s democracy

by Issa A. Mansaray, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, Originally posted 8/18/2010. http://www.spokesman-recorder.com/news/article/article.asp?NewsID=104796&sID=4&ItemSource=L

In late July, hundreds of Somalilanders in Minnesota gathered at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Minneapolis to celebrate elected President Ahmed Mohamed “Silanyo” Mohamoud’s victory in Somaliland.

After President Silanyo, as he is commonly called, defeated incumbent Dahir Riyale Kahin in June elections, Somalilanders in Minnesota said it was time to celebrate and reflect on the country’s future. Hundreds of people from Somaliland, the breakaway republic, gathered to listen to a recorded video message from President Silanyo and members of his Kulmiye political party based in Minnesota.

Still struggling to be recognized, Somaliland’s recent election has been declared as free and fair by local and international observers. The Washington-based International Republican Institute (IRI), which monitors elections around the world, also reported the election as free and fair.

In his video message to the Minnesota group, Mr. Silanyo, who holds a degree from the London School of Economics, promised to unite the country and engage the estimated six to eight thousand Somalilanders to help develop the country.

Saad I. Samatar, one of the speakers at the Hilton, reminded the Somaliland community of the importance of a lean government with small departments with no more than 13 ministries.

“Democracy comes from within. We can’t import democracy from London, Washington or Paris,” said Samatar, a reference and archives librarian at Hennepin County Library. “We had, and should have, our homegrown democratic system.”

As the crowd patiently waited for the night discussions to end, black metallic speakers staged on the podium blasted music from their homeland. Women dressed mostly traditionally and men in both traditional and Western attire coming from different parts of Minnesota listened and applauded the various speakers. Later, some joined the youth on the dance floor.

At the Hilton, where President Silanyo met many in the Somaliland community to raise funds for his election a few years ago, Samatar and others urged the new government to use the Diaspora community as a resource base for education, economic development, and technology transfer.

In his inauguration ceremony on July 27, President Silanyo promised to improve the economy and work closely with the international community. He appointed 20 ministers and six deputies, describing it as the smallest cabinet in the history of Somaliland.

Somaliland’s presidential election was the first in seven years after a series of delays. In 1991, Somaliland declared its independence and separated from the rest of Somalia. The self-declared breakaway republic runs its own internal and external affairs, but still struggles to receive international recognition.

According to the constitution, Silanyo is allowed to serve five years in office. He faces multiple problems that include unemployment, a country still awash in poverty, and the insurgent and political turmoil around Somaliland’s borders and neighboring Puntland, a semi-autonomous enclave that did not participate in the election.

“We want to change the government,” said Ismail M. Jama, co-founder and second chairman of the local branch of the Kulmiye party. “The new government should be accountable and transparent.”

Samatar, Jama and others echoed the views of those present. They want the new government to pay special attention to the justice system, human rights for all Somalilanders, and respect for neighboring states.

President Silanyo and his supporters promised to be transparent and reform the country’s slow-paced development.

“The campaign is over now,” said Axmed Nur Fahia, Kulmiye party chairman in Minnesota. “We need all Somalilanders to join hands, work together, and forgive each other.”

Minnesota serves as the main base for the Kulmiye party with 13 branches in North America.


Somaliland reportedly seeking closer security cooperation with Puntland

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Aug 14, 2010. AllPuntland.com website in Somali 14 Aug 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Somaliland has asked for Puntland administration's cooperation on issues of security. Somaliland's newly appointed minister of internal affairs, Dr Muhammad Abdi Gabose, told the media recently while taking his new office that he wanted to have full security cooperation with the Puntland administration.

"We would like to have good relations with other administrations, and particularly Puntland region which is a very close neighbour. We are inviting our brothers in Puntland region to cooperate on issues of security in the region," said Gabose.

The minister held a news conference in which he spoke on many issues that fall under his docket, also praised the Puntland administration for the way they have managed to ensure security in its part of the border and said Puntland officials have prevented a spill over of the insecurity to parts of the Somaliland side of the border.

"Puntland administration deserves praise for the way they have managed to ensure security despite the many enemies in its region including the terrorists who have affected its stability. They also stand praised for the way they guard their border and ensuring that none of the hostilities spill over to our end and we would like to thank them for it," said Gabose.

The Somaliland minister also said he is still serving the Somaliland public in his capacity as a medical doctor. He said he will still be treating patients at the general hospital in Hargeysa from dawn to mid morning and after that work in the ministry of internal affairs.


An emblem of hope in Somaliland

Daily News Egypt. Cairo: Aug 4, 2010.

CAIRO: In Somaliland's June 26 presidential elections, voters were faced with a pivotal choice in determining their future prosperity, security, freedom and peace. On that date, which marked the 50th anniversary of Somaliland's independence from British rule, citizens voted to change the current regime that they feel has been growing increasingly ineffectual and promote a new party through the election of opposition leader Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, who was inaugurated on July 27.

Somaliland is a Muslim-majority constitutional republic, recognized by the international community only as a stable autonomous and self-governing region in northwestern Somalia, but not as an independent state. Formerly a British protectorate called British Somaliland, the region merged with the south in 1960 to form Somalia. But it later withdrew from this union after the military dictator Siad Barre's regime unleashed a reign of terror upon Somaliland in 1988, killing 60,000 residents and ravaging national infrastructures.

Since 1991, when Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia, Somalilanders have been rebuilding its stability peacefully and autonomously while Somalia remains a troubled country with clashing militias and humanitarian crises.

The international community should strongly consider affirming Somaliland as independent and offer it political and economic support, throwing its weight behind the founding vision of Somaliland to support its people and their desire to live in peace and stability.

The June elections were more than a political contest between parties; they represented hope for the people of Somaliland to maintain political stability and to one day earn international recognition as an independent state, as well as an opportunity to reform recent slips in progress caused by decisions made by the outgoing government.

This election was also seen by its citizens as Somaliland's next step toward recognition from the international community as an independent state. And now President Silanyo can work to make this vision a reality.

The international community lacks the political will to provide political, economic or diplomatic assistance for Somaliland. In Somalia, foreign aid appears to be perpetuating the status quo, fuelling a cycle of need instead of growth. However, Somaliland and its people, who have shown immense commitment to maintaining peace and stability, have had to shoulder the financial burden of reconstruction largely on their own. Because it is not recognized by the international community as a sovereign republic, Somaliland is not eligible for direct foreign aid or investment.

Somaliland's model of stability, reform and advancement is best exemplified by the capital city of Hargeisa. In this city, which was bombed to ruins under Barre's regime, crucial infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, homes, businesses, traffic lights and roads have been rebuilt in the past 20 years. But without further funds and supplies, the task of developing and maintaining stable health, economic and political systems, and building key infrastructure throughout the region, will be prohibitively difficult.

At this juncture, Somaliland will no doubt benefit from a change in regime. Silanyo, who received nearly 50 percent of the vote, has shown commitment to earning international recognition for Somaliland, and has vowed to make this his chief priority. Somalilanders have rewarded peace over war and supported democracy without exacting revenge on one another.

Silanyo has articulated his hope that another free and fair election in Somaliland will help garner support among foreign governments and will accordingly employ stronger diplomatic efforts to establish relationships with the global community. Through his leadership, Somalilanders have gained trust in their democratic system and recognize that open dialogue and shared discussion is essential in taking the next step for Somaliland.

We should do our part and not be complacent in our effort to help Somaliland move forward.

Hibaaq Osman is a Somali humanitarian and the founder and Chair of Karama, a network of activists across the Middle East and North Africa working to end violence against women.


Somaliland minister urges change to "one-sided" trade with Ethiopia

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Aug 4, 2010. Somaaljecel website in Somali 3 Aug 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Muhammad Hashi Ilmi, the new Somaliland finance minister, has said that they [Somaliland government] will not allow Ethiopia to continue to reap money from Somaliland unless it allows Somaliland to do the same. The minister said Somaliland spends large sums of money on khat [mild narcotic leaf] imports from Ethiopia, and Ethiopia should likewise import salt and fish from Somaliland.

Somaliland Finance Minister Muhammad Hashi Ilmi said the one-sided trade is unacceptable. He said that Ethiopia exports huge volume of khat to Somaliland and it should reciprocate by buying goods from Somaliland, otherwise the trade would be unworkable.


Foreign minister seeks to attain full political recognition for Somaliland

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Aug 3, 2010. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 31 Jul 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

[Unattributed report: "Somaliland's New Foreign Affairs Minister Signals Changes"]

Somaliland's new Foreign Minister, Muhammad Abdillahi Umar (PhD), a senior figure in the newly formed government, has taken over the office of the Ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation on Thursday.

At the handing over ceremony, the new Minister has outlined new focus in foreign policy. He stated that Somaliland's democratic achievements and locally owned peace and stability have to be sustained and that for this to happen Somaliland needs and increased international support and investment in security, economic and public service sector.

"Achieving full political recognition will remain our main goal but ensuring that international community offers support to Somaliland in these sectors is of a paramount importance" stated the minister. "We will work with our international partners in releasing these objectives" he added.

Speaking to Journalists after the ceremony, Dr Umar, a British educated with background in academia and Public sector Management said he would also work on broadening and improving Somaliland's trade relations with the region and Arab World as well as on security cooperation.

The new Minister, who has been Kulmiye party foreign affairs spokesman whose good record in diplomacy and building foreign relationships includes fixing up Somaliland's relationship with US Congress last year, continued to say that he would seek to establish closer relationship with African States and Arab World in a bid to create what he called "an environment in which there would be less opposition to the Somaliland's search for political recognition".


Regional countries laud Somaliland's democratic process

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Aug 3, 2010.The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 31 Jul 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

[Unattributed report: "Foreign Delegations Praise Somaliland's Election"]

Foreign delegations from Somaliland's neighbouring countries (Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti) praised the peaceful transfer of power that they had witnessed as well as Somaliland's democratic process.

The Deputy Speaker of Kenya's parliament, Mr Farah Moalim said, "The delegation that came from Kenya is a big one and was composed of 40 people who came on a plane, nine of the delegation are either former or current members of parliament and we feel elated, this is history in the making and it is something to be proud of."

Ethiopia's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mahmud Dirir said that their delegation had six members some of them representing the Ethiopia's Federal Government while the others represented the Somali regional government. Mr Dirir revealed that they had come by land from Jigjiga and were impressed by the peaceful conditions in Somaliland that they saw and the warm welcome they had received. He also commended Somaliland for the peaceful transfer of power and said it will help the cause of peace in the Horn of Africa.

Djibouti's Minister of Information and Communications, Mr Ali Abdi, too, was effusive about Somaliland's democracy, He stressed that it is a big achievement and sets an excellent example that is worth emulating.


Residents of major Somaliland towns reportedly stage protests over new cabinet

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Aug 2, 2010. Somali Puntlandpost website in Somali 2 Aug 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Ever since the Somaliland president formed his new cabinet, there has been an increase in the number of protests in opposition to the way he has conducted his cabinet appointment. Many clans that hail from Somaliland have said the president has not made his appointment fairly.

There are many politicians and civilians who have publicly attacked President Silanyo on the media in th Western Somaliland. Somaliland forces shot at protestors in Hargeysa and Boorame and have been accused of using excessive force.

The bigger of the two protests took place in Boorame where the Somaliland Administrations deployed its forces from Hargeysa to quell the protests in the town without informing the local authorities about what they were going to do.

The soldiers deployed from Hargeysa used force against the protestors in Boorame who then engaged them in direct confrontation. The soldiers from Hargeysa then fired live bullets at the protestors. The governor of Awdal Region, Mahmud Abdullahi Ige, has since resigned citing the administration's lack of consultation over the deployment of the forces from Hargeysa as the reason. The governor said the region's police commander was not even consulted over the operation of these forces and added that it was not in line with the laid laws in the region.

President Silanyo who is known to be a strong-willed individual has so far not spoken on the issue. President Silanyo is very different from any of the previous leaders in Somaliland and is said to be an individual who was only interested in the position of the presidency and not with enough knowledge on governance and protocols. Residents of Boorame were among major supporter of the president and it is in this town that he has received many votes. They are now unable to come to terms with the unacceptable path that the president seems to have pursued.


Somaliland merits recognition as an independent state

By Hibaaq Osman. August 02, 2010

In Somaliland’s June 26 presidential elections, voters were faced with a pivotal choice in determining their future prosperity, security, freedom and peace.

On that date, which marked the 50th anniversary of Somaliland’s independence from British rule, citizens voted to change the current regime that they feel has been growing increasingly ineffectual and promote a new party through the election of opposition leader Ahmad Mohammad Silanyo, who was inaugurated on July 27.

Somaliland is a Muslim-majority constitutional republic, which is recognized by the international community only as a stable autonomous and self-governing region in northwestern Somalia, however not as an independent state. Formerly a British protectorate called British Somaliland, the region merged with the former Italian Somaliland to its south in 1960 to form Somalia. But it later withdrew from this union after the military dictator Mohammad Siad Barre’s regime unleashed a reign of terror upon Somaliland in 1988, killing some 60,000 residents and ravaging national infrastructures.

Since 1991, when Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia, Somalilanders have been rebuilding their territory in a way that is peacefully stable and autonomously, while Somalia remains a troubled country with clashing militias and humanitarian crises.

The international community should strongly consider recognizing Somaliland as an independent country and offer it political and economic support. In that way it would be throwing its weight behind the founding vision of Somaliland to support its people and their desire to live in peace and stability.

The June elections were more than a political contest between parties; they also represented hope for the people of Somaliland to maintain political stability and to one day earn international recognition as an independent state, as well as an opportunity to reform recent slips in progress caused by decisions made by the outgoing government.

This election was also seen by its citizens as Somaliland’s next step toward recognition from the international community as an independent state. And now the new president, Silanyo, can work to transform this vision into reality.

However, the international community lacks the political will to provide political, economic or diplomatic assistance to Somaliland. In Somalia, foreign aid appears to be perpetuating the status quo, fueling a cycle of need instead of growth. However, Somaliland and its people, who have shown immense commitment to maintaining peace and stability, have had to shoulder the financial burden of reconstruction largely on their own. Because it is not recognized by the international community as a sovereign republic, Somaliland is not eligible for direct foreign aid or investment.

Somaliland’s model of stability, reform and advancement is best exemplified by the capital city of Hargeisa. In this city, which was bombed to ruins under the Barre regime, crucial infrastructure such as hospitals, schools, homes, businesses, traffic lights and roads have been rebuilt in the past 20 years. But without further funds and supplies, the task of developing and maintaining stable health care, economic and political systems, and building key infrastructures throughout the region, will be prohibitively difficult.

At this juncture, Somaliland will no doubt benefit from a change in regime. Silanyo, who received nearly 50 percent of the vote, has shown a commitment to earning international recognition for Somaliland, and has vowed to make this his chief priority while in office. Somalilanders have rewarded peace over war and supported democracy without exacting revenge against one another.

Silanyo has articulated his hope that another free and fair election in Somaliland will help garner support among foreign governments and will, accordingly, push the government itself to employ stronger diplomatic efforts to establish relationships with the global community. Through his leadership, Somalilanders have gained trust in their democratic system and recognize that open dialogue and shared discussion is essential in taking the next step for Somaliland.

We should do our part and not be complacent in our effort to help Somaliland move forward.

Hibaaq Osman is a Somali humanitarian and the founder and Chair of Karama, a network of activists that is based across the Middle East and North Africa and that is working to end violence against women.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=117707#ixzz0vPGiXthH (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)


New President of Somaliland Fights for Recognition

Written by New York Times, Jul 31, 2010

The newly-elected president of Somaliland, Ahmed Mohamud Silaanyo, vowed on Friday to campaign “vigorously” for international recognition of his breakaway republic in the Horn of Africa.

“During my tenure as president I will vigorously fight for the recognition of Somaliland. The world must recognize our democracy,” Mr. Silaanyo said a day after the announcement of his election victory.

“The first part of recognition of our independence is acquired as our people recognize themselves as a free country. What we are seeking is recognition by the outside world,” he said in an interview.

Mr. Silaanyo, a member of the dominant Issak clan, studied economics in Britain and served in the government of former Somali president Mohamed Siad Barre.

A former British colony tacked on to Somalia when the latter gained independence from Italy in 1960, Somaliland has remained reasonably stable, spared the clan warfare that has dogged Somalia because of the domination of the Issaks.

It broke away from Somalia in 1991 after the overthrow of Siad Barre plunged the country into chaos and anarchy.

An official of the hard-line Shabab militia that controls much of southern Somalia said: “The election is a sham and a dictation of anti-Islamic forces.”

“Silaanyo must denounce secession,” added the official, who did not want to be named.

Mr. Silaanyo, elected for a five-year term, said his government will “concentrate on development and rehabilitation of public services.”

He expressed gratitude to outgoing president Dahir Riyale Kahin, from the Gaddabursi clan, “for his services to the nation, including the holding of democratic elections.”

Mr. Kahin, who came to power in 2002, conceded on Friday night.

“This was a friendly match and at the end somebody had to emerge as a winner,” Mr. Kahin said. “I congratulate President Ahmed Mohamud Silaanyo and his Kulmiye party for winning the presidential election.”

He added: “I will remain in the country as an opposition leader and I will hand over my responsibilities immediately, in accordance with the law.”

Mr. Silaanyo said he would maintain close links with Ethiopia and called on Somalia to sort out its problems.

“Our neighbor Somalia needs peace more than anyone and it is the Somalis themselves who can achieve that. We are praying for peace in their country,” he said.

“The Ethiopians are our neighbors. They have always been friends of Somaliland.”

Mr. Silaanyo’s election marks the second democratic transfer of power in Somaliland since 1991.


Somaliland Predictions Bearing Out: al-Shabaab Terrorist Group Empowered; Ethiopia May React

Written by Defense & Foreign Affairs. 30 July 2010 16:39

The Republic of Somaliland’s incoming President, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, on July 28, 2010, announced his new Cabinet, but the formation of the Government has done little to stem the internecine squabbling within the ruling Kulmiye party, but has opened – as predicted – the Government to the al-Shabaab terrorist movement. Significantly, the outgoing Pres. Dahir Rayale Kahin’s UDUP Government of Somaliland had held the line against al-Shabaab and the Islamists.

Dr Mohamed Abdi Gaboose, a radical Islamist and longtime associate of the new President, was named Minister of Interior and Domestic Affairs. He is a member of the Yunis sub-clan of the Isaaq, and, as noted by Defense & Foreign Affairs Special Analysis of July 14, 2010, has strong personal connections with al-Shabaab. His new position places him in direct control of internal security and intelligence, and thus overcomes all of the efforts of the previous Government to work with the Western states against al-Qaida-linked terrorist groups, such as al-Shabaab.

Pres. Silanyo’s medical condition – due to his advanced Type One diabetes – means that he is not in full control of the transforming political situation, but the trend of pan-Somalist and pan-Islamist activities already means that Somaliland has become less-than-reliable ally to neighboring Ethiopia. This has fully justified the faith of the governments of Eritrea, Iran, and possibly Egypt, in supporting Kulmiye. However, the Ethiopian Government – which itself had expressed concern that UDUP leader Kahin was not up to facing the challenge from Kulmiye – has been preparing to respond.

This is of prime importance to Ethiopia, given that Somaliland’s port of Berbera has become a significant trade link for Ethiopia. Military action by Ethiopia against Somaliland-based al-Shabaab terrorists is entirely feasible.

Meanwhile, Dr Mohamed Abdullahi Omar was named Minister of Foreign Affairs in the new Government, highlighting the fact that the new Administration places a low priority on foreign affairs, and intends to pursue its “foreign policy” within the framework of neighboring Somalia, Eritrea, and Iran.

The US Government did not send a representative to witness the transition of power from Pres. Kahin to Pres. Silanyo, and it now seems less than likely that Washington will help promote the sovereign recognition which Hargeisa had been seeking. The Kulmiye Government continues to claim that it seeks this recognition of Somaliland sovereignty, which is what most of Kulmiye’s traditional support base wants. However, the reality is that the “new Kulmiye”, now dominated by Islamists, will not seek to integrate with a broader international community.

In the meantime, al-Shabaab is working to expand its operations throughout the Horn of Africa and down as far as Burundi while beginning to expand its contacts with other jihadist and new-salafist groups throughout the Middle East, the Maghreb, and West Africa.

From GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs Station, Hargeisa. (c) 2010 International Strategic Studies Association, www.StrategicStudies.org

http://oilprice.com/Geo-Politics/Africa/Somaliland-Predictions-Bearing-Out-al-Shabaab-Terrorist-Group-Empowered-Ethiopia-May-React.html


Somaliland urged to liberalize broadcast media

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Media. London: Jul 30, 2010. NUSOJ website, in English 29 Jul 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Text of press release by National Union of Somali Journalists on 29 July

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) calls for the opening of the broadcast media space in Somaliland following a peaceful and a democratic transition of power in the recent presidential election on 26 June 2010.

For many years, Somaliland has constitutionally recognized media freedom and the establishment of independent media. However, the authorities have been hesitant in granting broadcast licences to private or independent radio stations to enable them operate legally in the country under the guise of some unconstitutional justifications that Somaliland will descend to chaos and anarchy if the radio airwaves were opened up.

Until now, Somaliland airwaves is under strict government control but many people continue to get their information through television and radio channels, a sector that has not been opened up officially.

"We appeal to the newly elected president of Somaliland and his government to give practical support and facilitation for the establishment of radio stations in Somaliland so that people can enjoy and exercise their constitutional right to receive and impart information from other sources other than the government organs," said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ secretary general. "

"Democratic gains through the ballot box cannot be sustained and enjoyed unless radio airwaves are opened up and liberalized in line with the Somaliland constitution and international standards of free expression," Omar added.

There have been cases of wanton attacks on journalists and media houses for the past several years including arrests, intimidations and the denial of broadcasting licence to Horyaal Radio, and defamation cases against print and online journalists.

The print media, despite having licences to operate, have been victimized for their independent reporting and are already facing the challenges of being the only alternative source of information and media in Somaliland.

Judicial authorities in Somaliland are also not blameless in this regard following their persistent attack of the media. The judiciary has been accused of using its powers to frustrate freedom of expression in Somaliland. Nearly all legal cases against journalists have been ruled in favour of the government.

"Somaliland should make a clean start with the media by guaranteeing journalists their freedoms and rights. Judicial reforms should be undertaken to guarantee the independence of the legal system and to create confidence among the media fraternity. The judiciary should be viewed as trustworthy and independent institution that can defend the fundamental human rights of freedom of expression," he added.

"We need the yet-to-be discussed media bill to be availed in the public arena for debate so that it can form part of the governmental reform in line with international standards of free expression," Omar added.


French delegation concludes two-day visit to Somaliland

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jul 29, 2010. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 24 Jul 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. [Unattributed report: "French Delegation Visits Somaliland"]

A delegation led by France's Ambassador to Djibouti, Mr Dominique Decher paid a two-day visit to Somaliland. Speaking to the press at Mansoor Hotel, Ambassador Dominique Decher praised Somaliland's democracy and touted it as a worthy example for many countries in Africa. The ambassador also said Somaliland-French relations have progressed to a good level and praised Somaliland's representative in France, Mr Ali Ismail Hasan.

Ambassador Dominique Decher gave a chronology of the various stages of Somaliland-French relations. He said a French delegation came to Somaliland in 1991 but at the time relations between Somaliland and France did not reach the desired level. However, Somaliland-French relations were jump-started again three years ago with the opening of Somaliland Liaison Office in France in October 2008 and the visit of Somaliland President Dahir Rayale Kahin to France.

The French delegation included Thierry Choiner, the General Secretary of France's embassy in Djibouti, other French diplomats and members of the French parliament.

Among those who were present at the airport to say farewell to the French delegation were: Foreign Minister Abdillahi Muhammad Du'ale, Edna Adan Ismail, Muhammad Nur (Somaliland's intelligence chief) and other distinguished personalities.


New Somaliland leader calls for talks with rebel group

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jul 29, 2010. Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 28 Jul 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

The president of Somaliland, Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo, said that his government will free political prisoners and open talks with the rebel group [Soll, Sanaag and Cayn rebel group SCC] fighting his government in Sool and Sanaag regions.

The president made this statement while announcing his cabinet. He said his government will reform the judiciary system in accordance with the law. He said the government will abolish the security committee which used to implement illegal sentences and will release all political prisoners.

President Silanyo said that his government will be not be happy to see hostilities and fighting that can affect the civilians [taking place in the country] and called on peace talk with the rebel group fighting the government.

He urged Somaliland elders and intellectuals to play a role in bringing the rebel group that is fighting the government to the negotiation table, saying that there is no need for bloodshed at the moment.

"The government is on decision to address the conflict in Buuhoodle where there is fighting between Somaliland forces and rebel group. If this conflict is not resolved, it can cause instability," said President Silanyo.

"I don't see that gunfight will be a solution, I therefore I urge them [the rebel group] to stop the fighting. I called for peace talks with the elders in the areas where the fighting has been going on," added Silanyo.

The statement by the president of Somaliland follows fighting between Somaliland forces and those of SCC which oppose Somaliland and Puntland administrations occurred in Buuhoodle District.


UK delegation congratulates Somaliland for holding peaceful, credible elections

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jul 29, 2010. The Somaliland Times website, Hargeysa, in English 24 Jul 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC. [Unattributed report: "UK Delegation Meets With President Kahin and Newly Elected President Silanyo"]

A delegation led by UK's deputy ambassador to Ethiopia John Marshal arrived in Somaliland this week. The delegation was accompanied by the Nairobi-based head of international aid and development, Emma Moley. The delegation met separately with President Dahir Riyale Kahin and the elected President Ahmad Silanyo. UK's delegation congratulated President Dahir Riyale Kahin on the peaceful and credible presidential election that was held in 26 June and that was won by Ahmad Silanyo who is scheduled to take the reins of office in 27 July. President Dahir Riyale Kahin, on his part, reiterated that he will smoothly transfer power to the new president.

Somaliland's fair and free election has impressed many countries around the world, and Britain is expected to increase its aid to Somaliland and raise the level of its overall engagement with Somaliland.


In Somalia, a Public-Private partnership provides safe water to thousands

© UNICEF Somalia/2010/Morooka. Fatuma Osman, a mother of five, fills a container from the tap installed three months ago in her yard in Boroma town, north-west Somalia.

By Iman Morooka. http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/somalia_55308.html

BOROMA, Somalia, 29 July 2010 – Residents of Boroma town in north-west Somalia don’t take access to safe water for granted.

In recent years, depletion of the wells connected to Boroma’s urban water system caused a significant reduction in the town’s water supply. To cope with this shortage, the private company operating and maintaining the system decided to stop providing new household connections. The company also enforced a water rationing policy, limiting water supply to only twice a week for each location within the town.

In 2009, however, UNICEF supported the drilling of a new borehole connected to the town’s water system, leading to a drastic increase in water production. Boroma town now enjoys an uninterrupted supply of water.

Increasing water supply

“Although I desperately wanted to have a water tap in my house because of the inconvenience of having to buy water for the entire family every few days, I was told that there wasn’t enough water in our town to reach our house,” said Habiba Mohamed, a mother of five who lives with at the northern edge of Boroma town.

© UNICEF Somalia/2010/Morooka. Five-year-old Nura fills a cup from the water tap recently installed at her home in Boroma town, north-west Somalia.

But three months ago, the newly drilled borehole finally allowed Ms. Mohamed’s family to have a water connection. “I had saved up some money, so I requested to have the connection as soon as the water problem was solved,” she said, standing by the tap installed in her yard.

With contributions from the European Union, the Swiss National Committee for UNICEF and the Government of Denmark, UNICEF supported the drilling of the new borehole and its connection to the Boroma water supply system, a project which has benefited the estimated 80,000 people living in the town.

Abderahman Mohamoud, a board member of Shaba Water Company, the private company operating and maintaining the system, said that after the extension of the water system the production of water increased by 30 per cent.

“Existing wells that had stopped generating water because of depletion regained their water level that had gone down during the past three years,” added Mr. Mohamoud. “Water levels in the depleted wells increased by nine metres after this project.”

Public-Private Partnership

The water supply in Boroma is managed through an innovative Public-Private Partnership approach introduced by UNICEF in the country. Through the partnership, the different and complementary roles of government and private sector are strengthened, with UNICEF acting as facilitator to the process. Today more than 90 per cent of water distribution is done through household connections in Boroma, and an additional 785 connections have been installed since the water system’s extension.

Fatuma Osman, a mother of five, said that her family’s life has changed since installing the new water connection earlier this year.

“Before this, we used to wait for the donkey cart to come and bring us water to buy every few days,” she said. “Sometimes, because of the water shortage, even the seller didn’t have water to sell. Now we have water in our house every day, all the time. It is clean. I feel safe because I can save it in my own containers … we spend much less on water than before.”


New Somaliland President Names Cabinet

Source: VOA, July 28, 2010

Somaliland's new president has appointed 26 ministers and deputies, in what he says is the smallest Cabinet in the breakaway republic's history.

In a speech Wednesday, President Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo said his region's coffers are empty and his government will work hard to improve the economy. He also said he will work closely with the international community.

Mr. Silanyo beat incumbent Dahir Riyale Kahin in June elections with just short of 50 percent of the vote.

The presidential election was Somaliland's first in seven years, after several delays. The inauguration Tuesday was one of the few peaceful transfers of power from an incumbent to an opposition candidate in Africa's post-independence history.

Somaliland declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991. The self-declared republic runs its own affairs but has not received international recognition.

President Silanyo will serve a five-year term in office. He faces several challenges, including insurgent threats, poverty and unemployment.


Progressio – Somaliland’s New President Inaugurated Following Confirmation Of Election Results

July 28th, 2010

For further information contact: Jo Barrett in London. t: +44 (0)7940 703911 / +44 (0)207 288 8619

Somaliland’s new president inaugurated in Hargeisa following final confirmation of June election results

International development organisation Progressio, the Development Planning Unit at University College London (UCL) and Somaliland Focus (UK) congratulate Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo on his inauguration as Somaliland’s new president in Hargeisa, Somaliland’s capital, on 27 July 2010, a month and a day after Somaliland’s presidential election was held on 26 June.

The three UK-based organisations were invited in January 2009 by Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) to act as coordinators of the international observation mission for the election in the internationally-unrecognised republic. Immediately after polling day, the mission felt able to judge the voting as a “peaceful expression of the popular will”, despite concerns about voting irregularities in some of Somaliland’s regions.

The immediate acceptance of the provisional results by the incumbent, Mr Dahir Riyale Kahin of the UDUB party, five days after the vote – and the final and undisputed confirmation of the results – a decisive victory for Mr Silanyo, the candidate for the Kulmiye party – by Somaliland’s Supreme Court ten days after the provisional announcement were invaluable in ensuring a smooth and peaceful transition of executive power.

The election observation mission extends its congratulations to all parties, not least Somaliland’s National Electoral Commission, for organising such a successful and peaceful poll and applauds the people of Somaliland for their enthusiastic participation.

Dr Adan Abokor, Progressio’s Country Representative in Somaliland said: “After significant delays, which finally resulted in June’s poll, we are happy to see Somaliland’s democratic process back on track and we look forward to this continuing for many years to come. We wish President Silanyo and his new administration well as they face the many challenges ahead.”


Somaliland and the March of Freedom

By Ambassador Richard S. Williamson, July 28, 2010.http://www.american.com/archive/2010/july/somaliland-and-the-march-of-freedom

While the voice of President Obama has grown quiet in championing the spread of democracy, the fire for freedom still burns bright in the hearts and minds of people around the world.

Freedom and democracy are difficult to achieve and not inevitable. Nonetheless, history continues to witness freedom flower even in inhospitable soil when patriots cherish personal liberty and are persistent in its pursuit. The most recent entry in freedom’s ledger was written in late June in an unlikely corner of East Africa.

Somaliland is desperately poor, Muslim, and nomadic. It has few natural resources, and its limited exports are primarily livestock and fish shipped to Yemen. The international community has not recognized Somaliland and provides it little support. When their brutal war with Somalia ended in 1991, the country had been ravaged.

With the horrors of war still fresh, Somalilanders cherish peace. The violent failed state of Somalia to their south reminds them what they must not allow to infect their own society. And they have hope. Over lunch, University of Hargeisa President Dr. Hussein Bullan said: “It is the Somaliland way: No wells will be dug for them. No rescuers are coming for them. At the university we teach the students that no wells will be dug for them, but you are the rescuers.”

In 2001, Somalilanders held a constitutional referendum, opening the door for democracy. From 2002 to 2005, there were three elections—for local offices, the presidency, and parliament. All were deemed acceptable. The 2003 presidential election was decided by a mere 80 votes and the defeated candidate accepted the result, and the 2005 parliamentary elections produced an opposition majority. So far, so good.

But this year’s presidential election, just completed, provided ample evidence of the challenges a nascent democracy faces. The vote was originally scheduled for 2008 but was repeatedly delayed as tensions rose across the country and the nation’s democratic institutions were severely stressed. Leading up to the election, Somalia Islamist Al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaeda, threatened to disrupt the vote. All this contributed to an atmosphere of uncertainty leading up to this election.

But the people would not be denied.

I was in Hargeisa for election day as head of the International Republican Institute’s Election Observer Mission. What I witnessed inspired me and belied the cynics who would deny freedom’s march and would dim America’s tradition as a “shining city on the hill” for human rights and democracy. Advancing these values is our opportunity and our responsibility.

On election day I arrived at a polling station at Waa Kiro School in Hargeisa at 6:30 a.m., 30 minutes before voting was to begin. More than 300 people were already waiting to vote. Betra, a woman in her thirties with seven children, was first in line. I asked her when she had shown up. She told me 2 a.m. “Why?” I asked. “This is an important day for me and my children,” she replied. “The election means good things will happen.”

When I asked him why he was waiting in line to vote, Abdirahman, a young man, echoed the sentiments of many American voters. He said simply, “I want change.”

I met Amina at a polling station at the Imamushashifi School in a deeply impoverished section of Hargeisa. She’s 29 years old with five children, and the youngest, a five-month-old infant, was strapped to her back. She had arrived to vote at 5 a.m., and at 9 a.m. was still waiting for her turn. With a broad smile she told me, “Life is good in Somaliland, and with this election it will get better 100 percent.”

This year’s presidential election, just completed, provided ample evidence of the challenges a nascent democracy faces.It was not just hope nor youthful enthusiasm that brought hundreds of thousands of Somalilanders to the polls. There was a deeper understanding of democracy’s promise. At the Puoostu Total School polling site, I met Ibrahim, a 65-year-old man and father of 13 children, who told me he was jailed for three years in Somalia when young on trumped-up charges because he had offended a soldier. Ibrahim observed, “Democracy is very good for Somaliland. If there is democracy every human being will get his rights. From the fighting with Somalia there are mass graves everywhere in Somaliland. They want to kill the people like animals. We are getting stronger. Democracy makes the institutions of government stronger.”

A number of voters told me about the accountability that democracy brings. In a small village with dusty dirt roads about an hour outside Hargeisa, Hussein, a 40-year-old public notary voting late in the afternoon, told me that “the candidates have made promises and they will have to deliver or else.”

In Somaliland, the democratic process is helping to bring in a younger generation of people. And as the democratic process deepens, the hold of the traditional, male-dominated clan leadership weakens.

Like all elections, including our own, there were some irregularities. But it was an orderly, generally peaceful, credible election in which Somalilanders rejected the incumbent ruling party. Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo, the main opposition leader, has been declared the winner. President Dahir Riyale Kahin has accepted defeat. In East Africa that still is a remarkable event. That’s democracy at work.

Berbera is a coastal town in the northwest region of Somaliland where temperatures in the summertime can approach 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Here one of my colleagues met Hinda, a Somalilander who had immigrated to the United States, married an American, and now lives in Minneapolis. Thirty-four years old, she has two sons, ages 13 and 12. She was working as an election observer. She had brought her two sons with her, neither of whom had ever before visited their mother’s homeland. She wanted to bring her children this long way so they could know their culture and see its promise. She is proud of the nascent democracy in her native land. She said she had worked in the 2008 Obama campaign and wants to do the same thing in Somaliland.

Despite President Obama’s lack of enthusiasm for freedom’s march, there are others for whom the fire burns bright, including those whose democratic impulse helped him become leader of the Free World.

Ambassador Richard S. Williamson is a principal at Salisbury Strategies, LLP. He has served as an ambassador and U.S. representative in several capacities to the United Nations, as an assistant secretary of State, and as assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs in the White House for President Ronald Reagan. In January 2008, he was appointed special envoy to Sudan by President George W. Bush.


Analysis: Time for jaw-jaw, not war-war in Somaliland

HARGEISA, 28 July 2010 (IRIN) - Negotiating a swift end to a conflict in the east that has displaced thousands of civilians in recent weeks should be a top priority for Somaliland’s new president if a much larger crisis is to be averted, say analysts.

Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud “Silanyo” was sworn into office as the fourth president of the self-declared independent state on 26 July, amid clashes between government forces and a new armed opposition group in the eastern Sool region.

The group is called Sool Sanaag and Cayn (SSC), after the areas it aspires to “liberate”. These are contested by adjacent Puntland, a region that, while largely autonomous, does not claim independence from the rest of Somalia.

"The president must begin negotiations with SSC's clan leaders," Abdi Risak Aqli, a political analyst in Hargeisa, told IRIN.

Silanyo, whose clan has close ties with the Dhulbahante sub-clan in Sool, promised as much during his campaign.

For Rashid Abdi, a Somalia analyst with the International Crisis Group, the violence in Sool, which is rooted in perceptions of marginalization, was predictable and is now quite easily solvable.

“Unfortunately, the international community didn’t take it seriously. Unforgivably, the governments in both Somaliland and Puntland played down the crisis until it flared up into violence. It was left to fester and now it has caused a massive dislocation of people,” he told IRIN, calling for pressure to be exerted on both regions “before it’s too late".

He added: “Traditional methods of conflict resolution, where clan elders play a role and everything is thrashed out and settled amicably, are very strong in northern Somalia."

Since avenues for such dialogue were blocked, “some hardline elements in these clans opted for armed insurrection... as a way to force the Sool Sanaag issue on to the president’s agenda”, he explained.

“The danger is that if these localized grievances are not addressed, it will feed other people with grievances, creating a much bigger problem.”

Political resolution

Silanyo is well placed to resolve the uprising, according to Abdi. “He has indicated his willingness to do so. He is a veteran politician, he knows the region. This is a president who has more to gain by finding a political settlement.”

Berouk Mesfin, senior researcher at the Institute of Strategic Studies conflict prevention programme, also spoke about the dangers of not resolving a crisis in “areas that have no viable infrastructure or basic services, that have been neglected for the last four or five decades.

“[But] taking the military option has dangers as Somaliland has established a reputation for relatively better institutions and consensual or more democratic politics. At the same time, it has to deal firmly with such outright dissent and even sabotage of its quest for statehood,” said Mesfin, alluding to the nationalistic tendencies of the Dhulbahante.

“Silanyo will have to make Sool one of his most important priorities, but now there is the need to focus on the formation of a workable government and satisfying all the groupings which supported him,” he said.


A democratic beacon of hope in a dangerous part of the world

07/27/2010. Chris Harnisch

The July 11 bombings in Uganda carried out by the al Qaeda-linked group al Shabaab exposed the global terror threat emerging in the Horn of Africa – a region also plagued by destitution and authoritarian rule. This week, however, about 3.5 million people in the region will celebrate a remarkable victory for democracy. The government of a Muslim population just north of the territory controlled by al Shabaab will experience a peaceful transfer of power between opposing political parties one month after a free and fair presidential election. The government conducted the multi-party election by its own initiative and with limited external assistance or pressure. The feat, which has so far received little attention in the West, reaffirms the idea that democracy can take root in cultures of any religious and socio-economic background, and it occurs at a time when U.S. foreign policy has shied away from promoting democratic allies in strategic parts of the world.

This democratic success story takes place in Somaliland, which borders a country to the south that is overwhelmingly controlled by terrorists (Somalia), sits 150 miles across the Gulf of Aden from one of al Qaeda’s stronger safe-havens (Yemen), is roughly 70 miles south of one of the world’s leading state sponsors of terror (Eritrea), and is separated by only one country from the site of a recent genocide (Sudan).

Somaliland’s nascent democracy features a bicameral parliament and an independent executive branch, as stipulated by a constitution that its people approved through a national referendum in May 2001. A mere 80 votes separated the victor from the runner-up in Somaliland’s 2003 presidential election, yet the miniscule margin of victory – rare in a region where incumbents generally expect to win 99 percent of the vote (as happened in Ethiopia’s May parliamentary elections) – generated no internal violence.

This year’s presidential election witnessed an opposition candidate defeat the incumbent by 16 percentage points. Somaliland’s independent National Electoral Commission, a seven-member body that must include at least two members nominated by the opposition parties, has asked the public to support the new leadership, and the outgoing president accepted defeat without a challenge. Somaliland’s citizens have refrained from engaging in any form of political violence in the month since the election (compare that to the 1,500 people killed in Kenya following elections in 2007).

Hundreds of thousands of Somaliland’s 1.06 million registered voters (men and women age 16 and older) rejected threats of terror and defied radical Islamist ideology to cast their votes. The leader of al Shabaab described democratic elections as “the devil’s principles” and called on the people of Somaliland to oppose the election in an audio-recording released just two days prior to the vote. An internal U.N. report warned of the risk of suicide bombers targeting the election, and Somaliland’s security and intelligence forces arrested several suspected terrorists in the weeks leading up to the poll. The terrorists were kept at bay, however, allowing Somalilanders to express their will in a vote that the International Republican Institute’s robust team of observers deemed “peaceful, without major incident, and generally [in accordance with] international standards.”

The people of Somaliland, whose flag displays the same Islamic shahaada (i.e. “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah”) as the flag of Saudi Arabia, demonstrated that democracy can be welcomed and embraced by Muslim populations and in regions historically beset by terror, violence, poverty, and corruption. The example Somalilanders set by their own volition should serve as an inspiration to oppressed populations around the world and be applauded by the United States.

The U.S. government issued a cautious and inconspicuous response to the improbable story of Somaliland’s successful election shortly after official results were announced. The U.S. embassy in Kenya released a statement only to local media outlets congratulating Somaliland on its election proceedings, but it never made the statement publically available on its website. The State Department spokespeople in Washington, who have issued statements this year praising successful elections in Ukraine and Chile, have remained completely silent on the issue, as has the White House.

Perhaps this meager response should come as no surprise: not a single government in the world has officially recognized Somaliland since it declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 following the collapse of the oppressive Siad Barre regime. The contrast between Somalia and Somaliland, however, could not be more conspicuous. Somalia has gone from a failed state to a land overrun with international terrorists who have imposed a draconian form of Islamic law on the Somali people. Somaliland, on the other hand, has now held four national elections, maintained relative peace and stability, boasts a security force that has denied terrorists a safe-haven, and operates a minimally-resourced coast guard that still manages to arrest dozens of pirates off its shores.

Recognizing a self-declared state is an extremely complicated process that must consider a multitude of factors, including the effect it would have on regional actors (both allies and adversaries), the precedent it would set for recognizing other self-declared states, and the impact it would have on existing treaties and agreements. A successful election and peaceful transfer of power cannot and should not automatically result in America’s recognition of Somaliland as an independent state, but the United States should at least begin to evaluate the merits of having a democratic ally in such a strategically important region of the world. Moreover, the U.S. cannot afford to miss yet another opportunity to support a Muslim population that has rejected terror and authoritarian rule in favor of democracy. Praising the democratic developments in Somaliland would inspire and motivate democracy advocates and dissidents in Iran, Egypt, Sudan, and other oppressed Muslim populations.

Somaliland’s election and peaceful transfer of power illuminates a beacon of hope in a part of the world that poses a growing and legitimate security threat to the United States and allies such as Uganda. Democratic partners that work to uphold the rule of law and stand up to terrorists are a rarity in the greater Middle East and Africa. The time has come for the United States to start examining whether or not Somaliland may be a partner worth recognizing and embracing.

Chris Harnisch is an analyst and the Gulf of Aden team leader for the Critical Threats Project at the American Enterprise Institute.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2010/07/27/a-democratic-beacon-of-hope-in-a-dangerous-part-of-the-world/print/#ixzz0uvu15r9e


Somaliland's Silanyo takes oath in show of democracy

HARGEISA (Reuters-Jul 27, 2010 ) - Somaliland's new leader, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, was sworn in as president on Tuesday, furthering the breakaway Somali enclave's democratic credentials as it fights for international recognition.

International observers said June's election had been largely free and fair, and was seen as an impressive achievement when compared to the two decades of civil war in southern and central Somalia where foreign peacekeepers prop up an almost powerless government in the face of an Islamist insurgency.

"I am handing over the presidency with good spirit and welcome President Silanyo who won the election," outgoing President Dahir Rayale Kahin said at the ceremony.

"I tell my supporters that the campaign and election are over and that the people of Somaliland are expected to unite and work for the future of Somaliland and recognition."

Colonised by Britain while the rest of Somalia was under Italian administration, Somaliland declared independence in 1991 as the rest of the country disintegrated into anarchy.

But the African Union and foreign powers have not recognised Somaliland. Many in the breakaway republic suspect the African Union fears its formal recognition would trigger a flurry of secession bids across the continent.

Silanyo, who will make his official inauguration speech on Wednesday and announce his cabinet, pledged equality and justice and said he would strive to strengthen Somaliland's democracy.

Somaliland won independence from Britain in 1960, just a few days before Italy relinquished control of southern and central Somalia. The republic of Somalia was created, but Somaliland, rapidly felt marginalised.

Years of fighting against the south ensued and galvanised Somaliland's population, dominated by a single clan, to turn its back on civil war and seek independence.


New Somaliland president sworn in

HARGEISA, (AFP July 27, 2010)Somalia — The newly-elected president of Somalia's northern breakaway state of Somaliland was sworn in Tuesday following June polls widely acclaimed as peaceful and democratic.

Outgoing president Dahir Riyale Kahin handed over power to Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo during a ceremony at the presidential palace in the capital Hargeisa.

"I solemnly transfer power to the new president, my brother Ahmed Silanyo, who defeated me in the recent elections," said Riyale, who had been in power since 2002.

"I will work with him by giving my support and I call upon all of you to unite in his support," he added. "There is a huge and difficult task ahead of our brother so let us help him succeed in his work."

Silanyo, who has a degree from the London School of Economics and runs the Kulmiye party, is Somaliland's fourth president since the territory unilaterally proclaimed its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991.

"I ask for your support to fulfil my commitments and, as of tomorrow, I will start appointing my government," Silanyo said at the ceremony.

The elections were held on June 26, on the day of the 50th anniversary of independence from Britain.

The polls were originally slated for 2008 but were delayed by a protracted dispute over voter registration.

Last month's election was nonetheless held without any violence despite a hard-fought campaign and the incumbent gracefully conceded defeat after a ballot foreign observers hailed as generally fair.

Many voters and politicians have voiced hope that the smooth transfer of power would once again prove their democratic credentials and strengthen their territory's case for international recognition.

Some Western countries argue Somaliland deserves to become a fully-fledged country and thus gain access to more aid but the African Union is wary of setting a precedent they fear could spur secessions across the continent.


Somalia: Somaliland's new President Silanyo sworn-in

27 Jul 27, 2010 - http://www.garoweonline.com/

The newly elected leader of Somalia’s separatist region of Somaliland was sworn-in on Tuesday in a well-organized event attended by local and regional officials, Radio Garowe reports.

Somaliland security forces had cordoned off areas around the presidential palace in the capital Hargeisa, where the dignitaries had arrived from other regions of Somaliland and neighboring countries to attend the historic transfer of power from President Dahir Riyale to the new leader, Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, a former opposition chief.

Djibouti's information minister, Ethiopia's tourism minister and Kenya's deputy Parliament speaker were among the foreign dignitaries that attended Tuesday's swearing-in ceremony.

President Silanyo was sworn-in by Somaliland's chief justice, who repeated the words of the oath of office. Speaking briefly, Mr. Silanyo said he will announce his new Cabinet tomorrow and deliver his first official speech.

Mr. Riyale the outgoing leader of Somaliland, congratulated incoming President Silanyo and promised to work with the new administration.

He called on the people of Somaliland to "unite as the elections are over," and praised neighboring countries Djibouti and Ethiopia as "friends of Somaliland."

President Silanyo becomes the four president of Somaliland since 1991, after: Abdirahman Tur, Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, and most recently, Dahir Riyale, who was president since 2002.

The separatist region is praised for maintaining relative peace and the semblance of governance, although the region remains dirt-poor in terms of development and its educated class lives abroad, like fellow Somalis, due to the overall instability of Somalia as a whole.

Peaceful transfer of power from one elected official to another is not completely uncommon in Somalia. In 2005, and again in 2009, Puntland State held presidential elections and in both cases the opposition leader was elected president.

However, the international community has largely neglected both peaceful regions of Somalia, Somaliland and Puntland, and has invested massively in Mogadishu where Al Shabaab insurgents are fighting to topple the unpopular but Western-backed TFG led by President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.

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

The unrecognized separatist republic claims Sool and Sanaag regions, which are disputed with Puntland, a self-governing federal state that has never declared independence.

Somaliland's election did not take place in most of Sool and Sanaag regions, as Somaliland forces control a very limited area in these two regions.

During June 26 election day, at least four Somaliland election workers were killed in Sool region during election-day skirmishes.


Challenges Lie Ahead for new Somaliland President

Michael Onyiego | Nairobi 27 July 2010. http://www1.voanews.com/

Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo was sworn in Monday as the new President of Somaliland, a self-declared independent republic in northwestern Somalia. The inauguration marks a successful democratic transition in an otherwise tumultuous region, but Mr. Silaanyo will face many of the same problems which plague the south as he assumes office.

The ceremony, which took place in the Somaliland capital Hargeisa, was attended by delegations from across east Africa, including officials from Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

Silaanyo was elected with 49 percent of the vote, defeating incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin, who received around one-third of the ballots during the June 26 poll, which was praised by observers as free and fair.

Before being sworn in, the new leader acknowledged his responsibility to Somaliland and promised justice and equality for its people. Silaanyo also announced that he would name his cabinet tomorrow in order to begin governing.

Compared with the rest of the region, Somaliland has been an oasis of stability since unilaterally declaring independence from greater Somalia in 1991. Since the overthrow of Mohammed Siad Barre in Mogadishu in the same year, southern and central Somalia has devolved into a state of near constant conflict.

The Transitional Federal Government, backed by the United Nations, has battled rising Islamist insurgencies during the past decade and maintains only tenuous control over parts of the capital.

Somaliland, meanwhile, has strengthened its democratic credentials by transitioning to a full democracy in 2002, holding parliamentary elections and two successful presidential polls. The presidential election in June also featured a peaceful handover of power.

During the inauguration, former president Kahin congratulated the people of Somaliland for successful and democratic elections, saying he was proud to hand over the presidency to his political rival, Mr. Silaanyo.

But the five-year term is not likely to be so smooth for the new president. Like the rest of the region, poverty and unemployment are widespread in Somalia. Many young Somalilanders leave the region for jobs in Europe, and the ministry of planning estimated in 2009 that 80 percent of Somaliland's economy was based on remittances.

Somaliland also faces armed threats familiar to the rest of Somalia. The remnants of rebel group al-Ittihad al-Islamiya are based in the Golis Mountains on the country's unrecognized eastern border. The group's leader, Mohammed Said Atom, has been identified by the United Nations as a principle supplier to southern insurgents al-Shabab and a destabilizing factor for the region.

Somaliland also faces internal challenges from secessionist movements in the regions of Sool, Sanaag and southeastern Togdheer, known locally as "Cayn." The groups collectively named the Sool, Sanaag and Cayn militia have called for complete regional autonomy within greater Somalia and refuse to recognize Somaliland's independence.

While there have been no reports of violence around the inauguration, the Sool, Sanaag and Cayn militia was responsible for polling station attacks during the June vote. The violence was concentrated around the Cayn region of Togdheer and left one electoral official dead.

Though the attacks did not discourage many from voting in the election, they will serve as a constant reminder to President Silaanyo of his nation's fragile peace in the tumultuous region.


Another Successful Election in Somaliland

Michael Wallis. UCL and International Election Observation team for the Somaliland Elections
Sally Healy. Associate Fellow, Africa Programme, Chatham House
26 July 2010
Briefing Note
www.chathamhouse.org.uk

Ahmed Mohamed Mahamoud ’Silanyo‘ has been sworn in as Somaliland’s third democratically elected President, after his Kulmiye party beat the incumbent Udub party in last month’s elections. The road to these elections was often fraught with tension. But in overcoming the obstacles, Somaliland has demonstrated the durability of its democratic institutions, with few, if any, appropriate role-models amongst neighbouring states. Many in Somaliland hope that this election will finally convince the international community that they fully deserve international recognition.

Somaliland’s peace stands in increasingly stark contrast to the violent and intractable political situation in southern Somalia. But it was not achieved overnight. Somaliland has negotiated its own particular brand of democracy and done so at its own initiative. Based on a clear commitment by Somaliland’s political leadership to representative democracy, there has been a reconciliation process since 1991 which brings together all the dominant clans.

True to this commitment local, presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Somaliland in 2002, 2003 and 2005. Despite this credible track record, the success of the latest elections was not a forgone conclusion. They had been postponed on a number of occasions since 2008 and by September last year serious political in-fighting and a controversial electoral commission threatened the prospect of a meaningful poll. But eventually a political agreement was reached, a new National Electoral Commission (NEC) appointed and a viable electoral timetable established.

Security was a concern in the run up to the election. An incident involving political Islamists in Burco led to a shoot-out with police and arrests were made. There were warnings by al-Shabaab not to take part in voting but no acts of terrorism occurred. In Sool region a new group called SSC (the initials denote the disputed territories of Sool, Sanaag and Cayn) also engaged Somaliland forces, resulting in the death of an election official but only minor disruption to the voting.

Shortcomings in the election process included documented instances of underage voting and attempts to stuff ballot boxes. However, they were relatively easy to detect and the NEC acted decisively where they could. The vote tally proceeded smoothly and the final result was announced on 1 July, with Mr Silanyo securing a comfortable majority. The next day President Riyale conceded defeat. All the observer groups attending the election - both local and international - declared themselves happy with the process and final result.

Overall, Somaliland achieved an election and a transfer of power that many more established democracies would struggle to emulate, and none in the Horn of Africa could match. There are lessons here for Somalia. Somaliland does not represent a model for Somalia per se: the social and political settlement is particular to Somaliland. The key point is that it has been a distinctively local endeavour, not driven by outsiders and dependent on Somaliland leadership. Somaliland needs to see a change of attitude by the outside world. If it is to build on its success then it needs to connect with the international system much more comprehensively than has been possible to date. Full sovereign recognition is their preferred option and the new government will certainly press on with efforts to secure it. But it is not the only option available. Some extension of formal international status is now a priority for Somaliland and should be considered seriously by the international diplomatic community.


U.S. should lead the world in recognizing peaceful, democratic Somaliland

Ali Mohamed, July 20, 2010.http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/07/us_should_lead_the_world_in_re.html

Somalia recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence, but most Somalis have nothing to celebrate. Somalia ranks as the world's most utterly failed state. Today, 3 million people are desperately in need of food, 1.4 million have been displaced and 750,000 survive on humanitarian relief.

Share Much of central and southern Somalia is controlled by al-Shabab, a Somali fundamentalist Islamist youth group with ties to al-Qaida that recently claimed responsibility for the deadly bombings at two bars in Uganda's capital of Kampala. Seventy-six people died as they watched the World Cup match July 11, including one American. Scores were wounded -- among them, members of a church group from Pennsylvania.

The U.N. strategy of the last two decades, focusing mainly on Mogadishu, ground zero of the failed state of Somalia, has been an abject failure.

For diplomatic reasons, the international community has ignored the beacon of hope in Somalia -- the northerly part, Somaliland, which is peaceful and has a stable functioning government, with political institutions that are organic and able to maintain order within its defined borders.

The Kampala bombings underscore that America must find a new approach. Luckily, an overlooked partner for peace already exists -- Somaliland, which was part of Somalia from 1960 until 1991, when Somaliland declared independence.

Somaliland has never required any U.S.-, U.N.- or African Union-led military intervention, but has succeeded in establishing a fledgling, secular Muslim democratic state from scratch, without massive aid.

Unlike the brutal warlords, pirates, war profiteers and jihadists fighting for power in Somalia, Somaliland development has been built on a bottom-up reconciliation process, amnesty and peace. Today, it has a legitimate multiparty representative democracy, an ill-equipped but a functioning police and a free-market economy operating under the rule of law.

On June 26, the 50th anniversary of Somaliland's independence from Britain (Somalia itself won independence 50 years ago from Italy), a well-organized presidential poll took place in more than 1,800 polling stations across Somaliland.

The opposition leader, Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo, won the election, and after the incumbent president accepted the election result, a peaceful transition of political power is imminent, which is very rare in Africa.

All these achievements are reason enough to secure Somaliland full diplomatic recognition, given the growing threat and power of al-Qaida affiliates and the violence mired in Somalia, but, for political reasons, the Obama administration has refused to support and award it the recognition it deserves. Instead, the United States is providing money, training and arms for a fictional Somali government .

For the last two decades the United States has relied heavily on Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and other African allies, while ignoring Somaliland, which has the bigger stake in bringing stability to Somalia.

Recognizing Somaliland would reverse al-Qaida's expansion into the region and would also facilitate stabilizing Somalia. The Kampala bombings show that America cannot afford anymore to ignore Somaliland's achievement and success and the contribution it could make -- including its knowledge of Somali clan politics, culture and language.

The current State Department policy toward Somalia backs Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed as leader of the collapsed state of Somalia. But Ahmed controls only small pockets of Mogadishu and is protected by a contingent of African Union troops made up of Ugandans and Burundians. He has absolutely no power and enjoys no legitimacy among the ordinary Somali population. He clearly is not accomplishing the U.S. strategy to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat" the violent al-Qaida franchise in Somalia, nor does he make the region more stable.

In an ideal world, Sheik Sharif Ahmed is not someone the United States would like to be doing business with.

Somaliland, which has 475 miles of coastline, can play a significant role in helping the United States and the West to combat al-Qaida elements in Somalia, as well as piracy in the Gulf of Aden -- one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

The United States at the very least should pay substantial attention to the needs of Somalilanders and lend them a helping hand in the areas of counterterrorism efforts, coastal security, education and agriculture.

The 3.5 million Somalilanders cannot tolerate more years of uncertainty about what country they live in and what the future holds for them.

It is time that President Barack Obama led the world to do the right thing and accept the only viable and sustainable solution, which is an independent and sovereign Somaliland. Anything less would not work, nor would it be just.

Mohamed is president of the Somaliland Freedom Foundation in Lewis Center, Ohio.


SOMALIA: Somaliland clashes displace thousands

WIDHWIDH, 23 July 2010 (IRIN) - Several thousand people in northern Somalia have been displaced in recent weeks by clashes between Somaliland troops and a new rebel group, according to local and UN sources.

The armed group is called Sool, Sanaag and Cayn (SSC) after the regions it hopes to “liberate” from the government of Somaliland, a northwestern region which unilaterally declared independence in 1991. No country formally recognizes Somaliland’s statehood.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 1,232 displaced households in the Buuhoodle and Widhwidh districts of the Sool region received a month’s worth of oil and sorghum in June. WFP works on the basis of an average of six people per household. Insecurity prevented 468 targeted households from receiving the rations.

In an email to IRIN, WFP cited a local NGO report that an additional 334 households had been displaced more recently in the Kalabaid area of Sool.

One of those displaced, Hawa Hassan, told IRIN in the town of Widhwidh on 21 July: "We first ran away in early June when the war broke out and I brought my family back in July, but another war broke out a few days ago between the army and the region's militia."

Hawa said she fled with her family to Dhagah Dheer, 18km northwest of Widhwidh.

"We have been struggling to survive in a forested area but the heavy rains and the cold weather makes it difficult for us to endure," she said.

Saleebaan Warsame Guuleed, Somaliland's defence minister, said one soldier was killed and another injured in the latest clashes with SSC.

Elders in Widhwidh District said families started fleeing from 21 May to neighbouring villages such as Xidh-Xidh, Bali Cad, Geed Dheer, Balihadhac, Dhagah Dheer, Dabayl ma arke, Shululux, Qalanqale, Geed Xamarka, Dhilaalo, Horufadhi, Beeyaal and Laas-dhooble.

Cold climate

We have been struggling to survive in a forested area but the heavy rains and the cold weather makes it difficult for us to endure Abdillahi Awad, one of the elders, told IRIN: "Those displaced are living under difficult conditions because of the rains in the `Gu’ season as well as the cold climate. In fact, malaria, diarrhoea and common colds have broken out in many of the places where these people fled to."

Awad said the displaced had received some aid but more was needed.

"They have only received some plastic shelter material from the local business community, and medicine from Las-anod hospital; food has been distributed by WFP," Awad said.

Ali Sabarey, the deputy leader of SSC, was quoted in some media reports as saying the group's "ultimate goal is to make this area peaceful and prosperous and also seek a united Somalia".

During campaigns ahead of 26 June presidential elections, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo, who won the poll, pledged to start negotiations with SSC.


Somaliland: A radical change?

By Afyare Abdi Elmi. July 22. http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/07/2010721103446978514.html

Somaliland's recent elections have been praised as 'free and fair' [EPA]

Although the international media has under-reported it, the world has recently witnessed a major event in the Horn of Africa - a free, fair and generally peaceful election in Somaliland.

On July 2, Isse Yusuf Mohamud, the chairman of Somaliland's election commission, announced that Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo, the leader of the opposition Kulmiye Party, won the presidential election with 49.59 per cent of the 538,246 votes cast. The incumbent president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, came a distant second with 33.23 per cent of the votes.

International observers declared the election "free and fair" and praised the conduct of political actors and stakeholders involved in the election campaign.

Even more significantly, unlike many leaders in the region, Kahin embraced the popular verdict and accepted defeat gracefully.

A peaceful transfer of power is now underway.

Two options

However, this significant event brings into focus two contradictory approaches to the future of the region: (1) recognising Somaliland as a new state or (2) establishing the Somali state from Somaliland.

Proponents of the secession of Somaliland as an independent state argue that Somaliland has fulfilled the criteria of statehood - a permanent population, defined borders, territorial control and government.

They also note Somaliland's achievements in the wake of the Somali government's collapse in 1991 - particularly impressive considering the heinous crimes Somalia's military regime committed against the people of the north before it fell - and assert that the region established peace, demonstrated a commitment to democracy and presented mature leadership.

Challenges of creating a new state

But creating a new de jure state can only come about from two directions: the international or national front.

Internationally, political considerations have often outweighed legal and historical arguments for most of the 25 countries that have joined the UN over the last two decades.

Interestingly, although Bosnia-Herzegovina has not fulfilled all of the criteria for statehood it has been recognised as a state.

But, despite the recognition of two permanent members of the Security Council, the US and the UK, and another 67 countries, Kosovo is not yet a member of the UN. Serbia, Russia and many other countries facing secessionist challenges refused to recognise it.

In Africa, only Eritrea has attained de jure statehood since 1992. The African Union recognised it after Ethiopia relinquished its claim and recognised Asmara.

The African Union is reluctant to address the issue of recognising new African states because it wants to maintain pre-existing boundaries. It is not a coincidence, therefore, that the African Union has not formally processed Somaliland's application even though it was submitted in December 2005.

For Somaliland to secure a UN seat, it requires the support of the majority of the countries of the African Union, nine members of the Security Council, including the five permanent members, and two-thirds of the General Assembly. In today's security cautious and politically charged atmosphere, consensus among the five permanent members is often difficult to achieve, no matter what the issue.

But with meager resources, Somaliland cannot mobilise the lobbying efforts needed to deliver state recognition. Its ability to access international forums and to impose sanctions if some states refuse to recognise it is limited. Achieving recognition through international channels will, therefore, prove extremely difficult.

The second, and perhaps more feasible, option is through what political scientists call the consent of a parent or partner state - in this case Somalia. If, as in the case of Eritrea and many states that separated from Russia, Somaliland's parent or partner state relinquishes its claim to it, the international community would have no choice but to recognise it.

At this time, however, the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Mogadishu has neither the will nor the capacity to make this decision. And the international community has not accepted the dissolution of Somalia as it supports the government and has sent peacekeeping troops there.

Neither the national nor the international option, therefore, appear to offer an easy solution.

Radical solution

But, there is an alternative.

A win-win solution for all involved is still possible. Given the fact that efforts to establish a legitimate and functioning Somali state from Mogadishu have failed, the international community and the Somali elite should consider the creation of the Somali state from Somaliland.

There are several reasons why the time is ripe for this option.

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, there are no religious, cultural or language differences separating Somalis - the homogeneity of the Somali people is an obvious reality. Somalis have a shared culture and history and a collective destiny.

Moreover, there is no minority issue here. The dominant Isaq clan in Somaliland is one of Somalia's major clans.

Secondly, recent events in Somalia have contributed to maturing the general public and preparing them for a radical change. The two-year-long Ethiopian occupation of southern Somalia has had two unintended consequences. It has revealed the vulnerability of all Somalis regardless of region and, by displacing hundreds of thousands from the south, it has increased levels of contact between average Somalis, thus having a normalising effect.

For the first time, there is a growing realisation among large segments of Somali society that their survival is interlinked. Religious, cultural, language and ethnic unity can, therefore, be more easily transformed into a political order that is at peace with itself and its neighbours.

Thirdly, the transitional government in Mogadishu is struggling against multi-clan extremist groups, many of whom are from the north. Unless a miracle occurs, the TFG's chances of success are slim. And with just one year until the government's mandate ends, the establishment of a state from Somaliland offers more promise than yet another conference producing a dysfunctional government or an extension of the TFG's mandate.

Finally, Somaliland's experiences and institutions can easily, in theory at least, be replicated in the rest of Somalia.

Dialogue and consensus

In a globalised world, life is not easy without a stable, legitimate, functioning and recognised state.

Somalis in the south long for peace and stability, while those in more stable regions experience difficulty in accessing development assistance or in travelling to nearby countries for work or trade. Young Somalis who perish in the desert between Sudan and Libya or on the Mediterranean Sea come from across Somalia.

Establishing the Somali state from Somaliland would be one feasible option that the world should consider. Perhaps, moving the main UN agencies in Nairobi to Hargaysa would be the first step towards this end.

In the final analysis, however, the ultimate decision on either unity or separation has to come through dialogue and consensus. In other words, neither force nor emotion-driven rhetoric will take the country anywhere - a genuine debate must begin.

Dr Afyare Abdi Elmi is a professor of International Affairs at Qatar University and the author of Understanding the Somalia Conflagration.


Somaliland:Floods in Burao

July, 22 2010.http://www.sunatimes.com/view.php?id=282

No one has been reported injured or to have died

Burao: Sunatimes- Heavy floods in the Burao district have carried away three vehicles. Two of the vehicles destroyed by the floods are trucks that were used to carry sand, while the other was a bus that belonged to the local council.

Although it did not rain in the Burao district, heavy rains that were experienced in the Golis highlands near the district have caused the flooding.

No one has been reported injured or to have died, however, as a result of the floods that caused much destruction of property.

Burao’s deputy mayor, Ahmed Abdi Falay, said that they could not prevent the floods from causing the destruction of the vehicles and other properties because they did not have enough equipment.

The deputy mayor also explained that the floods started when the people left their houses for work early in the morning. These floods are the heaviest to occur in the Burao district and have caused the most destruction ever.


British intelligence visit Somaliland

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Newsfile. London: Jul 20, 2010. Garoweonline.com in English 17 Jul 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Security was extra tight on Saturday [17 July] in the self-proclaimed capital of Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland as a British intelligence delegation arrived, Radio Garowe reports.

Somaliland intelligence chief Muhammad Nur was part of the delegation, which flew into Hargeysa from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Police and military units setup checkpoints and were patrolling roads near the Somaliland presidential palace, local sources reported.

It was not immediately clear why the British intelligence officers arrived in Hargeysa, but Somaliland sources said the British government is interested in "monitoring" the movements of insurgent groups based in southern Somalia.

Other reports said the British officers are inspecting a new intelligence facility funded British security services, who seek ground access to monitor insurgent groups like Al Shabab, blamed for last weeks' Uganda bombings that killed more than 70 people.

The Horn of Africa sub-region has become a key player in the Western-led drive to fight against Al-Qai'dah and its affiliates, like Al-Shabab in Somalia.


Former Kenyan minister calls for recognition of Somaliland

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jul 19, 2010. Daily Nation website, Nairobi, in English 18 Jul 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Text of commentary entitled "Need to re-think our policy towards Somalia" by Dr Mukhisa Kituyi, former Kenyan minister published by Kenyan privately-owned newspaper Daily Nation website on 18 July; subheading as published

In the recent past, two events have occurred in lands far apart which force Kenya to re-think its policy towards Somalia.

First, the people of Somaliland, the self-declared autonomous region formerly called British Somaliland, held a very credible election last month which was won by the opposition.

Second, came the traumatic bombings that killed and maimed hundreds of people in Kampala with the Somali group Al-Shabab rushing to claim responsibility.

These two events are bound by the reality of the failed state in Somalia and even worse the failed response by the international community to the shame that is Somalia today. Kenya must read the line and make a firm stand in the national interest.

At independence in 1960, British Somaliland voluntarily joined the Republic of Somalia in the hope of peace and development. When all they got was the brutality of the Siad Barre regime, they declared independence in 1991.

The response was painful and remains enshrined in the mass graves of Malko-Durduro near Hargeysa. They picked up the pieces and, while the rest of Somalia descended into chaos, the people of Somaliland have sustained dialogue in modelling a democratic system balancing between clan elders and elected chambers of parliament.

Visiting Select Committees from the House of Commons (2004) and the Kenya National Assembly (2006) have applauded the progress made.

Trying militants

Today Somaliland has fashioned an effective administration regularly collecting due taxes, arresting and trying militants bent on disrupting the peace, patrolling the Gulf of Eden to keep pirates off its shores, and operating efficient air and sea port facilities at Berbera.

Despite their best efforts, the people of Somaliland remain constricted because the world has refused to recognize their statehood. Arguments about sanctity of independence boundaries run hollow in the face of cases like Ethiopia-Eritrea and failed federations like Senegambia.

The sick state of Somalia requires no further pretence at sanctity. More crucially, incremental solutions to the mess that is Somalia require solidarity with successful Somali peace initiatives. There is none better than Somaliland.

Kenya should lead other regional players in recognizing and strengthening the Republic of Somaliland as a frontline counter to the violence spewing out of Somalia. This is the least we can do for a country that gave us the Isaq immigrants of the post World War II that played a key role in the spread of African entrepreneurship in the hinterland of pre-independence Kenya.

In the wake of the Kampala bombings, President Museveni has vowed strong response in Somalia. It is important to see Uganda's predicament in its context.

President Museveni committed Ugandan soldiers to the peace initiative of IGAD. Since then, three major things have emerged which require a total re-think of the Africa Union and IGAD approach to Somalia.

First there is no peace to keep in Somalia and the AMISOM forces are pretending to offer security to an interim government that is permanently on life support.

The idea of a green house for the transitional government to grow before being let out to pasture has failed as the government in Mogadishu remains a cacophony of foreigners of Somali origin who fly in from Nairobi, Australia, Canada and Scandinavia for cabinet meetings and fly back home.

If government is wilting in the green house, when will it grow capacity to govern without Burundi and Ugandan soldiers?

Secondly, the alternative to the TFG in Mogadishu left on its own remains absurd and disruptive. Al-Shabab wants us to appreciate it on the basis of its ability to spread pain and shock, and its recent declaration of a fatwa on democracy.

The third thing is the recent coming into force of the Common Market for East Africa. This has entailed a commitment by the member countries to grow the protocols on foreign and defence cooperation into unified policy on regional security and foreign relations.

Somalia accords them the earliest opportunity to think and act together. This is the time for Kenya and the rest of East Africa to tell Uganda "you shall not walk alone".

The strategic interests of East Africa are tied to secure maritime trade off the shores of Somalia. Illicit trade in small arms and the threat of terrorist acts can be better dealt with in Somalia than at our porous borders.

Firm decisions founded on clear measurable and achievable goals must inform the way forward as we join our brothers in Uganda in mourning the innocent lives that have been lost so meaninglessly.


From the Horn of Africa, a Ray of Hope

Written by Huffington post. Jul 21, 2010. By Chris Albin-Lackey

Ask people what they know about Somalia and most will probably start talking about pirates, terrorists, and Black Hawk Down. Not many would think to mention democracy or free elections as well, but they should. Last month, Somaliland -- an impoverished sliver of territory that has maintained de facto independence from Somalia since 1991 -- held elections that put the democratic pretenses of its neighbors in the Horn of Africa to shame.

The presidential election was described by independent observers as free, fair, and peaceful. Even more remarkable, a veteran opposition politician, Ahmed Silanyo, was declared the winner and the incumbent president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, handed over power to his rival. This is headline news that unfortunately hasn't made the headlines.

In terms of human rights, the rule of law, and good governance, the whole region is moving in a grim direction. Somalia, which has not had a functioning government since 1991, continues to be ravaged by indiscriminate warfare, with major regional implications illustrated by the recent bombings in Kampala. Ethiopia, once seen as a country taking tentative steps toward democracy, is settling into a dictatorship after the ruling party won farcical elections in May with 99 percent of the vote.

In Kenya, a coalition government that was cobbled together in the wake of fraud-riddled elections in 2007 is now paralyzed by corruption and political infighting. Eritrea's brutally repressive government has earned its country the nickname "North Korea of Africa," while tiny Djibouti has languished under the same leadership since 1999. Only Somaliland has chosen a different path.

None of this has come easy. These elections were supposed to have taken place more than two years ago, and at various points along the way it seemed that they might not happen at all. The government has not always chosen the democratic path either. It has regularly used illegal "security committees" to imprison people without fair trials, and it has at times harassed independent journalists and government critics. Government institutions are weak, and the rule of law is often more of an aspiration than a reality. But for all that Somaliland has been a peaceful and comparatively democratic place for 19 years now, against great odds and with precious little support from the outside world.

Western governments have been focused on potential security threats emanating from Somalia for several years now. Since 2006 most of the country has either been mired in brutal fighting or firmly under the thumb of abusive Islamist militants. The outside world, including the US government, has largely united behind Somalia's moderate but ineffectual Transitional Federal Government (TFG). But in spite of all the outside support and the presence of thousands of African Union troops that are helping it in the fight, the transitional government only manages to control a corner of the capital, Mogadishu -- and even that is under constant threat.

In practical terms the primary effect of outside intervention in Somalia has been to perpetuate a bloody military stalemate in the capital in which all sides have devastated the civilian population, forcing tens of thousands to flee. The US for example, actually shipped mortars to Mogadishu even though they have been used primarily to pound civilian neighborhoods. But in Somaliland -- the only area of relative stability and peace inside Somalia's international borders--the US and others have looked on with interest but have not developed any kind of coherent policy to build on the territory's impressive democratic gains.

Somaliland's government has long argued that the world should recognize it as an independent country, a cause shared by all three of its major political parties. But whether or not the recent elections strengthen their case, it is well past time for Western governments claiming to be interested in restoring peace to Somalia to start finding ways to help build on Somaliland's many still fragile achievements.

The US and other governments should capitalize on the rare moment of hope and opportunity the elections represent, and both assist and pressure Somaliland's government to redress serious flaws in the territory's nascent democratic system. Helping the Somaliland government establish stronger and more impartial courts -- and pressuring it to eliminate the abusive security committees -- would be a good place to start. The unending tragedy in Somalia should not blind concerned governments from the real possibilities in Somaliland.


SOMALILAND: The only democratic election in Africa in recent times

By Ben Simon. Source: AFP | 21 July 2010

KAMPALA — African leaders gathering in Kampala days after Somalia’s Shebab carried out deadly suicide attacks in the Ugandan capital are expected this weekend to mull sending more troops to war-torn Mogadishu.

The venue for the African Union summit was picked long before the July 11 attacks that killed 76 people but the unprecedented bombings were expected to inject renewed urgency in the continental body’s approach to Somalia.

The Al Qaeda-inspired group Shebab who claimed the attacks, the region’s worst in 12 years, said they were in retaliation for Uganda’s leading role in the AU’s mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

But instead of being bullied into a pull-out, Uganda looked set to take advantage of the 53-member organisation’s summit to muster support for a beefed-up deployment and more aggressive mandate.

Heads of state meeting from Sunday to Tuesday are expected to endorse a decision made earlier this month by the regional body IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development) to send an extra 2,000 troops to Mogadishu.

While Uganda, which already provides more than half of the existing contingent, has called on its neighbours to chip in, Kampala looks once again set to contribute the bulk of the reinforcements.

“We are capable of providing the required force if other countries fail to do so,” Ugandan army spokesman Felix Kulayigye said last week in the aftermath of the attacks.

AMISOM’s more than 6,000 troops are better trained and equipped than the Shebab but their mandate has restricted them to protecting Somalia’s weak western-backed transitional government.

Uganda has said it was seeking a “license to kill” for AMISOM forces to make an impact but the force’s defensive mortar shelling has caused many civilian casualties and analysts argue the Shebab are trying to draw it into a trap.

“We are quite worried about the consequences of such an operation, because if they are engaged in quite an indiscriminate manner, they run the risk of playing in the hands of the Shebab,” said the International Crisis Group’s Ernst Jan Hogendoorn.

Somalia’s seemingly inexorable descent into chaos and the rise of a group affiliated to Al-Qaea that has proved its ability to strike beyond Somalia’s borders are likely to overshadow the summit’s official theme of maternal and child health.

The continent’s leader are also expected to discuss the future of Sudan, where the oil-rich south is due to hold a referendum on independence in January.

Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir, whose movements have been under close scrutiny since the International Criminal Court issued a warrant against him over the war in Darfur, is not expected to attend.

In a year that saw a raft of elections, Africa’s top officials and diplomats are also expected to reflect on the progress of democracy and accountability in member states.

Elections in Burundi are being boycotted after opposition claims of fraud, polls in Ethiopia were marred by similar accusations and Rwanda’s ongoing campaign has been tarnished by murders and arrests.

The only recent elections that met international standards were those in Somaliland, which is not a state.

The northern Somali breakaway territory has been asking for international recognition for years and hopes that its smooth and democratic transfer of power will boost its case with the African Union.


Somaliland: Arrested Rebels Taken to Burao

Burao: Sunatimes-July, 20 2010- Somaliland security officials have taken members of the Sol Sanag and Ayn rebel group to Burao. The group’s fighters previously clashed with Somaliland fighters in the Wid-wid district in the Ayn region.

Somaliland, which is a break away region of Somalia, is fighting with rebel group that wants the Sol, Sanaga and Ayn regions. Somaliland claims parts of them as its territory and to be a semi-autonomous region.

Reports from Burao’s main hospital indicate that there are two members of Somaliland forces who have been treated from injuries after fighting with the SSC rebels.

Both Somali fighters and the rebels claimed victory after they clashed in Wid-Wid district, and in other regions that are under the administration of the district.

Local citizens who live where the two groups have clashed have already fled fearing that the two groups might clash again, although the fighting has stopped.

SSC rebels want the Sol, Sanag and Ayn regions to be independent from both Puntland and Somaliland authorities.


Somaliland compels a positive response from the international community

Source: European Conservative and Reformists Group | 18 July 2010

BRUSSELS (Somalilandpress) — The recent peaceful, free and fair presidential elections in the breakaway region of Somaliland underline the importance of reconsidering Somaliland’s desire for official re-recognition as a sovereign independent state, ECR Group spokesman on foreign affairs Dr Charles Tannock MEP said today as he congratulated the winner, President-elect Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo.

Dr Tannock said that the verdict of observers (including some from Dr Tannock’s alma mater University College, London) that the election was conducted according to international norms and standards compels the international community to consider how best to support Somaliland’s evolving democracy, including the possibility of according Somaliland official recognition.

The MEP’s comments came in the wake of a statement by EU heads of mission in Nairobi congratulating Somaliland on the conduct of the election, and a similar statement by UK Foreign Office minister Henry Bellingham MP, who added that the UK looked forward to working closely with Somaliland in the future.

Dr Tannock, who met Mr Silanyo at a Somaliland community event in his London constituency during his own election campaign in 2009, praised Mr Silanyo’s statesmanlike qualities and said that UK-educated Mr Silanyo had already shown himself to be a unifying political force by deciding not to contest the extremely tight result of Somaliland’s previous presidential election.

Somaliland broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991 after the collapse of the Siad Barre regime and has since created a relatively stable, prosperous and moderate society, whose government in Hargeisa is committed to fighting the scourge of piracy in the seas off the Horn of Africa and the al-Shabab jihadi terrorists active in Somalia. Previously Somaliland was a British protectorate that was briefly independent in 1960 before merging with Italian Somaliland to join the Somali Republic.

Dr Tannock said:

“Somaliland has proved once again to the world that its democracy is not only stable but growing stronger.

“Somaliland is a rare African success story that deserves to be recognised as such by the international community.

“As for the issue of Somaliland’s official recognition as a sovereign independent state, it’s time the EU gave serious consideration as to how best to support this relatively prosperous and progressive corner of Africa.

“There seems to be a growing international consensus that Somaliland’s progress needs to be reinforced and rewarded through official recognition.

“I hope the election of President-elect Silanyo will provide fresh momentum to Somaliland’s evolving democratic story.

“Given the chronic instability in the Horn of Africa generally and the rest of Somalia in particular, we ignore Somaliland at our peril.

“Although we should congratulate the people of Somaliland for the conduct of this election, we need to understand that these hard-won gains could easily unravel if Somaliland’s aspirations and ambitions are totally disregarded.

“President-elect Silanyo strikes me as a moderate, sensible and capable politician committed to standing up for the interests of the people of Somaliland.

“He showed after the previous presidential election that he put Somaliland’s interests above his own by not contesting a very tight result.

“I wish him well and hope Somaliland will continue to gain in international stature under his leadership.”


Somaliland leader urges residents to remain vigilant, ensure security

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jul 17, 2010. Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 16 Jul 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Somaliland President, Ahmad Muhammad Mahmud Silanyo has called upon people in the region to remain vigilant and ensure security in all districts.

The new Somaliland president speaking on the situation in the region for the first time called upon civilians to safeguard the peace they have and ensure security. President Silanyo said the most important thing that Somaliland residents today have is security and residents are required to maintain it and stop anything that is likely to compromise it.

Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo has also expressed concerns that explosion attacks in Somalia might extend to Somaliland and particularly to [disputed] Sool Region which he said is currently unstable due to confrontation between Somaliland forces and rebel groups in the region.

The statement by the Somaliland president comes at time when armed groups earlier this morning ambushed lorries transporting cargo to the town of Wajaale from Berbera. These armed groups wounded two people and captured one of the lorries


Is Somaliland One of Africa's Most Vibrant Democracies?

Nicole Stremlau

Program in Comparative Media Law and Policy, University of Oxford. Source:huffington post.July 13 2010

This week Somalia marked its 50th anniversary of independence from colonial rule. It could not have been celebrated more differently in the north and in the south of the country.

In Mogadishu, the Transitional Federal Government used the occasion to launch a major offensive against the Al Qaeda affiliated groups, Al Shabaab and Hizbul Islam, that control much of south Somalia.

Meanwhile, Somalis across the northwestern region of Somaliland have been celebrating a new phase in their political history. And they have every right to be proud. The National Electoral Commission announced that the opposition leader, Ahmed Silanyo, of the Kulumiye party won the recently held Presidential elections with 49.6 percent of the vote in a competition that is widely regarded as having been free and fair. This was a significant margin over the previous election in 2003 where the incumbent, President Riyaale Kahin, won by a mere 80 votes. Conceding victory with narrow margins, and the peaceful transfer of power to an opposition party, are rare in Africa. It is even more remarkable that this has been achieved by Somaliland, which aspires for independence from the south but has not been internationally recognized.

Somalilanders have struggled to get to this point. The recent elections were due to have taken place in 2008 but were been delayed several times. The delays were result of several problems including the voter registration process and attacks in the capital city of Hargeysa by Al Shabaab.

Since Somaliland declared independence from the south in 1991, Somalilanders have been striving to construct the workings of a state from scratch and security has been at the centre of this. There was an intense demobilization and disarmament process that was led by the very fighters of the Somali National Movement (SNM), the group that once called on their neighbors to take up arms. Over the past decade, Somaliland has succeeded in achieving a level of peace that is the envy of the south. There are schools, Somaliland passports, Somaliland currency and police officers in crisp white uniforms directing traffic in the cities.

An independent and self-reliant spirit has driven this progress and peace. With little international support, Somaliland has excelled at crafting locally designed and agreed peace processes on a timetable and with a structure that is theirs rather than donor governments'.

No doubt, Somalilanders are going to try to use this opportunity to press supporters and allies for international recognition. But perhaps the greatest opportunity is in the lessons it holds for the south. Somaliland has achieved what it has by relying on their strong traditions- customary law, local wisdom and respect. With leadership originally from Somaliland, Al Shabaab is going to remain a security threat and a difficult problem for any leader. Above all, Silanyo was elected to protect Somaliland's peace and security. As a former leader of the liberation movement, the SNM, he offers a new position to engage with the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu and the armed factions. And where the international community has been ineffective in the south, Somaliland has proved effective in the north. Perhaps this represents a unique opportunity for Somaliland to take a leading role in the region leading by example and engaging where possible. This would be significant but it will require efforts from both Mogadishu and Hargeysa.


UK - MFA - Somaliland's 'commitment to democracy'

by ISRIA. Jul 13, 2010. http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?view=News&id=22518429

Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham congratulates Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, of the Kulmiye Party, on his victory in the recent Somaliland Presidential elections.

Henry Bellingham said:

'I congratulate Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo of the Kulmiye Party on his victory in the recent Somaliland Presidential elections and all the parties for their commitment to democracy. The British Government looks forward to building on our good bilateral relationship with Somaliland and working together in the interests of stability and development in the region.

I recognise Dahir Kahin Rayale's commitment to Somaliland during his tenure as President, his contribution to the strength of our bilateral relationship and his graceful acceptance of the election results. He has done much to promote democracy and stability in Somaliland.

I congratulate the National Electoral Commission for managing the electoral process with great professionalism. This election sends a very positive message to the rest of Africa and beyond.'


Somaliland: A Success Story

Written by Turkishweekly.Tehran Times. Jul 13, 2010

In Africa this past week a completely peaceful presidential election was held. International observers said it met all the western standards for a free election. What's more, the incumbent president fully accepted the result the minute it was announced and handed over power to his successor and bitter political rival -- and on accepting his victory, the president-elect thanked and congratulated the outgoing president for his services to his country.

What makes this election remarkable, and an important example not just to Africa but to the whole of the developing world -- especially Muslim countries -- is that it took place in Somaliland, a self-declared republic that broke away from the rest of Somalia 20 years ago, which doesn't get a penny of international assistance, and which hosts an estimated 600,000 refugees from the continuing civil war in the rest of Somalia.

The week before the election, Al-Shabaab, Al-Qaeda's Somalia-based branch, warned the government and people of Somaliland not to go through with the election. Over 1 million voters ignored the threat, queuing for hours all over the country to cast their ballot.

Somaliland presents the other Somali vision that has become a reality. Next door to a country now synonymous with pirates, terrorists and suicide bombers, we have a nation of rules rather than individuals; where election results are accepted by those in power. Aside from today's South Africa, it is hard to think of any other country on the continent which is a consistent example of this.

And it could not have a come at a more poignant moment. This week marks the 50th anniversary of Somalia's independence. It is a tragedy for all Somalis, whether living in the stability of Somaliland or not, that what is left of Somalia now ranks as the world's most failed state.

Somaliland, which lies on the Horn of Africa in the north-western corner of Somalia, is not formally recognized by any country -- but it is accepted as a de facto country by many nations and organizations who maintain embassies and representative offices in the capital, Hargeisa. It is peaceful, stable and has had several transfers of power and free elections in its 20-year history.

It has a particularly close connection with Britain, not just in the tens of thousands who live here who have family links to Somaliland (yes, people actually go on holiday to a part of Somalia), but also in the fact that for nearly 80 years, Somaliland was a British protectorate.

For Somalilanders, formal recognition by the rest of the world is the holy grail, a national obsession that defines part of what it means to be a Somalilander and that cuts across all party lines. Having rebuilt itself from the ashes of the civil war and survived with no outside help, Somaliland cannot understand why other countries, particularly in the west, don't open diplomatic relations with them. Now that the rest of Somalia has become one of Al-Qaeda's main bases and the site of one of the world's worst crises, the question of recognition is even more complex. Somaliland is a vital platform and the only visible option for trying to stabilize Somalia and reverse Al-Qaeda’s growth.

Somalilanders have never wanted to see their country in these terms: they want to distance themselves from the mayhem in Mogadishu as much as possible. Yet it is only by accepting this role that the international support they crave will begin to materialize. The beleaguered UN-backed government in Mogadishu has no other partners with a strong security force, democratic institutions and an intimate knowledge of Somali culture, language, clan system and politics. Up till now, the west has looked to Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and others to be their key allies, overlooking the one partner that has a direct interest in bringing peace and security to Mogadishu and halting the spread of radicalism.

For two decades Somaliland and the west have been stuck with the status quo of acceptance without recognition. But the challenge of Al-Qaeda in Somalia means we cannot remain in this limbo. A new approach needs to be found – and fast.

Rageh Omaar is a Mogadishu-born Aljazeera broadcaster whose family is from Somaliland.


Life skills-based education builds young Somalis' self-confidence

© UNICEF Somalia/2010/Njoki. Youth mentor Muna Ali shares knowledge while facilitating a 'study circle' session with peers in Hargeisa, Somalia.

By Denise Shepherd-Johnson and Maureen Njoki.http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/somalia_54270.html

NAIROBI, Kenya, 12 July 2010 – Muna Ali Hirsi, 24, is a vibrant and motivated life-skills mentor who works with young people aged 12 to 21 in north-west Somalia (Somaliland).

To see and hear her lead a lively discussion with 20 youths on the challenges they face in their community – against a backdrop of conflict and instability – it is hard to believe that Ms. Hirsi used to be timid and retiring.

“I was very shy,” she recalls with a smile. “Even in school, I could not participate. I would never walk to the market alone and had to cover myself completely. I could not speak. I did not have confidence about myself.”

Invaluable information

Ms. Hirsi’s life changed in March, when she took part in a two-week training session in life skills-based education in Hargeisa, Somaliland.

Ibrahim Jama, 18, is one of the youth participants benefiting from the 'study circle' sessions through which Somali youth mentors are sharing knowledge and skills with their peers.

Life skills-based education aims to develop young people’s skills in self-awareness, problem-solving, interpersonal relations, leadership, decision-making, effective communication and coping with difficult situations. It also provides them with civic education and invaluable information on such issues as HIV and AIDS, drug and substance abuse and female genital mutilation.

Some 180 young adults participated in the training with a view to sharing their knowledge with other young people in their communities. Participants came from five youth groups in Somaliland and Puntland (north-east Somalia). Thirty were selected as youth mentors, and Ms. Hirsi was among them.

The training helped her gain self-confidence and the skills to assist others. “I can even speak on national TV,” she says. “I can raise awareness and speak about my opinions.”

Exploring options

As a life skills-based education mentor, Ms. Hirsi leads ‘study circle’ speak-out sessions on topics selected by young people themselves. In a youth centre at the State House settlement for displaced people, members of Ms. Hirsi’s study circle want to talk about migration.

State House is home to over 3,200 families; 80 per cent of its population is between 11 and 24 years of age, and only 10 per cent of them can afford to attend school. The young people explain that many adolescents drop out of school because they cannot afford to continue with their education, and some see migration as their only hope of a better life.

Ms. Hirsi then guides the group to examine the many risks entailed in illegal migration and the other options and opportunities open to young people.

Youth participation

The life skills-based education programme gives young people a chance to learn from one another and equips them to improve their lives, build their self-esteem and make well considered decisions.

Inspired by her training as a mentor, Ms. Hirsi notes: “I want to teach other young people, especially girls, to be confident … to participate in family and country decisions. The community has socialized girls not to demand for their rights to education [and] participation. Through the study circle speak-out sessions, I have learned it’s OK to speak for myself, and I want to help other girls to be able to do so.”

With generous funding from the Government of Japan, UNICEF started rolling-out this activity in 2009 in northern Somalia with the aim of reaching out to 10,000 young people – reducing their vulnerability to all forms of violence, abuse and exploitation by providing them with the necessary knowledge and life skills.

Denise Shepherd-Johnson contributed this story from the UNICEF Somalia Support Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. Maureen Njoki provided reporting from Somalia.


Somaliland navy arrests nine pirates

BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jul 9, 2010. Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 8 Jul 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

The Somaliland navy has arrested nine Somali pirates at a time when many pirates are being held in the country's jails.

Navy officers told Shabeelle that they will strengthen their anti-piracy operations to combat Somali pirates from operating along Somaliland coast.

Mahmud Yusuf Ali, a Somaliland naval officer, said they recently arrested a number of pirates, adding that they would appear before a court in Hargeysa [capital of Somaliland].

"Somaliland will not allow pirates to operate along its coast. We will fight them and get rid of them from areas they operate within Somaliland," said the navy officer.

This is not the first time that Somaliland navy has said it will strengthen its anti-piracy operations.

The nine suspected pirates are expected to appear before a court in Hargeysa soon, after being were arrested by the Somaliland navy during an operation along the coast of Somaliland.


Somaliland elections: Why the world ignores Horn of Africa's oasis of stability

http://www.csmonitor.com/ July 08, 2010

The self-declared republic of Somaliland voted this past weekend for a new president. Somaliland is the one corner of Somalia that functions, but the international community refuses recognize it as a nation-state. Is the West scuppering its best chance for democracy in the region?

In this June 26 photo Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo, chairman of the KULMIYE Party, waves to his supporters at a polling station where he arrived to cast his vote in Hargeisa, in the self-declared republic of Somaliland. Silanyo has said he hopes the presidential election will help win Somaliland international recognition. Barkhad Kaariye/AP/File

By Scott Baldauf, Staff Writer / July 8, 2010. Johannesburg, South Africa

A little over a year ago, I boarded an aged Russian propeller plane in Djibouti for a short flight into Somaliland. It was my first and, so far, my only visit to that self-declared republic, which broke away from Somalia 20 years ago while no one seemed to be looking.

Last weekend, Somaliland held elections and – unlike elections in more respectable nation-states like Kenya, Sudan, and Burundi – there were no claims of foul play, no international election observers citing “irregularities.” Not even a “hanging chad.” Al Qaeda issued warnings for voters not to participate, but the voters ignored them. And when the results came in, and the country’s president lost, there was a peaceful transfer of power to the president’s rival.

Of course, it’s easy to ignore Somaliland. Unlike Sudan, Nigeria, and Angola, it doesn’t produce oil. Unlike Burundi, it hasn’t had a recent spate of genocide. Unlike Kenya, it isn’t a vibrant commercial hub for the region with occasional self-destructive tendencies. Somaliland’s biggest export is mutton, and I can’t remember the last time the international community intervened in a country over mutton. Even when it’s nice and lean.

But perhaps more importantly, the international community doesn’t intervene unless a country is in crisis. Quiet, poor, functional states – like well-behaved children – well, they tend to get ignored.

If Somaliland is the good child, then Somalia itself is the petulant brat. Somalia – the nation that technically still includes Somaliland and all the villages and pirate ports in between down to the border with Kenya – has been at war with itself for more than 20 years. Its disintegration after the fall of President Siad Barre in 1991 prompted President George Bush to send in US Marines to secure food deliveries. Continued conflict among Somali warlords for control of what was left of Mogadishu – and the death of 18 US Army Rangers (Black Hawk Down) – prompted President Bill Clinton to withdraw them a few months later.

Since then, Somalia has been the poster child of ungovernability. Nearly 2.5 million Somalis rely entirely on food aid from the UN’s World Food Programme for survival, to the tune of $485 million a year. Some 6,100 African Union peacekeepers keep a tottering transitional Somali government alive in the perhaps five square blocks of Mogadishu that the government still controls.

Lack of government control allows criminal gangs, arms smugglers, and piracy to thrive in the many small ports that dot the Somali coast. A European Naval Force patrolling the Gulf of Aden to protect commercial ships costs perhaps $300 million a year.

For all the world’s attention to Somalia, it’s hard to see the improvement in the lives of ordinary Somalis. Warlords still control much of the populated south, and while they tend to justify their actions with religious edicts these days, there’s not much difference between the cruelty of Al Shabab and the cruelty of an old-school warlord like Mohamad Farah Aideed. Food aid keeps millions alive, but they can have the unintended consequences of enriching all those charming warlords.

The fact that Somaliland hasn’t been dragged down into that same abyss by their petulant cousins is more than a miracle; it’s an act of sheer will. Its mere existence gives lie to the notion that Somalis can’t govern themselves, that clan rivalries and corruption and political Islam are destined to drag the Horn of Africa to depths of misery unseen since the Dark Ages.

But how long can a poor, quiet, functional country hold out in such a dangerous region? Why should it continue to arrest pirate gangs in its "territorial waters" when it barely has three boats to call a navy? And how to guarantee that this well-behaved country continues to act in its own peaceful self-interest?

The answer is simple, according to Somaliland’s new President, Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo, whom I interviewed when he was still just a presidential candidate.

“We are a nation and a state, we are a people aspiring to be recognized,” Mr. Silanyo said, during an interview at his home in the capital, Hargeisa. “The reason we are an oasis of peace in the region is that we are all committed to the principle of peace and coexistence with our neighbors.”

But a country that is cut off from trade with the rest of the world cannot survive, he added. “People are leaving this country by the thousands. You see the condition of the roads, the condition of our cities, the lack of development. Why doesn’t the world recognize us, when we are a people who want to live in peace?”

It’s a worthy question that deserves an answer.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Africa-Monitor/2010/0708/Somaliland-elections-Why-the-world-ignores-Horn-of-Africa-s-oasis-of-stability/(page)/2


Somaliland elections and coverage surprisingly...normal

By Tom Rhodes/East Africa Consultant, July 08, 2010. http://cpj.org/blog/2010/07/somaliland-elections-and-coverage-surprisinglynorm.php

Critical voices in the East African media—whether in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, or Uganda—have been intimidated, banned, blocked, and beaten prior to elections in recent years. Somalia is so embroiled in conflict that even the concept of having elections remains a faraway dream. But in late June, the semi-autonomous region of Somaliland in northern Somalia managed to hold relatively peaceful and free elections with decent media coverage, local journalists and election observers told CPJ.

“Given the poor resources and training of the journalists here,” BBC reporter Jamal Abdi told CPJ, “the local media did a remarkably good job covering the elections and polling across Somaliland’s six polling regions.”

Former opposition leader Mohamed Silyano from the Kulmiye Party defeated outgoing president Dahir Riyale, who honored his pre-vote pledge to accept the results and leave office peacefully.

Yet not everything has been rosy. For one, the June 26 elections were postponed three times—they were originally supposed to take place more than two years ago. And throughout the process, local journalists told CPJ, high tensions simmered between the government and the media. In early June, police detained several journalists for a day after they took pictures of former presidential guards attacking opposition party supporters who had displayed an opposition flag, local journalists told CPJ.

Police detained Al-Jazeera reporter Mohammed Adow for two hours prior to the election results after he visited a politically sensitive border area where territorial disputes exist between Somaliland and the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, local journalists told CPJ. Security agents also detained independent website Editor Hadis Mohamed, originally from Mogadishu, during the election for “serious crimes” that were never detailed. “I have been arrested seven times over the past few years without any reason ever given or attending court,” Mohamed told CPJ. “Our website, Baadiya, is targeted because we gave equal coverage for the political rally activities wherever possible.”

Local journalists also told CPJ they felt the media’s coverage was politically polarized. The state press was biased toward the former president while the independent press favored the opposition parties. With limited independent media coverage outside the capital, Hargeisa, the state-run Radio Hargeisa (the only station officially allowed to broadcast in Somaliland) provided coverage biased toward Riyale outside the city, the BBC’s Abdi said. Still, the Netherlands-based opposition Radio Horyaal managed to broadcast in remote areas of Somaliland where Radio Hargeisa could not reach, the editor of the private newspaper Heegan, Mohamed Amin, told CPJ.

In comparison to greater Somalia, however, where insurgents banned viewing the World Cup and a near-powerless government continues to arrest journalists for negative coverage, Somaliland’s media scene appears robust. Journalists were allowed to move freely throughout the polling stations without hindrance, Associated Press reporter Mohamed Olad told CPJ.

The public and local press feared violence after two former ruling party officials alleged there had been vote rigging in favor of the opposition in five precincts, Abdi told CPJ. “But I was pleasantly surprised when I visited the offices of Radio Hargeisa,” Abdi said. “I found Radio Hargeisa staff actually complaining that the allegations were false and could lead to post-election violence.” Even Riyale supporters objected to the allegations and the two officials were arrested, Abdi added.

How has Somaliland kept the elections and its media coverage relatively peaceful? “They have learned from example—the bad example of their neighbors,” said Olad, who often reports in the war-torn Somali capital, Mogadishu. Somaliland has become a haven for exiled Mogadishu journalists fleeing the fighting in Somalia, where 33 journalists have been killed for their work since 1993.

Somaliland journalists told me they now hope government and media relations will improve under Silyano. Whereas Riyale was a former intelligence official and wary of the press, Mohamed said, Silyano was more open with the press as an opposition party leader. “But let’s wait and see,” a cautious Amin told me, as opposition leaders often change their spots once they attain power. A once-popular Senegalese opposition leader, Abdoulaye Wade, had promised upon his 2000 presidential election to decriminalize libel laws against the press. A disgruntled local Senegalese press, who had strongly supported his 2000 candidacy, is still waiting.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The fifth paragraph has been corrected to clarify that Mohammed Adow was held for two hours and that Hadis Mohamed edits Baadiya.


United States praises Somaliland for conducting real democracy

Source: Angola Press Agency (AFA) | 7 July 2010

With international observers describing last week’s presidential elections in Somaliland as “free and fair”, the United States government on Wednesday praised the break away Somali region for conducting real democracy.

In a statement of which APA obtained a copy on Wednesday the United States government commends the people of Somaliland, the national electoral commission, and the political parties for conducting a peaceful election on June 26.

Reports indicate that the election proceedings were generally peaceful and orderly. Saying that the high voter turnout indicated that the citizens of Somaliland are determined to exercise their rights.

International observers have also indicated that the June 26 election process was largely free and fair.

“The election marks an important milestone for the people of Somaliland. We congratulate the winner and commend the other candidates for their statesmanlike acceptance of the results,” the statement said.

The US went on to urge the people of Somaliland to sustain their efforts to see this process through to a peaceful conclusion, with the swearing-in of the winner within approximately thirty days.

Somaliland, which broke away from the rest of Somalia in 1991, is enjoying relative calm and peace, eve though it is yet to gain international recognition of its independence.


Somaliland: small country, big election result?

Written by The Guardian. Jul 06, 2010 -http://www.guardian.co.uk

In Africa this past week a completely peaceful presidential election was held. International observers said it met all the western standards for a free election. What's more, the incumbent president fully accepted the result the minute it was announced and handed over power to his successor and bitter political rival – and on accepting his victory, the president-elect thanked and congratulated the outgoing president for his services to his country.

What makes this election remarkable, and an important example not just to Africa but to the whole of the developing world – especially Muslim countries – is that it took place in Somaliland, a self-declared republic that broke away from the rest of Somalia 20 years ago, which doesn't get a penny of international assistance, and which hosts an estimated 600,000 refugees from the continuing civil war in the rest of Somalia.

The week before the election, al-Shabaab, al-Qaida's Somalia-based branch, warned the government and people of Somaliland not to go through with the election. Over 1 million voters ignored the threat, queueing for hours all over the country to cast their ballot.

Somaliland presents the other Somali vision that has become a reality. Next door to a country now synonymous with pirates, jihadists and suicide bombers, we have a nation of rules rather than individuals; where election results are accepted by those in power. Aside from today's South Africa, it is hard to think of any other country on the continent which is a consistent example of this.

And it could not have a come at a more poignant moment. This week marks the 50th anniversary of Somalia's independence. It is a tragedy for all Somalis, whether living in the stability of Somaliland or not, that what is left of Somalia now ranks as the world's most failed state.

Somaliland, which lies on the Horn of Africa in the north-western corner of Somalia, is not formally recognised by any country – but it is accepted as a de facto country by many nations and organisations who maintain embassies and representative offices in the capital, Hargeisa. It is peaceful, stable and has had several transfers of power and free elections in its 20-year history.

It has a particularly close connection with Britain, not just in the tens of thousands who live here who have family links to Somaliland(yes, people actually go on holiday to a part of Somalia), but also in the fact that for nearly 80 years, Somaliland was a British protectorate.

For Somalilanders, formal recognition by the rest of the world is the holy grail, a national obsession that defines part of what it means to be a Somalilander and that cuts across all party lines. Having rebuilt itself from the ashes of the civil war and survived with no outside help, Somaliland cannot understand why other countries, particularly in the west, don't open diplomatic relations with them. Now that the rest of Somalia has become one of al-Qaida's main bases and the site of one of the world's worst crises, the question of recognition is even more complex. Somaliland is a vital platform and the only visible option for trying to stabilise Somalia and reverse al-Qaida's growth.

Somalilanders have never wanted to see their country in these terms: they want to distance themselves from the mayhem in Mogadishu as much as possible. Yet it is only by accepting this role that the international support they crave will begin to materialise. The beleaguered UN-backed government in Mogadishu has no other partners with a strong security force, democratic institutions and an intimate knowledge of Somali culture, language, clan system and politics. Up till now, the west has looked to Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and others to be their key allies, overlooking the one partner that has a direct interest in bringing peace and security to Mogadishu and halting the spread of radicalism.

For two decades Somaliland and the west have been stuck with the status quo of acceptance without recognition. But the challenge of al-Qaida in Somalia means we cannot remain in this limbo. A new approach needs to be found – and fast.

Rageh Omaar is a Mogadishu-born broadcaster whose family is from Somaliland


Somaliland poll hailed; recognition next?

http://www.afrol.com/articles/36443

afrol News, 5 July - International election observers hail the "free and fair" presidential election in Somaliland, where the opposition won. Also neighbour countries Ethiopia and Djibouti hail the poll. But is recognition within reach for Somaliland?

Several monitor groups followed Somaliland's second presidential polls since independence in 1991, both foreign and national. All agree that the election was well organised and free, which is ultimately witnessed by the victory of opposition candidate Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo.

Somaliland Non-State Actors Forum (SONSAF), who deployed a larger Somaliland-wide non-partisan election observers' group, today issued a statement agreeing to foreign observers. "The 26 June 2010 Presidential election took place in a general peaceful and transparent environment," SONSAF concludes.

"With the exception of isolated acts, SONSAF noted the Election Day process proceeded very peacefully and without any sign of intimidation. It was heartened by a high turnout of voter, included women," the statement said. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) had "administrated the elections in a competent and professional manner."

But maybe more important, at least for a nation that has not been recognised by any state so far, Somaliland's neighbours commended the poll openly. Especially key neighbour Ethiopia reacted in a way that resembled ordinary state-to-state relations.

In an overwhelmingly positive Ethiopian Foreign Ministry statement, the Addis Ababa government yesterday paid "tribute … to [outgoing] President Dahir Riyale Kahin for his high sense of obligation to the people of Somaliland ... and to the leader of the winning party Ahmed Mohamud Silaanyo for his magnanimity and for his commitment."

"The people of Somaliland can always count on the full support of the government and people of Ethiopia as they continue to preserve their peace and stability and ensure the democratic process is protected," the Ethiopian government statement added.

Ethiopia so far has been Somaliland's main regional ally and has admitted the opening of a Somaliland embassy in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia also has an office in Hargeisa, the Somalilander capital.

Full-fledged diplomatic ties are not established, at least not in officially, and Ethiopia has so far not wanted to be the first country to recognise Somaliland.

For Somalianders, it was an even more positive surprise that also the smaller neighbour Djibouti - which so far has kept Hargeisa at a good distance - heartedly commended last week's elections. Djiboutian president Ismail Omar Guelleh himself sent a letter of congratulation to President-elect Silanyo.

President Guelleh, who generally has opposed Somaliland's independence, in the letter commended the democratic process in Somaliland. He further encouraged Mr Silanyo to continue government's development and promotion of democracy and peace.

The President-elect, who's main political aim is to seek recognition for Somaliland's independence, seems to have been given a flying start from its two main neighbours. With such credible elections - sharply contrasting the continued chaos in Somalia - Mr Silanyo's Somaliland is also emerging as a desired Horn of Africa partner for Western nations.

In the US and in Europe, there are many voices favouring recognition of Somaliland. Why insist on a reunification with Somalia and thus letting this stable and democratic oasis of the Horn with an immense strategic value slip into a Somali chaos, the question is asked.

The answer is nevertheless clear. The current order has it that the African Union (AU) must be let to decide on Somaliland's recognition. The AU administers the doctrine of Africa's untouchable colonial borders, and no Western or Eastern power wants to be seen as promoting secessionism on the African continent.

But there is movement in the AU. As Somaliland was a British colony, as opposed to Italian Somaliland, and even was completely independent in 1960 before uniting with the former Italian colony to form Somalia, the colonial border doctrine would not be jeopardised by recognition of Somaliland's second independence.

And Somaliland's outgoing and incoming Presidents have actively promoted this view in Africa and outside. It is believed that Ethiopia - after its futile attempt to stabilise Somalia - now favours such a solution. Djibouti, which played an important role in forming the failing Somali transitional government, may also have given up its belief in a Somali unity state.

Outgoing President Riyale has been received as a state leader in countries such as Ghana and South Africa and managed to gather support from ex-colonial power Britain. The pressure within the AU is therefore increasing to consider Somaliland's recognition.

Last week's election - one of the few examples in African history where an opposition candidate beats an incumbent President - has only strengthened Somaliland's case. Maybe it will by the young nation's third President, Mr Silanyo, that achieves the aim of recognition.


Somalia: IGAD tough decision against Somaliland

July, 06 2010.http://www.sunatimes.com/view.php?id=220

Ethiopia and Djibouti now see Somaliland as real threat to the security in the region because of its new leader.

ADDIS ABABA (Sunatimes) The leaders of the IGAD member states in East Africa have for the first time approved a political plan put forwarded by the Ethiopian and Djiboutian government aimed to undermine the legacy of Somaliland, a republic now seeking for international recognition.

The latest summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the IGAD leaders agreed on several key principles in favor of the regional security protection.

1. Frontline state forces should be enabled to enter into Somalia.
2. 2,000 troops from African Union and United Nations must be spread into whole Somalia regardless of Puntland and Somaliland.
3. To spread the current government intelligence service officers throughout Somalia and also to firmly train its police and military troops.
4. 2,000 more troops should be sent into Mogadishu to enforce the African Union peacekeepers.

Diplomats attended in the IGAD summit say the decisions made by the member states came after the Ethiopian and Djiboutian governments warned that if Somaliland administration by the new president Ahmed Silanyo should not be intervened it could certainly pose a serious threat on the regional peace and security.

The annual reports by the Ethiopian and Djiboutian governments intelligence officers say that Ahmed Silanyo and his men in the party are members of the Islamic extremists fighting in Somalia like Al-Shabaab and Hizbul Islam.

The IGAD decision could be diminish the Somaliland's hope for recognition as independent state.


Somaliland expects

06 Jul 2010. http://www.indexoncensorship.org/2010/07/somaliland-expects-election/

Ignored by the world, Somaliland’s peaceful elections were aided by press freedom unparalleled in the region. Will international recognition follow? Asks Sarah Howard

To the north of Somalia is the small, vibrant but unrecognised nation of Somaliland, independent since 1991, where presidential elections were held on 26 June. Despite the success of close-run parliamentary elections in 2005 — judged to be “basically free and fair” by international election observers — Somaliland’s quest for international recognition has stalled. Hopes are high that the 2010 elections will make international engagement with the recognition question unavoidable.

International observers have judged the elections free and fair. Provisional results show that the opposition leader Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo won with 50 per cent of the 538,000 valid votes cast, beating the incumbent UDUB party (33 per cent) and the UCID party (17 per cent). If there is a smooth transfer of power, it would be a rare achievement in the Horn of Africa region and will increase Somalilanders’ pride in the peace and stability of their country.

Clan allegiances are a factor in the elections, but local media has played an important part. Overall media coverage of the three political parties contesting the election has been generally fair and balanced, according to local media analyst Hussein Ali Noor. In fact, he says that Somalilanders “enjoy a freedom of the press that many in the west do not”. That does not mean that individual media outlets have always stuck to the media code of conduct developed by the national election committee (NEC).

In early June the national television station, SNTV, was chastised by the Election Monitoring Board of the NEC for giving preference to the ruling party, by covering spurious news outside the designated political campaign programmes, such as the “opening” of an old project. Meanwhile private TV stations favour the opposition parties and have been harassed by the authorities in the past. This election campaign, however, has seen a notable lack of intimidation or harassment of journalists.

Public radio is limited to Hargeisa, the capital city, and has been the main vehicle for raising awareness about voting procedures, women’s rights and other civic information. Radio Horyaal is available around the country but only broadcasts for half an hour every evening and is not well known outside the capital. The lack of national radio stations means that there is great loyalty to the BBC Somali Service, and more recently, Voice of America, which has a younger and more lively style. Kulmiye and UCID both promised to bring in national FM radio stations as part of their manifestos.

Overall print media has presented a balance of party support, although of the nine newspapers in the country only three provide serious political coverage.

Security concerns relating to Al-Shabab and its associates have been heightened since an incident on 10 June in the second city, Burco. Residents raised their suspicions about recent arrivals to the police, who say they recovered explosives and arrested 11 people. One policeman was killed and several injured.

Somalilanders seem united in their determination to maintain peace and stability. The media has contributed by taking seriously their responsibility to raise awareness about the need for increased vigilance. Joint co-ordinator of the international election observer mission, 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.”

Sarah Howard is a member of Somaliland Focus and international election observer in Somaliland, 2005 and 2010


Somaliland: Peaceful, democratic but unrecognised

05 July 2010. Makwaia Wa Kuhenga

Not many people are aware that there is a country in the Horn of Africa known as Somaliland, quite thriving as a state and at peace with itself but internationally unrecognised. What is recognised is the almost collapsed state of Somalia with Mogadishu as its capital.

So because of this unfortunate non-recognition status, developments in Somaliland either go unnoticed or unreported by the mainstream international media. But recently, fortunately, when I tuned to Aljazeera television on June 26, that station broadcast an electoral process in motion in that small country in the Horn of Africa.

A correspondent for Aljazeera, a Qatar-based global television network, was reporting from Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland that the General Election was in place in that country. I was intrigued and I wanted to follow more.

I was intrigued because I know Somaliland. A couple of years ago, in June 2008 I was in Hargeisa. I will brief you on this trip in the latter part of this perspective. For now let us revisit the poll as it was being reported by Aljazeera.

As I watched the Aljazeera report, I could see long queues of Somaliland folks, men and women in their customary long dresses and headscarves for women. My observation was of quite peaceful queues of people waiting for their turn to vote; standard scenes of democratic polls anywhere.

Sampling reports the following day on the Internet, one report spoke of “high voter turnout and relative calm” marking the polls.

“Polls opened early in the morning in this part of the world on Africa’s northwestern horn known as Somaliland, an autonomous but unrecognised nation, looking forward to cement its democratic credentials among the international community,” said one report.

It went on: “Ballots are being cast for three presidential candidates: incumbent President Dahir Riyaale Kahin, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo and Faisal Ali Warabe. Silanyo represented that Kulimiye party, seen as the main rival to President Kahin’s United People’s Democratic Party (UDUB),” said an account one report.

After following the polls, there was a little lull on Aljazeera about the outcome of that polls. I was worried. Has there been widespread violence or something? My concerns were dispelled because the same station Aljazeera reported after five days that there has been announcement of a winner of the vote and the people of Somaliland have come to terms with that announcement equally peacefully.

The winner this time was opposition leader, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo of Kulmiye Party that translates for “Peace, Unity and Development Party”.

He had won just under 50 of the votes cast and he expected to be inaugurated next month.

In the election, there was even an international observer group whose joint coordinator Michael Walls described the vote as reasonably free and fair, and by international standards.

He said: “This country now boasts of two peaceful parliamentary elections and a presidential election earlier in 2003 which was widely observed as free and fair.”

Now for someone not initiated with the geopolitical disposition of the Horn of Africa, the questions one would naturally ask are: What is Somaliland as opposed to Somalia? How did Somaliland come into being?

History tells us that pre-colonial Horn of Africa was carved in favour of three colonial powers, the British, the Italians and the French. What is known as Djibouti today was under the French while southern Somalia with Mogadishu as the capital was under the Italians and there was a territory to the Northwest of the Horn of Africa known then as British Somaliland.

So Somaliland was a British protectorate for over 80 years while Somalia in the southern flanks of the horn was Italian ruled.

At the dawn of the decolonisation of Africa in the late 1950s and 1960s, when the British and Italians called it quits, there was a spontaneous wave of Somali nationalism with the early leaders of former British Somaliland and Italy-ruled Somalia with its capital Mogadishu to the south calling for a unified Somalia Republic. Both territories, which won independence from the erstwhile colonial masters in June 1960 with a difference of only a few days hastily united into one country, Somalia.

But the civilian political leaders of a unified Somalia did not last long as Africa was engulfed in military coups in the 1960s and beyond. Somalia was not spared. Gen Mohamed Siad Barre pulled his coup, replacing a civilian government.

This move was totally unwelcome by the civilian leaders and those who had sought and brought about a hasty union regretted their move. Under the circumstances, some regrouped to struggle for the restoration of the former Somaliland.

But things went to a head when Gen Siad Barre was himself overthrown, plunging the country even deeper into chaos. During this time, in former Somaliland or northern Somalia, a national liberation movement was taking roots known as the Somaliland Nationalist Movement. It immediately embarked on a guerrilla war and on 18th May 1991, it made good of its struggle by reclaiming the rebirth of Somaliland.

So this was a country I visited in June 2008 at the invitation of a Tanzanian of Somali origin with contacts in Somaliland. What I saw in Hargeisa surprised me. I saw a people at peace with themselves completely in contrast to their neighbors in the South of Mogadishu’s Somalia.

People were going about their business normally. Can you imagine a place swarming with beggars and jobless people yet just adjacent there are stalls and stalls of money in banknotes including American dollars, British pounds and so forth in the open with no policeman around to secure those stalls of money?

This is the market place in downtown Hargeisa where I took a walk when on the visit! In fact, as I took a walk, watching several of these stalls of money, the owners were not around, they had slipped away to say their midday prayers, leaving the stalls unguarded and yet there were no scenes of shouts against thieves!

All said, this is the country, which has remained internationally unrecognised for the last 19 years of its existence as a state as we have seen, complete with democratic feats.

So what is holding the recognition of Somaliland by the councils of state such as the African Union and the United Nations? An AU fact-finding mission to Somaliland in 2005 says the African Union should be disposed to “judge the case of Somaliland from an objective historical view point and a moral angle.” It is a recommendation that is yet to be worked for.

But the very reason that Somaliland has managed to evolve over the last 19 years as a sustainable, peaceful and democratic state is sufficiently adequate reason to reward it with immediate international recognition to serve as a spur and encouragement to embattled Mogadishu’s Somalia now facing extremist armed groups.

The same reasons that may have spurred the United States and its western allies to offer recognition to the newly born state of Kosovo cannot be contradictory to what Somaliland deserves today.

http://thecitizen.co.tz/editorial-analysis/47-columnists/2822-somaliland-peaceful-democratic-but-unrecognised.html


Silanyo’s first 100 Days

by Soyan Guled. July 04, 2010. http://www.hiiraan.com/op2/2010/july/silanyo_s_first_100_days.aspx

Welcome Mr President the people have spoken loud and clear and voted for change. They placed on your famously broad shoulders their hopes for better tomorrow and they expect you to deliver.

Hope has a short shelf-life and euphoria dissipates faster than early morning mist in the Arori plains where you were born. It is vital you act now and act decisively. You must temporarily put aside your well-honed sense of compromise which served your people so well in the past. A different set of skills are demanded of you by history now. Now is your chance to bare your fangs of strength; the ruthless single-mindedness which brought you the reins of leadership after a quest of 30 years.

Here are my suggestions for action in your first 100 days:

Create lean government of the best: Abandon the clan allocation system that so often brought deadwood into the ranks of leadership. Select the best even if they all come from the same village. People have matured and will accept this. Ignore the bands of self-appointed clan bosses who will no doubt cry foul – someone will always cry foul no matter what you do.

Act on Qat : History tells us that drugs have destroyed nations in the past and they can do so again. This evil weed has already taken the nation staring into a hellish abyss. It fuels crime, corruption; family breakdowns, mental illness, absenteeism and violence. You can start by banning it from the organised branches of State like the army, police, Prison Services and health workers. This must be enforced ruthlessly if it is to stand a chance of making an impact. Strategy could then be formulated later to get rid of it altogether.

Enforce the existing laws against FGM: It is an insult to the nation and an insult to humanity that we still live in a nation which mutilates its little children. Name the most able female Minister in your cabinet to focus on this with targets that this stops within a year.

Free the Media: This is probably the easiest of your tasks. Trust the people and give media free reign. Anyone should be able to obtain a licence for running a media outlet provided they could prove they attended three months of training. They can buy a Licence for $1000 annually. You may also consider an initial deposit of $5000 held against committing libel which could then be refunded after 2 years of professional behaviour.

Recognition: Form a strategic centre that deals with the issue holistically instead of the headless, shapeless plethora of little groups that run around unled and unguided all over the world. They sometimes do more harm than good. The focus must be on Africa. And it does not have to be full recognition or none. Seek other concessions where full recognition is not forthcoming.

Sool &Sanaag: On this occasion retain your moderation and sense of compromise. Avoid violence at any cost. Talk to the leaders who object to Somaliland constantly and with your usual understanding and grace. Bring them into the fold or negotiate honourable separation of those who do not choose to part of Somaliland.

Work with the TFG: The two young leaders of the TFG need and I am sure will seek your expertise and guidance in their bid to save the people of Somalia from the jaws of hell. Both Sharif and Sharmarke are thoroughly decent men untainted by the attempted genocide against our people by the Siyad Barre regime. Invite them to Hargeisa. Share your wisdom freely and don’t be swayed by whispered accusations of Pan-Somalism. Their will always whisperers and history has a way of disregarding their pettiness.

Fight Al-Qaeda: Make no mistake that Al-Qaeda affiliates inside Somaliland pose an existential threat to this yet unborn nation. The enemy is already within: their ideas are here; their venom seeped into our soil. They already control the thinking of large portions of the people. The fight must of ideas, intelligence as well guns and bullets. The cry must go out loud and clear that we want our beautiful ancient Islam back. Our children must not be brainwashed with alien Wahabbism; our women must not be forced to suffocate under the oppressive blankets of oppression and misogyny.

I know this is a lot to ask of a man who already delivered so much in his honourable political lifetime. But the nation demands more. History will ultimately judge you not by all the things you have done yesterday but what you do from today.


Djibouti leader congratulates newly-elected president of Somaliland

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jul 4, 2010. ADI news agency website, Djibouti, in French 2 Jul 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

The head of state, Mr Ismail Omar Guelleh, has today, Friday, sent a congratulatory message to the newly elected president of the self-proclaimed region of Somaliland, Ahmad Muhammad Mahmoud "Silanyo".

" You henceforth have all the legitimacy necessary to define and introduce all the projects that you deem useful to advance and develop your people", the head of state wrote to Mr Silanyo.

Mr Ismail Omar Guelleh also said that he was delighted with the tranquility and transparency that characterized the election.

"Through the transparency and the tranquility of the presidential election, the region of Somaliland has proven that democracy has taken root in the region and raises at the same time the image of the entire Horn of Africa, very often associated with chaos and political violence", the head of state said.

In conclusion, Ismail Omar Guelleh wished Mr Silanyo all the best and every success at maintaining stability and order in Somaliland.


Ministers, MPs urge Somaliland to help with conflict in southern regions

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jul 3, 2010.Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 3 Jul 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Minister in the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia [TFG] and Members of Parliament have today congratulated the new Somaliland officials and residents and called upon them to assist in resolving the political deadlock in southern Somalia regions.

Ministers in the TFG and MPs have today held a meeting in Mogadishu in which they congratulated the people of Somaliland for the recent elections. The TFG minister of labour, Muhammad Abdi Hayir Mareye, was among the minister that attended the meting and congratulated Somaliland for the way they peacefully conducted the historic elections.

The minister also congratulated the new Somaliland president, Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo and his deputy, Abdirahman Seylici together with the other two contenders, one of whom was the incumbent, Dahir Riyale Kahin. The ministers urged Somaliland to continue maintaining security in the region and also take part in finding longterm solutions to the problems in southern Somalia regions.

Muhammad Ahmad Nur Tarzan who was also among the MPs that attended the meeting said the Somali public share the victory attained by Somaliland and expressed his gratitude to the political parties that took part in the elections and the Electoral Commission which he said has overseen a clean election.

Today's meeting by Somali MPs and ministers in the TFG comes at a time when the Electoral Commission in Somaliland held news conference in which they announced the winner of the recent polls as the leader of the opposition party, Kulmiye, Ahmad Muhammad Mahmud alias Silanyo.


Press statement on 26 June 2010 Somaliland presidential elections

Written by Iqbal. Jul 04, 2010.http://www.qarannews.com/

PRESS STATEMENT ON 26TH JUNE 2010 SOMALILAND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS BY PROFESSOR IQBAL JHAZBHAY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AFRICA

SOMALILAND’S HUGE SUCCESS!!!

In my capacity as Professor at the University of South Africa, I was honoured to witness Somaliland’s 2010 Presidential Elections over a 7 day period (22 to 29 June 2010). A veritable feast for field-researchers and NEPAD political activists for good governance!

Indeed, this 2nd historic Somaliland Presidential election is a huge success. The peaceful transfer of power via the ballot box, and the credible democratic election process – a rarity, is an additional boon to Somaliland’s reputation as ‘Africa’s best-kept secret’.

My best congratulations to the winner, President-elect Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo, and to President Dahir Rayale Kahin, AND Mr. Faisal Warabe, for the graceful acceptance of the results. (Kulmiye - 49.59%, Udub - 33.23%, Ucid -17.18%).

Having the rare opportunity to observe Somaliland’s 2001 referendum, its 1st democratic 2003 Presidential elections as well as the 1st 2005 democratic Parliamentary elections, I am heartened to notice:

1. The increasing international press coverage of Somaliland’s 2010 elections. Clearly, Somaliland’s ‘best-kept secret’ is being made more public in many corners of the world!

2. The ‘transparent’ expression of the will of the Somaliland people on polling day, in spite of threats from Muslim extremist forces, is additional testimony of the people’s resilient desire for peace, stability and a better Somaliland.

3. The passion of the young university graduates, notably women, and the smooth running of the electoral polling stations is a commendable feature, worthy of emulation in Africa and beyond. In this context, the National Electoral Commission leadership, its team members, should be congratulated for the good electoral preparations. Face Technologies of South Africa, for executing its tender of preparing the election identity cards.

4. In spite of the intense international focus of South Africa hosting the World Cup Soccer, many citizens of the world made time to observe Somaliland’s 2010 elections. The Norwegian, Finnish, UK, and US election observer teams come to mind.

5. Many friends of Somaliland now await the inauguration day of President-elect Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo and the peaceful transfer of power. May Somaliland’s path to development and democracy continue! It can count on its friends, as Somaliland re-doubles its efforts on the international road to recognition. Prof. Iqbal Jhazbhay is author of Somaliland: An African Struggle for Nationhood and International Recognition. He serves on the board of the Institute for Global Dialogue and is a member of the ANC’s National Executive Committee’s Sub-Committee of International Relations

Relevant Internet Links:

Ethiopian Government Statement on Somaliland Presidential Elections, 2010: http://www.mfa.gov.et/Press_Section/PressStatementSomaliland.pdf
ANC journal, Umrabulo, World Cup Soccer edition. Article by Prof. Ali Mazrui on Somaliland and Prof. Hussein Adam’s review of the Somaliland book, 2010 : http://www.anc.org.za/show.php?doc=ancdocs/pubs/umrabulo/umrabulo33/art22.html
http://www.anc.org.za/show.php?doc=ancdocs/pubs/umrabulo/umrabulo33/index.html&type=Publications


Speech by South African Minister in the Presidency on Somaliland

March 2010: http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/show.asp?include=minister/sp/2010/sp0311858.htm&ID=2084&type=sp
South African published text on Somaliland, by the Nelson Mandela initiated, Institute for Global Dialogue and, the oldest South African Institute of International Affairs: http://www.saiia.org.za/books/somaliland-an-african-struggle-for-nationhood-and-international-recognition.html
http://www.kalahari.net/page_templates/searchresults.aspx?searchText=jhazbhay&navigationid=632&displayShop=books
Journal of Somaliland Studies: http://somalilandstudies.com/
Lessons from Somaliland on self reclamation from mayhem, Kenyan Sunday Nation, 2009: http://www.redsea-online.com/books/Iqbal-Book%20review_kenya_December%2020.pdf
Somaliland holds credible elections, International Republican Institute, 2010: http://www.iri.org/news-events-press-center/news/somaliland-holds-credible-presidential-election
Somaliland elections: peaceful expression of popular will, UK & EU observers, 2010: http://www.progressio.org.uk/blog/news/somaliland-elections-peaceful-expression-popular-will
Somaliland Presidential Election slide show, 2010: http://www.progressio.org.uk/content/somaliland
Report on the South African Mission on the Somaliland 2003 Presidential Elections: http://www.somalilandlaw.com/SA_Mission_report_on_Pres_Elections_2003.pdf
Media statement on the South African Observer Mission to 2005 Somaliland Parliamentary elections: http://www.somalilandlaw.com/South_African_Observer_Mission_to_Somaliland_Parliamentary_elections.htm

An open letter to Somaliland President-elect: congratulations and stay away from Somalia

By Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi | OPINIONS | 4 July 2010 -http://somalilandpress.com/

The Somaliland second presidential election was political milestone for the people, who voted for change at this time. Somaliland’s National Election Commission (NEC) proved professionalism and dedication to job, and rescued the country from possible political disagreement. The people of Somaliland showed the world that Somaliland is not “One Man’s Country” and that any leader can be changed through voting, and that fighting and violence don’t have place in Somaliland.

The people showed political maturity from Sool to Salal despite the young democracy. However, we should remember that Somaliland’s democracy and election process is still fragile to any.

Mr. President-elect, the cabinet members should selected based on experience, skills, knowledge and competency. The minister that you delegate to reform the country’s economy should be capable of doing so, and the ministers should not be appointed to satisfy tribe or a group. Somaliland interest is above all.

I understand that people of Somaliland are expecting a lot from you, although not miracle but a proper management that can correct the mistakes of outgoing administration led by President Dahir Riyale Kahin.

Mr. President-elect, Somaliland is at war with terrorists in the eastern parts;The Al-Qeada linked Al-Shabab group are actively operating across the eastern regions through tribal militia located in Buhoodle. Al-Shabab and their tribal militia friends carry out training and recruiting to downgrade and disturb the growing democracy in Somaliland; So, your main mission in the east is to reconcile with tribes and ensure that Al-Shabab and other terrorist groups don’t establish safe haven in the area. Mr. President-elect, you should be grateful to the former president Riyale of creating one of the most powerful military forces in the region after Ethiopia that can assist you in eliminating the stubborn terrorist groups in Buhoodle region.

Having good relations with neighboring countries mainly Ethiopia is very important and crucial for Somaliland, while maintaining acceptable relation with Djibouti is important too. Somaliland knows that Djibouti‘s Anti-Somaliland policy supports the failed theory Somali Unity. President Geeleh of Djibouti expressed his Anti-Somaliland policies many times and even campaigned against it in the Arab World. We understand the fears of Djibouti from emerging Somaliland;because its extra benefits over Djibouti in many areas including economy, population and Somaliland’s strategic location in the region. Somaliland will be competitive to Djibouti.

However, Somaliland should always be good to all except the stubborn terrorist and who ever tries to downgrade it including Djibouti’s Geele.

The multiparty system in Somaliland has grown enough to eliminate the tribalism, however, opening the door to new parties may lead to tribe-based parties, which will corrupt the current healthy democracy in Somaliland.

I believe you have good background on Somaliland Parties in 1950?s where the parties were based on tribes, and normal citizen use to vote for the party of his tribe. We don’t want that to happen again in Somaliland. So, the three political party system in the country proved to be working well, but we don’t knows whether opening the doors to more parties will benefit the country.

Somaliland is small country with only 3.5 million people, and cannot have more than three parties, else it will form political and financial burden on the country. So, my advice is to ensure that country don’t get more parties. If it is very necessary for you to meet your promises to Qaran Party Leaders then make sure it don’t exceed one extra party.

The people of Somaliland will be wrong to expect miracle and making Somaliland the USA of Africa in 5 years term. However you should please them by keeping the country progressed and secure from the emerging enemies from Somalia, and terrorists stationed in it.

Mr. President-elect, you are veteran politician that have solid experience in the local, regional and international politics but always telling the right benefits the listeners. Today, Somalia is going through one of it’s difficult times where violence is every day event in the streets of Mogadishu. As we have seen on the world media that shaky leadership of Somalia Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed is leading the fighting in Mogadishu, which is his last attempt to convince the world that he is trying hard to eradicate terrorism, in order to re-win the world’s trust.

However Somaliland’s neighboring region of “Puntland” is in chaos where piracy, human trafficking and killing are common, in addition to tribal divisions within its administration, the ongoing battle in Karkar (Urjire & Duud-hooyo) is an example which already displaced hundreds.

Somalia is suffering from one of the most dangerous disease that can easily spread into Somaliland, so you need to tighten borders with Somalia and stop the violence from reaching Somaliland.

Mr. President-elect, the objectives of your administration should focus on important areas like:-

•Empowering and increasing the security forces in East, •Peace,
•No more political parties,
•Improving Education system,
•Better health facilities, and
•the long waited dream of the people of Somaliland – Diplomatic Recognition.

Mr. President-elect, nepotism and tribalism could be costly to Somaliland, because Kulmiye won the trust of all people but you should know that tribalism destroys nation and don’t build.

Sool and Eastern Sanaag:

The people of these regions are expecting a lot from your administration, particularly the benefits they could not get from Riyale’s administration. They need the restoration of the basic social services. However, Mr. President-elect, You should know that people of Somaliland are equally in need of many services, so keeping equality and justice between the regions of Somaliland is crucial for your administration. We should confess that Riyale’s administration done remarkable job in Sool after chasing the militia loyal to “Puntland”.

The people of these regions need liberation from the terrorist and other illegitimate administrations like “Puntland” and end to the flourishing piracy in the region. The people of Sool and eastern Sanaag need proper education and clean drinking water, but at the same time, they don’t have right to win the entire attention and resource of your administration. Kulmiye administration should not start again from scratches, instead to continue on the foundation built by the earlier administrations.

I understand the difficult job waiting you at Somaliland’s Presidential house, alongside cunning politicians and tribe leaders who are all asking for benefits and positions in the government.

I understand that many tribe leaders in Somaliland did not realize that Somaliland democracy passed tribalism era. In addition to many who supported your campaign and they all waiting payback from you including businessmen. Moreover, there is large Somaliland Diaspora who organized fundraising for your campaign and they are expecting a lot from you. All in all, Mr. President-elect, You should not overlook the interest of Somaliland to satisfy these cunning individuals.

Finally, congratulation to you, NEC, President Dahir Riyale and to the people of Somaliland for the peaceful election and mature democracy that they built together.


SOMALILAND: President-elect forms new Commission to form government

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress- 4 July 2010) — President-elect Ahmed Mohammed Silaanyo set up a Commission of 15 members on Saturday to help him build his government before the July 26 deadline.

In a letter sent to the independent media, the President-elect said: “After Kulmiye Party won the general election and the high expectation to form a consensus government, I have released it’s crucial to have a consultation with senior party members and national intellectuals on how the new government should be formed. I have decided to set up a national Commission whose job is to advise on how to form the new government, in particular, the number of departments and the number of independent agencies that need to be created.”

The members of the committee are:

1.Mr. Muse Bihi Abdi, Chairman – Kulmiye party
2.Mrs. Edna Adan Ismail, Vice-Chairwoman – former Foreign minister and Edna Adan Hospital president
3.Pro. Hussein Bulhan, Chancellor of University of Hargeisa
4.Dr. Mohammed Saed Gees
5.Dr. Mohammed Rashid Sheikh, UCID Party Vice-Chairman
6.Pro. Ismail Mumin Aar, former Kulmiye Vice-Chairman, Columbia University graduate and founding member of Amound University
7.Mr. Abdul-Aziz Mohammed Samaale, the first deputy speaker of the House of Representatives (Kulmiye)
8.Mr. Bashe Mohammed Farah, the second deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives
9.Dr. Mohamed Abdi Gabose, Medical graduate and member of Somaliland Medical Association, Kulmiye campaign manager
10.Dr. Hussein Mohamoud Hoog
11.Dr. Ahmed Kijandhe, MP
12.Eng. Mohamed Hashi Elmi, political advisor (Kulmiye)
13.Mr. Abdulrahman Yusuf Artan, MP and Sanag region representative (Kulmiye)
14.Sheekh Mohammed Ali Gadhle, religious order
15.Mr. Munir Haji Abdullahi (Abusite), President of Daallo Airlines

Silanyo defeated outgoing president Dahir Riyale Kahin with 49.6 percent of the vote and is expected to form his government and take the oath of office by July 26.


Somalilanders: Hoping for the best for their homeland

By Joe Avancena.July 4, 2010.http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentID=2010070477120

Somalilanders in Saudi Arabia are hoping that the presidential elections held on June will continue to usher peace and reconciliation in their country. Above all, they expressed confidence that the world will recognize Somlaliand as an independent and democratic nation. Official results of the election are not due for another week. A group of international observers who monitored the polls said the political exercise was free and fair and would express the people’s will. European and American groups, including the US-based International Republican Institute (IRI), said the balloting was peaceful, without any major incident, and generally met international standards.

Somalilanders residing in Eastern Province are eagerly waiting for the outcome.

“We expatriate Somalilanders do not have the access to participate in the election; we are only hoping that the election will bring back stability and the start of long-term economic development for our country,” said A.I. Obsiyeh, a Somalilander community leader from Jubail.

He said Somalilanders in Saudi Arabia are divided on who to support in the election – the incumbent president Dahir Riyale Kahin of the UDUB Party, Ahmed Muhamoud Silanyo of the Kulmiye Party or Faysal Cali Warabe of the UCID Party.

There are around 3,000 Somalilanders in Eastern Province, and about 10,000 all over Saudi Arabia. He said most Somalilanders work in government institutions and large corporate organizations.

“It is true that we are divided on who should be the president of our country, but here in the Eastern Province most of us supports Dahir Riyale Kahin, the incumbent president, because of his strong commitment towards reconciliation, stability for the country, and his belief in democracy. He has also the confidence of Saudi Arabia,” Obsiyeh said. “You can walk in the streets in our country and witness that, for example, money changers stash their cash of various currencies in the open without being robbed. There are no bodyguards; this is one illustrations that security in our country is stable,” Obsiyed said.

Mohamed J. Gino, another community leader from Al–Khobar, said that whoever is elected president he desires the world recognition of Somaliland. “We have waited for the last eight years fighting for our national recognition. This election should convince the world community – the United Nations, United States, UK, and other leading countries– to bestow us the recognition we deserve,” Gino said.

Gino is endorsing the reelection of Dahir Riyale Kahin. “The UDUB Party, the party of President Kahin, is not just another political party, but the foundation of our democracy. It guards us from the external and internal dark forces. It protects us from the dishonest, self-interest individuals. And above all it was created by the our nation’s father, the late Muhamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, one of the successful and revered politicians in East Africa,” Gino said.

“The Somaliland community in Saudi Arabia seeks the support of the world community in recognizing our country. Saudi Arabia, which has been the home for many of us for as long as three to four decades, surely recognizes our existence. And for this the people of Somaliland is most grateful,” Gino said. – SG


British observers stay for Somaliland elections, despite al-Qaeda warning

by Stefan Simanowitz. July 4, 2010. http://www.independent.com.mt/news.asp?newsitemid=108418

Stefan Simanowitz reports on an al Shabab threat on the eve of elections in Somaliland, a country that “does not exist”.

On the eve of presidential elections in the breakaway nation of Somaliland last week, an al-Qaeda-linked group used an audio message to warn the population against voting. Ahmed Abdi Godane, leader of the al-Shabab, released a message stating that “those who take part in those so-called elections will face the consequences”. The threat came just weeks after the shooting of a policeman in Somaliland and the arrest of 15 suspected Islamic terrorists, including six women, in possession of bomb-making equipment. Their arrest came months after a car bomb attack in October 2009 that left 25 dead and dozens injured in Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa.

Despite the security concerns, an international team of 59 election observers – including several Britons – were in Somaliland to monitor the elections. There were supposed to have been more but some organisations, such as the Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa, decided that the security risk was too great. The observers spent the day at polling stations across the country where some felt that they would be vulnerable to terrorist attack. But Briton Michael Walls, joint coordinator of the observation team, was confident that everything had been done to secure the election observers’ safety. “We were heartened at the good spirit in which campaigning took place and optimistic that the vigilance of Somalilanders, and their evident commitment to a peaceful election, would ensure that the small minority who wished to disrupt the process would be prevented from doing so,” he said.

The conduct and result of last week’s elections are seen as crucial in determining the future of a country that declared itself independent in 1991 following a brutal civil war. In the eyes of the international community, Somaliland, a nation the size of England and Wales combined, does not officially exist, but Somalilanders are hopeful that this could change. “A successful free and fair election will have a huge impact on setting Somaliland on the right path to democracy, prosperity and international recognition,” says political analyst Hussein Dualeh. But equally, electoral irregularities, violence and terrorist attacks could push Somaliland closer towards the lawlessness of neighbouring Somalia. As well as issues with Islamic militants, Somaliland has also had ongoing conflicts with rebels in the semi-autonomous regions of Puntland, Sool and Sanagwell. Security issues, together with bitter disputes over voter registration, have delayed these elections by almost two years, which in turn has had its own destabilising effect on a country that had, until recently, enjoyed relative peace and security for nearly two decades.

“Terrorists live in the seams between countries,” says Michael Chertoff, former US head of Homeland Security under the Bush administration, explaining why, like the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the unguarded frontiers of the Sahel are attractive to terrorists. Stretching from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, the Sahel is increasingly being seen as the new front line in the war on terror but, ironically, the growing problem of terrorism in Somaliland might present an opportunity. Although the predominantly Sufi form of Islam practised in Somaliland does not lend itself to extremism, Western powers are concerned at the presence of an increasing number of radical clerics in the country, as well as the porous border with Somalia. With its strategically important position on the Gulf of Aden and a deep-water port in Berbera, Somaliland is positioning itself as an important ally in the war on terror. While conscious that too close a relationship with the Americans might not be popular with its population, the government also recognises the advantages that collaboration with the US could bring in terms of finance, long-term stability and, ultimately, international recognition.

As well as qualifying the country for aid and support from international financial institutions, recognition would also allow mining and oil companies access to the country’s natural resources. Large-scale extraction of oil, coal, gemstones and minerals could transform this country of 3.5 million, where over 40 per cent of the population live in extreme poverty. Hussein Dualeh is optimistic. “I firmly believe that Somaliland stands a good chance of being recognised as a sovereign state in the next five years if this election is conducted successfully and results in good governance thereafter,” he says.

When the rains come in Hargeisa, a mass grave beside the river is exposed. Bones protrude from the red earth, some still tied at the wrist. At the side of the airport road, a rusting Russian tank, plastered with election posters, is a reminder of Somaliland’s war-ravaged past and a symbol of hope for a democratic future. The long-awaited election, held on 26 June, will offer a major clue to Somaliland’s future.

Stefan Simanowitz is a journalist and writer who has spent time in Somaliland as a journalist and election observer


Somalia: New Somaliland leader Silanyo's First 100 Days

4 Jul 4, 2010 - by Soyan Guled. http://www.garoweonline.com/

Welcome Mr President the people have spoken loud and clear and voted for change. They placed on your famously broad shoulders their hopes for better tomorrow and they expect you to deliver.

Hope has a short shelf-life and euphoria dissipates faster than early morning mist in the Arori plains where you were born. It is vital you act now and act decisively. You must temporarily put aside your well-honed sense of compromise which served your people so well in the past. A different set of skills are demanded of you by history now. Now is your chance to bare your fangs of strength; the ruthless single-mindedness which brought you the reins of leadership after a quest of 30 years.

Here are my suggestions for action in your first 100 days:

Create lean government of the best: Abandon the clan allocation system that so often brought deadwood into the ranks of leadership. Select the best even if they all come from the same village. People have matured and will accept this. Ignore the bands of self-appointed clan bosses who will no doubt cry foul – someone will always cry foul no matter what you do.

Act on Qat : History tells us that drugs have destroyed nations in the past and they can do so again. This evil weed has already taken the nation staring into a hellish abyss. It fuels crime, corruption; family breakdowns, mental illness, absenteeism and violence. You can start by banning it from the organised branches of State like the army, police, Prison Services and health workers. This must be enforced ruthlessly if it is to stand a chance of making an impact. Strategy could then be formulated later to get rid of it altogether.

Enforce the existing laws against FGM: It is an insult to the nation and an insult to humanity that we still live in a nation which mutilates its little children.

Name the most able female Minister in your cabinet to focus on this with targets that this stops within a year.

Free the Media:This is probably the easiest of your tasks.Trust the people and give media free reign. Anyone should be able to obtain a licence for running a media outlet provided they could prove they attended three months of training.They can buy a Licence for $1000 annually. You may also consider an initial deposit of $5000 held against committing libel which could then be refunded after 2 years of professional behaviour.

Recognition:Form a strategic centre that deals with the issue holistically instead of the headless, shapeless plethora of little groups that run around unled and unguided all over the world. They sometimes do more harm than good. The focus must be on Africa. And it does not have to be full recognition or none. Seek other concessions where full recognition is not forthcoming.

Sool &Sanaag: On this occasion retain your moderation and sense of compromise. Avoid violence at any cost. Talk to the leaders who object to Somaliland constantly and with your usual understanding and grace. Bring them into the fold or negotiate honourable separation of those who do not choose to part of Somaliland.

Work with the TFG: The two young leaders of the TFG need and I am sure will seek your expertise and guidance in their bid to save the people of Somalia from the jaws of hell. Both Sharif and Sharmarke are thoroughly decent men untainted by the attempted genocide against our people by the Siyad Barre regime. Invite them to Hargeisa. Share your wisdom freely and don’t be swayed by whispered accusations of Pan-Somalism.

Their will always whisperers and history has a way of disregarding their pettiness.


Peaceful poll in Somaliland points a way out of conflict

Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, the President of Somalia waves to his supporters upon arrival in Mogadishu on February 7, 2009. Photo/ REUTERS

By KEVIN KELLEY. July 5 2010.http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke

The recent elections in the breakaway region of Somaliland hold out the hope of progress toward resolving the nearly 20-year-long conflict in Somalia, some US analysts say.

Strengthening Somaliland while also assisting other regional and local oases of peace and good governance, could promote stability throughout Somalia, says Prof Ken Menkhaus, one of the leading Somalia experts in the United States.

These entities could emerge as effective competitors to the TFG, which “is making no effort to earn the sovereignty” conferred upon it by outsiders, he adds.

Jubaland remains a more difficult case, Prof Menkhaus says.

“From a distance and on paper,” the concept of an autonomous Jubaland “looks like a really good idea,” he observes.

The region features “a certain amount of ethnic homogeneity” and is also a well defined geographic area, Prof Menkhaus says.

In addition, “the whole region is a satellite of the Kenyan economy.”

From a strategic point of view, Prof Menkhaus continues, “I understand why Kenya is interested in having Jubaland as a buffer zone.”

He notes, however, that every time the notion of an autonomous Jubaland has been floated, the clans in the region “have never been able to agree on allocation of resources and power in Kismayo.”

Shabaab also remains a powerful presence in Jubaland.

It would have to be defeated as a precondition to establishing Jubaland as a stable region on Kenya’s border, the US analysts all point out.

In a vote that international observers described as free and fair, the polls demonstrated to a world audience how profoundly Somaliland differs from much of Somalia.

The northwestern area, which declared its independence from Somalia in 1991, has remained comparatively stable even as much of the country descended into seemingly intractable strife.

Depending on how the losers react to the outcome of the three-party contest, Somaliland might move to co-operate with Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and possibly with the autonomous Puntland region in fighting against Islamist insurgents, one US expert on Somalia suggests.

“A number of people in Mogadishu and Hargeisa want to bridge the gap,” this analyst says, referring to authorities in the respective capitals of Somalia and Somaliland.

Many outside interests would welcome such a development, adds this source, who does not want to be identified because he works in an official capacity in Washington.

The United States as well as countries in the Horn generally believe that such a coalition could have positive effects on trade and economic issues while also playing a potentially decisive strategic role, the analyst suggests.

He says that in addition to weakening Al Shabaab, the main Islamist insurgency in Somalia, a coalition involving Puntland could roll back the plague of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

But other experts are sceptical about the prospects of forming such a coalition.

Bronwyn Bruton, author of a recent report on Somalia by a prestigious New York-based NGO, cautions that a smooth outcome of the Somaliland voting is far from assured.

Ms Bruton also sees little reason to assume that the TFG would co-operate with Somaliland and Puntland.

“They aren’t willing to deal with anyone they see as threats,” she says in regard to the TFG’s leaders.

Somaliland, Puntland and Somalia are, at this point, “three different countries,” Ms Bruton observes.

Somaliland and Puntland also “aren’t the best of friends,” she points out, adding that while those two entities might form “a bulwark against the spread of disorder into the north,” they are unlikely to get involved militarily in central and southern Somalia.

Regardless of whether Somaliland enters into a more co-operative relationship with the TFG, it deserves greater support from the international community, US-based analysts argue. Calling Somaliland “a special case,” Prof Menkhaussays “we should do all we can to reinforce its success.”

Greater support for Somaliland need not take the form of international recognition of its nationhood, Prof Menkhaus says.

“A lot of governments in the Middle East and Africa are justifiably nervous” about the prospect of a fully independent Somaliland, he notes.

Somalilanders advancing that cause are perceived as members of a secessionist movement, and the breakup of states frightens the African Union and most of its members, US analysts point out.

Recognition of Somaliland by other nations would also make the territory “a major target for a destabilisation campaign,” Prof Menkhaus continues.

Al Shabaab strongly opposes Somaliland even in its current unrecognised status — not least because of the region’s close ties to Ethiopia, the arch-enemy of Somalia’s Islamist militants.

J. Peter Pham, senior vice president of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy and a longtime advocate of US support for Somaliland, acknowledges that “recognition, however deserved, will not be immediate.”

“What I do expect, however,” Prof Pham adds, “is increasing international engagement on top of existing relations and, in the intermediate term, the carving out of an interim international status for Somaliland that would permit it access to international multilateral institutions without explicitly conferring full recognition.”

The Somali people have made clear they do not favour a unitary state, Prof Pham says.

“One can honestly say that there is already a partition and Somalis are decided on it themselves,” he declares.


Ethiopia praises Somaliland polls

(AFP) – July 4, 2010

ADDIS ABABA — Ethiopia pledged support Sunday for Somaliland and praised the breakaway state's presidential candidates for carrying out a peaceful transfer of power after polls last week.

"The government of Ethiopia pays tribute ... to (outgoing) President Dahir Riyale Kahin for his high sense of obligation to the people of Somaliland ... and to the leader of the winning party Ahmed Mohamud Silaanyo for his magnanimity and for his commitment," a foreign ministry statement said.

"The people of Somaliland can always count on the full support of the government and people of Ethiopia as they continue to preserve their peace and stability and ensure the democratic process is protected," it added.

Silaanyo won June 26 polls that were praised by observers for being transparent and peaceful despite threats of attacks from the Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab operating in neighbouring Somalia.

The president-elect subsequently vowed to campaign "vigorously" for international recognition for his Horn of Africa republic.

The former British colony has close political and commercial ties with regional powerhouse Ethiopia, but Addis Ababa has so far declined to grant recognition and only maintains a trade office in Hargeisa.

Tacked on to Somalia when the latter gained independence from Italy in 1960, Somaliland has remained reasonably stable, spared the clan warfare that has dogged Somalia thanks to the domination of the Issaks.

It broke away from Somalia in 1991, after the overthrow of Siad Barre plunged the country into anarchy.

Silaanyo's election marks the second democratic transfer of power in 19 years, which voters saw as a fresh opportunity to demonstrate their aspiring state's democratic credentials.

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


Somaliland to get new president

03 Jul 2010.http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=133132§ionid=351020501

Somaliland's opposition party leader, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, has been declared the winner of the June 26 presidential election.

Essa Yusuf Mohammed, the chairman of Somaliland's National Electoral Commission, announced on Friday that Silanyo, the leader of the opposition party Kulmiye, garnered 49.6 percent of the vote, ahead of President Dahir Riyale Kahin with 33.2 percent and Faisal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Welfare Party with 17.2 percent.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991, after the fall of former dictator Mohammad Siad Barre.

However, no sovereign state has yet recognized the breakaway region as an independent nation.

During his election campaign, Silanyo promised to form a strong government.

The outgoing president says he will recognize and uphold the outcome of the election.


SOMALILAND: Outgoing Riyale to stay as an opposition leader

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress- July 3, 2010) — The outgoing president Dahir Riyale Kahin, UDUB party leader, said he will stay in Somaliland politics as an opposition while speaking to BBC Somali-Service on Friday night.

Mr. Riyale who gracefully accepted the out come of the election said he will step down in accordance with Somaliland’s legal system and urged Somaliland public to work with the new leader and maintain their stability.

A statement issued on government website said: Somaliland president H.E Dahir Rayaale Kahin and vice president Ahmed Yassin sent congratulatory messages to the president elect Ahmed Mohammed Mohammed and vice president Abdirahman Abdillahi Ismail.The president thanked the people of Somaliland for their support and urged them to work with the incoming government and continue to support the stability and security of Somaliland.

“I congratulate President Ahmed Mohammed Silaanyo and his Kulmiye party for winning the presidential election,” he said.

Mr. Riyale who takes great pride for his years in power said he will not harm the democracy his very own party and leadership has created in the country. He added the election was a “friendly match” but Somaliland’s interest always comes first.

Somaliland restored it’s independence in 1991 after overthrowing the military rule of Majo. Gen. Mohammed Siad Bare.

Outgoing Riyale is expected to hand over the responsibilities of the nation on July 26th.

Mr. Mohammed has on his side congratulated the outgoing president and said he will invite him for a consultation.


Somalia: New Somaliland President Looking for Recognition and Investment

3 July 2010.http://allafrica.com/stories/201007030091.html

Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, the opposition candidate who won the recent presidential election in Somaliland, says international recognition for the self-declared republic is one of his priorities.

Silanyo defeated outgoing president Dahir Riyale Kahin with 49.6 percent of the vote, according to the National Electoral Commission of Somaliland. International observers said the poll on June 26 was largely free and fair, despite a few irregularities, and voter turnout was high. Islamist militants had threatened to disrupt the process but no incidents were reported.

The elections had been frequently delayed and cast a shadow over Somaliland's emerging democracy. Despite this, the territory in northwest Somalia has distinguished itself as a haven of relative stability in the Horn of Africa.

Somaliland gained independence from Britain in 1960 and joined Somalia. The region then broke away in 1991 after the fall of Somali dictator Mohammed Siad Barre. Although Somaliland now has its own justice system, currency, security and police forces, the region has yet to gain recognition by other countries.

When Silanyo visited Washington, D.C., earlier this year in a bid to plead his case for state legitimacy, he told AllAfrica: "We haven't made much headway in our fight for recognition because the international community still regards this as a regional issue." The African Union says borders should remain as they were at the time of independence from colonial rule, which should qualify Somaliland for independence, Silanyo asserts.

Without recognition, "we have lost so much," he said. "We do not get much aid from the international community as we would have been if we were a member state," he said. "We are not entitled even to loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and other international institutions because we are not a recognized state."

Lamenting the Kahin government's poor commitment to democratic principles and transparency, Silanyo said more opportunities needed to be created for investment. Slianyo served as a government minister in the 1980s under Barre, who was overthrown in 1991. Silanyo's Kulmiye Unity and Development Party has been the principal opposition in Somaliland since Kahin came to power in 2002.

"We need to move much better in the way of development, in the way of pushing democratization forward, in the way of giving opportunity of giving the Somali Diaspora to invest in Somaliland and to have much more faith in the government instead of corruption," he said. "Foreign companies are prepared to invest in the country, which has a tremendous potential in the way of agriculture, in the way of livestock, in the way of mineral resources and fisheries."

Somaliland is often overshadowed by turbulent Somalia. Silanyo said: "We are very sorry about what is happening in Somalia and we cannot deny that there is always the possibility that since we do not have any barriers between us that these things can affect us. We support the effort of the international community; we are part of the international community in that respect. We are trying our best to find a way of bringing peace to Somalia, but it has proved as elusive to us as it has to the rest of the international community."

Silanyo said he is often asked what he would do about Somalia."We say, 'Which Somalia?' Somalia as the world knows it isn't there anymore," he said. "They ask us 'Why don't we conduct talks with them?' We say, 'Conduct talks with whom?' With Al-Shabaab? With Sharif [Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed]? We don't know who to conduct talks with. We were prepared to talk about, at least, cooperation because we harbor no enmity for our brothers."

"A huge number of our people from Mogadishu are in Hargeisa, our capital," Silanyo said. "They come; we welcome them; we protect them. The borders are open, there are no borders; there are no mountains; there are no rivers. All people move but there is no coherent group we can engage in negotiations with at the moment."

Because of Somalia's link with terrorism, Silanyo said Somaliland had been attacked from the south several times. "Unfortunately, that's the main threat to our country. But at least we have the whole country [Somaliland] unified against it," he said. "And we also have our own policies and decision to face international terrorism and international piracy in the area. We are also working with international community to work out programs to confront these threats in the region."


SOMALIA: Opposition leader wins poll and sets sights on corruption

2 July, 2010. By: Wilfred Mulliro

Hargeisa (http://english.alshahid.net/) – Opposition leader Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud, better known as Siilanyo, was declared President of the semi-autonomous state of Somaliland on 1 July.

Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud “Siilanyo” is the leader of the Peace, Unity and Development Party (Kulmiye), won just under 50 percent of votes cast on 26 June, in the first democratic poll in the Horn of Africa. He will be inaugurated next month.

Silaanyo served as a senior minister in the ill-fated government of former Somalia President Siyad Barre’s in the 1980s. Mohamoud quit to join the then armed opposition Somali National Movement (SNM), eventually becoming its leader.

Following Somaliland’s declaration of independence in 1991, Mohamoud held various senior ministerial positions until 2001 when he resigned from the government of the late President Muhammad Ibrahim Egal and formed his party Kulmiye in 2002.

He contested the 2003 presidential elections but lost by only 80 votes to Dahir Riyale Kalin, who won around 33 percent of the last ballot.

Speaking to IRIN a few days before the election, Mohamoud Siilanyo said that first of all, he would constitute a lean government with limited ministerial posts to achieve effectiveness.

Secondly, he will abolish emergency laws, which are unconstitutional and which have sent so many people to prison. I will release all prisoners not sentenced by a court of law, except those accused of terrorism and theft.

According to a July 2009 report by Human Rights Watch, the unconstitutional “security committees regularly sentence defendants en masse on the basis of little or no evidence after truncated hearings in which the accused are given no right to speak.

Apart from promising to solve the problem of the of Sool and Sanag East regions at the centre of disputes between Somaliland and Puntland, the President elect promised to set up an anti-corruption commission.

Experts say the highly democratic elections in Somaliland have greatly strengthened evidence for international recognition of the semi-autonomous state as an independent country.


New Somaliland president: ‘The victorious is democracy’

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress-2 July 2010) — The newly elected president, Mr. Ahmed Mohammed Mohamoud has issued a press release thanking all his supporters and friends.

“I want to congratulate all the Somaliland people for the orderly way which our election has concluded that took place on June 26,2010? he said.

The president-elect also sent a message of congratulations to the National Electoral Commission for fulfilling their duty and over coming all obstacles to make the historical vote possible in such a short time.

In his message Mr. Mohammed expressed his deep satisfaction of the long-standing relations of friendship and fruitful cooperation between Somaliland and Ethiopia. He said Ethiopia is an important ally for Somaliland and specially thanked them for mediating between Somaliland parties during elections delays in 2009. While reaffirming his commitment to strengthen the relations for the good of the two friendly nations, he said: “We are people who return favors,” referring to Ethiopia resolving the 2009-election disputes in the country and during late 1980s when Ethiopia hosted thousands of Somaliland refugees.

The president-elect also thanked EU nations and the United States for their support. He expressed his appreciation for the Republic of Djibouti.

Mr Mohammed expressed his gratitude to the two other political parties; the out-going UDUB party and the second opposition UCID. “I want to thank UDUB and UCID directly and their supporters. I will assure you they will receive total respect and rights in their country. I will be extending them an invitation for consultation,” he said.

The newly democratically elected president finally thanked his supporters and the Somaliland public.

He highlighted that hard work lies ahead. “Remember we will not take our shoes of until all promises we made to our country are fulfilled.”

The out-going President, Mr. Dahir Riyale Kahin also congratulated Mr Mohammed while the second opposition leader, Faisal Ali Warabe has reportedly congratulated the new president at least twice in the past 24 hours. Mr Riyale promised to step down and hand over the responsibilities.

Mr Mohammed hailed his Kulmiy Party victory as great day for democracy. “The victorious is democracy which is the only path for freedom and prosperity,” he said.

Meanwhile members of Somalia’s transitional government led by Minister for Employment, Mr. Mohammed Abdi Hayir held a press conference in Mogadishu praising the elections in Somaliland. They congratulated the people of Somaliland and the new president but urged “to maintain their peace and stability”.

The state-owned television, National Television, also for the first time in it’s history has televised a balanced analysis of the election and referred to the new president as “President” and Mr Riyale as the “former president”. This was major move by the television, just few days ago it was accused of broadcasting only UDUB campaigns.

Mr Mohammed received 49.6 percent of the vote while the outgoing president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, managed 33.2 percent and second opposition party UCID led by Faisal Ali Warabe received 17.2 percent.

Before the NEC announced the final count on Thursday evening, members of the national defense were dispatched to the private home of Mr. Mohammed where they inspected all visitors. It is believed, the NEC informed the leader of Somaliland’s armed forces, Col. Nuh Osman Tani about the results and asked him to provide security for the new president. The army sealed of all roads.

The Supreme Court will endorse the new president in the coming fortnight and Mr Riyale is expected to hand over the presidency within 30 days.


New Somaliland President Sets Sights on Corruption

July 2, 2010. Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)

HARGEISA, Jul 2 (IRIN) - Opposition leader Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud “Siilanyo” of the Peace, Unity and Development Party (Kulmiye), has been elected president of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, after he won just under 50 percent of votes cast on 26 June, in the first democratic handover in the Horn of Africa. He will be inaugurated next month.

Initially a senior minister in former Somalia President Siyad Barre's government in the 1980s, Mohamoud quit to join the then armed opposition Somali National Movement (SNM), eventually becoming its leader. After Somaliland's declaration of independence in 1991, Mohamoud held various senior ministerial positions until 2001 when he resigned from the government of the late President Muhammad Ibrahim Egal.

Mohamoud formed Kulmiye in 2002 and contested the 2003 presidential elections but lost by only 80 votes to Dahir Riyale Kalin, who won around 33 percent of the last ballot.

He spoke to IRIN a few days before the election, when he said he was “very optimistic” of victory.

Q: What is your priority should you win?

A: Well, in our programme, there are a large number of issues we need to handle but I would say, first of all, we would put together a lean government with limited ministerial posts, which will also be very effective, I hope. Secondly, I will abolish emergency laws, which are unconstitutional and which have sent so many people to prison. I will release all prisoners not sentenced by a court of law, except those accused of terrorism and theft.

[According to a July 2009 report by Human Rights Watch, a key component of the criminal justice system consists of unconstitutional “security committees [which] sentence and imprison Somalilanders, including people accused of common crimes and juveniles, without any pretence of due process. They regularly sentence defendants en masse on the basis of little or no evidence after truncated hearings in which the accused are given no right to speak."]

My cabinet will be much smaller than the current one. We will also make sure that the judiciary is independent. We will also deal with the problems in Sool and Sanag East [disputed territory regions] to create peace and stability. We also aim to boost our relations with neighbouring countries to strengthen the fight against terrorism and piracy.

Q: What are you going to do about corruption in Somaliland?

A: That is one of our highest priorities; it is one of the main problems in this country. We will fight corruption and will deal with corrupt people and show them no mercy whatsoever. We will reform the judicial system and will introduce measures to punish corrupt people in an appropriate manner. We will set up an anti-corruption commission. Q: Somalia has been in crisis for more than two decades now. Do you have any ideas or suggestions how this crisis could be resolved?

A: Well, in terms of Somalia, first of all, we wish our brothers [in south-central Somalia] every success in achieving peace and stability because that affects us as well. We are saddened by what is happening to the people of Somalia. We have thousands of refugees here. We are going to give full support to the position of the international community to bring peace back to Somalia. We are going to support the position taken by the UN and other international organizations to restore stability and peace to Somalia. We are going to be part of the world and we are going to play a very [key] role, I hope. We will definitely study which way we can help directly, without comprising our independence.

Q: There are thousands of people from south-central Somalia, displaced by the conflict there, who have sought refuge in Somaliland. Should you win, do you have a programme for them?

A: These people, who are refugees from Somalia [and] whom the international community regards as internally displaced, have been warmly welcomed here. They are our brothers and sisters. There is a very large number of people from Somalia in Somaliland at present and many of them are not in camps. They are with us; they are part of the population and they will continue to be our guests and we will ask the international community to do whatever they can for them. Also, we are going to ensure their safety. Their presence will be one of the major issues we will deal with, Inshallah [God-willing].

Q: The number of youth leaving Somaliland to seek opportunities elsewhere, often undertaking dangerous boat journeys, is increasing. Would your government have a specific programme for them?

A: It is a major problem facing the country... In our programme we have very clearly stated that we are going to create all the incentives possible to discourage young people from throwing themselves in the sea and going abroad. We are going to create a normal life for them in their own country, by creating jobs for them, facilitate education for them and encourage them to stay in the country and believe in their own country and its stability. We will encourage investment in the country to create more employment and also create confidence in the country and its youth.


Somaliland: A New President

02 July 2010.BBC.com

The opposition Candidate, Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo, is declared Winner of Somaliland's Presidential Elections.

Outgoing President Dahir Riyale Kahin had promised to accept defeat.

He obtained 33% of the vote, compared to 50% for Mr Silanyo.

Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 but its independence has not been recognised internationally.

It has been far more stable than southern Somalia.

Observers have praised the conduct of the poll and election chief Essa Yusuf Mohammed said he hoped this would help the country's bid for recognition.

"This is an important election for the people of Somaliland. It is also one more step toward the democratisation of the country," he said.

Faisal Ali Warabe came third with about 17% of the votes.

The poll was peaceful despite threats by Somali Islamist groups to disrupt it.

Al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaeda and rules much of the southern Somalia, had described democratic elections as "the devil's principles".

Voting did not take place in some areas of Sool and Sanaag, disputed regions claimed by the neighbouring semi-autonomous Somali state of Puntland.


Ethiopia calls on Somaliland parties to accept provisional election results

APA-Addis Ababa (Ethiopia-2010-07-02) Ethiopia on Friday called political parties in Somaliland to accept the provisional results of the 26 June poll in that country where the opposition leader was declared as the winner.

According to the provisional results released by the electoral commission of Somaliland, opposition leader Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo won 49.6 percent of the vote, while current President Dahir Riyale Kahin won 33.2 percent and Faisal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Welfare Party won 17.2 percent.

“The people of Somaliland have once again demonstrated their sense of responsibility and commitment to maintaining the peace and stability of the country as well as its on going democratization process,” said a statement issued here by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ethiopia has political and economic ties with Somaliland since its self-declared independence in 1991.

“We encourage all concerned to respect the provisional results announced by the electoral commission, and if there are complaints, the proper legal procedures need to be followed,” said the statement.

“The Somaliland political parties have also remained true to this high standard of citizenship demonstrated by their people. It does not matter who has prevailed in the election, the winners are the people of Somaliland and they need to be congratulated,” the statement adds.

Ethiopia also pays tribute to the leaders of all political parties in Somaliland, in particular to President Dahir Rayale, for his high sense of obligation to the people of Somaliland and to the leader of the winning party, Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo for his magnanimity and for his commitment to build on what has been achieved in Somaliland over the years.

No country has so far recognized Somaliland as an independent nation, which is relatively more peaceful compared to neighbouring Somalia.


New Somaliland leader to fight for international recognition

(AFP) – July 2, 2010

HARGEISA, Somalia — The newly-elected president of Somaliland, Ahmed Mohamud Silaanyo, vowed Friday to campaign "vigorously" for international recognition of his breakaway republic in the Horn of Africa.

"During my tenure as president I will vigorously fight for the recognition of Somaliland. The world must recognise our democracy," Silaanyo told AFP a day after the announcement of his election victory.

"The first part of recognition of our independence is acquired as our people recognise themselves as a free country. What we are seeking is recognition by the outside world," he said in an interview.

Silaanyo, a member of the dominant Issak clan, studied economics in Britain and served in the government of former Somali president Mohamed Siad Barre.

A former British colony tacked on to Somalia when the latter gained independence from Italy in 1960, Somaliland has remained reasonably stable, spared the clan warfare that has dogged Somalia thanks to the domination of the Issaks.

It broke away from Somalia in 1991, after the overthrow of Siad Barre plunged the country into chaos and anarchy.

An official of the hardline Shebab militia that controls much of southern Somalia said: "The election is a sham and a dictation of anti-Islamic forces."

"Silaanyo must denounce secession and implement Sharia (Islamic law). As far as the Shebab are concerned... Somalia is united and we won't succumb to division," said the official who did not want to be named.

Silaanyo, elected for a five-year term, said his government will "concentrate on development and rehabilitation of public services".

He expressed gratitude to outgoing president Dahir Riyale Kahin, from the Gaddabursi clan, "for his services to the nation, including the holding of democratic elections".

On Friday evening Kahin accepted defeat gracefully.

"This was a friendly match and at the end somebody had to emerge as a winner. I congratulate President Ahmed Mohamud Silaanyo and his Kulmiye party for winning the presidential election," Kahin told journalists.

"I will remain in the country as an opposition leader and I will hand over my responsibilities immediately, in accordance with the law," he said, adding that as "the founder of democratic pillars in Somaliland" he did not want to undermine that achievement.

Silaanyo said he would maintain close links with Ethiopia and called on Somalia to sort out its problems.

"Our neighbour Somalia needs peace more than anyone and it is the Somalis themselves who can achieve that. We are praying for peace in their country," he said.

"The Ethiopians are our neighbours. They have always been friends of Somaliland," said Silaanyo, who takes over from his predecessor who came to power in 2002.

Silaanyo's election marks the second democratic transfer of power in Somaliland since 1991.


Observers welcome provisional Somaliland poll results

By agency reporter, 1 Jul 2010

Three organisations involved in the observation process for long-awaited elections in Somaliland have welcomed the announcement of provisional results in the presidential poll, held on 26 June 2010.

The Somaliland National Electorial Commission’s (NEC) findings – which are not yet final – indicate that Mr Ahmed Silanyo of the Kulmiye party has won the election, defeating the incumbent, President Dahir Riyale Kahin of the UDUB party and Mr Faisal Ali Waarabe of the UCID party.

The UK-based organisations (international development organisation, Progressio, the Development Planning Unit at University College London and Somaliland Focus) were invited by the NEC in January 2009 to act as coordinators of the international observation mission for the election in the internationally-unrecognised republic.

In a statement issued on 1 July 2010, they declared: "The mission congratulates Mr Ahmed Silanyo and the Kulmiye party and extends its best wishes to President Riyale for his many years of service to Somaliland, and for the dignity and leadership he has shown during his years in office. In particular, the mission commends his statesmanship over the past 24 hours. Congratulations are also due to Mr Faisal, and indeed to all the candidates, for their adherence to the democratic process in Somaliland.

"Despite the many delays in the run-up to the election, the mission would like to point out that the days prior to polling day – and polling day itself – were notable for their spirit of peacefulness and goodwill. The election observation mission hopes that the same spirit will prevail in the days leading up to the confirmation of the final result and beyond. It is hoped, too, that Somaliland’s political leaders, and their supporters, accept the final results, as they have pledged to do.

"The observation mission believes any other course of action would be detrimental to the welfare of Somaliland’s people and the nation’s democratic future. The mission looks forward to being able to pass its final judgement on the Somaliland 2010 presidential election in its final election report."

Progressio is the former Catholic Institute for International Relations.

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/12529


Somaliland opposition head wins presidential poll

Thu Jul 1, 2010

* Opposition chief had been widely expected to win
* Incumbent manages only third of vote
* Supreme Court has to endorse results

By Hussein Ali Noor

HARGEISA, Somalia, July 1 (Reuters) - Opposition leader Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo has won presidential elections in the breakaway Somali enclave of Somaliland, as had been widely expected, electoral authorities said on Thursday.

The head of the opposition Tulmiye (Unity) party had 49.59 percent of all votes cast while President Dahir Rayale Kahin's party had 33.23 percent, the National Election Commission said.

The Justice and Welfare party was third with 17.18 percent of the vote and has conceded defeat.

There were 1.09 million registered voters in the region of 3.5 million people, and 538,000 valid votes were cast.

"This is an important election for the people of Somaliland. It is also one more step toward the democratisation of the country," Essa Yusuf Mohammed, NEC chairman, said in announcing the results.

"The election was free and fair as witnessed by the international observers and this is a step that will lead to the recognition of the country."

Somaliland, colonised by Britain while the rest of Somalia was under Italian administration, declared independence in 1991 as the remainder of the country disintegrated into anarchy.

Despite its relative stability and the establishment of democratic institutions, Somaliland has yet to be recognised internationally but hopes a smooth transition of power would help its international image. The Supreme Court must endorse the results within 15 days and the incumbent president hand over within 30 days.

Silanyo lost to Kahin by a 80 votes during the last poll in 2003. An election scheduled for 2008 had been postponed thrice because of agreements over the number of registered voters.

International observers said the election had been free and fair despite some irregularities, such as the ruling party using public funds, state media and vehicles for its campaign.

Four people were killed in skirmishes at several voting stations in disputed areas along the border with neighbouring Puntland, a semi-autonomous region of Somalia, on election on June 26.

Somaliland wants to extricate itself from the more violent south where at least 21,000 people have been killed in a raging insurgency against a weak Western-backed government since the begin of 2007.


Opposition candidate wins Somaliland election

By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN (AP) – July 1, 2010

HARGEISA, Somalia — An opposition candidate won the presidential vote held in the self-declared republic of Somaliland last weekend, election officials said Thursday.

Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo has said he hopes the presidential election will help win Somaliland international recognition. The National Electoral Commission of Somaliland declared Silanyo the winner with 49.6 percent of the vote.

The region's outgoing president, Dahir Riyale Kahin, came in second out of three candidates. Kahin said he would honor a pre-vote pledge to accept the results even if he lost.

Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 and has been a haven of relative peace in northwest Somalia as southern Somalia has degenerated into chaos and anarchy. The region has its own security and police forces, justice system and currency, but is not recognized by any other state.

Echoing the three candidates, residents in Somaliland also said they hoped the vote would win more respect for the region and maintain the peace that has eluded southern Somalia since the 1991 ouster of longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre by warlords.

Somaliland's second presidential election was frequently delayed. It was first scheduled for 2008, and then for 2009 before taking place on Saturday.

A voting-day skirmish killed four people in a contested area of Somaliland but the vote was otherwise peaceful. A militia from the neighboring Puntland region tried to raid a polling station in an area claimed by Somaliland and Puntland.

The International Republican Institute, a U.S. observer group, said it found few voting irregularities in the region.


Opposition leader elected Somaliland president

(AFP) – July 1, 2010

HARGEISA — An opposition leader has been elected president of Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland in weekend polls held in defiance of Islamist threats, the region's electoral panel said Thursday.

Ahmed Mohamud Silaanyo, who heads the Kulmiye party, won nearly 50 percent of the votes cast in Saturday's polls, defeating president Dahir Riyale Kahin who garnered around 33 percent of the vote.

"Kulmiye opposition leader, Ahmed Mohamud Silaanyo, won 49.94 of the votes in Somaliland presidential election, therefore he is the president," the National Election Commission chairman Issa Mohamud said.

Silaanyo's party also holds a parliamentary majority following recent legislative elections.

Earlier Thursday, Kahin said he would step down and hand over power peacefully if he was defeated.

"If I lose the election I will hand over responsibility in a very... democratic way," Kahin told reporters.

The elections were conducted peacefully without violence or instances of suspected fraud, winning praise from observers.

Somaliland's borders were closed during the vote and large security contingents deployed amid fears of attacks by the Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab operating in neighbouring Somalia.

Somaliland seceded from the rest of Somalia in 1991 four months after the overthrow of president Mohamed Siad Barre and has been striving to gain international recognition.

Voters in the northern Somalia region saw the elections as a fresh opportunity to demonstrate their aspiring state's democratic credentials.

The region 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.


Somalia: Kulmiye wins Somaliland elections

July, 01 2010.http://www.sunatimes.com/view.php?id=203

Kulmiye party is confirmed to have won in the presidential elections.

HARGEYSA (Sunatimes) An introductory result about the presidential elections in the breakaway republic of Somaliland which Sunatimes received from the electoral commission says that opposition party of Kulmiye currently exceeds in the elections.

According to counting votes in the ballot stations, Kulmiye won 266,906 votes making 49.59% as the ruling part of Udub receives 178,081 votes worth with 33.32% while Ucid got 92,459 votes which make 17.18%.

Some reports say the owner of Dahabshil money Transfer Company Mohamed Saed Duale offered two million dollars to Kulmiye as Duale is the same clan with Kulmiye leader Ahmed Silanyo.

The victory of Kulmiye for the elections in the unrecognized republic of Somaliland will throw suspicion into the reliance by the neighboring countries like Ethiopia and Djibouti towards defending the regional security.

Some political analysts believe that Kulmiye party has in connection with the Al-Shabaab militant group in the southern Somalia.

The outgoing government led by President Dahir Riyale paid its strength in to the intelligence service for the national security arresting key members of Al-Shabaab.


Somaliland leader says will step down if loses polls

(AFP) – July 1, 2010

HARGEISA — The president of Somalia's self-declared Somaliland state said Thursday he would step down if he was defeated in presidential polls held at the weekend.

Dahir Riyale Kahin had faced strong challenges from two opposition candidates in Saturday's elections in the northern breakaway region striving for international recognition.

"If I lose the election I will hand over responsibility in a very... democratic way," Kahin told reporters.

The elections were conducted peacefully without violence or instances of suspected fraud.

Somaliland seceded from the rest of Somalia in 1991 four months after the overthrow of president Mohamed Siad Barre.


Former British officer votes in Somaliland election

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress-1 July 2010) — On Saturday, June 26th, more than a million Somalilanders including a former British officer queued for hours to cast their historical vote on the historical day.

People either camped over night or rocked to the polling sight as early as 3a.m. amid fears of Al Shabab threats. Most people wanted to be first on the queue and get out as quick as possible before al Shabab militants hid among the large crowds.

Among those people queuing up were former World War II British army officer and author, John Drysdale, who arrived in Somaliland in 1943 in his teen. He served along side Somaliland soldiers during WWII in Burma and Singapore. He returned back to Africa after the defeat of the Nazi regime in Germany and Japan to serve in the British Colonial Service and the Foreign Service where he carried out assignments in Ghana (then the Gold Coast) and in Mogadishu (now under British control with the defeat of Italy).

He became an advisor to three Somali Prime Ministers in post independence Somalia and to three successive UN special envoys to Somalia during the 1992-1993.

Mr Drysdale is regarded as an expert on Somalis including the Somali literature, history, culture and the people. He is an accomplished speaker of Somali.

His work on Somalia which includes The Somali Dispute (1964), Somali The Peninsula and Whatever Happened to Somalia (1994) has became a standard reference works on the Somali people and their politics.

During his long career as diplomat, businessman, and publisher, Drysdale has been a prolific writer and analyst of political events in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Mr Drysdale founded and edited the Africa Research Bulletin in Britain and the Asia Research Bulletin in Singapore in collaboration with the Straits Times Group.

He also founded the Asean Economic Quarterly in Singapore. His book Singapore: Struggle for Success is a recommended reading for all young Singaporeans. Returning to Somaliland in mid 1990s, Mr Drysdale worked as an advisor to the Somaliland government under the late President Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal for sometime before setting up his own land survey NGO, Cadastral Surveys. Cadastral Surveys has been surveying and mapping hitherto non-existent farm boundaries in the Gabiley and Dilla districts of south-west Somaliland.

In 2009, Mr Drysdale wore a special Islamic hat to pledge allegiance to the holy Qur’an in a ceremony held in Hargeisa’s main Mosque and changed his name completely to Abbas Idris (Enoch). He took Somaliland citizenship a short time later.

This year he made history by becoming the first British born to vote in Somaliland election which fell on the exact day when Somaliland gained it’s independence from Great Britain 50 years ago.

Mr Dyrsdale/Idris said he was happy to be part of Somaliland’s election. “Today I am here to be part of Somaliland’s democracy and to cast my vote freely. I am extremely happy to see so many of the public who came out to vote. This marks a turning point for Somaliland in the sense that it could make a great progress in the right direction. As a result, I have voted since I’m a citizen,” he told Haatuf newspaper while casting his vote in Hargeisa.

Mr Drysdale maintains strong contact with his family and friends back in UK and Singapore but is at peace with himself in Somaliland and might be his final home.

More than a million voted on Saturday’s historical vote and the National Electoral Commission is expected to announce the final result on Saturday.


Tension said high in Somaliland over "leaked" election results

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jul 1, 2010.AllPuntland.com website in Somali 30 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Reports reaching us from Hargeysa, the capital of Somaliland administration say tension is high in the town this morning after preliminary reports emerged on the vote counting, which is has been ongoing in the last three days.

The situation in Hargeysa has dramatically changed after some electoral commissioners secretly revealed that the leader of the Kulmiye party, Ahmad Muhammad Mahmud alias Silanyo, is leading in the votes by more than 82,000 to his next contender, the current President, Dahir Riyale Kahin.

These reports have affected the situation in Hargeysa and reports indicate that hundreds of Somaliland forces have been deployed to ensure security. Armoured vehicles and police with motor bikes have been deployed at the residence of the Kulmiye's presidential candidate in Hargeysa.

Somaliland forces have also arrested some electoral commission staff and politicians, who are said to have violated rules governing the polls.

Somaliland residents took part in free and fair elections and there are reports indicating the leader of Kulmiye party, Ahmad Muhammad Mahmud alias Silanyo, might have won the elections.


Somaliland's elections: Not so failing

A long-delayed presidential poll in a country that does not officially exist

Jul 1st 2010 | HARGEISA

SINCE 1991 Somalia has routinely been labelled “the world’s most failed state”. Yet its north-west bit, Somaliland, once a British protectorate that merged with Italian Somalia to form unified Somalia in 1960, actually feels like a proper country. Although poor and underdeveloped, it is free of the south’s scourges, such as piracy, warring militias and Islamist extremism. The streets of Hargeisa, the dusty and tumbledown capital, hum with construction work and mobile-phone chatter.

Somaliland is pushing for international recognition and has been building a democratic state. In 2003 it held a presidential election, then a parliamentary one in 2005. On June 26th the 50th anniversary of the end of the British protectorate, a second presidential poll took place, marked with enthusiasm and little violence by its 1.07m registered voters (from a population of around 2.5m). It is hard to imagine that happening in Somalia.

Not everything is rosy. The poll was originally scheduled for early 2008, but a dispute over voter registration saw it repeatedly delayed, before political parties grudgingly forged an agreement last September. There were a series of suicide attacks in Hargeisa in October 2008, including on the presidential compound, which killed 29 people. These sharpened fears that al-Shabab, south Somalia’s Islamic militia, no fan of the idea of a democratic secessionist state, could kill Somaliland’s democratic dream. In early June Somaliland’s police foiled a similar plot in Burco, the region’s second city.

Aug 5th 1999In the event, despite an election-eve warning by al-Shabab, the poll went ahead smoothly in most of the country. International election observers reported, with some qualifications, a well-organised and fair vote. There was, for example, the reported distribution of false voter ID cards and widespread underage voting around the town of Borama near the Ethiopian border, home territory of President Dahir Riyale Kahin. There were problems in the regions of Sool and eastern Sanaag, where some clan leaders are unenthusiastic about Somaliland and where Puntland, another part of Somalia that asserts its autonomy, lays claim to territory.

The final result may be delayed by an investigation of these difficulties. However, early indications were that Mr Kahin, who became president in 2002 when his predecessor died and who once served in the regime of Siad Barre, Somalia’s last military dictator, had lost to Ahmed Silanyo. Mr Silanyo, an ageing scion of the Somali National Movement, which fought the Barre regime, lost the 2003 vote to Mr Kahin by 80 votes amid suspicions of electoral fraud.

Whoever wins will have his work cut out if he wants to raise people’s standard of living. Somaliland’s economy relies heavily on selling livestock to the Middle East and on remittances from the huge diaspora in Europe, America and the Gulf states. Import tariffs account for most government revenue, and subsistence and small trading—or migration—are the only options for many Somalilanders.

Recognition, yearned for by virtually all Somalilanders, could help, as it would give the country access to multilateral assistance and encourage foreign investment. But some leading African Union members are fearful of encouraging secessionist sentiment across the continent. And the United Nations insists on African leadership. There are signs that America, fearful of growing al-Qaeda influence in Somalia, could become more willing to deal with Somaliland—and in March a report from the Council on Foreign Relations, a think-tank, called for an increase in donor assistance. But this is unlikely to mean recognition either.

http://www.economist.com/node/16488840?story_id=16488840&fsrc=rss


SOMALIALND: SONSAF post-election press release

June 29, 2010.http://somalilandpress.com

Somaliland Non-State Actors Forum (SONSAF), who deployed the Somaliland-wide non-partisan election observers reports that the 26 June 2010 Presidential election took place in a general peaceful and transparent environment. SONSAF observers believe that the election was fair, free and credible ensuring the respect of the will of the people of Somaliland.

SONSAF conducted the only coordinated Somaliland-wide non-partisan election observation effort for the 26 June 2010 Presidential election. SONSAF continues to consolidate observation reports from over 700 observers trained and accredited who were deployed to over 900 polling stations across the six regions of Somaliland on Election Day. Over 40% of the observers were women. SONSAF used a standardized observation forms identifying key features and procedures of the poll including opening, polling and closing and counting phases.

Observers remained in the polling stations throughout the day with the option to cover up to three polling stations located within the same vicinity. They reported to an established hierarchical communication chain (e.g.: observers to trainers and the later to the regional coordinators) under the overall coordination of the SONSAF Secretariat. The regional capitals are now acting as data collection centres and the SONSAF Secretariat in Hargeisa as the nation-wide data centre and analysis centre where the reports will be verified for quality and analyzed impartially according to standards for non-partisan election observation.

SONSAF expresses its most sincere gratitude and appreciation to all the volunteers who dedicated their time to improving the transparency of the election process. SONSAF would like also to extend it thanks to the election officials in the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and election stakeholders for their cooperation during this observation journey.

With the exception of isolated acts, SONSAF noted the Election Day process proceeded very peacefully and without any sign of intimidation. It was heartened by a high turnout of voter, included women although in one region the turn out appears to be lower. SONSAF deeply regrets the isolated act of violence namely Kalabayd causing the lost of one NEC official and one member of the security forces.

Overall, the NEC administrated the elections in a competent and professional manner, overcoming significant technical and logistical challenges although the NEC admitted that 34 polling stations could not open due to the lack of secure environments. Party agents were present in the majority of observed poling stations.

The general political environment over Somaliland has been relatively calm on Election Day. Similarly, the election campaign was essentially peaceful and conducted with a fair respect of the Code of Conduct signed by the three political parties, although the Election Monitoring Committee reported some contained cases of violations of this code: misuse of public property by political parties, the involvement of civil servants in the campaign.

The newly voter registration law and the reformed electoral law provided an adequate basis and significant improvements from the past elections for the conduct of a genuine Presidential election conforms to globally accepted standards on democratic multiparty politics. The introduction of a new voter registration system establishing a nation-wide voters list and a biometric ID/voter cards for eligible citizens of Somaliland, despite some difficulties including cases of under-age voter registrations, represented a major milestone in the Presidential election in terms of legal, operational and financial challenges.

SONSAF team

The provision of a permanent independent national electoral commission institutionalizing knowledge and seeking comparative lessons together with the creation of national policies and standards on electoral conflict management (i.e.: Electoral Monitoring Committee, Mediation Panel, Media Monitoring Group) and the new format of the Code of Conduct for the political parties and the media marked significant improvements in the electoral legal framework of Somaliland.

As for the past elections, SONSAF notes that the implementation of the Election Monitoring Committee clearly demonstrated that the use of public property by political parties and the role of the civil servants for campaigning need to be better respected by the political parties.

Generally, the media ensured a neutral coverage of the main political campaign events. However, during the first two weeks, the Media Monitoring Group and the Electoral Monitoring Committee reported that the Somaliland National Television (SLNTV) did not respect the code of conduct requesting the NEC to take disciplinary action as foreseen in the Code of Conduct.

On the day of the election, SONSAF observers reported that voters were free to express their will through secret ballot. Delivery of electoral materials had been well conducted, enabling a timely opening in the vast majority of the cases observed. During the early phase of the day, relatively large numbers of people turned out and there were long, orderly queues in many places. Polling stations were generally well organized, carefully and properly managed, staffed with the authorised NEC officials, secured (outside of the stations) by two police officers and manned by the three respective political party agents.

There were however problems in some areas such as: the identification of the exact polling station where a voter had to queue in the early hours of the polls observed in large polling centres in the urban areas and the dispute over some ballot boxes in Eastern Sanaag region. SONSAF observers reported that polling stations closed on time, with people waiting to vote being allowed to do so and that the count of ballots was rigorous.

SONSAF welcomes the changes that have been brought in the role of the political parties in the administration of the elections. Their presence in each polling station was generally effective. Observers reported that the count at the polling station followed the procedures although lengthy. The ability of the political party agents to receive a certified copy of the results at the polling station helped to provide transparency and accountability for this crucial aspect of the process and greater confidence in the outcome.

Overall, women remain under-represented in the electoral authorities, although their participation among polling station staff was higher than at other level of electoral stakeholders. SONSAF is pleased to have selected an estimated 40% women among his observers.

SONSAF remains committed to ensure that complaints filled by the political party agents will be dealt with fairly and openly and that any anomalous individual polling station results are looked into. SONSAF is cognisant that the tabulation process is still on going and a vital element of the process. SONSAF will publish a final detailed report of conclusions and recommendations at a later stage.

SONSAF requests all election stakeholders to learn from this election and apply those lessons to capitalize from this extended long electoral cycle to facilitating the improvement in most phases of future electoral processes, including the foreseeing local elections.

SONSAF was launched in August 2008 and is composed of Somaliland civil society, private sector and professional and academic institutions. Following its interest in organizing and mobilizing domestic election observers for the 2010 Presidential election, the European Commission and the Saferworld UK-Nairobi agreed to provide financial and technical support to SONSAF.

In May 2010, SONSAF signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Electoral Commission (NEC) paving the framework for the coordination between the two institutions during the development of the domestic election observation activities of the Presidential election.

By Ahmed Mohamed Shaqalle, SomalilandInfo News Desk, Hargeisa Somaliland, Source: Somaliland Info |


SOMALIA: How a "life-long madness" built Somaliland’s first teaching hospital

Edna Adan Ismail, founder and director of the Edna Adan University Hospital

HARGEISA, 30 June 2010 (IRIN) - Edna Adan Ismail became interested in health in the 1950s, seeing her doctor father struggle to treat the sick in the then British protectorate of Somaliland. She later became the first Somali woman to be appointed to an international civil service position in 1965 when she joined the UN World Health Organization (WHO) as a nurse-educator based in Libya.

Her life-long passion for medicine culminated in the Edna Adan Hospital, the only teaching and referral hospital in Hargeisa, capital of the self-declared republic of Somaliland.

"I built this hospital because I have wanted to build a hospital since I was 11 years old; this has been a life-long madness," Ismail told IRIN in Hargeisa.

"I wanted to build a hospital because my father, Adan Ismail, better known as Adan Dhakhtar [Adan the doctor] was known as the father of healthcare and was the most senior Somali health professional in his time, and as a young girl I always heard my father wishing for a good health facility," she said.

In 1986, Ismail started building a hospital in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, but war broke out before its completion and the structure was later destroyed.

She worked with WHO for 32 years and upon retirement, she went home to Somaliland in 1997 and in 1998 laid the foundation stone for Edna Adan Hospital. It officially opened on 9 March 2002.

Intended as a maternity hospital, other patients "who were not women and not pregnant" but needed medical attention arrived at its doors within hours of opening, persuading Ismail to make it a general health facility.

In May 2010 alone, the hospital treated 34 fistula patients from across the Horn of Africa.

"I am grateful as a woman and human being to be able to help women like them; people think I have given something but they don’t know how much I am getting," Ismail said. "There is no bank in the world big enough to hold what I get from the satisfaction of seeing a woman who was leaking urine for 30 years leave the hospital and go home dry."

However, Ismail has to deal with the challenges of running a hospital on a shoestring. "Only last month [May], we were US$11,000 in the red," she said.

Even though the hospital charges nominal fees that are lower than other hospitals, Ismail has to raise funds to keep it going. She has built shops and a conference facility to generate income for the hospital.

She said many business people in Hargeisa and foreign charities have been helping to keep the hospital going. She also raises funds in the diaspora, mainly in the west, and there are in-kind contributions too. "Some universities donate books,” she said.

International accolades

Ismail's work has won her numerous awards, but she is still looking to do more for her community.

In February, French President Nicolas Sarkozy awarded Ismail the Legion of Honour, the highest France can bestow, and normally presented only to French nationals. She received the award in Hargeisa on 17 April 2010.

South Africa's Pretoria University has also given Ismail its Human Rights award.

"I am grateful that I have earned honour instead of disgrace but I receive these honours with a lot of humility, because there are many people around the world doing many wonderful things," she said.

Job satisfaction

Ismail hopes that the awards and honours she has received will encourage future generations and give them the confidence that they too can make a difference.

Mohamed Osman, deputy director of the hospital, said: "She [Ismail] gets immense satisfaction from the work she does and will continue to do, particularly for those who cannot afford healthcare and come here. She is not easily discouraged and is a very determined woman."

Osman said if Ismail had not built the hospital, "Hargeisa would not be what it is today. Many of those we care for would have had nowhere to go."

The hospital is also training the next generation of medics including nurses, midwives, laboratory technicians and pharmacists.

Hargeisa residents say Ismail is a great resource and an example of what people can do for their community "if they put their minds to it".


To beat piracy on the high seas, the EU and India should recognise Somaliland

By Monty Munford, June 30th, 2010.http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/

Last week the EU’s Head of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, arrived in India to ask for Delhi’s help in the fight against Somali piracy. While the visit was ostensibly to bolster ties between the EU and India – two “key strategic powers” – it was also a desperate attempt to cajole India’s growing naval power into protecting important shipping lanes in the Indian ocean.

Somali pirates are now operating far from NATO, EU and other naval forces’ bases. India’s merchant navy has been frequently attacked delivering goods to the ports of Djibouti City and Somaliland’s Berbera – goods that are then transported all over Eastern Africa and up the Red Sea to the Suez canal.

Two years ago India belatedly sent a warship into the Gulf of Aden to protect its own shipping in response to angry protests from the families of 18 Indians who had been held prisoner for several months. The captives were finally freed, but the government’s much-criticised delay lead to a complete change of tack. A month later the Indian navy sank a suspected pirate vessel when its frigate came under attack in the Gulf of Aden.

This approach was widely praised by other countries that have been repeatedly held to ransom by Somali pirates since the country became a failed and ungovernable state in 1991 when, after years of civil war, neighbouring Somaliland unilaterally declared independence from Somalia and drew its borders along those previously marked by British Somaliland.

I am writing this piece in Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa, and from where I am sitting I can see a MIG bomber that was shot down during that war, which now serves as a monument and landmark (left). Locals have told me the Somali jets would take off from the airport and strafe the city only two kilometres away.

Somaliland is yet to be recognised internationally as a separate state, but since its quasi-independence it has been peaceful, has had a very free press and has fostered a thriving free market economy. Even this week’s presidential elections were widely regarded as free and fair.

So perhaps the Indian Government should be working with the EU on land as well as sea. India’s policy of simply blowing up these Somali pirates may be more effective than “monitoring” them, but perhaps recognising Somaliland would increase diplomatic pressure on Somalia.

The 11th EU-India summit will take place later this year. This may be a propitious time to bring up the subject of Somaliland and prevent the Horn of Africa sinking further into anarchy. Journalists and other influential figures here believe that Somaliland could solve the whole piracy problem with investment of a couple of million quid. Catherine Ashton please take note.


Somaliland Ruling Party Calls For Delay in Election Results

VOA News 30 June 2010. Photo: AP. A sample of a voting paper is displayed by the National Electoral Commission,in Hargeisa, Somaliland, 24 Jun 2010

The ruling party of Somaliland has asked electoral officials to delay announcing results of Saturday's presidential poll, saying there were "huge irregularities" in the vote.

Officials from the UDUB party warned Wednesday that if the election commission announces the results, it could lead to instability that could jeopardize Somaliland's security.

The breakaway republic held its first presidential poll in seven years Saturday, more than two years after the term of President Dahir Riyale Kahin expired.

The region's electoral commission has yet to release any results. The president's party says the results should be withheld until its complaints are investigated.

Earlier, the European Union called for the votes to be counted quickly, and urged all parties to accept the outcome.

Somaliland declared its independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991, but is not recognized by the international community.

Saturday's poll was a contest between President Riyale and two challengers, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo and Faisal Ali Warabe. Slightly more than 1 million Somaliland residents were eligible to vote.

International observers said the election was mostly free and fair but noted some irregularities, such as underage voting and active campaigning by government workers for President Riyale.

A militia killed four people at a polling station near the contested border between Somaliland and Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region.

http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Somaliland-Ruling-Party-Calls-For-Delay-in-Election-Results-97498439.html


Somaliland Arrests Editor over alleged “Serious Crimes”

30 June 2010

The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) expresses deep concern over the arrest of journalist Hadis Mohamed Hadis, editor of Baadiyenews.com, an independent news website published in Somaliland.

Uniformed officers of Somaliland's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested the journalist at Hadhwanaag Hotel in Hargeisa on Saturday evening, 26 June 2010. When asked the reason of the arrest, the CID officers only said that they are investigating serious crimes that they suspect Hadis Mohamed Hadis is involved in, without sufficient explanation of the “serious crimes”.

“Hadis Mohamed did not perpetrate crimes of a more serious nature that call for such arrest, which is beyond the pale. He was a victim for his journalistic work and we believe that he is once more victimized for his right to practice journalism without exploitation and suppression,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General.

Journalists present at the time of the arrest told NUSOJ that the officers also confiscated digital of the journalist and also impounded Hadis's car key. The journalist was transferred in the same night to Hargeisa central prison.

NUSOJ demands immediate release of Hadis Mohamed Hadis. “The Somaliland authorities must drop these undetermined and fabricated charges against the editor,” Omar Faruk added.

Source: The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)

http://pr-canada.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=221552&Itemid=58


EU Heads of Mission welcome the Presidential Elections held in Somaliland on 26 June 2010

Press Release. Local EU statement.Nairobi, 29 June 2010

The European Union Heads of Mission congratulate Somaliland for the peaceful Presidential Elections conducted on 26 June 2010.

We commend the National Electoral Commission (NEC) for the leadership shown in the preparation and conduct of the elections. Political parties and their candidates have shown maturity during the election campaign. We also recognize the valuable domestic and international support in promoting a democratic environment.

The European Union Heads of Mission call on the NEC and on all political actors involved in the elections to facilitate a swift and transparent ballot counting and look forward to the final results, which should be accepted by all parties.


UK - MFA - Henry Bellingham welcomes Somaliland's elections

June 29, 2010

Minister for Africa Henry Bellingham said 'the process has so far been peaceful, and an example of the restraint that has contributed to Somaliland's stability in recent years.'

Henry Bellingham, Minister for Africa, said:

'I welcome the important Presidential elections held in Somaliland on Saturday 26 June. The process has so far been peaceful, and an example of the restraint that has contributed to Somaliland's stability in recent years. I acknowledge the professional work done by the National Electoral Commission, and commend the parties for the peaceful campaigning that preceded election day. I urge all political parties to continue to respect the process and wait for the National Electoral Commission to announce the results. The UK looks forward to continuing to work closely with Somaliland, whichever party wins.'

http://www.isria.com/pages/29_June_2010_64.php


Observers commend Somaliland’s elections

29 June 2010 AfricaNews. AfricaNews Monitoring Team Credit:garoweonline

A group of international observers said the recent concluded presidential election in Somalia's separatist region of Somaliland was free and fair.

The group told reporters in Hargeisa that campaigns and polling were conducted in a peaceful and democratic manner dispute some irregularities such as misuse of public resources during the campaigns.

"Despite some irregularities, the election process was fair, free and expressed the will of the people. We are looking to a speedy and clear result that is accepted by all the parties," said British observer Conrad Heine.

On their part, U.S.-based group International Republican Institute (IRI) said the vote was peaceful, without major incident and generally met international standards.

"Election Day is only one part of a larger and longer four part process, which includes the pre-election environment, pre-election administration, Election Day voting, and vote counting and post-election adjudication resulting in acceptance of legitimate results," it said in a statement.

It noted that its observers have witnessed sporadic irregularities including "what were believed to be instances of voting by those younger than 16, the legal age of voting".

The group cautions the political parties and Somalilanders to wait for the final results to be released before conclusions are made regarding the election process.

Official results are not due for another week but Somaliland's National Election Commission (NEC) says a winner is expected to emerge with partial results over the next few days with votes counting almost finishing.

The incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin of UDUB party is facing a stiff opposition from Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo, the leader of Kulmiye party, which has the largest parliamentary seats and Faisal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Welfare party (UCID).

Instances of skirmishes were reported in the disputed northern Somali regions of Sool and Sanag during the elections. At least five people, mostly Somaliland election officials were killed in fighting between security guards and residents of disputed regions, which Puntland state and Somaliland both laid claim on them.

http://www.africanews.com/site/Observers_commend_Somalilands_elections/list_messages/33092


Somaliland: Head of Sahafi Newspaper Arrested in Somaliland

June, 29 2010 -

Mohamed Rashid Omar, who is the director of Hargeysa based Sahafi newspaper, was arrested after his newspaper provoked an order issued yesterday by the electoral commission of Somaliland

Hargeysa: Sunatimes: The director of Somaliland s Sahafi newspaper was arrested this morning by police officers after the paper published unofficial early results of the 26th June polls.

Mohamed Rashid Omar, who is the director of Hargeysa based Sahafi newspaper, was arrested after his newspaper provoked an order issued yesterday by the electoral commission of Somaliland, which banned media agencies from announcing early results that are unofficial.

The newspaper published the unconfirmed early results from voting that has already been counted by officials of the electoral commission at its headquarters in Hargeysa.

However, the electoral commission ordered the media agencies not to announce any unofficial results until vote counting was complete. The announcement was made as a security measure.

http://www.sunatimes.com/view.php?id=186


Electoral Comission warns Somaliland parties against premature claims of victory

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jun 29, 2010.Somali Puntlandpost website in Somali 29 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

The Electoral Commission in Somaliland has today held a news conference in Hargeysa and urged political parties that took part in the polls not to make any claims of victory before the Electoral Commission announces the outcome.

An Electoral Commission official has also warned supporters of the respective parties against holding premature celebrations to indicate that their party that has won the elections before the official results are announced.

"Opposition parties and UDUB [ruling party] should be careful and not claim victory in the elections. Counting of votes is still underway for some of the ballot boxes that were brought into Hargeysa," said the Electoral Commission who said they will announce the official results in the coming days.

There are reports indicating that the Kulmiye party is leading in the votes that have been so far counted although the UDUB party has also said it is leading.

The elections were peacefully concluded in most parts of Somaliland although there were few incidences in Sool and Togdheer Regions where a number of ballot boxes were seized.

Somaliland Administration has said it has breaking away from the rest of Somalia in 1992 and have since not gotten any recognition from the rest of the world. This is the first time the residents in the Region have had the opportunity to directly elect their leader.


Somaliland: Peaceful presidential election defies al-Shabab

28 June 2010 / by Konye Obaji Ori.http://www.afrik-news.com/article17872.html

Autonomous state of Somaliland held its presidential elections with thousands of people coming out to vote despite threats from Islamist rebels, al-Shabab. Many voters saw the election as a fresh opportunity to demonstrate their aspiring but unrecognised state’s democratic credentials.

Holding a nationalistic vision of a unified Somalia, Al-Shabab was expected to disrupt the electoral process in the sovereignty seeking region. Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 and is not recognized by Somalia nor the international community as an independent state.

Reports claimed that al-Shabab had warned voters to stay at home, leading many to suspect that they [al-Shabab] could try to interrupt the elections. Should this election go well, observers believe the case for an independent Somaliland, a largely peaceful region with an effective administration, would be strengthened.

The Islamist extremists group had issued an audio message last week describing democratic elections as the devil’s principles. AL-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, a native of Somaliland, warned the breakaway state’s population that they would "face the consequences" if they cast their ballot.

And although people of Somaliland expressed some fears International monitors say people defied warnings from the Islamist Al Shabaab group by casting ballots in a presidential poll they hope will bolster their aspirations for a separate, internationally recognized state. Dozens of international observers were in the region to watch the vote and reported no violence or fraud.

Security had been beefed up ahead of the vote: "All our country’s forces are locking the borders. Movements and transport inside Somaliland are also forbidden except for those authorised by the national election commission (NEC)," Police Chief Mohamed Saqadi Dubad was quoted.

Somalia’s western-backed President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed who congratulated the people of Somaliland for their peaceful election in a radio broadcast but urged them to "keep the unity of Somalia in mind", a move that highlights a similar vision with al-Shabab which believes that an independent Somaliland undermines a unified Somalia.


Somali Breakaway Region’s Vote Met Standards, Observers Say

June 28, 2010,Businessweek, By William Davison

(Bloomberg) -- Elections in Somaliland met international standards, said a foreign observer mission that monitored the vote in the breakaway region of northwestern Somalia.

The June 26 vote was “a free and fair expression of the popular will of the Somaliland people,” Steve Kibble, joint coordinator for the team led by Progressio, a London-based development agency, told reporters today in the capital, Hargeisa.

The election in one of the few peaceful and democratic territories in the Horn of Africa was delayed for two years because of wrangling over voter registration. President Dahir Riyale Kahin of the United Peoples’ Democratic Party faced challenges from Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo of the Kulmiye party and Faisal Ali Warabe from the Justice and Welfare Party.

Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991, after the fall of former dictator Mohammed Siad Barre. No sovereign state has recognized Somaliland as an independent nation.

The vote will help Somaliland “get international recognition and investment,” Richard Williamson, a former U.S. presidential envoy to Sudan and ambassador to the United Nations, said at the weekend.

Riyale became president of the former British colony in 1992 and won election to the post in 2003, after his party defeated the opposition Kulmiye party by 80 votes.

The June 26 vote was delayed until this month because of security concerns and registration problems. Preliminary results are expected later this week.


Somaliland poll 'free and fair'

28 Jun 2010

Men queued on June 25 to vote for their second president at a poll station in the self-proclaimed state of Somaliland.

The recent presidential election in the self-declared republic of Somaliland has been "free and fair," says a spokesman for a group of international observers.

The campaigns and polls held on Saturday were conducted in a peaceful and democratic manner, according to International Election Observer Michael Walls, the Associated Press reported.

Observers, however, noted limited irregularities, including the misuse of public resources during the campaigns as well as the lack of a balanced coverage by the media, Walls said.

The majority of polling stations were orderly and organized, said Richard Williamson, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, according to Bloomberg.

Voters in Somalia's northern breakaway region queued for hours on Saturday to vote for one of the three candidates vying to become its second president.

Incumbent Dahir Riyale Kahin is facing Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo and Feysal Ali Warabe.

With its own security and police forces, justice system and currency, Somaliland has proved to be a region of relative peace in Northwest Somalia.


Somaliland election free and fair: observers

(AFP) – June 28, 2010

HARGEYSA, Somalia — Observers said Monday the weekend presidential poll in the breakaway Somali republic of Somaliland was largely free and fair and turnout high despite threats from Islamists.

"Overall, the election seems to have met conditions for a free and fair expression of the popular will of Somalilanders," said Progressio, the University College of London's development planning unit, and Somaliland Focus (UK).

The observer bodies praised in a statement a high voter turnout on Saturday in many areas of Somaliland "despite threats from Islamist militant groups to disrupt the process, which thankfully came to nothing".

They also raised concerns, however, citing "reported misuse of public resources, including vehicles, the time of civil servants and national public media by the incumbent party".

They also noted "sustained attempts at underage voting and systematic distribution of voter ID cards by unauthorised agents", the statement said, adding officials from the electoral commission took steps to stop those abuses.

The observer mission said it "looks forward to a speedy and clear result in the election that is accepted by all parties".

"Notwithstanding the concerns outlined above, we express our confidence that the election process to date is likely to result in a free and fair expression of the popular will."

Electoral commission chief Isse Yusuf Mohamud said meanwhile there had not so far been any official complaint from any of the political parties.

"The counting process continues and results will be announced during the week," he said.

President Dahir Riyale Kahin ran against two opposition candidates: Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo, whose Kulmiye party is the largest parliamentary bloc, and Faisal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Welfare party.

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


Somaliland: Credible Democratic Presidential Elections Held

28 June 2010.http://www.unpo.org/content/view/11273/142/

The International Republican Institute, who deployed a Delegation to observe Saturday's Elections, awarded much credit to Somalilanders and the Institutions that managed the Elections.

Below is an article published by the SomalilandPress.com

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress) — IRI found that Somaliland’s election was peaceful, without major incident and generally met international standards. Hundreds of thousands of Somalilanders turned out to vote in their fourth election, and although wanting international recognition, did not wait to continue to build their nascent democracy. The international community should credit such democratic progress and the example it sets for others.

As stated previously, the June 26 election went smoothly; however, Election Day is only one part of a larger and longer four part process, which includes the pre-election environment, pre-election administration, Election Day voting, and vote counting and post-election adjudication resulting in acceptance of legitimate results. IRI cautions the political parties and Somalilanders to wait for the final results to be released before conclusions are made regarding the election process. Peace has been the hallmark of Somaliland for the past 20 years, a point IRI was reminded of by citizens, civil society, election officials and the presidential candidates prior to the election.

In casting their ballots during Saturday’s presidential election, Somalilanders showed their enthusiasm and support for democracy and their homeland. The pre-election environment and administration were generally conducive to a credible process. In taking their campaigns to every region of Somaliland, the candidates believed that they were able to get their message across to the population and in the independent media. IRI did, however, hear complaints regarding the use by the ruling party of state resources, such as state television and government vehicles.

Somaliland’s National Election Commission (NEC) deserves much credit. The establishment of a voter registry and cards in particular were a step forward for the election process. The set-up and mechanics for Election Day were also handled well. Polling site officials carried out their work in a conscientious manner. For the first-time ever worldwide, IRI witnessed a commendable, systematic effort to involve trained university students as election officials. IRI also was impressed by the presence of observers representing all three political parties at an overwhelming number of balloting sites. This is one of the most useful methods to deter fraud.

However, this well-run election was not without some difficulties. A significant number of polling sites did not post the needed alphabetical division of voter’s last names, which led to early confusion on where to cast votes. IRI also witnessed sporadic irregularities including what were believed to be instances of voting by those younger than 16, the legal age of voting. By the end of balloting, these problems had either been solved or had not reached a level sufficient to call into question the credibility of the process. As the vote count began, Somalilanders clearly felt a great pride for exercising their democratic rights, and much hope for the future. IRI hopes that as the counting and tabulation process continues the political parties, candidates and citizens are as respectful of the results as they were in 2003.

This election was originally to be held in 2008 and was repeatedly delayed. In any democracy, old or new, such delays undermine the political process and elicit distrust among the citizens. This was unfortunate since Somaliland held a constitutional referendum in 2001, and three elections (local, presidential and parliamentary) from 2002-2005; all were deemed acceptable. The last presidential election in 2003 was decided by a mere 80 votes and the defeated candidates accepted the result, and 2005 parliamentary elections resulted in an opposition-dominated legislature. Many other countries and politicians can learn from Somaliland’s example, but only if elections continue to be held regularly and in a timely fashion.

IRI’s 19-member delegation was co-led by IRI board members Richard S. Williamson, former United Nations Ambassador and Presidential Special Envoy for Sudan; and Constance Berry Newman, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and former U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Africa. The delegation also included representatives from the Czech Republic, Kenya, Nigeria, Norway, Sierra Leone, Serbia, Spain and the United States. The group observed voting and ballot counting at more than 70 polling stations in four cities – Berbera, Borama, Burao and Hargeisa.

IRI also partnered with the local nongovernmental organization Social Research and Development Institute to train and deploy six domestic observer teams that gave IRI a broader coverage in areas where international observers could not monitor. The domestic teams monitored voting and ballot counting at more than 70 polling stations in Ainaba, Baligubadle, Las Anod, Lug-haya, Odweine, Salaxley and Zeila.

Other IRI delegates were:

•Rune Aale-Hansen, Chief Information Officer of Norway’s Høyre Party;
•The Honorable Sophia Abdi Noor, member of the Kenyan Parliament;
•The Honorable Aminu Bello Masari, former Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives;
•Ambassador Ramón Gil-Casares Satrústegui, former Spanish Ambassador to South Africa and former Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs;
•Dr. J. Peter Pham, Senior Fellow and Director of the Africa Project at the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, and non?resident Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies;
•Ambassador Lange Schermerhorn, former U.S. Ambassador to Djibouti;
•Petr Sokol, Secretary of the Czech Republic’s Civic Democratic Party Group at the European Parliament; and
•Dr. Christiana Thorpe, Chairwoman of Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission.

IRI staff also served as observers and assisted in the mission. IRI staff were led by Lorne W. Craner, IRI President and former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy Human Rights and Labor; Paul Fagan, IRI’s Regional Director for Africa programs; Scott Pool, Resident Country Director for Kenya and Somaliland; and Lara Petricevic, Somaliland Resident Program Officer.

Delegates traveled to Nairobi, Kenya where they were briefed by representatives from the U.S. Embassy and USAID. After arriving in Hargeisa, delegates were briefed by representatives of the NEC, European Commission, presidential candidates, human rights groups and civil society organizations. They also were briefed on the rights and responsibilities of international observers and Somaliland election law.

Delegates then deployed throughout Somaliland where they met with local election officials, political party representatives and civil society organizations. On Election Day, delegates monitored polling stations and identified and evaluated the strengths and weaknesses in the election system, including campaign regulations, the balloting process, vote tabulation and reporting.

IRI has monitored more than 135 elections in more than 40 countries. In September 2005, an IRI delegation traveled to Somaliland to assess the country’s parliamentary elections (PDF).

Since 2002, IRI has worked with civil society groups, political parties and the national parliament in Somaliland. Through funding from USAID, IRI provided support to Somaliland’s political parties, parliament, marginalized groups and was able to conduct this election observation mission.


Observers say breakaway Somali region vote was fair

Jun 28, 2010. By Hussein Ali Noor

HARGEISA Somalia (Reuters) - The presidential election in Somalia's breakaway republic of Somaliland was free and fair, international observers said on Monday.

More than one million people voted on Saturday in Somalia's separatist northern enclave that is seeking international recognition as a sovereign state.

"Despite some irregularities, the election process was fair, free and expressed the will of the people. We are looking to a speedy and clear result that is accepted by all the parties," Conrad Heine, an observer from Britain, told reporters.

Three candidates stood in the election that opposition leader Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo is expected to win, ousting Dahir Rayale Kahin, who has been in office for nine years.

A former British colony, Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991, but has not been recognised internationally despite its relative stability and the establishment of democratic institutions.

Over the same period, anarchic Somalia has been subject to continuing violence that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands.

International monitors however said they were concerned at complaints by the Somaliland opposition blaming the incumbent president's ruling party for using public funds, state media and vehicles for its campaign.

Some residents in disputed areas along Somaliland's border with Puntland, a semi-autonomous enclave, refused to vote. Militia supporting Puntland raided polling stations, killing four people and seizing ballot boxes.

"The unwillingness of portions of the electorate to participate in the polls in Sool and East Sanag was a matter of concern," Hein said. But he said that the election had met the criteria required. The International Republican Institute (IRI), a U.S.-based group which monitors elections, said the vote was peaceful, without major incident and generally met international standards.

IRI cautioned the political parties and the public against jumping to conclusions before the final result is announced.

"Election day is only one part of a larger and longer four part process, which includes the pre-election environment, pre-election administration, election day voting, and vote counting and post-election adjudication resulting in acceptance of a legitimate result," it said in a statement.

The National Election Commission chairman, Essa Yusuf Mohammed, told reporters that most of the votes had been counted, except those cast in the capital Hargeisa, but declined to comment on early results.

"Until now, ninety percent of the votes have been counted. We are waiting for Hargeisa to finish soon," he said.


Observers:Somaliland Election Free, Fair

Hussein Moulid - AHN News Africa. June 28, 2010

Somaliland, Somalia (AHN) - A spokesman for a group of international observers said Monday the weekend presidential election in Somalia's northern breakaway region was free and fair.

“The June 26 vote was free and fair expression of the popular will of the Somaliland people,” Steve Kibble, joint coordinator for the team led by Progressio, a London-based development agency, told reporters in the capital, Hargeisa.

The observer group, in a statement, praised a high voter turnout on Saturday in many areas of Somaliland despite threats from Somali’s insurgent groups to disturb the process, which did not occur.

The election in one of the few peaceful and democratic territories in the Horn of Africa was delayed for two years because of wrangling over voter registration.

President Dahir Riyale Kahin had faced a stiff challenge from two opposition candidates: Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo, whose Kulmiye party is the largest parliamentary coalition, and Faisal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Welfare party.

Results are expected to be announced in a week.

Kahin, leader of the Democratic United National party, was elected president in the first president election in 2003, with 42.08 percent of ballots cast in an election won by 80 votes.

The former British colony declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognized internationally as a sovereign state despite its relative stability and the establishment of democratic institutions.

More than a million people were registered to vote at more than 1,000 polling sites, which were monitored by dozens of international observers.

Borders had been closed and large security contingents deployed across Hargeisa and other towns amid fear of attacks by the al-Qaeda-inspired Al-Shabaab operating in neighboring Somalia.

On Friday, Al- Shabaab warned voters in Somaliland not to vote in the presidential elections.

Somaliland has enjoyed relative peace and stability for nearly two decades.

Read more: http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7019128694?Observers:Somaliland%20Election%20Free,%20Fair#ixzz0sBQd1L1B


Somaliland forces said to have shot at Puntland minister in disputed region

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jun 28, 2010. Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 27 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Reports reaching us from Sool Region indicate that Somaliland forces today fired shots at the Puntland minister of internal affairs who was with his security detail at the time.

Sources in the town of Hadaftimo, Sool Region, told Shabelle that Puntland Minister of Internal Affairs, Abdullahi Muhammad aka Ilkajiir, and his security have been shot at while passing through one of the major roads in the town by another vehicle carrying a Somaliland minister and his security.

The extent of losses sustained in the confrontation between the two sides is not yet known. However, sources told Shabelle that the two sides exchanged gunfire for a few minutes in the town's centre. Sources have also confirmed to us the Puntland Minister has been unhurt in the confrontation.

The clashes follow earlier tension between Puntland and Somaliland forces over the control of Sool Region. Meanwhile, separate reports indicate that Somaliland forces and those of Puntland have also clashed in the town of Baran this evening. Fighting between the two sides is said to have gone on for more than 30 minutes and paralysed traffic.


Somaliland's National Electoral Commission warns the press and Political parties over predictions of election results

http://www.allvoices.com/ June 28, 2010

Hargeisa(Horn) -Somaliland National Electoral commission warned the contesting parties not to unilaterally announce any imaginative results that may confuse the public.

Talking to journalists in a press news, the NEC chairman Mr. Essa said that such utterances will have serious consequences “we are starting now the counting process of the ballots, and we want to appeal to the citizens, the press and the political parties to avoid peddling any results that are not officially announced by NEC, the exact and official results will be announced by the commission” he said.

He urged the public and the political parties to support them and conduct themselves as they did in the Election Day.

Warning the press chairman said “ I am once again informing all the press to refrain and be cautious about any predictions, because this will lead to creating confusion so let’s all wait for our official announcement of the results”.

People on the streets of the capital and in all major cities of the country have been talking about unofficial reports on how the parties gathered votes in different regions of the country and the supporters of every party are claiming victory, however the official NEC decision and the results they present will show the real and rightful winner.


From Sool to Salal – The Somaliland Democracy Prevails Again

Abdulazez Al-Motairi.http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/view/166065/June 28, 2010

Somaliland´s election was peaceful, without major incident and generally met international standards. More then million Somalilanders turned out to vote in their fourth consecutive election. The delayed international response to Somaliland´s case of independence did not stop Somalilanders from building nascent and decent democracy. The international community should credit democracy progress in Somaliland with diplomatic recognition because they deserve it.

The 21 days heated presidential election campaign between the three candidates: Dahir Riyale, Faisal Warabe and Mohamed Silanyo. UDUB is ruling party, where Kulmiye of Silany and UCID of Warabe are strong and promising parties, ended on last Saturday (Voting Day). One can see voters in long queues waiting to practice their democratic rights. Men and Women voted equally; even some voters slept overnight at the polling stations to avoid further delays. Aisha Mohamed Abdi, 54 years old and mother of five from Sanaag Region, told Al-Jazeera English that she walked 24 hours to reach the polling station. Another voter, Abdi Omer – 62 years old and father of two – said that he slept the doorsteps of the polling station to be the first to practice his rights. Somalilanders are very serious to maintain sustainable and free democracy.

Somaliland´s National Election Commission (NEC) did a remarkable job by realizing the dream of the people of Somaliland: Free, Fair and true democracy, which is rare in Africa. Many African countries are witnessing violent election including Guinea where many people were killed and properties destroyed. In Somaliland the voting process was very civilized with international quality. Hundreds of election observers including Former US Ambassador to UN and Presidential Envoy to Sudan Richard Williamson declared the election free and fair, except minor disturbances in the eastern parts of the country by terrorist militia linked to Al-Shabab Group (Terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda).

Majority of the East Africans welcomed the democracy process in Somaliland including the Somalis in Mogadishu, who are under terrorist attacks. The President of Somalia Sheikh Sharif Ahmed welcomed the election and described it a milestone; the President Sharif appealed the home-grown Somaliland democracy to be transferred and implemented in southern Somalia. Somaliland people successfully established uncorrupt and modern state without international support.

International community spend millions of dollars in stabilizing vicious places in Africa, yet, murder and mayhem continue in many parts of the continent. In contrast, Somaliland through its tried and test formula of dialogue, discussion and consensus held number of free and fair elections including parliamentary, presidential and municipal, with a budget less than 10 million dollars. The world should support the people who improve themselves instead of pouring millions of dollars into the hands of the corrupted leaders and warlords.

The international media coverage on the historic and democratic event in Somaliland was massive including the leading USA printed, televised and online media who carried Somaliland elections reports on its headlines. New York Times, CNN and other major focused on democratic progress made in Somaliland, in other side, BBC and Arab World media like Al-Jazeera News Channel covered the election process.

The vote counting process is underway and candidates are sleepless with their fingers crossed over possible surprise result. NEC used high-tech biometric voter system to ensure One-Man-One-Vote and to avoid possibility of double voting and misuse. The people of Somaliland need to honor the NEC staff for their brave step of organizing neutral election between the parties and politicians; even the ruling party could not put its hand in NEC defense line, which is very remarkable behavior that endures in the developed world like USA and parts of Europe.

African Union (AU), European Union (EU), United Nations (UN), UK (United Kingdom – The Great Britain) and United States of America (USA) should take the first initiative of recognizing Somaliland and saving such splendid and unique democracy in Africa. The international community should, also, support Somaliland diplomatically because Somaliland is not demanding loans and donations but to do business with the rest of the world. Somaliland is under endless embargo which alienated it from the rest of the world. Today the people of Somaliland should look for another passport because they can´t travel with their own one; Somaliland students can´t join international universities; Somaliland tourists can´t travel freely; International companies can´t do business in Somaliland and even the Somalilanders can´t get jobs in international markets. All these are happening to the hardworking people of Somaliland because of their country is not recognized internationally. My question is, how long will international community hold Somaliland hostage for endless conflict in Somalia? We all know that Somaliland deserves recognition but why the world is hesitant from taking brave step to liberate and free the people of Somaliland from such unjustified and unfair treatment!


SOMALIA: School clubs help Somaliland children overcome trauma

Photo: Casey Johnson/IRIN. Somali schoolgirls: An NGO in Somaliland has introduced social clubs in schools with children from internally displaced families to help them cope with trauma (file photo)

HARGEISA, 28 June 2010 (IRIN) - When Sabah Ismail Ali, a social worker in Somalia's self-declared republic of Somaliland, first started working with children, truancy and aggression were common, especially among children from families with problems such as extreme poverty and displacement.

"I started off as a child protection officer, then I later trained as a psycho-social worker, qualifying by December 2007. I realized right from the start that many children who showed aggression were being caned by teachers who had no idea of the social problems such children were dealing with," Ali told IRIN.

In efforts to help children from difficult backgrounds deal with psycho-social issues, a local NGO, the Comprehensive Community-Based Rehabilitation in Somaliland (CCBRS) partnered a Ugandan NGO, the Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO) in mid-2009 and, with funding from the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), introduced social clubs in four schools where the majority of the students were from displaced families.

Ali, who was involved in the project from its initial stages, told IRIN: "Before the clubs were set up, we first approached the Ministry of Education to explain what we wanted to do, then we identified the schools. We then met the schools' administrators and some of the teachers and explained our mission.

"We started by training the teachers in various aspects of providing psycho-social support and how to counsel children facing social problems."

Club culture

Three types of clubs were then introduced to pupils aged 10 and above in the four identified schools: the environmental and sanitation club; culture, sports and arts club, and the awareness-raising club. At least 60 pupils (30 boys and 30 girls) belong to each club in the four schools: Guryasamo Intermediate School, Fadumo Bihi Primary and Intermediate School, Mohamed Moge Primary and Intermediate School and Ahmed Gurey Primary and Intermediate School.

"Soon, clubs became operational and we started seeing a reduction in the number of pupils who would be caned by teachers for truancy," Ali said.

In the past, if a child misbehaved in class, teachers would punish them with detention, canning or suspension, which led to many children dropping out of school. "Previously, children would drop out of school without anyone understanding why, but with the introduction of the clubs and the training of teachers as counsellors, these cases have also reduced because teachers now know how to handle children with social and psycho-social problems."

Since most of the children are from poor and displaced families, Ali said, the truancy could at times be because they had not had a good meal in a while, "so a good thing has come out of the clubs because with this understanding, some schools are now even waiving their fees for the poor pupils who cannot even afford to have breakfast in their homes.

"With these clubs, what stands out for me is not only the reduction in school dropouts but the improved teacher-student relationship; pupils now have the confidence to come up to a teacher and explain a problem; this is something they could not do before," Ali said.

She added that the clubs had become so popular that schools and parents were urging CCBRS to introduce them in other schools so that more children could benefit.

Pupils now have the confidence to come up to a teacher and explain a problem; this is something they could not do before Fighting corporal punishment

Abib Ahmed Hirsi, the CCBRS programme officer, said the NGO would assess the impact the clubs had had on the children's social development a year after they were introduced in the four schools.

"Part of the clubs' activities is to discourage use of corporal punishment; sometimes we have awareness-raising weeks which we label 'Week without sticks' or 'No sticks, schools free from sticks'," Hirsi said.

Ettie Higgins, head of UNICEF in Hargeisa, told IRIN the agency's goal in creating child-friendly spaces and school clubs was to foster participation and to promote the psycho-social wellbeing of children from marginalized communities.

"UNICEF seeks to promote both the physical and the psycho-socio-emotional health of the child, guaranteeing a safe and protective space for learning," she said. "This programme has directly benefited approximately 2,500 school-children."


Israeli, American indicted for gun running to Somalia

June 28, 2010

A federal grand jury in Miami, Florida has indicted an Israeli defense consultant and an American citizen of conspiring to transfer hundreds of AK-47s to northern Somalia.

Chanoch Miller, an Israeli aeronautical engineer who previously served as an executive with Israel’s Radom Aviation, was indicted on June 17, 2010 on seven counts of conspiring to export defense equipment to an embargoed nation, Somalia, money laundering, providing false end user certificates, and related charges.

His co-defendant’s name is redacted in the indictment but is described as an American citizen.

Beginning in April, according to the indictment, Miller conspired with his American co-defendant to find an air cargo service to fly hundreds of AK-47s from Bosnia to the northern Somalian city of Banderal, using false end user certificates of Chad, in violation of U.S. arms export control laws. Somalia is under a UN arms embargo. But the transport services source they contacted turned out to be an informant for the U.S. Customs and Immigrations Enforcement (ICE) agency, the indictment describes.

“On April 15, 2010, [redacted name of co-defendant] sent an email to an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement confidential informant (hereafter CI) and asked if CI had Antonov 12 or similar line [aircraft] available for two charter flights from Bosnia to Africa to lift 12 tons on each flight for two round trips, landing in Africa “to unload mil equipments” and return to Bosnia for a second trip,” the indictment reads.

“On April 21, 2010, [blacked out] sent an email to the CI and advised the CI that the cargo would be Boxed AK-47s, 6 to 7.6 tons, and that the CI could choose to use AN26 or AN12 aircraft from Tuzla Bosnia to Banderal, Northern Somalia and that payment would be made by wire transfer or cash before departure.”

“On April 21, 2010, [blacked out] sent an email to the CI and advised that he has enough cargo for 100 flights if the first flight is successful.”

“On April 28, 2010, [blacked out] sent an email to the CI and also sent a copy of the email to CHANOCH MILLER and advised that CHANOCH MILLER, who was the buyer in Israel and who would sign the contract and pay the CI, had accepted the price at least verbally but was hoping to get the first flight done sooner.”

Miller arranged through the same confidential informant to purchase 700 AK-47s, 200 in the U.S. and 500 in Panama, and fly them to Somaliland earlier this month. On June 15, 2010, the indictment states, Miller wired $116,000 from an Israeli bank to a Broward County, Florida Wells Fargo branch to pay for the air services including a $2,000 commission for his co-defendant, the indictment said.

The case against Miller was brought by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo Ferrer and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Walleisa.

Miller was arrested on June 18th, court documents show, and was due to be arraigned today. The indictment of his co-defendant is sealed, until his arrest or August 9, 2010, whichever comes first.

In February, Somaliland local press cited an Israeli foreign ministry official that Israel was considering recognizing Somaliland as an independent country, but the official has denied ever making such a statement and said the local media had made it up.

"It's pure fabrication," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told POLITICO Monday. "A few months ago, someone brought my attention to the fact that a pro-Somaliland website quotes an interview I supposedly gave to the Israeli paper Haaretz in which I supposedly said a few things. I never spoke to Haaretz on any subject to do with Somalia or freedom of Somaliland. It's pure fabrication. And you know what, the funniest thing, after this is published, and circulated on pro-Somaliland websites, pro-Somaliland activists are asking me to be their friend on Facebook."

Somaliland, a former British colony, is strategically located in the Gulf of Aden. The breakaway republic held elections on Sunday which international observers declared free and fair.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/laurarozen/0610/Israeli_American_indicted_for_gun_running_to_Somalia.html?showall


U.S. court indicts Israeli suspected of arms trade with Somaliland

By Yossi Melman and Barak Ravid. Source: Haaretz | 28 June 2010

Florida prosecutors suspect Hanoch Miller attempted to bypass a UN resolution and U.S. law, both of which have an embargo on weapons trade with Somalia.

A United States court last week indicted an Israeli man suspected of attempting to obtain assault weapons and sell them to the government in Somalia.

According to the indictment filed at a district court in Florida, the suspect, Hanoch Miller, and several others attempted to bypass a United Nations Security Council resolution and U.S. law, both of which have an embargo on weapons trade with Somalia.

The south Florida district attorney charged that Hanoch conspired with associates, who are not mentioned by name, in the U.S. and Israel to sell AK-47 assault rifles to clients in Somalia.

According to the indictment, Miller provided a falsified end user certificate that was meant to show the weapons were destined for the Republic of Chad, a country with which weapons trade is legal.

The suspects also allegedly attempted to hire planes from Bosnia to transport the weapons to Somalia.

The weapons were intended for the government in Somaliland, which is regarded internationally as an autonomous region in Somalia that has been run by a secessionist government since the 1990s.

Several months ago, Israeli officials said the government may consider recognizing Somaliland’s independence and establishing diplomatic ties with it. However, Yigal Palmor, a Foreign Ministry official, told Haaretz that was an unofficial announcement that does not represent Israeli government policy.

Hanoch Miller is a 53-year-old resident of Yehud in central Israel and an aeronautics engineer who served in an airplane design unit in the Israel Air Force.

After his discharge in the 1980s, Miller started Radom Aviation with two business partners and was considered a solitary contractor that worked both with the Israel Aerospace Industries and other defense industries.

More than three years ago, Miller sold his share in the company and became an independent consultant that worked, according to his friends, in the field of electronic weapons and night vision equipment.

The alleged weapons were destined for the Somali government, with which Israel has recently declared a willingness to establish diplomatic ties.


SOMALILAND PEACEFUL REGION VOTES FOR PRESIDENT SOMALILAND PEACEFUL REGION VOTES FOR PRESIDENT

Anonymous. Pittsburgh Post - Gazette. Pittsburgh, Pa.: Jun 27, 2010. pg. A.4

Voters in Somaliland queued for hours and thronged polling stations Saturday for the second presidential election held in the self-declared republic, in a peaceful exercise in governance not seen for decades in the country's anarchic south.

Voters and candidates said they hope this vote will award Somaliland the international recognition it seeks. The three men vying to become president of the region have all promised to seek international recognition for the autonomous region.

"The election is very crucial for the future of Somaliland," said President Dahir Riyale Kahin as he voted Saturday morning.

Saturday's election also coincides with the 50-year anniversary of independence for Somaliland, a former British protectorate. The province was only independent for five days before joining Somalia on July 1, 1960.

Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 and has been a haven of relative peace in northwest Somalia as southern Somalia has degenerated into chaos and anarchy. The region has its own security and police forces, justice system and currency, but is not recognized by any other state.

All three candidates, who include Mr. Kahin, Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo and Feysal Ali Warabe, have also promised to maintain the region's security and economic development.

Mr. Warabe said that while he believes his party deserves to win, he will accept the results given by the national election board. -- The Associated Press


Somaliland: 4 killed in election-day skirmish

By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN. The Associated Press. June 27, 2010

HARGEISA, Somalia — Officials in Somaliland say a voting-day skirmish killed four people in a contested area of the self-declared republic.

The election board says a militia from neighboring Puntland region tried to raid a polling station in an area claimed by Somaliland and Puntland. Officials said late Saturday the disturbance forced them to close 34 stations early in that area.

The International Republican Institute, a U.S. observer group, said Sunday their observers found few voting irregularities in the region.

Three men ran for president of the region, a haven of relative peace in northwest Somalia that declared its independence in 1991. Somaliland has its own security and police forces, justice system and currency, but is not recognized by any other state.


Vote counting to begin in Somaliland

(AFP) Jun 27. HARGEISA, Somalia — Authorities were expected to begin counting votes on Sunday in the breakaway state of Somaliland, a day after a peaceful presidential election, the electoral board said.

"Some of the ballot boxes were brought early this morning to the headquarters of the National Election Commission (NEC)," said a commission official who asked not to be named.

"We are verifying all the boxes and are waiting for all the remaining ones to arrive. We are urging people not to speculate on who is the winner before a final announcement from the commission," he said.

Official results are not due for another week but a winner is expected to emerge with partial results over the next few days.

President Dahir Riyale Kahin faces a stiff challenge from two opposition candidates: Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo, whose Kulmiye party is the largest parliamentary bloc, and Faisal Ali Warabe of the Justice and Welfare party.

No violence or instances of suspected fraud were reported during the voting, which took place across the northern Somali territory on Saturday.

The borders had been closed and large security contingents deployed across the capital Hargeisa and other towns amid fears of attacks by the Al-Qaeda-inspired Shebab operating in neighbouring Somalia.

Somaliland, which is more tribally homogenous than the rest of Somalia, has been striving for international recognition since it broke away in 1991 and many voters saw the election as a fresh opportunity to demonstrate their aspiring state's democratic credentials.

"I am delighted at the peaceful election process that took place. The world will undoubtedly understand that we are a responsible nation," Hargeisa resident Abdisalan Ahmed told AFP.


Somaliland election observer killed; ballots being counted

By the CNN Wire Staff, June 27, 2010

(CNN) -- As ballots were being counted in Somaliland, a breakaway republic in northwest Somalia, officials said an observer from the electoral commission was killed.

The former British colony held a presidential election Saturday. Voters lined up at polling stations under tight security; more than 1 million had registered to cast their ballots, according to Ise Yusuf Mohamed, chairman of the electoral commission.

Mohamed said Sunday the polling was peaceful, but acknowledged small outbreaks of violence, including the killing of the observer near the town of Lasa Anod. The observer's identity and further details were not given, and it was unclear whether the slaying took place Saturday or Sunday.

Mohamed warned the Somaliland people and the three political parties involved in the election not to celebrate results before they are officially declared.

Security measures during the voting included a 12-hour ban on vehicles not carrying special permits, Mohamed said Saturday.

Voters cast ballots under threats of violence from al-Shabaab, the primary Islamist group leading an insurgency in and around the capital city of Mogadishu in southern Somalia. In an audio message to local media, the group's leader, Sheik Mukhtar Abdirahman Abu Zubeyr -- himself a descendant of Somaliland -- called democracy "the devil's principles" and warned people in Somaliland not to adopt it.

Al-Shabaab militants attacked Somaliland and the neighboring semi-autonomous region of Puntland with simultaneous suicide blasts in October 2008 that killed at least 24 people.

In the election, current President Dahir Riyale Kahin of the ruling party UDUD is opposed by two other candidates.

The northwestern region of Somaliland achieved independence from Britain on June 26, 1960, followed by the rest of Somalia, which became independent of Italy five days later on July 1, 1960, and joined Somaliland to form the state of Somalia.

After the fall of Somali dictator Siad Barre in 1991, Somaliland declared its separation from Somalia, according to the CIA World Factbook. Somaliland has yet to receive international diplomatic recognition as a state but has achieved a level of security and stability unmatched in the rest of Somalia.


Voters defy Islamist threats in Somaliland

BBC, 26 June 2010

There has been a strong turnout for the presidential election in Somaliland, in spite of threats by Islamist militants.

International monitors say people formed queues at many polling stations of the self-proclaimed state.

The government closed the country's borders amid fears that Islamists from neighbouring Somalia could try to disrupt the elections.

The Islamist group al-Shabaab had warned voters to stay at home.

Earlier this week, the group had issued an audio message, describing democratic elections as "the devil's principles".

Hope for recognition

The Somaliland government had asked voters to ignore the warning.

Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 and is not recognised internationally as an independent state.

Security had been beefed up ahead of the vote BBC analyst Martin Plaut says that the country is largely peaceful and has an effective administration - in sharp contrast to the rest of Somalia.

He says many people in Somaliland hope that if this election goes well, it will strengthen the case for independence.

Dozens of international observers were in the region to watch the vote.

Incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin faces two opponents: Ahmed Mohamed Silaanyo from the leading opposition party, Kulmiye, and the leader of the Justice and Welfare party, Faisal Ali Warabe.

The final result should be announced in about a week.


Somalia: Residents clash with Somaliland election officials

26 Jun 26, 2010 - GAROWE ONLINE

Reports that are coming out of Kalabeyr village, 30 km from Las Anod, the administrative capQital of disputed Sool region said fighting between residents and electional officials from separatist region of Somaliland killed at least two people.

Witnesses said the clashes erupted early Saturday when electoral officials tried to deliver ballot boxes in the area for the Somaliland election. The dead include a security officer and an election official.

Tension has also been reported in other disputed areas including Las Anod, where ballot boxes have been kept in secret places with low turnout reported.

Reports from Erigabo, the administrative capital of the Sanaag region said the main political parties, UDUB contesting Somaliland’s election have been involved in intense campaign of vote buying.

In Hadaftimo town, high ranking officials from Puntland state led by Interior Minister General Abdullahi Ahmed Jama (Ilkajiir) ordered electoral officials from Somaliland to take out the ballot boxes from the area.

Another Puntland delegation is in Dhahar and Baran in Sanaag region, where they reported that there were no elections held.

Somaliland’s Electoral commission has on Friday stated that it has registered 98,000 voters in Sool while some 48,000 have been registered in Sanaag.

"Somaliland wants to claim the votes of the disputed Sool, Sanaag and Cayn regions to blackmail the world,” said a resident of Hargeisa, who did not want to be named.

Puntland and Somaliland are engaged in a territorial dispute over the Somali regions of Sool, Cayn and Sanaag.


Breakaway Somali region votes for president

By Hussein Ali Noor

HARGEISA, Somalia, June 26 (Reuters) - Long-delayed presidential elections took place on Saturday in Somaliland, a peaceful breakaway enclave of Somalia that is seeking international recognition as a sovereign state.

The rest of the Horn of Africa state has been gripped by violence for two decades and the government faces near-daily attacks by Islamist rebel groups bent on ousting it.

The violence, mostly between government troops and al Qaeda's proxy in the region known as al Shabaab, has killed 21,000 people and uprooted another 1.5 million from their homes.

The former British colony of Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 but has not been recognised internationally as a sovereign state despite its relative stability and the establishment of democratic institutions.

The elections have been postponed three times since 2008 due to disputes over the number of registered voters. "I am very happy that we are voting democratically and I hope that the election will end peacefully," President Dahir Rayale Kahin told reporters after casting his vote.

Kahin is seeking a second term but faces competition from Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, whom he beat by 80 votes in 2003.

FOUR PEOPLE KILLED

At least four people were killed and one injured in skirmishes after militia supporting the neighbouring Puntland raided a voting station in a disputed area and seized several ballot boxes, the National Electoral Commission said.

"There was no voting in 34 stations in Buhoodle and Sool regions," said Essa Yusuf Mohammed, NEC chairman.

The two regions are claimed by both Somaliland and Puntland.

Al Shabaab's reclusive leader Ahmed Abdi Godane, also known as Sheik Mukhtar Abdirahman Abu Zubeyr, urged Somalis to reject "the Devil's principles" of democracy, just several days before the Somaliland elections.

Al Shabaab hit Somaliland and the semi-autonomous Puntland region with synchronised suicide blasts that killed at least 24 people in October 2008. Despite the threat of violence from the south spreading into their region, most Somaliland citizens are united in their desire for recognition as a separate state.

"I call on them to respect the basic human rights of the people of Somaliland. We have a map and I hope that we will realize this (recognition) within one year," said Feisal Ali Warabe, presidential candidate for the opposition Justice and Welfare party.

One analyst said a peaceful, free and fair election, and smooth transition of power would certainly help the international image of Somaliland.

"But at the end of the day recognition of a new state is a political decision international states make based on their interests," Afyare Abdi Elmi, political science professor at Qatar University, told Reuters.

"At times, states recognise authoritarian countries when it serves their interests." (Writing by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura)


Somaliland Elections have begun voting

thehorn. Hargeysa : Somalia | Jun 26, 2010 3

Somalilanders casted their votes earlier on Saturday morning, more than one Million Voters went to the polling stations to vote for the presidential elections in Somaliland.

Long queues of people were seen in the polling stations at mid night to wait the process which would have been started at seven in the morning of 26th June.

The three candidates, Dahir Rayale Kahin (UDUB), Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo from KULMIYE and The UCID candidate Eng Faysal Ali Warabe casted their vote at Guriga Shaqalaha Poling station in Hargeisa. The candidates praised the process, insisting that they will accept whatever the result will be.

“This election is a victory to Somaliland” Said the incumbent president Rayale. “I am Very proud of this, It is the fourth time to vote at this polling station... I hope that things will be done smoothly” The president preceded his speech.

UCID candidate Eng. Warabe speaking to the media at this polling station said, “If I miss the election because of 100 votes or even one vote, I will accept the result, because we must accept the people’s choice and Allah’s will”

The KULMIYE powerful candidate Ahmed Silanyo said after voting, “I came here to vote, and that is a national duty” Silanyo proceeded his speech by saying, “Every thing will be alright, and the elections will go on successfully. May Alla make the elections good”.

The Horn reporters at the poling stations are reporting that the electoral process is going on smoothly and peacefully. All the transportations, except the necessary have been banned by the national Electoral Commission during the Election Day.

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


Peaceful region of Somaliland votes for president

By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN (AP)

HARGEISA, Somalia — Voters in Somaliland queued for hours and thronged polling stations Saturday for the second presidential election held in the self-declared republic, in a peaceful exercise in governance not seen for decades in the country's anarchic south.

Voters and candidates said they hope this vote will award Somaliland the international recognition it seeks. The three men vying to become president of the region have all promised to seek international recognition for the autonomous region.

"The election is very crucial for the future of Somaliland," said President Dahir Riyale Kahin as he voted Saturday morning. "It a bridge to a long-awaited international recognition."

Saturday's election also coincides with the 50-year anniversary of independence for Somaliland, a former British protectorate. The province was only independent for five days before joining Somalia on July 1, 1960.

Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia in 1991 and has been a haven of relative peace in northwest Somalia as southern Somalia has degenerated into chaos and anarchy. The region has its own security and police forces, justice system and currency, but is not recognized by any other state.

All three candidates, who include Kahin, Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo and Feysal Ali Warabe, have also promised to maintain the region's security and economic development.

Warabe said that while he believes his party deserves to win, he will accept the results given by the national election board.

"I am now ready endorse if any one of us wins by one vote," he said.

Residents also said they hope the vote will win more respect for the region and maintain the peace that has eluded southern Somalia since the 1991 ouster of longtime dictator Mohamed Siad Barre by warlords.

Business student Sarah Jama said she was concerned about unemployment levels, but that she based her vote on a desire for peace.

"Inasmuch as we need change, we must maintain the peace we enjoy," she said. "We are very scared of what has happened in countries around us, like southern Somalia."

Omar Ali, 32, an electrician and father of seven, traveled from Libya to vote for the first time.

"I think the election is very beautiful and I support the Somaliland elections so that they can be peaceful and fair," he said.

He added, "I believe at the rate things are going in Somaliland, the future will be bright for my children, where they will be more interested in their country and not go abroad."

Officials said polls were orderly on Saturday, but that the masses of voters kept polls open a few minutes after closing time. Results are expected in a week.

"The process has ended peacefully, and the polling stations were supposed to close at 7 p.m. (1600GMT), but they extended for fifteen more minutes because people were in queues and we had serve them," said Issa Ahmed Hamari, chairman of the National Electoral Commission of Somaliland.

The vote was closely watched by dozens of international observers.

One observer, Steve Kibble of the British organization Progressio, said the campaign "has generally been peaceful and good-natured."

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.

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.

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


Breakaway Somalia Region Holds Peaceful Presidential Election

June 26, 2010. Businessweek. By William Davison

(Bloomberg) -- Somaliland, a breakaway region of northwestern Somalia, held a presidential election that was mostly peaceful today, with fighting limited to a disputed eastern region, international election observers said.

Most of the polling stations were orderly and organized, said Richard Williamson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and presidential envoy to Sudan, who along with International Republican Institute President Lorne Craner is leading the Washington-based group’s team of election observers. Military vehicles are patrolling the capital city of Hargeisa and all private vehicles and public transport have been ordered off the roads.

The election in one of the few peaceful and democratic territories in the Horn of Africa has been delayed for two years because of wrangling over voter registration. President Dahir Riyale Kahin of the United Peoples’ Democratic Party is facing challenges from Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo of the Kulmiye party and Faisal Ali Warabe from the Justice and Welfare Party. About 1 million people are registered to vote.

“It’s good for stability, their future and can do nothing but help them to get international recognition and investment,” Williamson said in an interview.

A female electoral commission officer was shot dead in fighting between Somaliland forces and rebel group Sool Sanaag Cayn in the troubled eastern region of Sool, according to an international election coordination mission led by London-based development charity Progessio. Voting hasn’t taken place in the area, said Michael Walls, joint coordinator of the mission.

Riyale became president of the former British colony in 1992 and won election to the post in 2003, after his party defeated the opposition Kulmiye party by 80 votes. Somaliland declared independence from Somalia in 1991 and largely escaped the violence in the remainder of Somalia. No country has recognized Somaliland as an independent state.

The polls closed at 6 p.m. local time.


Somaliland citizens rouse for the polling stations

By Mohammed Omar Hussein, Jun 26, 2010-http://www.allvoices.com/

The citizens of Somaliland have officially on Saturday morning the 26 of June 2010 moved towards the polling stations in to elect the next President of the country.

The people of Somaliland will cast their votes in 1800 polling stations in all the 6 regions in the country.

According to the electoral commission of Somaliland 1100,000 will be casting their votes and the presidential election will be taking place in the distance between Dhahar in the boarder between Putland and Lowyade in the boarder between Somaliland and Djibouti. The people will be casting their votes till dusk as the electoral commission of Somaliland has promised.

Among the people who will be casting their votes is the current president of Somaliland honorable Dahir Rayale Kaahin and the two leaders of the opposition parties’ those are honorable Mohammed Mohamud Silanyo and honorable Feisal Ali Warabe.

“The people of Somaliland have in mass come out from their residential areas and proudly walked away towards the polling stations in the country wide in order to cast their votes to the next President of the country there is no disturbing traffic jam in city all motorists were banned on the streets for not to tardy the people dashing to the polling stations” said Jamal Ibrahim Mohammed a veteran Somali journalist in Hargeisa.

This will be the 4th Presidential election in Somaliland since it has separated from the rest of Somalia in the year 1991, and the current party which is now in power has been achieving the presidency of the country.

On the other hand the President of Somalia his Excellency President Sheikh Shariff Sheikh Ahmed has sent congratulations to the people of Somaliland in this occasion of Presidential election in the country.

“I wish harmony success for the people and nation of Somaliland, and in fact it is a remarkable day not only for the citizens of Somaliland but for the entire Somali people, and I hope that every runner to accept the outcome of the election, I would advice the southerners to see how their brothers in the north have arranged and though about their future” said President Shariff of Somalia.

Despite Somaliland separating itself from the rest of Somalia she has not yet achieved international recognition.


Voting wraps up in Somaliland

June 26, 2010. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2010/06/201062634822234773.html

Voters in the self-declared republic of Somaliland queued for hours on Saturday to vote in the region's second presidential election.

Three men, Dahir Riyale Kahin, Ahmed Mohamud Silanyo and Feysal Ali Warabe, are vying to become president of the unrecognised region, a haven of relative peace in the northwest of Somalia.

Polls closed at 1500GMT, and results are expected within one week.

There were no reports of any serious violence or electoral fraud.

Al-Shabab, the Somali armed group, warned voters to stay away from the polls or "face the consequences". The Somaliland government closed the border with Somalia in response.

"All our country's forces are locking the borders. Movements and transport inside Somaliland are also forbidden except for those authorised by the national election commission," Mohamed Saqadi Dubad, a police chief, said.

'Slow start'

Al Jazeera's Mohamed Adow, reporting from a polling station in Hargeisa, Somaliland's capital, said voting got "off to a painstakingly slow start" on Saturday morning.

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

He said voters began gathering at polling stations before dawn, with queues stretching into neighbouring roads.

"The president, after he cast his vote, told the people gathered here and the media that these elections are very crucial to the future of Somaliland," Adow said.

"[President Kahin] said recognition of Somaliland as an independent state, as an independent republic, is on the way."

Many voters share the candidates' and president's hopes for statehood and expect the election to bring Somaliland more respect.

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

Hopes for peace

More than a million people were registered to vote at more than 1,000 polling sites, which were monitored by dozens of international observers.

Voters want Somaliland to be recognised as an independent country

Steve Kibble, an observer with the British organisation Progressio, said before the ballot his group was encouraged that residents wanted to carry out a peaceful election that is recognised nationally and internationally.

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

Kahin, leader of the Democratic United National party, or Udub, was elected president in the first president election in 2003, with 42.08 per cent of ballots cast in an election won by 80 votes.

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

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 ruler, Mohamed Siad Barre.

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


Arrests made as breakaway Somaliland elects president - Summary

26 Jun 2010 - By : dpa. http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/news/331691,elects-president-summary.html

Hargeisa, Somalia - Police in the self-proclaimed independent republic of Somaliland arrested 16 people on suspicion of terrorist activity Saturday, as voters cast their ballots in a mostly-peaceful presidential election.

Security forces detained the suspected members of the Somalian Islamist movement Al-Shabaab in two different hotels in the capital Hargeisa, well-informed sources who spoke on condition of anonymity told the German Press Agency dpa.

Authorities had feared that the rebel group would seek to disrupt the poll, as incumbent Dahir Rayale Kahin faced opposition party leader Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo in his bid for a second five-year term.

Thousands of voters queued outside polling stations, some arriving two hours before the polls opened. The election had been postponed three times since April 2008.

Somaliland, which declared independence from Somalia in 1991when the country descended into civil war is relatively peaceful and stable, but poverty is widespread. No other state recognises Somaliland as a sovereign state.

Both candidates have pledged to seek international recognition for the territory on the Horn of Africa that once was an Italian colony. The elections are regarded as a crucial step to this end.

The election passed off without major incident, observers said.

"In general, the election was held in a peaceful manner throughout the country. The turnout was very high. However, one security officer was killed and an election official was wounded in a fight with residents of village in eastern Somaliland when electoral officials tried to deliver ballot boxes", Mahdi Gulaid Khadar, legal adviser to the National Electoral Board (NEC) told dpa.

In the disputed areas between Somaliland and the neighbouring Somali province of Puntland, a clan militia which is fighting for an independent state tried unsuccessfully to capture equipment of the NEC.

In another incident in the east of Somaliland the same militia stole two vehicles and kidnapped one staff member of the NEC.

"Due to the incidents several hundred people could not vote. But this will not affect the result of the election significantly", Michael Walls, coordinator of an international observer mission, told dpa after polling stations closed.

Al-Shabaab, which has waged an insurgency against the Western- backed Mogadishu government since 2007, is opposed to an independent Somaliland and has carried out terrorist attacks there.

The movement's leader, Sheikh Mukhtar Ali Zubayr, issued an audio message Saturday condemning the elections.

In the message he said that both elections and democracy were copies from Christians and Jews and incompatible with Islam. "It is dangerous to run this world through human fashioned techniques," he said.

Many voters expect Silanyo, who heads the opposition Peace, Unity and Development Party (Kulmiye), to win. In presidential elections in 2003, he had lost against Rayale and his United Peoples' Democratic Party (UDUB) by just 80 votes.

Thousands of policemen patrolled the streets Saturday, while 26 observer teams monitored voting at just under 2,000 polling stations, where some 1 million voters are registered to cast their ballots.

In case of defeat, President Dahir Rayale Kahin has promised to handover peacefully. I am the president. But if I dont win, I will hand over to the one who succeeds peacefully. There will be no problem," he told dpa in an interview Tuesday.

Final results from the vote are expected within a week.


Calm, High Turnout in Somaliland Elections Despite Isolated Clash

Michael Onyiego | Nairobi 26 June 2010.http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/africa/Voting-Underway-in-Somaliland-97221039.html

Despite isolated incidents of violence, high voter turnout and relative calm have marked the presidential elections Saturday in the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland.

Polls opened at 7 a.m. Saturday morning local time across the northwestern region of Somalia as Somaliland, an autonomous but unrecognized nation, looks to cement its democratic credentials among the international community.

Ballots are being cast for three presidential candidates: Incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin, Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo and Faisal Ali Warabe.

Silanyo represents the Kulmiye party, seen as the main rival to President Kahin's UDUB or United Peoples' Democratic Party in Somali. Presidential elections were originally scheduled to take place in August of 2008, 5 years after the previous presidential poll, but instability in the Sanaag and Sool regions in the east forced the delay.

According to the Joint Coordinator of the International Election Observation team, Michael Walls, the voting has gone well. "The mood is pretty good," he said. "There is quite a relaxed environment in most places. Many of the queues are extremely long, but voting seems to be progressing pretty consistently. Things seem to be progressing pretty well. The reports we are getting from the different regions from our observers also are by and large pretty positive."

According to Walls, voter turnout has been high for the region. Reports indicate that Somaliland citizens began arriving at polling stations as early as 3 a.m. Saturday morning and the observer estimated that roughly one-third of Somaliland's 1,070,000 registered voters had cast their ballot by midday.

While the country is mostly upbeat, reports of violence in the southeast have dampened the mood. Walls revealed that a female member of the Somaliland Electoral Commission was killed in fighting between Somaliland forces and the Sool, Sanaag and Cayn, or SSC Militia in a town 35 kilometers south of a Las Anod. The fighting took place in the Sool region, where the militia is fighting for an independent republic of its own.

Walls said the incident was isolated and took place in an area where some violence was possible.

In contrast with its neighbors to the east and south, Somaliland has been relatively stable and democratic for the past two decades. In 1991, when the overthrow of Mohammed Siad Barre in Mogadishu plunged the rest of the country into chaos, Somaliland declared independence and continued governing.

The country now boasts two peaceful parliamentary elections and a presidential election in 2003 which was widely observed as free and fair.

Walls says these elections have so far met the same mark, though a peculiarity in Somaliland culture could see them fall just short of international standards.

"In 2005 and before the term we used was 'reasonably free and fair.' I think in the context of Somaliland transparency is prized a lot more than secrecy," he said. "A lot of votes are cast in the full view of and in consultation with or where the voter is telling the officials and the observers and the agents in the polling station who they are voting for."

"So to that extent there is a lot of practice there that you would say wasn't consistent with a lot of what is thought of as international standards. On the other hand there is a very, very minimal level of intimidation that any of the observers have reported so far," he added.

There was worry that threats of reprisals against voters from Islamist group al-Shabab might keep people from voting, but Somaliland's citizens have been so far undeterred. Al-Shabab controls much of south and central Somalia and is fighting the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu to establish an Islamic state in the Horn of African Nation.

While no incidents involving al-Shabab have been reported, the Somaliland government has taken no chances. The autonomous state has shut down its borders and forbidden movement inside the country.


Puntland forces said seize Somaliland ballots in disputed region

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Newsfile. London: Jun 26, 2010. AllPuntland.com website in Somali 26 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Reports reaching us from [the disputed eastern region] of Sanaag [in eastern Somaliland] say that hundreds of Puntland paramilitary forces have raided the town of Hadaaftimo where election ballot boxes for elections for the self-declared Somaliland administration were being stored. The Puntland forces raided the town around midnight last night. [Both Somaliland and Puntland claim ownership of the Sanaag and Sool regions in northeastern Somalia]

Reports indicate that up to three ballot boxes with hundreds of voting cards were seized by the Puntland troops who also arrested some of the officials. The Puntland forces were recently dispatched from the town of Garowe and are being led by the minister of internal affairs. However, he was not present during last night's operation. The raid in the town of Hadaaftimo was led by the commander of the paramilitary forces in Sanaag Region.

The commander of the Puntland paramilitary forces in Sanaag confirmed the raid to Allpuntland, adding that they went into the town last night where senior Somaliland officials were staying. The commander said a Somaliland minister who was also in town when they carried out the raid narrowly escaped arrest after one of their vehicles overturned.

The Puntland administration has not commented on the seizure of the ballot boxes and the Puntland minister of internal affairs, Gen Abdullahi Ahmad Jama'a alias Ilka Jiir, has refrained from speaking about the incident


Puntland warns Somaliland against holding poll in disputed regions

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jun 26, 2010.AllPuntland.com website in Somali 25 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

The self-declared republic of Somaliland is expected to hold presidential elections on 26th of June and the Puntland administration, which shares many of its borders with the region, is now keeping a close eye on the elections.

The Puntland administration is concerned that ballot boxes might be brought in the Puntland Regions of Sool, Sanaag and Ceyn [disputed regions] which are located along the border with Somaliland. The Puntland administration recently warned Somaliland to stop meddling in the internal affairs of the three regions which the Somaliland administration has recently included in its elections agenda.

The Puntland administration has now dispatched an official delegation to some of the major towns in these regions where they have held talks with residents who say they are not ready to take part in the elections being organized by Somaliland.

Puntland's Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Gen Abdullahi Ahmad Jama alias Ilka Jiir is for the second day today visiting parts of Puntland's Sanaag Region and is being accompanied by some senior officials in the Puntland Region. The minister is expected to travel to the border with Somaliland where Puntland forces are planning to confront anyone trying to bring in ballot boxes into Sanaag Region. On arrival in Sanaag Region, where he hails from, the minsiter was welcomed by residents as some of the Puntland officials travelling in the delegation proceeded to other towns in Sanaag where the minister was not able to visit.

Puntland's Deputy Speaker is also leading a delegation of senior officials, including ministers, in a visit to Ceyn Region. The deputy speaker who also hails from Ceyn Region, where he was elected from, has warned the Somaliland administration against interfering in Ceyn and other neighbouring regions. The Puntland parliament is currently in recess and the MPs are visiting their respective constituencies. Some of the MPs have said they are taking advantage of the break in order to guard their respective constituencies' borders with Somaliland.

The Puntland administration's has intensified its presence in Sool, Sanaag and Ceyn Regions and warned Somaliland not to extend the elections to these regions in which Puntland officials maintain a strong presence. Senior armed forces commanders, and their soldiers, are accompanying Puntland officials and are seemingly ready to stop any attempts by Somaliland to extend the elections into the regions that are rightfully part of Puntland.


Security tight at polling stations as Somaliland voters elect new leader

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jun 26, 2010. Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 26 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

The presidential elections are under way in Somaliland, and residents in major towns in the region have since morning formed long queues [outside polling stations] amid concerns of outbreak of violence.

Reports reaching us from some of the major towns indicate that the elections are under way and the residents are casting their votes for the candidates of their choice.

The presidential elections are being contested by [President] Dahir Riyale Kahin, Faysal Ali Warabe and Ahmad Silanyo.

It is not yet known who is likely to win the elections. The electoral commission has banned traffic in all roads in major towns where the elections are taking place, and security at the polling stations has been tightened by the armed forces.

Reports indicate that there are concerns about the outbreak of violence in some of the polling stations as the atmosphere remains charged among supporters of various political parties.


Somali leader praises Somaliland for holding presidential election

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Newsfile. London: Jun 26, 2010. Radio Gaalkacyo, Gaalkacyo, in Somali 1015 26 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

The president of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia Shaykh Sharif Shaykh Ahmad has strongly praised today's presidential election in Somaliland saying that the region has made tangible development adding that Somaliland has improved in various sectors including security, democracy, peace and governance.

The president has also encouraged the self-proclaimed republic to continue its fight against terrorism in Somalia. He said that if terrorists seize southern of Somalia they could easily attack the northern parts of the country.

Shaykh Sharif also congratulated the Somaliland people as they mark, on 26 June, the anniversary of Somaliland independence from the British protectorate at a ceremony held in the presidential palace. He said that it is a vital occasion for Somalis to celebrate. He condemned Islamist groups for opposing the anniversary and for planning to uproot the long history of Somalia. He called on Somali people to work together with the government in eradicating those eager to cause bloodshed, chaos and unrest in the country


Somaliland police to tighten security ahead of presidential polls

Anonymous. BBC Monitoring Africa. London: Jun 26, 2010. Shabeelle Media Network website, Mogadishu, in Somali 25 Jun 10/BBC Monitoring/(c) BBC

Senior armed forces commanders in Somaliland have said the police force intend to tighten security and particularly in polling stations.

A senior official of the Somaliland administration also said security forces will tighten security in Hargeysa, the Somaliland capital, where the elections are due to be held in the coming days.

The commander of Somaliland forces in Sanaag Region, Ali Muhammad Abdi, in an interview with Shabelle said the police and military will tighten security in Hargeysa and will continue with their operations until the election which are due to be held in the coming days are over.

Ali Muhammad Abdi, the commander of Somaliland armed forces in Sanaag Region, said that none of the vehicles in the region will be allowed on the roads during the election days. The commander also said he will continue working with whoever wins the elections and warned the residents against attempts to derail the polls.